Dramatic Differences in Photo Papers

A brief comparison of some different photo papers that I use in my lumen cameras


sonny rosenberg

6/23/20232 min read

I have a feeling that this post may be of interest only to an exceedingly small subset of readers, nonetheless I've never done a direct comparison like this and even though I knew there were big differences, let me say that again, big differences between the various black and white photo papers that I use with my Cadobo cams, it was still surprised to see how very different these results are.

In the past I've used primarily two different papers; Arista Edu Ultra grade 3 and Foma MG Classic multi-grade. One of my main interests in this kind of photography is getting a good range of intense colors. While these two papers easily give color, to get a nice range of colors requires (at least for me) a lot of luck in getting just the right exposure, and getting the right exposure seems to vary from day to day and hour to hour.

Recently though, I had the chance to test a good variety of papers and was amazed that with old expired Kodak IV MG I could consistantly get a good range of colors and great contrast. I was also recently given a box of that much prized (by me anyway) Kodak IV paper. Now I have the opportunity to test it ad infinitum.

Below are the results of my casual comparison. I thought for this to be relevant I should present the completely unprocessed negatives and then the processed positives.

The first two negatives are unknown paper, but almost certainly Arista Edu, even though I don't think I could prove that in a court of law if I had to.

The second pair of negatives are Kodak IV. I know because it says so on the paper.

All exposures except for the first, which was an hour and 20 minutes, were almost exactly 2 hours under variable cloudy to sunny conditions. The slightly improved Cadobo cam was wearing a slightly improved magenta candy wrapper filter for all expsoures.

See what I mean? The first two will be almost all blue upon inversion, while the Kodak shots alreadyhave a good range of colors.

I'll pull back the blue and green curves on the first two in post to reveal the 'hidden' colors, but the Kodak papers don't need any of that. The third expsoure had only very slight tweaking of the color curves after inversion and for the last exposure, the color curves were untouched. I'm pretty thrilled to be getting such colors without what to my mind is digital trickery

Oh. Here are the inverted shots below: