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Thread: Variotone Paper and what are you printing on today (May 2018)?

  1. #1
    Eric Woodbury
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Variotone Paper and what are you printing on today (May 2018)?

    This happens to me a lot. I survey a bunch of papers, pick one, and invest. About the time I need more, whichever paper I bought is gone. Bergger VCCB was one of the first. I see it is back, again and again. I like that paper very much, but it is expensive and I don't trust any more. Next it was the Variotone by Adox. It seems to be gone, too. At least in the USA. Now I'm using Ilford MGFB. It's okay. Color is not my favorite. (I like warm tones and white base without toning.) Local contrast is fine. Scale is fine. It comes in 250 sht, 8x10 boxes. Like that.

    Where did Variotone go?

    What are you using?

    Thanks all,


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    SF Bay Area

    Re: Variotone Paper and what are you printing on today (May 2018)?

    Yes, they do disappear! Currently, I am using two papers; Ilford Classic MGFB and Adox MCC 110/FB. The latter is a beautiful paper. Color can be modified by choice of developer, Ansco 130 is a good place to start for both papers. I purchase from B&H and Freestyle.

    Good luck in your search!

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    San Clemente, California

    Re: Variotone Paper and what are you printing on today (May 2018)?

    They're all at the mercy of what Schoeller offers in the way of base material. Recently I've found every one of them (air-dried glossy) to have excessive surface reflectance. Matte versions can't make good black. Therefore, I switched to inkjet. After a year of testing different printers and papers, I settled on a Canon PRO-100 and Hahnemuhle FineArt Baryta Satin. It has the best overall balance to my eyes. Dick Phillips and I have been exchanging prints during this period of experimentation. Dick selected the same combination.

    Yes, the Canon uses dye-based inks with a shorter life expectancy than pigment inks. Yes, a gelatin-silver print probably has longer life expectancy than even pigment-based inkjet prints. However, my -- and Dick's -- life expectancy is far shorter than even the most fugitive inkjet print, and neither of us sells prints. Your mileage may vary.

  4. #4

    Re: Variotone Paper and what are you printing on today (May 2018)?

    for some reason I can't get a print on adox it safelight dependent???
    I would like to like this paper but it won't work for me
    foma 132 kills all the other papers with adox wt developer..I have the prints to prove it

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Suwanee, GA

    Re: Variotone Paper and what are you printing on today (May 2018)?

    The Bergger warmtone paper has a slight edge in appearance over the Ilford MGFB products for me. The extra weight seems to have add dimension, but it is reflected in the cost. Both ilford and bergger papers tone beautifully and respond well to partial toning as well as full toning. I keep returning to Ilford MGFB Classic due to cost and availability and the overall quality and consistency. I use a variety of developers too but find I like warm tone developed in LPD, and non-warmtone developed in PF 130 (Similar to Ansco 130).
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Collinsville, CT USA

    Re: Variotone Paper and what are you printing on today (May 2018)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
    Therefore, I switched to inkjet.
    Two of my all time favorite print processes are Lith and Platinum/Palladium. For Platinum/Palladium, we are most lucky to have many fine papers out there that a have been available for years and show no signs of being discontinued. With Lith another story altogether.... Started Lith printing in the 1970s using Kodak's Kodalith A & B developer with Kodalith single weight paper. When Kodalith paper was discontinued, bought up all I could afford and used it for years. When I ran out, kept on trying other papers. None in my opinion were a great substitute for Kodalith paper. Started to Lith print again a few years ago and currently available materials I've found to be terrible. Also switched to print digitally. Coming up with a workflow took me months to develop. Fortunately I had a few original negatives still around and the Lith prints I printed from them on Kodalith paper back when to use as starting points. I would have given anything for a step tablet that I had made Lith prints from, but that was a dream not to be had. So far have been using an EPSON 4900 with Epson's Ultra Premium Presentation Paper Matte (Enhanced Matte paper). Now starting to test papers to find one that is most like the original Kodalith paper that I had started Lith printing with.

  7. #7
    umop apsidn
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Re: Variotone Paper and what are you printing on today (May 2018)?

    I'm still printing with Variotone. It isn't stocked by anyone in the US it seems but I was able to special order it with Freestyle. I ordered several boxes and packages of it I keep refrigerated to have a constant supply.

  8. #8
    Robert Bowring
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Wauwatosa Wisconsin

    Re: Variotone Paper and what are you printing on today (May 2018)?

    Oriental vc fiber based paper has worked very well for me for a long time. Tones very nicely with selenium toner.

  9. #9
    bob carnie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Toronto, Ontario,

    Re: Variotone Paper and what are you printing on today (May 2018)?

    I am very happy with the Ilford line up of papers, I prefer matte paper, I also like the foma 131 for lith printing

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Newbury, Vermont

    Re: Variotone Paper and what are you printing on today (May 2018)?

    What I find critically important - to the extent that I always consider myself to be on a learning that the materials I choose are those that are consistent in both their availability and in their responses to specific scenarios of exposure and development, and are also consistently responsive to a reasonable degree of "tweaking" (plus/minus development, different developers/dilutions, toning, etc.). Demanding/assuming such consistency can feel very frustrating these days...especially with respect to planning ahead for future projects. With these aspects in mind, I've found Ilford papers (for me: MGFB Classic and MGFB-WT) to fit my needs nicely.

    As for achieving warm(ish) tones on a white base with MGFB...I've found that Moersch ECO 4812 (available at Freestyle) does this for me, although YMMV. Have not yet tried a warm(er) tone developer with MGFB - but probably won't, as I happen to like the slightly warm whites of MGWT in 4812, unless I'm wanting to cool things off a bit - in which case I'll soup the MGWT in Moersch SE-6...a combo which I continue to find stunning for certain images.

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