Color printing paper

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by fnm, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. fnm

    fnm Guest

    I'm very much interested in color printing with enlarger and I would
    like to ask some questions to experts of this group
    1- Which 4x5" films are actually available for color printing?
    2- Which color paper is available for color printing using
    conventional darkroom enlargers? According my search through US
    distributors I only find Fujicolor Cristal and Kodak Supra Endura and
    I understand kodak will finish production of it very soon. Is there
    any other option?
    3- I pretend to buy a reasonable quantity of color paper boxes and
    stock it into my fridge but how much time can survive color paper
    without degradation into a fridge? What temperature should be the most
    4- Is there any real risk during air transport to my country due to
    possible x-ray inspection?
    fnm, Oct 26, 2007
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  2. Good god, why? I still do wet darkroom work in black and white, but
    color printing with an enlarger offers basically no advantages over
    digital printing, requires annoying work with smelly chemicals at
    high temperatures, gives inferior sharpness and image permanence, and
    has a host of other drawbacks. I would certainly not start doing it now.
    I asssume you want to know which 4x5 color negative films are still
    available? Kodak offers two ISO 160 films, Portra 160NC (a low-
    contrast portrait film optimized for skin tones) and 160VC (a "vivid
    color" film optimized for, well, let's just say I don't care for it),
    as well as one ISO 400 film, Portra 400NC, which has moderate contrast,
    good color rendering, good reciprocity characteristics -- it's pretty
    much my favorite color negative film I've ever used.

    Fuji offers an ISO 160 portrait film, but I don't care for it. When I
    did a lot of architectural use I used it from time to time because for
    some reason it gives surprisingly printable negatives when exposed
    under fluorescent light.

    There are many color slide films still available in 4x5 but, ironically,
    none of the high-speed ones, which is the only reason I still shoot any
    color negative film at all. These days the easiest way to get high
    quality color prints is to shoot slide film and scan it. Good options
    in 4x5 are Fuji Astia and Provia; if you want eye-popping color you could
    try Fuji Velvia or Kodak 100VS.
    Thor Lancelot Simon, Oct 26, 2007
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  3. Since you did not say from where you are buying the paper and where it
    is going, it is not possible to say. However, if you are ordering from
    the U.S., then it is likely that the U.S.P.S. will do some sort of
    inspection, such as X-Ray's or the new gamma ray scanners which let them
    look at an entire cargo container at once.

    Obviously, I can't even guess what will happen while it is traveling,
    or when it arrives.

    FedEx, UPS, and DHL claim they never X-Ray packages, but to be honest, I
    would not trust them 100%. It's always better to ask them about shipments
    from a particular place to you to make sure and buy the extra insurance,
    if it is offered.

    Here packages sent via the postal system arrive without import duty
    if they are relatively cheap. Anything sent by courier (such as FedEx,
    etc) is taxed at the highest rate they can get away with, which includes
    the cost of the item, shipping, clearing fees, etc.


    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Oct 26, 2007
  4. fnm

    Rob Morley Guest

    Why order from the US when you will have to pay duty and shipments are
    more likely to be scanned? There can't be many suppplies you can get
    from the US that aren't available in the EU.
    Rob Morley, Oct 26, 2007
  5. fnm

    fnm Guest

    Thank you very much for your advice. After thinking about it I realize
    you are right
    and i will go to digital. I repeat many thanks¡¡

    fnm, Oct 30, 2007
  6. fnm

    Ken Hart Guest

    Thank you very much for your advice. After thinking about it I realize
    you are right
    and i will go to digital. I repeat many thanks¡¡


    Sorry, but I respectfully disagree. I enjoy 'wet' darkroom work in color.
    But then I have a roller transport processing system that maintains chemical
    temperature and replenishment. Such machines are available in all sizes and
    configurations, from tabletop to full-fledged minilabs (mine is an old Hope
    built in 1984). As for sharpness, that's a function of the lenses used
    (camera and enlarger); and for image permanence, Kodak rate their Endura
    line of papers at 200 years in the dark or 100 years in the light.

    The first thing to remember in color printing is get the density
    (light/dark) right, then adjust the color. Never try to make a color
    judgement on a priont that is too light or too dark. The second thing to
    remember is to write stuff down. Use a "sharpie" brand marker (or similar
    waterproof/permanent marker) to write your color filter settings on the test
    print. If the second test print looks worse, then you can easily go back to
    the earlier settings.

    For me, the cost of making one 16"x20" print is about $2.00 (2- 1/4 sheet
    test prints and 1 full sheet, plus chems) and the time is about a half hour
    (dry-to-dry time is ten minutes, times three prints).
    Ken Hart, Oct 30, 2007
  7. fnm

    fnm Guest

    I can tell you I also enjoyed in the past darkroom color printing but
    today its like trying to swim in a river against the main stream¡¡ I
    can tell you some of inmediate problems I would have.
    -My enlarger is a 6x6 cm but now I want to use 4x5" film This means I
    have to buy a second hand enlarger Although I can find very cheap ones
    in USA I have to pay more than $350 for transport to my country Spain
    + $500 for enlarger
    -In my country it is only available Endura color paper with 85m rolls.
    No boxes of Kodak cut papers available nor Fuji. I talked with Kodak
    branch in my country
    and they suggested their color paper will not be available very soon¡¡
    In front of these difficulties comon sense tells me I must go to
    digital in spite of my natural tendency¡¡¡
    fnm, Oct 31, 2007
  8. I find this very hard to believe. Many digital printing machines including
    those used for high-volume prints from digital originals by large
    photofinishers use RA4 color paper as their output medium. I disagree with
    Ken about the relative permanence of RA4 versus inkjet prints (I think I'm
    hardly the only one skeptical of Kodak's permanence claims for color
    materials; Wilhelm became famous for his 1,000 page book on the subject) but
    these machines make beautiful prints from both analog and digital originals,
    much sharper than can be made by optical enlargement. I think RA4 paper
    will be one of the very last silver process photographic products to

    Single sheets of color paper in boxes, sure. I'm somewhat surprised it's
    possible to buy those even now. But you may have been misinformed by
    whomever at Kodak you spoke with.
    Thor Lancelot Simon, Nov 1, 2007
  9. I doubt it. Kodak is not big outside of the U.S. and in Spain their sales
    may be low enough not to bother. Almost all of the photofinishers here used
    Agfa paper, and I'm sure they have not switched to Kodak.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Nov 1, 2007
  10. fnm

    HDAGHL Guest

    use a heat seal bag if heat, use a cold seal bag if cold, etc.
    HDAGHL, Nov 13, 2007
  11. fnm

    ____ Guest

    "Used" is an operative word, Agfa is DOA. Who makes color paper besides
    Fuji and Kodak? If need be I hope Fuji wins, because Kodak will surely
    discontinue it based on shareholder pandering. At least Fuji speaks the
    good fight on traditional imagery support :)

    As an American I would like to see American products succeed, it's just
    some business models truly suck!
    ____, Jan 1, 2008
  12. We lost that battle long ago. All hail our new Chinese masters! (as well
    as Indian, Indonesian, etc.)
    David Nebenzahl, Jan 1, 2008
  13. fnm

    ____ Guest

    The American consumer dictates who currently his master is, seldom is it
    the Master of personal restraint. Who made your Big screen TV :) ?
    ____, Jan 1, 2008
  14. Well, Agfa is not completely dead, you can still find films,
    chemicals, mini-labs, etc ...
    These activities have been splitted amongs various companies which
    sells them under the brand Agfa:
    Future is still uncertain, for sure.

    Ilford markets Ilfochrome (last remaining direct positive process) and
    Ilfocolor ...
    Konica I suppose too and most probably others.
    It's true Kodak made several claims pro-digital which were mostly
    directed to their shareholders and convince them kodak will be part of
    the digital era.
    As they marketed new films recently, maybe these communication needs
    are lower.
    I would prefer silver-based stuff continue to exist wherever they come
    from ...

    Claudio Bonavolta
    Claudio Bonavolta, Jan 1, 2008
  15. fnm

    Rod Smith Guest

    A couple of years ago, Agfa was split up into two or three companies, one
    of which (AgfaPhoto) immediately failed. AgfaPhoto was the one that made
    consumer films and papers. When they failed, their assets were sold. An
    outfit called A&O bought their chemical division, but my understanding is
    that the facilities used to make RA-4 paper and C-41 film have already
    been dismantled, and AFAIK nobody is interested in producing them
    elsewhere. (A smaller outfit is working to resurrect some AgfaPhoto B&W
    products, but they have no plans to make any color materials.) There are
    still stocks of the old AgfaPhoto products being sold; the Web site to
    which you refer seems to be advertising them. I didn't see any RA-4 papers
    on that site, though.

    To the best of my knowledge, the remaining Agfa divisions don't make RA-4
    paper, although they do make B&W and C-41 films for non-consumer uses
    (they sell them for traffic cameras and the like), and some of these get
    repackaged by other companies.
    Ilford also split a while back. Ilford Harman is the UK company that makes
    B&W products. The other Ilford makes Ilfochrome, but I *THINK* that
    Ilfocolor (their RA-4 product) has been discontinued. Certainly I don't
    know of any retailer that sells it. Note that Ilfochrome is useful only
    for making prints from slides and it's ridiculously expensive (100 sheets
    of 8.5x11-inch paper costs $260 at B&H, for instance).
    Konica withdrew from the photographic film and paper business about a year
    ago. You might still find a few Konica products in the supply chain, but
    not much is left by now, and what is left will be short-dated or out of

    To the best of my knowledge, there are no other RA-4 paper manufacturers
    left in the world -- just Kodak and Fuji.
    One important saving grace for RA-4 is that it's used by many
    photofinishers (both minilabs and bigger Internet/mail-order outfits) with
    digital printing hardware. This means that even digital camera users often
    end up with RA-4 prints. My understanding is that RA-4 is more
    cost-effective than competing technologies when operated on a large enough
    scale. This means that RA-4 stands a chance of surviving for quite a
    while, and as long as RA-4 products for commercial photofinishers are
    available, home darkroom users should be able to obtain them, albeit
    perhaps not in the most convenient formats. OTOH, if the economics change,
    photofinishers could abandon RA-4, which could be disastrous.
    Rod Smith, Jan 2, 2008
  16. A couple of comments on Ilford:
    - the "Ilford" brand owner owner is the swiss company (i.e. ILFORD
    Imaging Switzerland GmbH) bought in 2005 by the japanese OJI papers.
    - Harman Technologies Ltd (the UK Ilford) can use (I don't know the
    legal term) the "Ilford" brand name for their silver-based B/W
    If you look at the Harman products line, you can see the "old"
    products labelled "Ilford", the recent paper developers (warmtone and
    cooltone) labelled as "Harman-Ilford" and their new inkjet line as
    "Harman" only as they would directly compete with the swiss Ilford.

    Just called the factory this morning: Ilfocolor and Ilfochrome are
    still produced ...

    Both products are high quality papers and thus the higher price.
    That's also the reason you can't find them everywhere ...
    They are also meant to fit some niches like display or transparent
    Both are also (I should say mostly) used in digital printing and, as
    Ilfochrome is probably the most stable color paper remaining, another
    use is for archival digital printing.
    Claudio Bonavolta
    Claudio Bonavolta, Jan 4, 2008
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