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Thread: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

  1. #1

    Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    I've been printing digitally, mostly Lightjet, since I started shooting LF about 4 years ago. But everytime I go into galleries with Cibachromes, I come out wishing I could acheive that look digitally. All but 1 or 2 labs worldwide have done away with digital Ciba's printed on LJ's and Lambdas....etc, and then ones left are pretty darn expensive. I've used FujiFlex, and its ok, but has a much lower gamut than most digital papers, and still doesn't have the depth I'm looking for. I found threads about Pictorico hi-gloss white film on inkjets, and had a friend test it, and I guess it falls way short when trying to achieve that Ciba look. Has anyone out there found anything that they would say comes close? I know the Harman papers are well liked, but they don't have a Ciba look them either. I read a thread once that suggested printing on a trans film, and then mounting it to a paper and I was thinking of Kodak Metallic. Does anyone think this might work to achieve the metallicy high saturation, but still get the depth that Ciba's had?

    Adam Kavalunas
    www.plateauvisions.com

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    If you want Ciba/Ilfochrome, why not just shoot trannies (and make your own prints)?
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  3. #3

    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    I do shoot transparency film, mostly Astia these days. I'm not really looking to get into doing my own printing. With the cost of setting up everything and getting all the raw materials, it just isn't feasable right now, especially since I woud have no room for it. I print up to 40x50, so making my own prints that big is something I'm just not looking to do.

  4. #4
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    I'd forget about inkjet. Fuji high gloss can indeed resemble a Ciba if properly done.
    The gamut will actually be more accurate, but you will never be able to get as much
    micro-detail as printing directly from a large format negative onto this material. This
    does not mean it will have the same "look" as Ciba, which depends to some extent on
    the idiosyncrasies of the specific medium itself. But you can get that rich 3d effect
    and a better impression of detail than with other forms of digital output. Still, if you
    want a real Ciba you have to order a real Ciba, printed opticallly. Side-by-side, the
    distinction becomes apparent.

  5. #5

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    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    Adam, get Michael Gordon to print an image for you on the Designjet 130. It's still the best color printer out there in my humble and mostly ignorant opinion.

  6. #6

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    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    Adam - I've been there. I tried a number of digital materials (albeit, more than 5 years ago) but I'm back to Ilfochrome. It's expensive and the chemistry has a short shelf life and it is inconvenient even with the automatic processor I use, but the prints have a look that no other process has.

    PM me if you live in the metro NY area.

  7. #7

    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    I did a test on Fuji SuperGloss - Pearl paper and was impressed at how much it resembles Cibachrome. For larger dynamic color prints it's my preferred choice. I do use Pictorico for smaller prints, the most 3D look I've seen for inkjet.

  8. #8

    Join Date
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    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    FWIW: Weldon Labs (one of the last hold-outs doing Cibachrome in the US), has closed its Ilfochrome lab work and has switched completely to Fujiflex. Looking at side-by-side comparisons of identical images printed on Ilfochrome / Fujiflex, the Ilfochrome shots win hands-down. There is simply no comparison! Now the last lab in California (?) is Lab Ciba in Burbank! You'd better get your print orders in now while there's still a chance. Weldon Labs said the reason they'd phased out the Ilfochrome work was that the maker of the chemicals had priced the process out of the market, with an increase of over 400%. Few clients can now pay the extra premium for the incomparable beauty of Ilfochrome.

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    I'd be rather skeptical about the price of Ciba chemistry going up that much. Yes, the
    dollar is somewhat weak, but other there's nothing particularly unusual about what goes into the other chemicals. What is far more likely is the maintenance and
    overhead caused by storing and disposing of the caustic bleach. It is especially hard
    on the processors themselves, which are getting harder to get parts for. And there
    might be certain hazmat charges in the EU which cause an issue. For those of us
    who use this in simple drum processors, this is a minor problem. On a commercial
    scale, however, it can be quite cumbersome. I might try another run of Fuji Supergloss printed optically. The biggest problem in this case is that negatives
    simply don't have as much saturation and contrast as chromes, so one needs to be
    picky about what one prints, or enlarge it to a somewhat lower magnification to
    keep the saturation better. With digital you can obviously adjust your saturation
    easily, but you sacrifice a lot of that very fine detail which makes large format
    printing so desirable in the first place.

  10. #10

    Join Date
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    4,585

    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    I've never tried it, but wonder how effective it might be to lacquer a regular color print (either Fuji or inkjet) to get some of the apparent depth of a Ciba?
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

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