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Thread: Foma Classic paper and higher contrasts: anyone else having issues?

  1. #11

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    Re: Foma Classic paper and higher contrasts: anyone else having issues?

    Thanks to all, as always. I just emerged from a darkroom session with another couple of negatives, with similar results. I tried turning off the enlarger station safelight but saw no difference.

    I then made two sets of graduated test strips without a negative in the carrier:

    8 steps of 3 seconds each with Ilford at Gr 2 and 5, opening a stop for the 5
    8 steps of 4 seconds each with Foma at Gr 2 and 5, opening a stop for the 5 (addition of 33% as a rough estimate for the slower emulsion; pretty close)

    The two Gr 2 strips are quite close. The Ilford Gr 5 shows a steeper curve and a noticeably higher max density, by eye inspection side by side with the Foma. To double-check, I made a D-max test with the Foma then, adding up to 50% to the previous max exposure. Certainly better, showing that I previously hadn't actually reached D-max yet, but still weaker than the Ilford. I may need to try Dektol (or something not BOA -- Brown On Arrival, Multigrade perhaps) and see what happens.

    However, I do use amber safelights. I didn't take time to test them with Foma today; I'll do it on the weekend. I do have one red OC bullet safelight filter (barely used), but it will probably be easier to get some red SuperBright LEDs and figure out some dashingly clever way (read, Rube Goldberg had nothing on my creative assemblages) to switch to them when needed. I don't enjoy working in red light all the time.
    Philip Ulanowsky

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

  2. #12

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    Re: Foma Classic paper and higher contrasts: anyone else having issues?

    Before doing a full safelight test, which is a good idea anyway, you might try doing one run with all safelights off just to see if you get higher contrast (lighter high values).
    Last edited by Michael R; 29-Sep-2021 at 19:49.

  3. #13

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    Re: Foma Classic paper and higher contrasts: anyone else having issues?

    My yellow safelights fogged my Foma paper instantly. That's on me, for not reading the instructions.
    I did find a red safelight filter, necessary for this paper; it's a mild inconvenience to swap the filters out.
    Will report back later this week... I just wish Adox could manufacture their multi contrast paper again. The one box I had produced marvelous prints easily, and it's gone now.

  4. #14
    Huub
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    Re: Foma Classic paper and higher contrasts: anyone else having issues?

    You also might check your development times to reach D-max. I found that the foma paper needs considerable more development time to reach it's maximum black. This longer time increases also the risk of fogging, so a proper safelight test is might give some clues on the issue too.

  5. #15

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    Re: Foma Classic paper and higher contrasts: anyone else having issues?

    Huub, I will keep that in mind this weekend when I test the safelights (though I have already ordered 2 mini-globe red bulbs and devised a preliminary solution to allow switching from amber to red with a couple of switches, which I'll post when complete) and try longer dev times. Thanks for the tip.
    Philip Ulanowsky

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

  6. #16

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    Re: Foma Classic paper and higher contrasts: anyone else having issues?

    UPDATE for those interested:
    In response to the dialogue above, I have conducted various experiments. While the proverbial jury is still out on whether or not I need to use red safelights for Fomatone Classic (Foma's very slow, warm-tone paper [see more below]), I have some conclusions on other aspects.

    First off, a wide gulf separates this paper from Fomabrom 112 Variant. Not only is the latter neutral in tone; it has a full contrast range, with a very snappy Gr. 5 (using Ilford filters) which Fomatone has yet to produce for me.

    Regarding my testing, I first set up red safelights -- and dimly at that -- in response to two recommendations (above).

    Second, I added a CC40 Y into my light path above the negative. I expect that it's a bit faded; it's very old, and I used to use it for every print when I was printing a lot. I have a Roscoe 4530 (reportedly CC30 equivalent) on order and will compare. However, it did not improve the high-contrast performance of Fomatone at all. Since making it a staple again would require increasing my film development times, I'm inclined to continue working as I have been, without it.

    Comparing a Fomatone Gr. 3 print, which "normalizes" the contrast from the neg chosen—a portrait in rather flat open shade, exposed normally and processed for N), with a Gr. 5, the Gr. 5 comes out as a reluctant Gr. 4. (Again, the Fomabrom at Gr. 5 yielded a print obviously too contrasty, with some dark corduroy shirt textures disappearing into D-max and skin tones boosted into Zone VIII-IX territory).

    I chose a second negative for a low-contrast comparison between Fomatone and my standard, Ilford WT. The negative, full range, is an interior portrait, a seated figure backlit from a window slightly to one side. Shaded skin tones had been placed on Zone IV, leaving the subject's dark T-shirt under an open dark corduroy shirt falling between I and II -- only occasional hints of texture in the negative. The Gr. 2 prints on the two papers are fairly close, but the Foma has a different curve shape. This was more evident in the Gr. 1 prints, in which the Fomatone sang in the skin tones while the Ilford was rather flat. A Gr. 1 on Ilford was a closer match for the Foma, but the highest values showed somewhat greater detail and separation on Foma than the Ilford prints.

    Time limitations prevented my testing lower contrasts, but a fuller negative would be wanted anyway. In any case, the Fomatone clearly is a paper ready for long-scale, rich negatives looking for a silky appearance with smooth tones. It will be fun to gain a better understanding of where it does best.

    Finally, on D-max. I never used Kodak's single-grade, warm-tone Ektalure, but I recall being told that it was a very rich paper that uniquely responded to development by rendering contrast changes. Fomatone brought it to mind, simply because it responds enthusiastically to longer-than-two-minute development. I didn’t have at hand a good negative to test fully for this, so whether 2.5 or 3 minutes is a good standard with the developer I use remains for me to determine. That said, both times showed distinctly improved shoulder density over two minutes, with exposure time adjusted appropriately.

    I continue to find red safe-lighting troublesome, so I will have to see if a simple adjustment to my amber lights will suffice. I tend to work in a dimmer light than many already, partly due to my darkroom configuration. Since Fomatone is about 30% slower than already slow Ilford WT, it may work. I made some preliminary tests, but, naturally, I need to do some very rigorous ones.
    That's all for now.
    Last edited by Ulophot; 8-Oct-2021 at 06:25.
    Philip Ulanowsky

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

  7. #17

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    Re: Foma Classic paper and higher contrasts: anyone else having issues?

    I have done my safelight tests now and am delighted to report that I can use my amber safelights with Fomatone Classic. The specifics are that I had to re-orient my enlarger station safelight (the old "bullet" style), to aim horizontally, it away from the enlarging table toward the drymount area.

    As noted above, my safelighting is probably dimmer that which some enjoy--just two safelights-- and this adjustment makes the enlarging area light a bit dimmer yet, but still quite workable. I developed the graduated test strip after letting it sit on the paper cutter, half covered, for three minutes, which is plenty adequate for my working procedures.

    I attach a darkroom layout plan in case it may be useful for others using this paper, or considering it, to indicate distances. The plan is drawn to scale respecting the layout.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Darkroom Plan with safelights_2.jpg 
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    Philip Ulanowsky

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

  8. #18

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    Re: Foma Classic paper and higher contrasts: anyone else having issues?

    Red LED stripes are cheap, safe with Foma paper and much brighter. You can use a remote with them to adjust the level of brightness, to be completely safe.
    Best,
    Pau

    Some pictures in Flickr.

  9. #19

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    Re: Foma Classic paper and higher contrasts: anyone else having issues?

    pau3 (interesting -- my father was Paul Alexander Ulanowsky), thanks, but as I said a couple of times, I find working in the red lighting a strain on my eyes. I don't know why, but it's very uncomfortable. I find the amber far more comfortable, even at reduced levels.
    Philip Ulanowsky

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

  10. #20

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    Re: Foma Classic paper and higher contrasts: anyone else having issues?

    So, to draw conclusions from your testing: Fomatone Classic probably just doesn't have the contrast range that the Fomabrom products (or Ilford MG papers) do.

    Still, you've got a few grades of leeway, so tailoring your negatives to the paper shouldn't present a problem. You'll only have to be extra careful exposing and developing in really extreme situations. And, there's always bleach-redevelop in staining developer if you need to add contrast to a negative.

    Best,

    Doremus

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