View Full Version : Paper Woes? Things seem pretty good lately!

David Karp
19-Jul-2010, 22:00
I was looking at some older threads, perhaps some that I came across while searching for something else in the archives of this forum, bemoaning the lack of nice traditional enlarging papers. It made me think about my recent visit to Freestyle.

For my recent flurry of darkroom activity, I needed to pick up some paper and chemicals. While looking around the store, it hardly seemed as if we could be living in a digital world. (Unless I looked across to that section of the store!) In addition to old standbys from Ilford/Harmon and Oriental, there was a great selection of beautiful fiber VC and graded papers (they have samples on the wall created in various developers, with various finishes) from Adox (they have several really nice papers - hard to choose which one to use), Kentmere/Harmon, Foma, Slavich, and Fotokemika, not to mention their store brand papers, which mirror some of those from Foma and Adox. And the amazing thing is that some of these papers are fairly newly introduced, or reformulated.

I ended up printing a couple of photos on Kentmere Fineprint VCFB (beautiful neutral to cold tone with a beautiful surface), two on Arista.EDU Ultra VCFB (very nice neutral to warm tone, fantastic value - same as Foma Variant), and one on Adox MCC110 (developed in Zonal Pro HQ Warmtone - just beautiful). Sure, a few years ago, we would have had Kodak, Forte, and Agfa on the shelf, but with the work Adox is doing resurrecting the Agfa papers, (and soon it seems Forte Polywarmtone) it seems like in many ways we are in better shape than we were in right before digital took off. I just don't think I could possibly use all of the papers that I was perusing that day, or even want to do so. Yeah, most stores don't carry chemical photo papers anymore, but the truth is most photo stores I visited had a pretty limited selection, even during the heyday of the darkroom hobbyist. You had to go to a megastore like Altmans, or B&H, or Freestyle to find a huge selection. Freestyle is close to my home, so I am lucky, but for others, it is still just a click away.

One of these days I am going to have to try some Adox Fineprint Vario Classic, or perhaps some Adox Variotone!

So, I am feeling pretty lucky to have so much choice.

Perhaps later this year I will shoot some Adox Pan 400 . . . . :)

Merg Ross
19-Jul-2010, 22:27
Hi Dave,

I am in complete agreement! Some really terrific papers (and films) are available these days. Freestyle is only two days away for me, always arrives nicely packaged.


David Karp
20-Jul-2010, 23:33
Hey Merg,

Maybe we are the only two left printing in the darkroom! :)

21-Jul-2010, 00:28
There's others :D

Some of us await the new Polywarmtone . . . . . . .


Wade D
21-Jul-2010, 00:35
I buy all my film, paper and developing supplies from Freestyle. Great prices and next day delivery to San Diego.

21-Jul-2010, 10:19
Yes, I agree. Many fantastic choices. In addition to my primary enlarging paper, Ilford MGIV, I was happy to find that Freestyle now also carry Fomalux 312 for contact prints.

Kevin Crisp
21-Jul-2010, 11:22
I'm still using my Forte from the freezer. Good to know I'll have options when I finish that off.

21-Jul-2010, 17:49
Things are not so great on the colour front unfortunately. I shoot a lot of Kodak Portra 400 and my favourite paper was Kodak Supra Endura in a matte finish. It's now axed and most of the Kodak colour paper that's available is really high contrast and apparently not optimised for darkroom printing but digital/lightjet. I've switched to Fuji P which is not as high contrast as the remaining Kodak papers. I just hope that Fuji don't drop that paper - I really don't like the look of the digi friendly RA4 papers.

Howard Tanger
21-Jul-2010, 18:07
...It made me think about my recent visit to Freestyle...

. . . . :)

When finished at Freestyle do you take a trip over to La Brea for a chili dog or two at "Pink's"? Howard Tanger

Shawn Dougherty
21-Jul-2010, 18:22
Agreed. Some lovely enlarging papers out there and even two grades of silver chloride contact printing paper. And I would never have been able to afford the equipment I'm using 10 or so years ago.

David Karp
21-Jul-2010, 21:34
. . . do you take a trip over to La Brea for a chili dog or two at "Pink's"?

Nope. Usually, I am in a hurry and happy to have had a chance to devote some time, even shopping time, to some photography. I am more of a traditionalist when it comes to hot dogs (which my Dr. and my cholesterol count tell me to avoid), so I prefer a Carney's dog myself.