Topic – All Papers Are Not Created Equal

As above it appears even I can notice the personality of different print papers. Until now I have used Kentmere Fineprint VC. But that batch ran out so I started on a new box with FOMA Fomaspeed Variant 312. The differences are quite noticeable.

Handling of the FOMA is much better. It is always flatter, does not curl and has a dreamy soft surface. Really superb there! The Kentmere I had to actually iron it to be flat enough. The surface had more reflexions in it, like a newly polished floor.

But the biggest, and most relevant, difference is the contrast. Even if both are  modern Variable Contrast type papers the maximum achievable contrast competition is won by the Kentmere by a long run. The FOMA papers, even lit with magenta only, does not come close to the Kentmere gradation, all of them went sort of greyish. Even if exposed outside the darkroom FOMA never really turns black only grey.

The amount of detail on both papers is exceptional, and quite enough for me to get excited.

As evidence of what I am ranting about here are scans of paper prints on the FOMA paper. They were all shot on a Mamiya 645 which reminded me of how nice a camera that is, the lens is phenomenal and the ‘kla-chunk’ at 1/30s wonderful! Film Fomapan 100 as always (nearly).

First off is a frozen pond with leaves in it. On my screen it appears a tad more contrasty than the actual print.m645_fomapaper-1

This is what I am on about. The iron of the garden furniture is not black but rather some greyish tone. The entire image is too flat, contrast wise.m645_fomapaper-2

A little RC-chopper. The blades are of black plastic in reality, not so on the print. I tried giving it more exposure but then the entire image went really dark.m645_fomapaper-3

This one works. There is not much contrast in the image anyway, but some digital postprocessing made it somewhat punchier still. (Shown is the original scan).m645_fomapaper-4

It is hard to understand how dark green the window frames actually are here.m645_fomapaper-5

This one is mostly for reference to the Trip 35 shot in my previous post. The shot was taken on a sunny day, just as the Trip 35 one… m645_fomapaper-6

…and here is a detail of the air-intake to the hut. If nothing else this shows how medium format (6×4,5cm) can compare to 135-type film (2,4×3,6cm). Impressed? I am!m645_fomapaper-7

Despite the dull flatness I quite like this frozen detail from the garden. m645_fomapaper-8

This one should also be possible to get something out of. Too bad the background is so in the way. A detail of the three clusters is a way to get rid of the background but then the twig in the foreground is in the way… Oh well.m645_fomapaper-9

This garden gnome & co looks better on the screen than on the print. The scanner must have added something in the process. At least now I know where the gnome is…m645_fomapaper-10

After being used to the lack of contrast in the previous images it is refreshing to have a vada on a Kentmere print where the shadows are deeper for more visual punch.karinna-3

Conclusion: I will first use up the FOMA box to get acquainted with it some more (even though I don’t think it will appeal to my taste) and then start on a box of Ilford paper that is also around. After that, most likely, I have to order more Kentmere.


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