Kodak ceases production of B&W paper

Discussion in 'Kodak' started by PGG, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. PGG

    Bill Tuthill Guest

    Can you say what it is about Ilford B&W paper that caused it to be
    the preferred choice of the Community Darkroom? Better quality,
    ease of use, lower cost, what?
    Bill Tuthill, Jun 16, 2005
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  2. PGG

    Scott W Guest

    B/W printing is very forgiving, you can use a large range of
    temperatures and the timing is not all that critical, with color
    everything has to be just so, more work then I wanted to do. Getting
    the White balance right is also a pain when doing chemical printing.

    When I got a film scanner and could start to print my own color photos
    from negatives I was amazed at how poorly most labs print photos. I
    have many prints where it looks like I blew out the highlight, but with
    a good scan the highlights look great. Oddly I can scan my negatives,
    adjust the photos for the proper exposure and white balance and then
    take them to the same people that printed from the negatives and the
    prints look great.

    Scott W, Jun 16, 2005
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  3. PGG

    Gordon Moat Guest

    I don't recall any reference about Kodak B/W printing papers being big
    sellers, nor very desirable, for at least the last ten years. I think this
    opens up the market for other companies. Bergger still makes some impressive
    papers, as do Ilford and some other companies. Small market perhaps, but not
    down to no choices.

    This stuff stores quite well, and can last many years. I still have Oriental
    Seagull Baryta paper from over ten years ago, and it is all still usable.

    Inkjet B/W prints are getting closer to being figured out. However, colour
    casts are often an issue with lower to mid price inkjet systems. The other
    issue is that the silver in true B/W prints has a different reflectance than
    B/W inkjet prints, meaning that they will always appear different. True B/W
    prints could become more of an artist choice, rather than a commercial
    photographer choice.
    Gordon Moat, Jun 16, 2005
  4. Do you really have to ask?

    uraniumcommittee, Jun 16, 2005
  5. PGG

    Michael Guest

    This is getting a little OT, but to get good color prints from a lab
    you could photograph a MacBeth color chart on the first frame of film.
    an aggregate representation of the color range of the rest of the roll.

    Michael, Jun 16, 2005
  6. PGG

    Gordon Moat Guest

    I agree with that view. I have rarely heard of anyone using Kodak B/W papers,
    though I here lots of people using Ilford.
    Kodak introduced a B/W Portra paper a few years ago. Actually, a few, since
    different tones like Sepia were also possible. These are geared towards
    commercial labs, with the prints being colour prints, using colour chemicals.
    The advantage for the lab is that automated equipment gets the prints done
    faster. If wedding photographers used this type of service, the colour and B/W
    prints could be done in back to back runs at the lab, so faster turnaround of
    I think the problem comes from commercial labs doing machine prints. The
    turnaround of hand prints, and lack of many choices in labs, means higher costs
    to the end users, and slower turnaround, sometimes with inferior results. While
    RA-4 style B/W does not look as good, it is at least a little consistent.
    Absolutely true for those using B/W for publishing. I doubt many of the
    negatives would ever produce a traditional silver print, though a book full of
    B/W images might be more likely. Commercial printing has an advantage over
    inkjet in that metallic inks can be used, which provides results substantially
    closer to that of true silver prints.
    Gordon Moat, Jun 16, 2005
  7. PGG

    Michael Guest

    I'm in full-out panic over this one. Not so much beacuse of the loss
    of Kodak black-and-white paper; I will find a replacement. What
    worries me is that Kodak will stop producing Tri-X film, my film of
    very deliberate choice. I mean, if you'd have told me before the story
    broke that Kodak was to halt production of black-and-white paper, I'd
    have considered you a doomsday nay-sayer. Now, it seems anything is
    possible with regard to the accelerated elimination of the traditional
    photo processes.

    Michael, Jun 16, 2005
  8. PGG

    Scott W Guest

    I do reprints of B/W from time to time and I have found that I get a
    very good looking output from Costco. I often have a print that was
    done on paper and the Costco prints will normally look better then the
    B/W paper ones. But then these are prints that were made 50 years ago
    and were not perhaps the best prints even then. I only use an ink jet
    printer for a quick look at a photo, if it is a print that I am going
    to want to keep it gets printed at Costco.

    Over the last 10 years I have seen huge improvements in ink jet
    printers, both in the quality of the prints and in the stability of the
    inks, in another 10 years perhaps there will be no reason not to use
    one for all my printing.

    Scott W, Jun 16, 2005
  9. PGG

    Scott W Guest

    Kodak could fix this if they made a public commitment to keep producing
    given films for some period of time. A statement from Kodak saying
    that they would produce Tri-X until at least 2015 is the kind of thing
    I am thinking of. Or a simple statement that they will not discontinue
    any film without at least a two year warning would be good. None of
    this is Kodak likely to do, what we are left with is an uncertainty
    about when they will pull the plug on any given product.

    Scott W, Jun 16, 2005
  10. PGG

    Gordon Moat Guest

    The RA-4 B/W prints are not bad, but not the same thing as traditional B/W prints.
    There is also an issue that variable contrast papers don't get output from machine
    prints, so some images just will not look as good as they could. I have seen good
    looking RA-4 B/W prints, so I don't think it is a bad choice.
    I hope it is sooner than 10 years. In commercial printing, metallic inks have been
    available for a long time, and produce nice results. Take a look at any good book
    of B/W photography, and you will see duotone, tritone, or quadtone prints of B/W
    images that look quite nice. Eventually, inkjet should be able to emulate closer
    what is possible in commercial printing.
    Gordon Moat, Jun 16, 2005
  11. PGG

    Matt Clara Guest

    Matt Clara, Jun 16, 2005
  12. The interesting thing is that for a while, the Kodak lab in .nl really
    got it right. Often I would scan a difficult frame only to find out that
    just getting a result that was as good as their print was tricky.

    Unfortunately, Kodak decided a long time ago that prints where supposed to
    have much more contrast than I consider acceptable. When old system was
    finnaly closed, I switch to having no prints at all. Either Kodak or the
    store decided that for just developement, an other lab was to be used,
    and soon afterwards I discovered that I like Superia Reala.

    It looks like Kodak can now also do poster sized prints. Unfortunately
    they are three times more expensive than the alternative. I wonder if
    they are really that much better.
    Philip Homburg, Jun 16, 2005
  13. And did that become popular?
    That is true. But I have no idea where the volume is in B/W prints. Is it
    in labs doing machine prints?

    Hmm, I just noticed that at the end of last year (the datasheet lists
    November 2004) Kodak introduced a B/W paper for digital exposure. I
    wonder what is going to happen with that.
    Philip Homburg, Jun 16, 2005
  14. PGG

    King Sardon Guest

    Well, it is not Kodak's hobby!

    King Sardon, Jun 16, 2005
  15. If you make crummy products and promote them poorly and pay your people
    too much and stifle creativity and within your organization and refuse
    to compete....what do you expect?

    he people who are now in control at Kodak simply do not want to be
    involved in conventional photography.

    Kodak once made view cameras. View cameras (very expensive ones!) are
    still being made, but not by Kodak.

    Kodak once made high-quality lenses. Such lenses are still being made,
    but not by Kodak.

    Kodak once made enlargers. Enlargers are still being made, but not by

    Kodak once made projectors. Projectors are still being made, but not by

    Practically everything Kodak used to make is still being made, but by
    someone else. So it's false to say that it's the market. Kodak is just
    so idiotic and inflexible that they can't do anything anymore...
    uraniumcommittee, Jun 16, 2005
  16. This is news? I remember being frustrated, back in the day -- the day
    being the 1970s,
    that all the papers that had samples in the databook I had were already
    long discontinued.
    Not that I ever used anything except "Polycontrast RC" if my memory is
    not playing tricks on me.

    I always resented being a generation too late to do the "glossy" thing
    where you dried your print against a plate. (What were those called?)

    Anyone here ever make a platinum print?
    James Of Tucson, Jun 17, 2005
  17. With a public corporation the size of Kodak, the only answer for any
    question is money. Which is as it should be, because of their
    responsibility to their stockholders.

    There's no such thing as tradition, there's no such thing as loyalty to
    customers, and there's certainly no such thing as producing a proiduct
    because it fills a public need.

    With the documented rapid decrease in the total market, there's
    literally no choice in the matter. That doesn't mean we have to like
    it. I don't even USE Kodak paper, and I felt like selling my enlarger
    when I heard this.
    Scott Schuckert, Jun 17, 2005
  18. Ferrotype plates. Expensive, and had to be cared for properly. Scratch
    one and every print made thereafter would show the scratch. I remember
    carefully cleaning mine, and buffing the surface with a special liquid
    wax made for just that purpose.

    In retrospect, a real pain in the ass, but a true craft that could
    produce a B&W print you'd swear you could fall into, far superior to
    any current process. I still tend to thing of resin-coated paper as
    "that cheap stuff for quick and dirty jobs".
    Scott Schuckert, Jun 17, 2005
  19. I find this depressing. I knew that film had a finite lifetime, but, for
    I agree. Particularly because, where there's expensive digital
    technology that comes pretty close to film color printing, nothing
    digital comes close to B/W (to say nothing of the fact that B/W
    darkroom work is so much fun).

    Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Jun 17, 2005
  20. PGG

    Alan Browne Guest

    I would hazard the guess that most serious Tri-X shooters print on
    non-Kodak paper products, so Kodak will continue to produce the film for
    a while yet.

    I would also guess that Tri-X 320/400 will keep in a freezer for upwards
    of 5-7 years with little degradation. The dry chemicals can be mixed a
    long time down the road. So begin planning a shopping spree.

    If you wrap the film in heavy polystyrene|polyethelyne and place in a
    thick aluminum box (say 5mm walls), then into the deep freezer, most
    gammas will be stopped as well and the film would last much longer.

    Alan Browne, Jun 17, 2005
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