What is wrong with Arista Paper?

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photomem

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I know it is cheap. But, I did not know that it would do this. The image that I just posted was the best result from about 6 attempts at printing. I had three sheets of Ilford paper (both Pearl RC) and I got fantastic results, but the print was skewed on the page so I could not submit it for critique.

Everything just looks so flat on the Arista paper, the image is printed with a Kodak Polymax 4 filter.. it should be verging on high-key, but as you can see, it is not.

Anyone know of any tricks for this paper or should I put it on the shelf destined for Lith Printing?
 

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photomem

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The developer was depleted, unfortunately nobody in our lab knows how to mix chemistry except me. I believe I had a correct exposure (30 seconds at f8) but it just seems like this paper is so much slower than the Ilford or Kodak I am used to. (Ilford Multigrade IV RC or Kodak Polycontrast IV RC, fyi). I just dont know what went wrong.
 

Bob-D659

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All papers are different speeds. Different batches of the same paper can vary. So you have to establish the right exposure for that specific box of paper.
 

dpurdy

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Nothing wrong with Arista paper except that it is discontinued. One paper is different from another paper.
 

Zathras

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I know it is cheap. But, I did not know that it would do this. The image that I just posted was the best result from about 6 attempts at printing. I had three sheets of Ilford paper (both Pearl RC) and I got fantastic results, but the print was skewed on the page so I could not submit it for critique.

Everything just looks so flat on the Arista paper, the image is printed with a Kodak Polymax 4 filter.. it should be verging on high-key, but as you can see, it is not.

Anyone know of any tricks for this paper or should I put it on the shelf destined for Lith Printing?

I think that you are either overexposing your paper, or your paper is fogged.

There are no clean white tones in any of the the examples you posted. In the second photo, Temple Isreal 2, I am seeing splotches that suggest to me that the image came up real fast in the developer and you pulled the print out early to keep it from going totally black.

How long are you developing your prints for? I always give my prints at at least two minutes in the developer, with my usual developing time being 3 minutes. I never pull a print out of the developer early because it is coming up too fast.

Use the exposure time to favor the highlights. Once you have the highlights where you want them, look at the darker ares of the print. If the blacks are not right, change the contrast grade or filter to get them where you want them. Do not use exposure to bring in the blacks. If the highlights look good but the blacks look weak, increase the contrast. If the highlights look good but the blacks are too dark, decrease the contrast. Don't forget to make a new test print if you change the contrast. Again, adjust the exposure to favor the highlights, letting the blacks be determined by the contrast grade or filter that you use.

You say that this result came from 6 attempts at printing. Do you mean that you used 6 sheets of paper to try to print this negative ? Or, did you struggle with this negative and the Arista paper over the course of 6 different darkroom sessions? Try again with known good chemicals and the Arista paper and see what happens.

I am assuming from your blog that you are still learning to print.If this is true, take notes of everything you are doing in the darkroom so you will know what you did when things go right. This will also make it easier for you to figure out how to correct your errors when things go wrong.

It just occurred to me that your fixer could also be shot and the whites are not clearing completely. I had to deal with overused chemicals in some of the school darkrooms I worked in, because nobody was keeping track of how many prints were going through the chemicals. Because of this, I preferred to print my assignments at home whenever possible.

Don't know if this will help, but at least I'm not charging for my advice:D
You are perfectly welcome to think that I am full of crap if you wish!
 
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photomem

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I am leaning towards the paper being fogged. I would hate to think that a pack of paper that I received last week from Freestyle would be fogged, but it looks that way. The Ilford sheet I used for testing came up fine. I am about 90% complete on building out my own darkroom at home so I should be able to start printing at home after this weekend. I have decided though that I will never buy this stuff again.
 

dentkimterry

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I just received some Arista EDU Ultra FB 11x14. I think it is nice paper. A little warmer that Ilford. A faster paper that requires only 75% of the exposure of Ilford. A real bargain!
 

JBrunner

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I am leaning towards the paper being fogged. I would hate to think that a pack of paper that I received last week from Freestyle would be fogged, but it looks that way. The Ilford sheet I used for testing came up fine. I am about 90% complete on building out my own darkroom at home so I should be able to start printing at home after this weekend. I have decided though that I will never buy this stuff again.

The paper could be incompatible with the safelight situation at your darkroom, it is likely a different speed, it could be more susceptible to depleted developer, and many other things. It's a big leap to immediately blame the paper, most of the time, it isn't, for paper is manufactured under far more quality control than any darkroom or photographer can hope to match. Fix the chemical situation for starters, then develop a sheet with no exposure in total darkness to check for fog. If it comes out white it isn't fogged. Next, run a safelight check. If that comes out good, set about establishing the exposure for that paper. You can't just switch out papers and expect them to behave the same way. If it is bad paper, freestyle will stand behind it.
 
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photomem

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Maybe I was just frustrated with it. I have violated a cardinal rule when doing photography for critique or exhibition, that being stick with the materials you know. I was also jaded by some of the bad mouthing that the paper has gotten from instructors and such in my photo classes. As soon as I can get my darkroom built out at home, I will go back and test it there.
 
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I am currently using the exact same paper for proofing my negs. No problems here. Full range of tones, no fog - nice paper, despite the low price.

Jason offers very good advice above.
 

naugastyle

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Which Arista is this? Arista II? That's Kentmere, right? I just bought a box of Kentmere RC because of its reasonably good price, and was stunned at the poor results I was getting--I admit I only tried two test strips with one negative, since it was easy to just switch back to the Foma Variant III I was using and get a great print. It also seemed fogged, was brand-new, had barely any time in the safelights. Will try again this weekend.
 
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photomem

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The paper in question is Arista.EDU Ultra RC. I am going to do some more attempts with this paper and see what happens.
 

Neal

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FWIW: I have only used a few packs (25 sheets) of Arista EDU, both fiber and RC, but I've had zero problems.

Neal Wydra
 

Stan160

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If it's Foma Variant III, could safelight fogging be the issue? Discussion in (there was a url link here which no longer exists) suggests that only red safelights should be used.

Ian
 

fschifano

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I use a lot of the ARista.EDU Ultra RC, VC paper. It is faster than some other papers, and is particularly sensitive to the light source of the enlarger. Printing with an Omega B600 with a tungsten lamp and condensers vs. my Omega D4 with the Chromega II head and it's halogen lamp, the paper is a full stop faster under the halogen lamp, and a lot more contrasty.
 

BetterSense

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I use the EDU.Ultra paper. For me and my condenser enlarger, it's insignificantly slower than Illford, and it doesn't like OC safelights...I use red. I have no problems with the 'look' and it responds to ilford contrast filters as expected, but it does curl slightly which is annoying.
 
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photomem

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Ah, that might be the kicker there. We have OC Safelights in the darkroom at the university. They are also extremely bright (some students complain about it being too "dim" in there... thats why its a darkroom!) I have installed red safelights in the darkroom I am building at home. I hope to be able to get some printing done there this weekend and we shall see if anything is different.
 

thebdt

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If it's Foma Variant III, could safelight fogging be the issue? Discussion in (there was a url link here which no longer exists) suggests that only red safelights should be used.

Ian

I wonder what magical paper faeries have been protecting my paper, then, because I use this exact paper with an orange safelight all the time. There is a difference between an orange safelight fogging paper, and an IMPROPERLY CLOSE/BRIGHT orange safelight fogging paper.
 

clayne

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I wonder what magical paper faeries have been protecting my paper, then, because I use this exact paper with an orange safelight all the time. There is a difference between an orange safelight fogging paper, and an IMPROPERLY CLOSE/BRIGHT orange safelight fogging paper.

Really? Do a safelight test on it yet?
 

thebdt

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Really? Do a safelight test on it yet?

nope... I always have bright, crisp whites.

I assume that the professor who runs the department and/or the lab technician who runs the lab (and who recommended the paper) had already done all the safelight tests.

Of course, they could all just be lying to us students, convincing us that our dull grey whites are really bright whites, and we students maybe all fell for it? :tongue:
 

erikg

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nope... I always have bright, crisp whites.

I assume that the professor who runs the department and/or the lab technician who runs the lab (and who recommended the paper) had already done all the safelight tests.

Of course, they could all just be lying to us students, convincing us that our dull grey whites are really bright whites, and we students maybe all fell for it? :tongue:

Just be happy you haven't had any problems, no need to be smug about it.

Safelight fog may very well be the source of the OP's problem, despite your own experience. Too many unknown variables between the two situations. I would never assume that someone else had tested something. There is no substitute for learning something for yourself.
 

thebdt

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Just be happy you haven't had any problems, no need to be smug about it.

I don't see how I'm being all that smug, but whatever.

I would never assume that someone else had tested something. There is no substitute for learning something for yourself.

That's a pithy little quote that's maybe good for general advice, but is entirely irrelevant for my situation. I'm certain the professional instructors working at my college test everything they recommend; tonight at lab I caught them in the middle of testing a LF camera...

I honestly don't understand why everyone is so EAGER for this paper to fog under OC safelights. The fact that it doesn't (for me at least) seems to bother people...
 
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