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

  1. #1

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

    I'm fairly new to Foma paper. Yesterday, I printed the first negative that required a significant contrast boost, portrait in soft light. From grade 2 I went up by half-grades, using Ilford filters. Contrast increase from 2-3 was a slim half grade, and progress was even slower above that, with a 4 print hardly distinguishable from the 3 and 3.

    The only particular unusual feature of my set-up is that I use a coldlight head without the customary 40Y filtration. My film development and printing on Ilford are tweaked to work this way, and, on Ilford papers, quite successfully.

    Anyone else have some relevant experience here?
    Philip Ulanowsky

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  2. #2

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

    I'm working through my first box of Foma paper, with the same enlarger light source. It does seem to print a grade softer than Ilford MC Classic. But I haven't used much of the paper yet, and haven't done a real comparison test. Maybe by next week, when I've done another printing session or two, I'll have more to add.

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

    Ulophot, I've used a lot of Foma... usually Fomabrom Variant 123. My enlargers are a Beseler 45MXT with a Zone Vi VC head, and a Durst 138 with a color head. I've never run into the contrast situation you describe. I also stock Ilford, Classic, Cold tone & WT. With my negatives, i've always found Foma to produce more contrast than Ilford Classic. Which particular "Foma Classic" paper are you using?
    Last edited by Greg Y; 27-Sep-2021 at 10:48.

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

    Greg, very interesting. I'm using 132, the FB warrm-tone luster surface. My standard is Ilford WT FB Semi-matte. I printed the same neg on this at 2 1/2 and immediately saw the contrast increase.

    My first impressions with the Foma relative to to the Ilford about a month ago, with a negative with a bit more density, were that the grade 2s matched fairly closely, contrast-wise, thugh the Foma is considerably slower. So, this session surprised me.
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
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    Re: Foma Classic paper and higher contrasts: anyone else having issues?

    Beware that Foma paper is much more sensitive to safelights than Ilford's. Depending on your darkroom,
    you may be experiencing some fogging. Fogging may lower the contrast of the copies. Check (using Kodak's
    method) for how long your safelights are truly safe with Foma paper.
    Best,
    Pau

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

    A few years back with a fluorescent cold light not designed for multi contrast and Ilford printing filters I experienced similar results. Pretty sure I needed the 40Y filter, but just bought single grade paper and was very pleased.
    ...Dilettante! Who you calling a Dilettante?

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

    I've printed hundred of sheets of Foma Variant 111 with my Aristo V54 cold light head and, most recently, with my Aristo VCL4500 cold light head and I've never noticed any particular contrast issues with this paper vs, say, Ilford Classic or WT. The Fomabrom graded paper does IMO reveal higher contrast than I'd expect for the grade marked. I've never used any Foma WT variety.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by pau3 View Post
    Beware that Foma paper is much more sensitive to safelights than Ilford's. Depending on your darkroom,
    you may be experiencing some fogging. Fogging may lower the contrast of the copies. Check (using Kodak's
    method) for how long your safelights are truly safe with Foma paper.
    Interesting. I can certainly test, though what I was not seeing was increase in overall contrast, so I suspect that this is not the issue. My closer safelight, the one at my enlarger area, tested fine for at least 5 minutes with Ilford (I would not expect to have paper out longer), and these were quick prints with about 25 second exposures.
    Philip Ulanowsky

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

  9. #9

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

    I use Fomabrom Variant 112 almost exclusively just now with a Heiland LED head, and haven't experienced any such issues either. But I had to recalibrate AnalyserPro quite drastically to work correctly, for Foma as well as Ilford, due to how the emulsions respond the the LED light; at grades 4 and 5 it took around 4-stop correction compared to conventional head with filters, so my guess would be your issues probably have to do with the characteristics of your cold head.

  10. #10

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

    Philip,

    I've used Foma 111 VC and the Arista Edu FB VC both together with Ilford MG Classic FB.

    I found the Foma and Arista to be slightly less contrasty, but not nearly as much as you describe.

    However, in harmony with above posts, I did find that I needed to switch to red safelights with the Foma products. The OC filters I was using caused significant fog in just a short time. I now use Red 1A filters and have not problems. So do the safelight tests to make sure.

    Also, check your filters to see if they are faded.

    Best,

    Doremus

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