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Thread: Foma paper speeds -- comparisons?

  1. #1

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    Foma paper speeds -- comparisons?

    I am about to try some Foma I just ordered. Interesting that Classic is the Warm-tone and Variant the neutral, since Classic is the Ilford neutral. Anyway, I have a little of each to compare with Ilford WT, which is half the speed of Ilford Classic. Anyone have comparisons respecting the Foma papers?
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  2. #2

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    Re: Foma paper speeds -- comparisons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulophot View Post
    I am about to try some Foma I just ordered. Interesting that Classic is the Warm-tone and Variant the neutral, since Classic is the Ilford neutral. Anyway, I have a little of each to compare with Ilford WT, which is half the speed of Ilford Classic. Anyone have comparisons respecting the Foma papers?
    I am interested in any data or conclusions you might have with regard to this as well.

  3. #3

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    Re: Foma paper speeds -- comparisons?

    Philip,

    I've used the Fomabrom graded and Variant (VC) 111 papers (glossy, neutral-tone). I like them well except for the yellowish tint of the emulsion, which is noticeably yellower than the Ilford MG Classic and the Adox MC 110 papers. Still, it works well for many subjects. It tones well, but a bit on the brownish side in selenium, so I only tone it very lightly.

    The Arista papers are (almost certainly) made by Foma and look very similar, but seem to be about a stop faster, in my experience. The Ilford MG classic is "snappier" than the Foma 111 papers, but I've made prints on both that, after some contrast adjustment, are practically indistinguishable except for the yellower base of the Foma.

    Until the MC 110 is back in production, I've pretty much standardized on Ilford. Still, I'd be happy to use the Foma if that's all there was available.

    I don't use warm-tone papers, so I can't help you there.

    Best,

    Doremus

  4. #4

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    Re: Foma paper speeds -- comparisons?

    I suggest starting with Foma’s datasheets as a rough starting point:

    For Variant, if you look at the ISO (P) paper speed with Ilford filters it is basically 2x the speed of Ilford WT. Some experimentation will likely still be required because speed and contrast are all variable depending on the light source, but at least it gives you an idea.

    Foma Classic is strange as it does not appear to be speed-matched with changes in contrast (ie the paper basically has a different speed at every different contrast). If you look at the speed table with Ilford filters, it has essentially the same speed as Ilford WT, but gets faster at lower grades and slower at higher grades.

    Hope this helps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulophot View Post
    I am about to try some Foma I just ordered. Interesting that Classic is the Warm-tone and Variant the neutral, since Classic is the Ilford neutral. Anyway, I have a little of each to compare with Ilford WT, which is half the speed of Ilford Classic. Anyone have comparisons respecting the Foma papers?

  5. #5

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    Re: Foma paper speeds -- comparisons?

    Thanks much, Doremus and Michael.

    I am looking forward to see how the matte surface compares to Ilford's semi-matte, which is what I mostly use (varnished with Strand's recipe), but I'm also interested in the gloss surface, guessing that it is probably a more traditional one. I recently brought up Ilford's more recent "patent leather" look on a conference call with Alan Ross, who prints from AA's negatives (as well as his own), and he said they have a terrible time with it's susceptibility to be marked and scratched. Until such time as Ilford may return to its former surface, Foma may better fill my occasional need for an air-dried "natural gloss" paper.
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  6. #6

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    Re: Foma paper speeds -- comparisons?

    I haven't noticed a lot of difference between the Foma glossy finish and the glossy surface of MG Classic. Maybe I'm not looking closely enough, but it certainly didn't catch my eye... And, I've not noticed that the Ilford surface is easy to damage either.

    Best,

    Doremus

  7. #7

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    Re: Foma paper speeds -- comparisons?

    My first Foma is still drying, so I must reserve judgement. I do notice a difference between Ilford glossy prints of yore and the ones made since I returned to photography after 13 years out of the darkroom. The surface now looks plastic-y to me. The old Kodak F surface and Ilford's version of it were fine by me. A chacun son goût (to each his own).
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

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