I pretty much only use Agfa RC now (semi matt). I love the finish which is what I'd called a low sheen. Less than Ilford Pearl and no texture to the surface like Pearl has. Last time I bought some, I bought a 250sheet box
I bought some glossy when they has a 125sheet box for the price of 100, but I use that for contact sheets as I don't like glossy finish really.
I have just got back into printing some FB and have some Ilford Warmtone (yuk! paper base to yellow for me), Forte (VC and graded) and Sterling (VC). Not enough prints to comment on the FB and need to set up some drying method!
I use Ilford Warmtone for still life and landscape but prefer Oriental Seagull Graded for street and documentary photography. I still have a stock of Kodak Ektalure and the old Agfa Record Rapid in the freezer and love it. Fotospeed have just introduced Legacy a new Fibre VC paper. I've made a couple of prints on it and first impressions are that it is very nice but will let you know my verdict when I have fully tested it. I only use fibre papers.
Nige, the yellow base that you mention may be caused by over washing. I have had the same experience and agree that it is yuk, but found that careful timing of washing cured the problem.
My favorite FB paper of the moment is Cachet (Maco) Expo graded. It's just slightly on the warm side, tones and bleaches well, holds shadow detail very nicely, and has rich blacks. You can order it in the U.S. from freestylecamera.com.
Galerie graded has more brilliant whites, so I use it occasionally. I also like Oriental Seagull graded. For prints that do better with split-grade technique or that require some contrast grade I don't have, I use Ilford MGIV FB.
Azo for LF contact prints.
Ilford MGIV RC Portfolio, when I want an RC paper, usually for small snapshots that I give away unmounted.
I too have been using Ilford MGIV fb exclusively exc. for rc for contacts. I like the rich blacks and whites. I haven't tried the warmtone paper yet, but I want to print some landscapes on some to tone and experiment.
Bergger Warm Tone glossy in fiber. This paper, untoned, is the most beautiful I've ever used.
AZO in the Michael Smith Amidol formula, the developer makes all the difference.
Finally, relative to my post on RC paper, Ilford warm tone RC in the lustre finish. based on the recommendations I got, I tried 5 of the suggestions and this was the nicest to me. (Thanks, Les, for the suggestion!)
I also have two boxes of Ektalure tucked away in the freezer, waiting for a special occasion, i.e., a good portrait negative.
Oriental Seagull graded papers, occasionally Ilforbrom Gallerie graded. I stay away from VC papers. They tend to not have the same impression of depth and richness as graded papers. I do not miss the convenience of VC nor do I want to spend the money on a VC head. My last project, 90% of my negatives printed as I wanted on #2 Oriental Segull, which, by the way, tones very nicely.
The best paper I ever used was the old Ilfobrom back in the 1970's. Great paper that responded very well to different developers and additives and toned very richly.
I used to use Zone VI graded but that is now discontinued. Great paper that had great seperation in the zone 1 to 4 range, infact all the way around. But once Fred Picker sold out to Calumet, the quality died. Eventually, so did Fred.
RC papers are taboo for fine art. What did some one say about Clyde Butcher? That he nearly went broke having to reprint many of his RC prints because they were deteriorating? Apparently, RC papers are not archival. But RC does have commercial value when large quantities of prints are needed and permenence are not a factor.
</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (RAP @ Mar 3 2003, 10:02 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
RC papers are taboo for fine art. .... That he nearly went broke having to reprint many of his RC prints because they were deteriorating? Apparently, RC papers are not archival. But RC does have commercial value when large quantities of prints are needed and permenence are not a factor.</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
The late - and greatly lamented - Camera and Darkroom had an extensive article of an analysis of RC papers. The major differences lie in the polyethelene encapsulation of the paper base layer -- (there are exceptions - at least one RC does have a plastic base) and the necessity - and subsequent subsitution of titanium oxide (common white pigment) for the old baryta (white clay) layer. From the titanium oxide up, the emulsions are essentially the *same* for both RC and Fiber papers (the usual warm/cool etc., differences noted).
C&D suggested that deterioration could well be caused by many other factors - one of the most common they specifically noted was the exposure to phenols outgassing from oil-based paints .... likely affecting ALL papers. Another could well be the matting and mounting materials - at least one company is marketing acid - alkaline - phenol free - and balanced everything else - materials for - you guessed it - additional money.
I am using Agfa "Sistan". Should be useful in extending the permanence of RC - and all other papers.
Rap, I agree that Picker's paper was excellent, you may be interested to know Brilliant was made by Guillbrom a French company (please excuse the spelling) who went out of business about 12 years ago. A few years later they emerged as Bergger but as far as I understand most of the original technical people were involved, no doubt that's why Bergger make such good papers.
Les, What did you print the image of the slot canyon on? By that I mean the image that you have posted in the gallery. I would really like to see that print without the effects of digital degeneration.
</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (dnmilikan @ Mar 3 2003, 09:37 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> Les, What did you print the image of the slot canyon on? By that I mean the image that you have posted in the gallery. I would really like to see that print without the effects of digital degeneration. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
Ilford Warmtone VC Fibre using split grade printing developed in Fotospeed Warm Tone developer.
Thanks for that piece of information about Brilliant and Bergger. I will definitly give it a try. There was a time back in the late 70's when there was fear of all fiber based b&w paper going RC. I remember Picker horded a paper called Ilfomar. He sold Ilfobrom for years which I bought plenty of.
Today that fear of all RC paper being replaced with the fear of all digital. Now there are many different choices of fiber based b&w papers to choose from as well as b&w film. Now Kodak putting their new b&w film factory into full production. I would not be surprised to see Kodak come out with more paper to go with their film. Fuji now looks to be trying to take on Big yellow in b&w as they did with color. The way I see it, the traditional b&w process is going to around for some time to come.
I got given a variety of half used and unopened paper recently and the other night I decided to test it to see if any was any good. I also had some Ilfospeed RC of my own I'd been moving from garage to garage for many years!
The Ilfospeed actually is almost useable! Slightly fogged but probably could get away with it on the 'right' image. Any MG III was stuffed, including unopened (a box of 100 5x7's) stuff. I eagerly opened a pkt of Agfa Boriva (spelling?) only find one and a bit sheets left
It tested fine, but how to make a print with the remaining sheet... Also some Ilfobrom which seemed fine. Some Agfa RC was gone, some ok (might have been fairly new).
How long does paper keep? Agfa Portriga was always my favorite. Is it possible that someone's got some somewhere and it would still actually work? I had given up all hope.
Also, unrelated, does Fuji have BW paper? They seemed to have really crashed the color reversal party with their Crystal Archive. But I don't think I've ever heard of or seen a Fuji BW paper, RC or FB.