Authentic Ilford paper?? or not?

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Hoosierken

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Hi,

I am new to this forum and intend to introduce myself properly but this issue has really frustrated me recently and I did not see a discussion here that applied directly.

I have always been a user of Ilford B & W papers. They have always been very consistent and I have had good luck with quality in tone. However recently I purchased a box of paper from a local retailer that told me was Ildord paper although it was in a plain black box. I had done quite a bit of business with this retailer so I accepted that and began using it. After the first print it was obvious to me that this was not the same paper, it had a very dull look lacking in any tonal quality at ll and took almost double the exposure time (I keep a very detailed notebook on all prints made for reference). I tried many more prints and finding the same result.

So, I decided to use an online supplier I have had good luck with (Adorama). I recieved this paper in a brown box. This caused me to email Ilford themselves and ask about their packaging. Ilford responded telling me that they only ship their papers in the standard white box with the large Ilford graphic on it. They could not explain my situation.

I am aware of the situation with Ilford going through financial problems and restructuring however their representative did confirm that I should be seeing the same packaging.

It seems I have been sold products that are not authentic or if Ilford, not treated under proper quality controls.

I apologize for the length of this but am close to finishing.

I have a few questions for the forum:

1. Can I still find authentic Ilford Paper anywhere? If so where? This is RC paper, multigrade. I have been a fan of Ilford papers for many years.

2. Should I begin my search for another paper manufacturer that I can be assured of authentic product? If so...any suggestions that would be close to the Ilford brand?

3. I am dedicated to the traditional darkroom processes and will continue to be so as long as quality paper and chemicals are available. How long before it becomes impossible?

I am in an area of the USA that is lacking in any shops that still serve the traditional darkroom photographer. So I am resorting to online much more.

Many thanks
I had thought I was so alone in this before finding ths forum.

Ken
 

Peter Schrager

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Ken-return the paper to Adorama ASAP. Do yourself a favor and deal with B+H or Calumet which is in the midwest and you will get the real thing.
Regards, Peter
 

Canuck

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I get the same paper thorugh the local store here and they are also in a brown paper box. It has the Ilford label on them. Compared them to another labelled Ilford and no difference. Odd. Wonder if this is the other "grey market" side?
 

jim appleyard

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I've always had good luck with Adorama, but I think you should still return it. Call up their customer service and have them do a UPS pick-up. You shouldn't pay for shipping back to them. As long as your invoice clearly says that you ordered and paid for *ILFORD*. (which I'm sure it does!)
 

Nick Zentena

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I've seen some papers sold at the local shops in either just the plastic bag or other bulk looking packages. My guess was they bought the large 1000 sheet box and spilt it up. I don't remember if I've seen Ilford like this but I've seen Agfa for sure. It's only the most common stuff that they sell this way. 8x10 and 5x7.
 

Bob Carnie

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Ilford Warmtone is packaged in a brown box.,Has been since it was introduced.
Regarding your commitment to traditional darkroom techniques. You can coat your own paper therefore you can be commited for the rest of your life.
 

Lee Shively

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I wouldn't recommend coating your own paper but Ilford Warmtone, both RC and fiber, do come in brown boxes. If the boxes have the standard Ilford markings, they most certainly are Ilford.

Black box? Never heard of that.
 

ann

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ilford did a lot of re-packing their papers for indepented vendors as well as for others, usually they packaged this paper in black boxes.

i have several students who used that paper with great results. and i have the seen the brown box referred to in another reply and it isn't the warmtone package, more light tan. Perhaps that is just another re-packaged label.

ilford is still in production using their white box, with a new pink up date, at least on the 25 packs, my dealer has a whole new shipment of the stuff.
 

Craig

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I've bought Ilford paper in the past that came in brown boxes, but it was more like cardboard colour, not a chocolate brown. It was genuine stuff, and had Ilford labels on the box.
 
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Hoosierken

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Hi all,

I do appreciate all the helpful replies on this.
I am familiar with the warmtone packaging. This is not warmtone paper.

What makes this very odd is I contacted the Ilford Corp itself and they said with certainty that authentic Ilford (excluding warmtone) is always in a white box.

I hate to make a big deal out of the issue....I do appreciate all the information you have responded with.

I'm certain that the black box was not authentic paper. Terrible quality.

The brown box?...I'm still judging the quality, perhaps I am looking too hard for a problem. The comments from Ilford corp contradicts what I am hearing from many. I do appreciate the responses for everyone. I think I'm going to like this forum.

Ken
 

Mongo

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If you ordered the Adorama brand paper, it is possible that you recevied paper that was manufactured by Ilford but that is not Ilford MGRC. Adorama may have paper made at the Ilford plant that's not the same specification as the Ilford MGRC. Adorama isn't in the paper manufacturing business, and someone is coating this paper for them. If you asked "Is this paper made by Ilford?" referring to the Adorama paper, it's very possible you got an honest, positive answer from someone. If you asked, "Is this paper Ilford MGRC?", then the answer probably should have been "No." In situations like this, it's rare to find a manufacturer who will admit that they make stuff for "house brands"...they don't want the confusion between their own product and other stuff they make to different standards for distribution in house-brand packaging.

I picked up a box of Adorama-branded warmtone VC fiber paper a while back when I was placing an order. It was an impulse buy for me...the stuff was so cheap that I figured I'd give it a shot. It definately isn't Ilford Warmtone MGFB (Ilford's designation for their current warmtone fiber paper). Having said that, it also isn't a bad paper. It's slower than Ilford MGFB, but it also tones a lot more easily than the Ilford-branded paper. I had to do some testing to get a handle on it, but once done I've been getting extremely nice images on it. It's a great paper if you want fiber paper that takes tone easily.

I have no idea who makes it, and if I ever buy another box I'll do the whole testing routine again because these house brands tend to come from the lowest bidder and therefore it might be a totally different paper next time. (Let me put it this way: If you bought paint from a major department store ten years ago and bought more of it yesterday, chances are that it was made by two different companies. Department stores don't manufacture paint, they buy paint from paint companies and have their label stuck on it. Is it the same stuff as the manufacturer-branded paint? Probably not. Is it bad? Who knows? You pay your money and you take your chances.)

This, by the way, is one of the advantages of sticking with a major brand name for things like paper and film. The major players tend to tell you when they're changing something. Kodak makes an announcement every time they switch a manufacturing site for a film or paper...just in case it changes the base product. On house-branded merchandise, there are no such guarantees. For example, the box of Adorama paper I have right now might be coated at an Ilford plant to different specifications than the Ilford-branded papers...next time, it might be from an Agfa plant. I can guarantee you that the shop is not in a big hurry to tell you that the paper you're buying isn't the same as a major brand, nor do they want to admit that they purchase their paper from the lowest bidder.

Anyhow...a lot of rambling there...if you ordered Ilford paper and got a black box, then something is wrong and you should send the paper back. If, on the other hand, you ordered Adorama paper under the assurance that it was manufactured by Ilford, what you have might actually be correct...but not what you thought you were getting...a simple misunderstanding. If, on the third hand, you ordered Adorama brand having been told it was the same stuff as Ilford MGRC, then you were probably misinformed and should make arrangements to return the paper.
 

SLNestler

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Hoosierken said:
I'm certain that the black box was not authentic paper. Terrible quality.

I purchased Adorama brand 16X20 fiber based paper, and cut a piece in half, as well as a piece of Ilford. I matched the 2 of them up in the easel, and made an exposure. The 2 halves matched perfectly in speed, tone, and any other characteristics.

This was over a year ago, and I've been ordering the Adorama brand since then. The savings are big, and I've seen consistent quality; at least so far.

From what I'm reading in this thread, it sounds like I've been lucky...
 

kiku

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Hey folks, slow down and reread Hoosierken's post. It "was not" the paper from Adorama that was questioned; the paper in question was from "a local retailer" packaged in a "plain black box". Let's not bad mouth Adorama (I have no affiliation) because of misreading Ken's post.

"Hoosierken"
Ken, please accept this criticism in a positive way. In your msg you only refer to the paper from Adorama as "this paper". What was the product designation on the box? And was it what you ordered from Adorama?
I have a box of Ilford paper and it is in a dark chocolate brown box with gold lettering. The paper is "MGFB" / "Multigrade FB" / "Warmtone".
I have also used Ilford paper in the white box with black lettering.
Your respondent from Ilford was certainly incorrect when they stated that they only ship their papers in the "standard white box"....

Hope this helps to clear up some of the confusing posts. Kiku
 

collect888

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This probably is the real Ilford paper. Cut from larger rolls and Re-packaged. Not by Ilford though. I have Ilford FB papers, were re-packaged even with my company brand "panmedia" in black box.

I am selling original Ilford packaged FB paper too. The original FB paper come with a big brown box (like the color of supermarket paper bag). Inside the brown box, usually a few packets/boxes each with 10, 25, 100 sheets of paper. This packet is of "maroon" colored. RC paper come in white packages. Ilford could change its packaging but that is what I have in stock.

Some re-packaged Ilford papers come with the same original Ilford brown box. But inside this brown box each packet/box is not in original Ilford package. It is not difficult to figure this out.

As long as it performs well, no need to worry about the quality. But an honest seller should tell you if it is in original package or re-packaged. I never mix them when selling those papers.
 

Monophoto

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I purchased some paper recently from a local dealer. It was a 25 sheet pack, 22x14, DW fiber matte, and came in a black cardboard sleeve. The label gave the particulars on the paper, with an anonymous "marketing" name, but at the bottom of the label it clearly says "Manufactured by Ilford".

What I don't know is whether Ilford manufactured this as a private-label house brand, or whether someone purchased bulk rolls of Ilford and repackaged it. But, of course, that really doesn't matter.

For what it's worth, the "matte" surface strikes me as more like "non-glossy smooth".
 

Bighead

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I have been made privy to companys that apparently buy Ilford paper and film, repackage as there own and sell at a much cheaper price. "Arista" products from Freestyle seems to be one company that uses this practice. I have purchased some paper from ebay as well that was supposedly Ilford MG FB.

In using these products, I never noticed a difference in quality, so perhaps I have been lucky. Also, I do most of my work at a school where chemicals are always slightly different. One enlarger's bulb is stronger than another, so I always have to adjust...

If your concerned with getting actual Ilford, I guess getting the white boxed stuff is the best way to do it... Calumet is my choice... Good prices.
 
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Hoosierken

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I'm sorry if this has gotten to be a bigger issue than intended. I know there are more important issues in the photography world. However I appreciate each response.

First I do know that warmtone comes in a brownish box. and I stated in another post in this thread that this was not warmtone paper. What I have seemed to glean from the responses plus my own research is this:

1. For the record, the paper in question was Ilford Multigrade IV, Pearl Resin Coated, 100 count, 8 x 10. Not warmtone. I ordered the exact same specification from Adorama.

2. The Ilford rep has either by their own lack of knowledge or by intent told me false information. I would think that they would be knowledgeable in this area. I have contacted them again to resolve this.

2. I do know to not do business with the "local retailer" here. My toleration level of misrepresentation is very low. He is either lying about this being Ilford or is misinformed by his distributer. Another clue was that in an authentic Ilford box I always find the little folded paper with the specifications, none found in this box.

3. I will retry some of the other suggestions for suppliers that has been mentioned in this thread. Although I have never had any problem with Adorama in the past. Since my initial post, Adorama has contacted me again and here is their explanation:
The light brown box I received from them is authentic Ilford product, it however was received through a distributer in Canada (I live in the USA) thus explaining the difference in box design. I can accept that although I don't know why the Ilford rep did not know that.

4. Overall, the main point of my post was to see if anyone else has come across this contradicting information. I appreciate each post. Life goes on and I have learned a great deal.

Thanks
Ken
 
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