Review: Bergger Prestige Variable CB Warm

In my recent experiments Testing LDP vs PF106 developer I decided to try a different brand of papers than my usual Ilford products. Bergger Prestige Variable Contrast CB Warm Glossy is a heavy weight (280 gsm) Chlorobromide fiber based paper with a white base. The manufacturer touts it has six grades of contrast with a high Dmax. I found it does have nice rich glossy blacks where shadow values are solid, while mid tones and highlights are very neutral gray. The warm tone is always a bit of misnomer in photographic papers as I have yet to find one that is actually anything other than perhaps “flatter” or “softer” than a resin coated glossy paper. It is a very slow working paper requiring a bit more exposure time and takes longer to come up in the developer. Texture is very smooth and the paper does not curl excessively. The paper tones beautifully with Thiourea Sepia toner and takes on lovely rich browns from milk chocolate to dark coffee.

Bergger CB is only packaged in boxes of 25 which likely makes this paper a bit expensive. B&H sells it for $44.95  for 8×10 which works out to a $1.80 per sheet. Some of that price is due to the heavier paper weight, 280 gsm vs Ilford’s similar product which is only 255 gsm. For price comparison, Ilford MGFB Warm tone glossy sells for $37.95 or $1.50 per sheet. Ilford is also available in larger quantities of packaging which helps lower the price to nearly $1 per sheet.

And there in lies the problem. This paper does not have a distinguishing characteristic to separate it from the Ilford products. A finished dried print given the same exposure will be a tad less black and shadows may contain a bit more detail, but if one prints to max black there is no noticeable difference. It is no more or less glossy than Ilford MGFB Warmtone or MGFB Classic.  Even when toning there is no color difference. With a #2 or #2.5 contrast filter there is no difference in contrast tonalities from the Ilford products. Perhaps I am spoiled by the high quality of Ilford fiber based products that deliver consistent results every time I print. Perhaps in more capable hands an artist could pull out some additional feature that I can not.

Overall it is a very nice paper for final prints but its price point will likely keep me from ordering it. Bergger papers are also available in Semi-Gloss and Semi-Matte finishes which I have not tested.

 

 

Darkroom Underground Magazine

 

Tim Layton Fine Arts has launched a new Film centered magazine Darkroom Underground. The first issue was release July 1 and was chocked full of useful information for the darkroom and film enthusiast. The magazine will be published quarterly online with print editions possible in 2018. The Darkroom Underground publishes technical and creative articles in each issue along with featured photographers. See the link for more information and how to subscribe. There is also a facebook page for discussion of analogue film.

As someone who constantly reads and researches techniques, chemistry, and creativity this magazine is a welcome departure from the not 99.99% digital media out there. I wish Tim and his advisors many years of success.