Getting Warm
A Roundup Of Warm-Tone Black And White Papers

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Photo 1.
Photos © 1999, Tom Fuller, All Rights Reserved

Here I go again dating myself, but I remember going through packs of Kodak Athena, a double-weight contact paper with a lovely brown-black image. Actually, the tone varied daily from warm to neutral depending upon the condition of my fledgling technique and oxidized chemistry, but the manufacturer said it was a "warm-tone paper, suitable for portraits." I also liked the stuff for two very pragmatic reasons--it was cheap, and so slow that it wouldn't fog too badly in my not-so-dark closet darkroom.

Every serious printmaker has a favorite paper, although many would be hard pressed to tell you exactly why. Paper can be categorized by weight, base type, surface, image tone, speed, and other objective criteria, but the reasons for its desirability can be subtle. To one photographer it might be a certain image tone, to another the surface sheen, while to someone else the way the emulsion responds to a specific toner is what matters. Perhaps the most common, and certainly most important, reason is simply being able to produce consistently good prints by having learned the fine points of the paper. As photography is a science and an art, its materials become as individual as the images made with them.

Photo 2.

To edify those just starting out in the darkroom, as well as to nudge those who may have dozed off in it, this month we present a roundup of current warm-tone paper offerings. Every emulsion has a tone to its image, that is how blue or brown the black areas will be after normal processing. Cold-tone papers are often used for commercial and industrial photography, neutral-tone papers for, well, just about anything, with warm-tone generally reserved for portraits and landscape. Of course, one photographer's cold-tone is another's neutral, and a high-profile ad might be printed on the warmest paper available for effect, so be sure to try many and find the one best suited for your images.

In reading the brief specs for each manufacturer remember that paper comes in resin coated or fiber based, the former requiring much shorter washing time, and single, medium, double, or premium weight, the first having the feel of a sheet of typing paper and the last that of a book cover. Contrast grade indicates the suitability of the paper for printing different negatives, with a grade 1 used to make a normal print from a bold, high-contrast negative and grade 4 used to print a weak, low-contrast negative. Also, the contrast of many papers can be varied from grade 0 to 5, usually in 1/2 grade increments, by changing the color of the enlarger light source with yellow or magenta filters. As with film, speed indicates how sensitive the paper is to light and helps in comparing printing exposure times.

Photo 3.

Range is a logarithmic indication of how "broad" the image will be on the paper in shades of gray at a given grade, with a high number indicating a wide range with gentle transition. Papers come in a choice of surfaces from high gloss to deep matte in many different sizes, and although only off-the-shelf sheet sizes are listed, many manufacturers offer special sheet sizes, rolls (for machine printing), and even custom sizes by special order. Unless otherwise indicated, all papers can be developed in standard regular or warm-tone paper developers, the latter giving the most pronounced effect with many, and can be handled under an amber (Kodak OC or equivalent) or red (Kodak No. 1) safelight.

Finally, keep in mind that the subtleties of image tone may not come through accurately in magazine reproduction, and that any paper must be used for its unique qualities to be fully appreciated. Space limitations prohibit us from running examples of every paper listed, but one representative print from each manufacturer is included. As the final image in a black and white print depends upon many factors, the following examples are intended only as a starting point. Happy printing.

Photo 4.

Photo 1. Agfa--Portriga-Rapid. Type: fiber-based enlarging; base: double weight, baryta coated without white toner; contrast: graded; 2 (normal) and 3 (hard); speed: grades 2 and 3, P250; range: grade 2, R120; grade 3, R90; surface: glossy; sizes: 5x7" to 20x24".
Insignia. Type: fiber-based enlarging; base: single and double weight, baryta coated with white toner; contrast: graded; 1, 2, 3, and 4; speed: all grades, P250; range: grade 1, R150; 2, R120; 3, R90; 4, R70; surface: glossy; sizes: 5x7" to 20x24".

Multicontrast Classic. Type: fiber-based enlarging; base: single and double weight, baryta coated; contrast: filtered, variable grades 0-5; speed: grades 0-31/2, P160; grades 4 and 5, P80; range: grade 0, R140; grade 2, R100; grade 5, R55; surfaces: glossy (SW/DW), fine-grain matte (DW); sizes: 5x7" to 20x24".

Although Agfa's fiber-based papers are traditional black and white materials with a baryta layer between the emulsion and base to separate the two for improved definition and denser blacks, the short exposure times afforded by the high emulsion speed makes them among the fastest. Multicontrast Classic is protected against friction fogging and mechanical damage by two emulsion top coats, Insignia and Portriga-Rapid by one. Single weight base weight is 185g/m2, double weight is 283g/m2.

Photo 5.

Photo 2. Bergger--Prestige CB And CM. Type: fiber-based enlarging; base: double weight (CB), premium weight (CM), baryta coating; contrast: graded; 2, 3, and 4; surface: glossy; sizes: 8x10" to 20x24".

Prestige Variable CB And CM. Type: fiber-based enlarging; base: premium weight, baryta coating; contrast: filtered, variable grades 0-5; surfaces: glossy (CB), semimatte (CM); sizes: 8x10" to 20x24".

Replacing the Guilleminot line of papers, French-made Bergger fiber-based papers retain the same characteristics long appreciated by traditional printers. Designed by the former chief chemical engineer for Guilleminot & Boespflug, these new materials feature a substantial 300g/m2 base (in premium-weight versions) and are said to have a 20 percent higher silver content than competitive offerings. The base is very bright and the emulsion readily accepts selenium toner.

Photo 3. Cachet--Expo WA. Type: fiber-based enlarging; base: double weight, chamois colored; contrast: graded; 2 and 3; speed: grade 2, P200; grade 3, P150; range: grade 2, R100; grade 3, R80; surface: deep matte; sizes: 8x10" to 20x24".

Multibrom WA-VCFB. Type: fiber-base enlarging; base: double weight, chamois colored; contrast: filtered, variable grades 0-5; speed: grades 0-2, P200; grade 3, P150; grades 4 and 5, P100; range: grade 0, R115; grade 2, R100; grade 5, R50; surface: deep matte; sizes: 8x10" to 20x24".

Multispeed WA-VCRC. Type: resin-coated enlarging; base: medium weight, chamois colored; contrast: filtered, variable grades 0-5; speed: grades 0-2, P200; grade 3, P150; grades 4 and 5, P100; range: grade 0, R140; grade 2, R100; grade 5, R50; surface: matte; sizes: 8x10" to 20x24".

Cachet Multibrom WA-VCFB arrives at "warm" in a unique way. The base is tinted a creamy chamois and then coated with a neutral-tone emulsion for a rich warmth that does not sacrifice deep blacks. The paper accepts selenium very well and, because of its matte surface, is an excellent medium for handcolorists. Because it is not supercoated, Expo WA also tones easily. Multispeed WA VCRC is the resin-coated version of VCFB WA.

Cachet's MultiMatch paper system allows printers to move quickly between resin-coated and fiber-based products. After making a print on convenient and less expensive resin-coated paper, a matching print can be produced on one of the fiber-based products using the same exposure and processing data.

Photo 6.

Photo 4. Centennial--Printing-Out Paper. This charming, English-made contact printing paper is the last surviving "POP," a century-old design in which the image appears without chemical development as exposure progresses. The normal image tone is reddish-brown, but it can be widely varied by post-exposure toning. The gelatin chloride emulsion has a fine-luster glossy surface and is coated on a double-weight fiber base. This UV-sensitive paper is exceptionally slow, requiring exposures of a minute or more in direct sunlight, but can be safely handled under moderate incandescent room light. Fixing and washing is required to make the image permanent.

Photo 5. Forte--Fortezo Elegance. Type: fiber-based enlarging; base: double weight, baryta coated; contrast: graded; 1, 2, 3 and 4; range: grade 1, R120; 2, R110; 3, R90; 4, R70; surfaces: glossy, semimatte, fine-grain semimatte, satin; sizes: 5x7" to 20x24".

Hungarian-made Fortezo Elegance is a silver rich, chlorobromide paper with long tonal range capability and the ability to withstand wide exposure and development variations without fog or contrast crossover. The even distribution of fine-grain silver halide responds well to most toners, and the hardened emulsion is ideally suited for tropical use where higher than normal processing temperatures may be encountered. The combination of Zonal Pro Factor One and Zonal Pro Vara Soft creates a very effective split-development system for accurate tonal control.

Photo 7.

Photo 6. Ilford--Multigrade FB Warmtone. Type: fiber-based enlarging; base: double weight, baryta coated, warm white; contrast: filtered, variable grades 00-5; speed: grades 00-3, P100; grades 4 and 5, P50; range: grade 0, R160; grade 2, R110; grade 5, R50; surfaces: glossy, semimatte; sizes: 5x7" to 20x24".

Multigrade RC Warmtone.
Type: fiber-based enlarging; base: medium weight, warm white; contrast: filtered, variable grades 00-5; speed: grades 00-3, P125; grades 4 and 5, P64; range: grade 0, R160; grade 2, R110; grade 5, R50; surfaces: glossy, pearl; sizes: 5x7" to 20x24".
Multigrade FB Warmtone is designed for enlargers with a tungsten or tungsten-halogen light source. It can also be used with cold light heads designed for VC papers, but pulsed-xenon sources may produce a lower contrast range. This paper is tray processed in the same way as other FB papers, with Multigrade and Bromophen developers producing the warmest results. Multigrade FB Warmtone is receptive to a wide range of toners such as Kodak Brown Toner, Agfa Viradon, and selenium. The cadmium-free emulsion is coated on a 255g/m2 base. Multigrade RC Warmtone is the RC equivalent, coated on a 190g/m2 base. Both are suitable for printing chromogenic negatives such as Ilford XP2 as well as regular black and white negatives.

Kodak--P-Max Art RC.
Type: resin-coated enlarging; base: heavy weight, white with optical brightener; contrast: graded; 2 and 3; speed: P400; range: grade 2, R115; grade 3, R90; surface: double matte; sizes: 8x10" to 20x24".

Photo 8.

Photo 7. Ektamatic SC. Type: fiber-based enlarging; base: single weight, white with optical brightener; contrast: filtered, variable grades 0-5; speed: grades 0-3, P200; grade 31/2, P160; grades 4 to 5, P100; range: grade 0, R160; grade 2, R120; grade 5, R80; surfaces: glossy, semimatte; sizes: 4x5" to 16x20"; developer: Kodak SII Activator, Ektamatic S30 Stabilizer.

Panalure Select RC. Type: resin-coated enlarging; base: medium weight, white with optical brightener; contrast: graded; low, medium, and high; speed: grade L, P1000; grade M, P800; grade H, P500; surface: glossy; sizes: 5x7" to 16x20".

Kodak P-Max Art RC has an excellent emulsion "tooth," making it a good choice for handcoloring with oil paints, liquids, or dry dyes, pastels, and pencils. The developer-variable neutral to warm-black image tone also makes it an excellent choice for a wide variety of fine-art uses. A developing agent incorporated in the emulsion shortens developing time with automated processors or conventional trays. Kodak P-Max Art RC dries fast with minimum curl.

Kodak Ektamatic paper is designed for use with stabilization chemistry in a motorized processor and is intended for medical, news, and proofing applications where the shortest dry to dry time is desired. Stabilization processing produces a warm image tone, but the paper can be tray processed in conventional chemistry for a neutral-black image. Stabilized prints keep only for a limited time, but fixing and washing makes them permanent. (See my review of the Adorama Quick Print Auto Processor in the August '97 issue for a run-down on stabilization processing.)

Kodak Panalure Select RC is designed for making black and white enlargements from color negatives, and provides a gray-tone rendering that is very similar to that produced with black and white negatives and conventional paper. It is optimized to give best tonal rendition when exposed with tungsten or tungsten-halogen lamps without filtration. Because of its panchromatic sensitivity, the paper must be handled under a dim Kodak No. 13 amber safelight. Kodak Panalure Select RC can also be used to print black and white negatives.

Photo 9.

Photo 8. Luminos--Classic Series. Type: fiber-based enlarging; base: see below; contrast: graded; 21/2 only; speed: P160; surfaces: see below; sizes: most standard sheet sizes.

Classic Charcoal R is a premium-weight paper with a warm ivory base tint and the surface characteristics of an artist's watercolor paper. The emulsion responds well to toning and image tone manipulation with various developers. The paper offers an excellent surface for handcoloring with oil, pastels, pencil, and many other media. Classic Tapestry X is identical to Charcoal R except for a heavier texture that resembles an artist's canvas. This surface is popular with handcolorists working with heavy oils.

Classic Glossy is a double-weight paper with a warm ivory base tint and a traditional glossy finish that can be enhanced by ferrotype drying. Classic Pearl is the same emulsion with a lustrous stipple finish. As with Charcoal R and Tapestry X, the image tone can be manipulated in development and the paper surface retouched or handcolored.

Archival R is a medium-weight paper designed for exhibition and museum mural work. It also takes well to toning and handcoloring, and is ideal for wet mounting.

Photo 9. Oriental--Hyper Seagull. Processed in RA-4 color chemicals, this new resin-coated paper produces monochrome prints from color or black and white negatives. By adjusting the color filters of the printer or enlarger, image tone can be varied from neutral black to deep sepia. Hyper Seagull is currently available only in long rolls for machine printing, but sheet sizes may be offered. Oriental, whose regular black and white papers are widely respected by fine-art printers, is planning to reintroduce a conventional black and white process warm-tone paper in the near future.

Sterling--Signature.
Type: fiber-based enlarging; base: double weight; contrast: filtered, variable grades 0-5; speed: grades 0-3, P40; grades 4 and 5, P20; range: grade 0, R150; grade 3, R85; grade 5, R50; surface: glossy; sizes: 8x10" to 20x24"; safelight: deep red (Kodak No. 2).

Photo 10.

Photo 10. Premium F. Type: fiber-based enlarging; base: double weight; contrast: graded; 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5; speed: grades 1-3, P350; grade 4, P250; grade 5, P100; range: grade 1, R130; 2, R105; 3, R85; 4, R65; 5, R50; surfaces: glossy, silk, luster; sizes: 8x10" to 20x24".
Premium F Lith. Type: fiber-based enlarging; base: double weight, baryta coated with white toner; contrast: graded; 2 only; speed: P450; surface: semigloss; sizes: 8x10" to 20x24"; safelight: deep red (Kodak No. 2).

Signature is a low-speed variable contrast paper ideally suited for high quality exhibition work by virtue of its clean, warm tones, bright whites, and deep blacks. It is fully compatible with existing variable contrast filter systems, as well as color and VC black and white enlargers. This quality Indian-made paper is available only in glossy but gives a semigloss appearance when dried matte.

Premium F is a general-purpose paper with a silver chlorobromide, cadmium-free emulsion. Its image tone can be altered by choice of developer, with Amidol formulas giving blue-blacks, Metol yielding neutral-blacks, and Hydroquinone producing warm-blacks. As the paper can be safely heat dried, the F surface can be ferrotyped to a high-gloss finish.

Premium F Lith is a high-speed, silver chlorobromide paper specially designed for creating surrealistic warm-tone art prints with modified lithographic development. The paper produces a grade 2 continuous-tone image when used with standard paper developers, although the image tone can be varied from neutral-black to warm brown-black depending upon developer. Contrast can be lowered by pre or post-exposure flashing.

Manufacturers/Distributors

Agfa Photo Division
100 Challenger Rd.
Ridgefield Park, NJ 07660
(201) 440-2500
fax: (201) 440-6703
www.agfaphoto.com

Cachet/Fappco
3701 W Moore Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92704
(714) 432-7070
fax: (714) 432-7102
www.onecachet.com

Chicago Albumen Works (Centennial)
PO Box 805
Housatonic, MA 01236
(413) 274-6901
fax: (413) 274-6934

Eastman Kodak Company
343 State St.
Rochester, NY 14650
(800) 242-2424
(716) 724-5629
www.kodak.com

Ilford Photo
W 70 Century Rd.
Paramus, NJ 07653
(800) 631-2522
(201) 265-6000
fax: (201) 265-3443
www.ilford.com

International Supplies (Oriental)
945 W Hyde Park Blvd.
Inglewood, CA 90302
(800) 999-1984
(310) 672-9090
fax: (310) 672-3030
www.orientalphotousa.com

Lotus View Camera/North America (Bergger)
5955 Palo Verde Dr.
Rockford, IL 61114
(815) 282-9876
fax: (815) 282-0902
www.lotusviewcamera.at/

Luminos
25 Wolffe St.
Yonkers, NY 10705
(800) 431-1859
(914) 965-4800
fax: (914) 965-0367
www.luminos.com

Satter/Omega, Inc. (Forte)
4100 Dahlia St.
Denver, CO 80216
(800) 525-0196
(303) 399-7493
fax: (303) 322-8152
www.omega.satter.com

Sterling Papers
2847 Ruby View
San Jose, CA 95148
(800) 295-3740
phone/fax: (408) 528-1953

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