Mini Review: Arista EDU Ultra Glossy FB VC Paper (aka Fomabrom Variant III) – Part 3

As a rule I don’t enjoy doing marathon-printing sessions, but I have a show coming up during February and was just was asked if I wanted to do one nearby in Philadelphia … in two weeks. I was going to handle the February printing, mounting and matting requirements in an orderly and leisurely fashion, but that wasn’t possible for the Philly opportunity. So I needed to get moving, and fast!

I had tried some more of the Fomabrom Variant III but didn’t have enough to be on the safe side. I decided to order 200 sheets of rebadged Arista EDU Ultra and give it another chance. As you may recall I loved the paper, but one serious problem … the emulsion occasionally peeled off the edges of the paper while in the developer (see Part 1)!!! Going back to the Fomabrom paper, I noticed this happened a few times too. Trouble is I really liked both papers very much, including how they looked when selenium toned.   In the worst case I could go back to the Fomabrom.

So how did it go? No problem through the initial development, stop, fix, rinse, first wash and dry cycle, although several prints exhibited scratches on the print surface. My normal procedure is to stop at this point, then when I have a enough prints to tone I do a water pre-soak, then fix again with pure hypo, selenium tone, hypo clear and do a final wash prior to drying. However, just when I thought it was safe, the icky molting of emulsion re-emerged on the edges of several prints during the hypo and selenium toning steps. Yuck! I always make 4 prints of a particular image to sell and to have just in case there’s a disaster of some kind. And sure enough one print was ruined as the pealing went into the image itself.

Conclusion: I don’t know if the peeling is due in part or exacerbated by having several prints in solution that require constant shuffling. I’m not really sure that should matter. For me to do one print at a time would take forever and I shouldn’t have to do that. So I’m not sure if there are emulsion quality control issues but I want this paper to work. Maybe I will go back to Fomabrom. The problem is that it costs $27.00 more for a 100-sheet box of 8×10 and that adds up quickly. Bottom line: I think it’s critical to be as careful as possible when handling these papers in solution. While capable of beautiful results, their emulsions are delicate!

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