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Thread: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

  1. #11

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    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    Yes, Drew, I, too, was very skeptical re the price, but I've now seen similar figures quoted on other East-Coast-based web sites.
    In terms of the superior beauty (de gustibus.........) of the Ilfochromes, the images I saw compared were both the result of high-resolution drum scans + Lightjet printing as well as of Velvia 50 chromes, and in both cases, the Ilfochrome was the clear winner. Just gorgeous! Clear, the extra costs for the Ciba process and the dearth of labs dedicated to Ilfochromes, make the Fujiflex apparently the only alternative in town these days. I haven't seen anything printed on the Ilford High Gloss papers, but after hearing all the hype surrounding Fujiflex and then seeing the output, I'll remain dedicated to a healthy dose of skepticism.

  2. #12
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    Bill - lacquers are voodoo. They turn yellow over time and in several other ways
    spoil the "archival" qualities of any print. In some cases you could ferrotype a small print, if anyone still has the equipment for it.

  3. #13
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    Van - I've shot some of the new Ektar 100 to see how it prints on Fuji paper. Sadly,
    this is not available as sheet film. But all color negatives are inherently a bit off in gamut, so not a real substitute for masked transparencies on Ciba. Of course, Ciba
    has its own gamut idiosyncrasies. And I have seen Fuji Supergloss prints done so
    well digitally that they were being falsely (or perhaps mistakenly) sold as Ilfochromes. I could obviously spot the difference, but they were surprisingly good.
    Like everything else, a good chef can make a good cake with an ordinary set of
    ingredients, but a poor chef can't do well even with the best ingredients.

  4. #14

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    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    Back in the eighties and until the beginning of this century I've personally printed a considerable amount on Ciba/Ilfochrome (I'll just refer to it as Ciba) and all of the others, including the now discontinued Fujichrome paper (from a trans and optically direct to print, like Ciba).
    I used to have a love-hate relationship with Ciba, as it was hard to print, the chem is hard on the equipment, exposures were long, and its' expensive. Many times the Ciba didn't look as good as one of the others, due to the high contrast and saturation, it was over the top for some images, but the ones that worked on it, really worked well, and looked fantastic, nothing could beat them.
    I had a few masking techniques that I used to help to deal with the contrast on Ciba.
    This was optically, of course, but then when digital came in I did a lot of work on a Durst Lambda, and the closest looking was the Fuji Flex (Super Glossy), but in a side by side comparison, the Ciba often won. Using a Lambda or Lightjet to do Ciba's (instead of optically) gives you the ability to fine tune the contrast and saturation to get the best from the product. Working on a Mac gives a lot more flexibility than I could get using masks in the darkroom.
    I will also agree the other poster, that mounted and framed it can be near impossible to tell if it is a Fuji or a Ciba.
    That all said, the cost and availabilty of the Ciba is a serious issue, and I have made stunning looking prints on Fuji Flex, or the Metallic (which they call Pearl, I think).
    Try Elevator in Toronto, they used to do Ciba, and still do digital prints on the Fuji materials.
    Keith

  5. #15

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    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    Adam, some years ago I worked with a batch of Ciba transparency film (I forget the designation). My intent was to try backlighting the printed image using a thin fluorescent box with a diffuser for a commercial application. These were certainly some of the most spectacular of images I have ever made. The huge advantage being the dynamic range (no masking needed). OTOH using a simple white reflecting back with the Ciba transparency film (or any equivalent) is a poor choice since the image still needs to be front lighted. Image contrast is further reduced due to the front lighting having to pass twice through the Ciba emulsion.

    Currently I use a pretty hard condenser enlarger for most Ilfochromes with rigorous dust control and occasional TM100 masks if needed. I tend to concentrate on lower contrast scenes in the field and use a fair bit of Fuji Astia 100 film. If I look at my work in comparison with other exhibition material I mostly find the Ilfochrome has a slight edge in some way I find hard to put into words. Maybe it has to do with the texture of the visible grain due to the collimation of my 4X5 enlarger. But the splendid aspect of a well done Ciba has much to do with personal preference.

    Nate Potter, Austin TX.

  6. #16

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    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Bill - lacquers are voodoo. They turn yellow over time and in several other ways
    spoil the "archival" qualities of any print. In some cases you could ferrotype a small print, if anyone still has the equipment for it.
    This isn't true with modern laquers. You just need the correct sort. I discussed this with an art restorer friend of mine. He recommended the following UK supplier.
    Acrylics are what many archival (acid free) glues are made with.

    http://www.polyvine.com/category/sho...%20varnishes/6

  7. #17

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    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill_1856 View Post
    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?
    You won't ever get the depth of ciba. The surface finish and chemical make up of ciba creates less light scatter in the emulsion than any other paper. Result is that it holds more detail than any other paper which is one of the reasons it looks the way it does. It should be easy to get the colour vibrancy with other printing materials, especially dye based inks, but not the sharp fine detail which gives the depth.

  8. #18
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    Sorry, but I'd be VERY careful about taking the advice of some art restorers about
    photo prints and lacquers. RC paper is another animal from the type of things they're generally familiar with. You have to think about differential expansion vs
    contraction, aging of the PET layer itself etc. I know some "expert" restorers who
    have ruined entire collections of valuable photographs. For short term or casual decor use you can apply a glossy acrylic laminate, but that's a bit expensive unless you're selling the piece. Some people apply Renaissance wax to the print, but that
    easily catches dust and lint in the process unless you're very careful. And none of
    this is going to replicate the 3D look of a true polyester print, especially if it is printed optically with extreme detail. The biggest problem I have with shiny prints
    is real-world lighting them when they're large. You have a lot of glare issues, and
    a sheet of optically coated acylic large enough to frame a 30x40 print costs $550!
    The bigger you get, a less glossy "gloss" RC paper makes more sense on the
    typical wall. I have had people salivating over my big Cibas who went with something cheaper simply because of the lighting issue.

  9. #19

    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    Try Lightjet flex prints
    they look amazing with no cibachrome's stigma of toxic chemistry

  10. #20
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Anything out there close to Cibachrome?

    All color chemistry is potentially toxic. On the scale commercial labs usd chemicals,
    Ciba bleach is highly corrosive to both machine components and plumbing. It's basically sulfuric acid. But for personal use, this is very easily neutralized. I find
    RA4 blix to be much worse for me personally. I just unpacked a new RA4 machine
    which I'll have to set up in a completely different small building from my darkroom,
    and tranfer prints in a light-tight container between the two locations. This is because I can't tolerate much exposure to RA4 chems. One gets sensitized to these
    things rather quickly. So from a health standpoint, it's about equal. Be careful with
    any of them. And in time there will probably even be a few individuals who get
    sensitized to the glycols evaporating from fresh inkjet prints. Right now, the EPA is
    on target to ban glycols from house paints over the next decade or so.

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