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Tuesday, 20 October 2009


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Great news! I've started playing around with Adox film (CMS 20) developed in Technidol and it is absolutely mind-blowing. It easily outresolves my Coolscan 9000 and the best lenses I've thrown at it. Only thing against is the willingess to curl, otherwise it is perfect.
If they keep this up, I might have to invest (again!) in an enlarger!

I noticed this in the Freestyle catalog. Cool. Time to place an order for this old favorite. I've been moving away from the darkroom, but I just bought a Crown Graphic and my scanner doesn't do 4x5. Any chance you could set up a Freestyle portal on TOP? I spend a fair amount of money with them.

I purchased the last package of 8x10 from Freestyle. It has been sitting on my nightstand, where I see it every night, and keep excitedly wondering when I am going to have time to get into the darkroom. I know the negative that I want to use with it.

The old MCC had a beautiful surface finish in the glossy version. I am hoping that this version will have the same surface, and think that the white base is a plus. My bet is that it will turn MCC from what was a sometime paper for me to a mainstay.

The digital-only crowd have no idea why we are so excited. After all, isn't the B&W conversion tool in Lightroom so wonderful?

My wife is looking for a new house for us so I can have a dedicated darkroom again!!!!

The paper is more expensive than some alternatives, but not horribly so. I'm placing my order!

Forget the paper- that's some wife, Ken!

An outstanding paper. I printed on the test run last year and anxiously awaited production.

No need to work hard finding a developer; it's waiting for you at Freestyle when you order the paper.


Neutol WA has always been the best match for MCC.

I printed nearly all my work on MCC 111. When Adox began working on this reformulation, I was among those who printed on sheets from the test batches. Remarkably, Adox's version is near-identical to the last iteration of Agfa's paper, except, as you note, the base is very slightly whiter. The emulsion is indistinguishable -- same tonal range, same deep blacks, with the slight warmth in the midtones. And, like MCC 111, it dries flat. I developed it in LPD and was very pleased with the results.

Wet darkroom! How I miss it... I just don't have the space in my house to make an honest go of it anymore. The silver-rich, warmtone, heavy papers were always so much fun to use.

Although I am very, very pleased with the B&W output of my Epson R2400, it's just not the same - silver gelatin prints will always be the 'right' medium for black and white photography.

Fotoimpex have a great shop in Berlin , lots of film and paper etc. [much like Silverprint in London]
Both well worth a visit [good websites too].
Actually also in Berlin is Monochrom camera shop...........all so hard to find in 2009!
Antibes, France

I'm showing my age here but how does this papers look compare to old Portriga Rapid?

Well, I have to try this.
I've been buying Bergger Silver and while it's the best out there for me, it's getting a bit pricey.

What strikes me as being very cool is the fact that all those millions of dollars that were spent on R&D for these products are not lost forever as they have returned as new reformulations to server their market again.

I have never made a black and white print (but really want to -- I process black and white film)... good to know the dream is still alive...


Wow! Great timing. I just bought a 4x5 enlarger and getting excited to print the 6x7 negs in wet darkroom. I will try this combination out!

"I'm showing my age here but how does this papers look compare to old Portriga Rapid?"

Depends on what "vintage" Portriga Rapid. It looks better than the later, cadmium-free stuff, but not as rich as the earlier Portriga that was made with cadmium. Agfa quietly changed the formulation along the way, for environmental reasons--although users of the paper certainly noticed.


This is nice news. Now if they just brought back DuPont Velour Black and Kodak Illustrators Special, But I'm getting greedy.
Considering how much the market for paper has declined in the last decade we should be applauding the manufacturers who still are willing to indulge our habit.

Maybe PRK 111 will be next? PRK souped in LPD , that would be wonderful.

Yes I know Portriga is too toxic for the modern world, but a high cloride paper without the cadmium would be pretty nice too.


This is probably not a question for here as most people here are very experienced photographers, but here is my question anyway. As someone who has come to photography after digital's rise, where does someone learning the wet darkroom start with developers? I took a intro photography class once and we just used Ilford HP4 and a bottle that said something like, "speed developer" and Ilford paper (cannot remember which). I try and do research online to understand which developers with which films and which papers but there is so much out there that it is overwhelming to me. Any thoughts on standard methods to start with and then people can experiment from there? Would going to a gallery to see examples help? I'm a chicken when it comes to trying new things I don't fully understand. Thanks.

I really miss my favourite paper, Agfa Brovira. Since I set up again my darkroom three? years ago, I've been trying to find something equivalent among today's papers, but I haven't had much luck. Any suggestions?

Have you tried the current iteration of Oriental Seagull G, with just a touch of selenium toning?



When did Portriga Rapid change? I printed many architectural shots taken on 5" x 4" on this paper in the late 1970's, but I have been out of touch with wet darkrooms for so long now. When I used it it was a great paper - I seem to remember that I usually processed it in home-made Amidol developer (which was the cause of the black fingers referred to in Mike Chisholm's blog a few months back).

Unfortunately I just don't remember. I think it might have been in the late '80s early '90s time frame, but it might have been earlier than that. I know we published an article (actually a news item) about the change after I took over at Photo Techniques in '94, but the change was not announced by Agfa--we simply researched it because printers had noticed the change and we wanted to explain it. I think the article did mention when the change was made but I just don't recall, and there's no chance of me being able to locate the relevant issue of the magazine without a time-consuming search.


I wrote about that briefly here, if you can forgive the execrable digisnap of the print....


Hooray, a wet darkroom thread on TOP. Thank you Mike, I feel a whole lot younger suddenly.


The Photoimpex/Adox story might make an interesting column. They have lots of nice films and papers, from lots of sources, and it seems as if at least some of the Agfapan films will be returning (when the remaining stocks Agfa produced before shutting down production). They are asking if enough photographers are interested in a return of Polywarmtone paper. Its an interesting venture.

I like to tinker. I got a couple of LF-style lenses (with Compur shutters) originally used for Polaroid oscilloscope cameras and I keep thinking they'd be perfect for building my own enlarger. And every time a thread like this pops up somewhere that pull gets stronger and stronger - and never mind that we live in a Japanese apartment where adding a darkroom would be something of a challenge.

What's holding me back is just my lack of basic darkroom experience. I guess I'll have to try a rental darkroom some weekend, but again, I don't imagine the owners are all too happy with a bumbling customer that doesn't even know the basics.

This digital-only reader enjoys reading about darkroom processing. I was terribly slow in the darkroom, but I found it so fascinating that I'd stay up until 4 AM working on a print. I didn't have time to do justice to the equipment and sold it all to a kid and his dad. I hope they're having a blast with it.

All digital works great. All analog (film to darkroom) worked great for me (when I had time). I haven't found a satisfactory "shoot film / print digital" plan yet.

My favorite combination was (the orignal) Zone VI Brilliant in Weston's Amidol. If the born again MCC/Neutol combination can equal that, I'll be happy.

Dave, Do you mean Forte Polywarmtone? Yes! I remember signing on a while back. Everyone should--it was an emulsion capable of an amazing range of hues, responsive and forgiving. The original was on a white matte base with a smooth texture that reminded me of eggshells.

Discovering darkroom in the 21st century has its depressing side, like wonderful papers that disappear as soon as one finds them. Polywarmtone and Agfa RC were two that I enjoyed for all of one or two trial packets each. The Agfa, and I hope it's the paper in question, was the glossiest paper I've ever seen--like glass, and with the blackest of blacks, on extra heavy stock. It was too fast for me, but I was just beginning. Polywarmtone was a joy every time. If one is back, and the other might return, things are really looking up.

"Discovering darkroom in the 21st century has its depressing side, like wonderful papers that disappear as soon as one finds them."

robert e,
That's a constant. The first paper I used was Kodak Medalist, a delicate chlorobromide paper that was shortly discontinued. Then I read in Fred Picker's Zone VI Newsletter about how he missed DuPont Varilour. Then I came across Ansel Adams's earlier Basic Photo series (1967) in which he bemoaned the loss of Will Dassonville's Dassonville Black. THEN I read about how Frederick Evans actually quit photography because WWI (no typo) interrupted the supply of platinum and palladium from Russia and the papers he depended on became unavailable.

This is not solely a 21st century phenomenon!


Just happened to take a pic a few days ago of a few boxes in my darkroom (yes they need putting away).

Mike, thanks for the link to the article. I'll give it a read and try to overcome my fear of the unknown.

"This is not solely a 21st century phenomenon!"

Mike, Thanks. That's even more depressing, and at the same time oddly reassuring.

Be that as it may, is it also typical for papers to return? With MCP and MCC back, AZO privately revived, and Polywarmtone conceivably reappearing, perhaps we've turned some kind of corner?

Mike, that 2002 article on B&W tonality seems very good to me. I, er, recognize myself a couple of places there.

The new Adox *is* more expensive than the Agfa paper was, but so are most papers these days--I had a bit of sticker shock when I bought a box of Ilford MG Warm Tone a few weeks ago. I got some of the shipment of Adox MCC around the same time, so I'll be able to compare the two. In fact, while cleaning out my office the other day, I came across an unopened pack of Agfa MCC 16x20 that I'd forgotten about, so I can compare all three.

"In fact, while cleaning out my office the other day, I came across an unopened pack of Agfa MCC 16x20 that I'd forgotten about, so I can compare all three."

Well, sort of...depending. Paper starts to degrade as early as two years after manufacture, and most unused paper will have lost DMax by the time it's five years old. So depending on how old your MCC is and how long it stays stable in the conditions under which you've been storing it....


Robert E,

Yes, Forte Polywarmtone. Check here: www.apug.org/forums/forum249/60463-forte-polywarmtone.html

Mike, I printed the same negatives on sheets from the last run of MCC 111 and the test run of the new Adox paper -- the results were indistinguishable. Adox went to great lengths to replicate the emulsion. If the test papers are indicative of the commercial runs, they have succeeded beyond anyone's expectations.

Thanks for the tip, Mike, never used it, but that paper is not sold in Spain. But you're into something with the selenium suggestion... I did tone even Brovira prints. My favourite look, at least those days.

snifff… Brovira…my fave

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