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Marvin

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I am just getting back into the darkroom after many years and was wondering what were popular papers now days. I noticed there was a good selection at Freestyle. I realize that this is a broad question but just trying to get general ideas.

Marvin
 

Colin Corneau

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What is it you want to work on?

Makes more sense to get a paper that fits what and how you shoot, rather than what is popular with everyone else. (although they're not exclusive)
 

pgomena

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A good place to start would be with Ilford Multigrade IV, either in fiber or RC. Ilford is the largest manufacturer out there right now, and their quality control and resulting consistency is very good. I'd use Dektol or the Ilford Multigrade developer for starters. When you're on your feet in the darkroom again, try something else if you want.

Peter Gomena
 

David Brown

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2F/2F

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Ilford MG and Oriental VC are pretty standard general-purpose papers. Both have standard and warmtone varieties. I do not know if Oriental makes any RC paper...but Ilford makes quite a lot of it. I am a big fan of Oriental, personally, though I absolutely love Ilford's RC paper. I have never used a better-looking RC paper. I use it for proofsheets and "quick" prints.
 

MattKing

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I like the Oriental VC in RC, especially in "Pearl" surface.

From time to time they do student promotions, and you can pick up 25 8x10 sheets plus a couple of rolls of black and white films, for the price of the paper. Last time, it was two 36 exposure rolls of Tri-X 35mm film (purchased from Glazers in Seattle).

Ilford MGIV is my main paper though (again in RC).

Matt
 

fschifano

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Don't get me wrong, Ilford Multigrad IV is really good paper, but it is pricey. As a beginner you'll be making lots of mistakes and that can get expensive fast. I like the Arista.EDU Ultra papers from Freestlye. The semi-matte finish is particularly nice. They sell for about 1/2 the price of the Ilford equivalent. The quality is good, though arguably not on par with Ilford's papers. They are a little thinner, and tend to print softer for a given filter setting; but neither of these characteristics disqualify them as good papers.

Buying just 25 sheets is a joke. That's barely enough to dial in the paper's characteristics with your working methods and make a few prints if you don't make too many mistakes. I usually buy the Arista.EDU Ultra papers in 250 sheet boxes of 8x10.
 
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Marvin

Marvin

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Thanks for all the info and I know from the past that it takes time to get to know the materials and get your system working. Probably start with some VC RC and practice. I know that in the past I used a Kodak projection print scale or did test strips. Ilford has a pack of 25 8x10 paper with 2 rolls of HP5 as a starter kit. The old Enlarger that I had years ago only done 35mm but the 23CIIXL will do medium format so I am looking forward to doing medium format.
Marvin
 

naugastyle

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When I first went back to the darkroom, I used Ilford because it was familiar from the old days. Now I realize I should have done my research first and gone with paper that was both good and cheap--lots of random test prints during those first few weeks, mistakes, etc. Freestyle's Arista papers are good re-branded stuff. Cheapest one seems to be Arista Private Reserve, which is re-branded Agfa/Adox MCP. 250 sheets of 5x7 for $39.99 Arista vs. $65.99 Ilford MGIV, and the Arista is just wonderful.
 
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