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tgtaylor
21-Apr-2014, 12:52
Has anyone used this paper for optical (RA-4) printing? How does it compare with Fuji? With Arista?

Thomas

tgtaylor
22-Apr-2014, 19:35
Shoot, no one on this forum has any experience with this paper. But I'm motivated to try it anyway. You have to but it in boxes of 2 rolls @$137.50 each for a 11"x288' roll. That computes to 246 11x14 sheets or 56 cents/sheet/roll. No bad really and this is supposed to be Kodak's best color paper. Should be easy to cut with my Logan matt cutter - just one cut per sheet and you can cut a 50 sheet box off the roll in no time.

Anyone interested in going half on a two roll order? Your cost would be $137.50 + 1/2 of whatever FedEx ground charges would be - probably ~$10. Send me a PM if interested.

Thomas

frotog
29-Apr-2014, 07:04
Hi, Thomas,

I have a few rolls of the Premier. Comparisons to Fuji CA-ii aren't fair as Ca-ii is cheap minilab paper.

A few things about premier...

It'll give you a solid black.
The colors under the enlarger aren't as true as the previous iteration from kodak, Endura VC.
It's nowhere near as good as the old Supra, namely due to crossover and increased saturation and contrast.
If you're committed to making c-prints under the enlarger, it is your best option.


If you're just looking to try it out, I can sell you a box of 50 sheets. PM me if interested.

tgtaylor
29-Apr-2014, 08:43
PM sent.

Drew Wiley
29-Apr-2014, 11:36
Frotog is spinning the same badmouthing BS about Fuji as over on APUG, which has been abundantly refuted already by numerous users of CAII. He's welcome to
give a recommendation about Kodak paper (I have no experience with it). Fuji makes a number of CAII papers, and most of them enlarge superbly.

frotog
29-Apr-2014, 13:36
I'm not sure where you get your info from. Fuji CA ii is Fuji's name for a singular product in their photographic paper catalogue. As I've stated before, it is Fuji's only consumer paper in their current line-up of papers. And yes, it is cheap minilab paper with extremely low silver content. This much is fact and as such, indisputable.

Your feelings about the paper, on the other hand, are purely subjective and the possibility of true opinions regarding your results is limited only by the knowledge you bring to it.

Drew Wiley
29-Apr-2014, 15:24
I'm not going to waste as much time here as I did on APUG trying to convince someone about the merits of a WIDE SELECTION of papers he has obviously never even used, and in fact, doesn't even admit exists. Plenty of people on this forum know otherwise, and a few even make their living with optically enlarged CAII papers. Photofinishing or minilab products are just one small category of the offerings under the CAII designation. MY INFO is gotten from printing the real deal. I sure as heck haven't had any problem getting wide rolls of the stuff in a selection of surfaces, including glossy polyester. But one can't play a violin well with a hacksaw either, even though they insist a violin bow doesn't exist.

frotog
29-Apr-2014, 18:59
You are correct Drew, I've only used a handful of Fuji's paper offerings. However, I have printed under the enlarger with CAII (the paper that is still offered in cut sheets) and I can say this much with great confidence - it does not take a master printer to realize just how truly awful the CAII emulsion is. On the other hand, their professional offering, Fuji CN, is a fantastic paper when used with laser light as intended. Incidentally, type CN would be a much more apt comparison to Kodak's Premier.

For anyone curious about Fuji's current photographic paper line-up, you can get the complete rundown here (for the US)... http://www.fujifilmusa.com/products/photofinishing/paper_lab_products/color_papers_printing_materials/index.html

Show me someone who is making their living printing with CAII and I'll show you a minilab operator.

Thanks for your contribution here, Drew. Best of luck with all your endeavors!

Drew Wiley
30-Apr-2014, 09:10
I'm still convinced you've tested a completely different paper than we are using here. If you just don't like something, that is your prerogative or taste. But the Fuji
CAII papers I've used are only about 5cc's different in green balance, on the average, from the highly regarded previous generation of Super C and P papers, with
slightly cleaner colors overall. And no, these are not mini-lab operators I'm referring to. Anything but. If anything, the results are even better optically enlarged than
with the expensive wide-format laser printers. It's just the prep stages of workflow which differ.

tgtaylor
30-Apr-2014, 10:30
Well I’ve had good results in the past with Fuji CA but that was previous CA before the optimized for digital product and, perhaps more important, I was shooting Fuji 160-S and Fuji Realia back then. Now I’m shooting Kodak and there was thread on apug about printing Kodak negatives on Fuji paper. Apparently Kodak film didn’t print well on Fuji paper but surprisingly Fuji film printed well on Kodak paper. IRRC Ron Mowrey (PE) was instructed by Kodak to look into the disparity but I don’t recall the outcome.

In any event I want to compare both papers side by side to see which gives the better result. Also both papers are “optimized” for digital exposure and my enlarger uses a 250 watt halogen bulb. Would the difference (if any) in the light have any effect on the outcome? Both papers are processed RA-4.

Thomas

Drew Wiley
30-Apr-2014, 10:52
I print Kodak negs all the time on Fuji paper. There seems to be a big misunderstanding about what "digitally optimized" means. CAII refers to the class of dyes in use. Otherwise, there is quite a selection. Apparently, some cut sheet product for sale in the EU has in fact been cut from rolls really intended to digital automated
processing lines. The kind of Fuji-label cut sheet being sold by places like B&H and Freestyle (and also avail in big rolls) is engineered as DUAL-USE, both digital laser devices and optical enlargement. This is plainly specified on the tech sheets, if not the marketing sheets. Being improved for green laser response and contrast issues does not in any manner compromise these papers for optical printing. In fact, they're better than ever. Of course, fine-tuning negative contrast to a specific paper is always an issue with color neg printing, or any other kind of optical color printing. I don't know where you live in the Bay area. My studio is still under remodeling, but if you need to see a few example of CAII optically printed, I could probably bring them to my office here in Berkeley. This obviously doesn't
mean Fuji paper will be ideal for your own printing equip or subject matter. But it will give you a good impression of the quality of the paper.

tgtaylor
30-Apr-2014, 11:56
Thanks Drew but I bought a box of CAII a couple of weeks back from K&S. Part C in my RA-4 Developer kit went bad and I have 2 kits being delivered on Friday and I am currently 8 rolls (35 and 120) behind on printing + whatever I shoot this weekend. I bought a box of Kodak from frotog and looking forward to comparing the results.

Thomas

Drew Wiley
30-Apr-2014, 13:26
Yes. Please report back. I probably have to forego all color printing this season, just so I can finish painting the house before the hypothetical Nino, and get some
lab remodeling in too. The black and white stations aren't affected.

frotog
1-May-2014, 11:52
Once again, CA II is a specific emulsion used only on one Fuji paper product in the US - CA II. CA II is not a "class of dyes", nor is it the same thing as Drew's roll of Fujiflex that he continuously refers to. I'm not sure why there's all the deliberate obfuscation surrounding this fact.

CA II, as I've mentioned before, is fuji's least expensive paper product they sell. If you want to compare it to a kodak product, a fairer comparison will be kodak edge or royal, Kodak's two competing consumer products - equally as lousy for enlargement. Fuji CN is what the pro labs use when making exhibition quality prints. If you want to compare the premier to a similar quality Fuji product, you'd need a roll of Fuji CN. Nonetheless, in a comparison to Fuji CA II the most glaring differences will be dmax and saturation. The Fuji cut sheet product will pale in comparison to the kodak professional paper.

There are no light source tweaks one can do to their enlarger head to make these contemporary, digitally optimized papers work better under an enlarger. However, if you choose to use Fuji's current crop of papers, you'd be wise to educate yourself on what the fuji techs refer to as "latent image drift", a design compromise necessary to the engineering of an emulsion capable of full exposure under a millisecond blast of laser light. L.I.D. is accounted for in the laser light workflow and is therefore not a concern when the paper is used this way. However, latent image drift should be a concern for anyone seeking to use these papers under tungsten light should the operator stand a fighting chance at anything approaching a properly color balanced print. The fact that Fuji does not alert the consumer to this anomaly on the packaging of their sole product intended exclusively for darkroom hobbyists, Fuji CA II in cut sheets, is just further evidence of their regard for this niche of their consumer base, namely that they are merely hobbyists, more concerned with "doing photography" then making exhibition quality prints that demand subtle, repeatable changes to the color pack in their workflow.

How do you plan on processing your RA-4 paper, tgtaylor?

Drew Wiley
1-May-2014, 12:14
100% wrong again. Nearly all of Fuji's papers currently being coated are CAII. If you run into Type C or P, it's probably slightly older paper (and there's still plenty around still for sale - it keeps fairly well). The transition of Fujiflex into Type II was posted based on the batch code, with an official notice from Fuji when that was
(almost three years ago already). I've used both, and yes, they are a bit different. Dual-purpose papers are intended for typical enlarger times, not milliseconds. There is very little recip failure or filtration correction up till at least a minute (these papers expose fast, so I've never tested them beyond that). The biggest pro
lab in this area uses the same paper in both enlarger and wide-format laser printers, not to be confused with small economy "machine prints" or the roll products used in them (which you are totally confusing this with, Frotog). I don't think "hobbyists" are much interested big rolls of paper or the kind of equipment it takes
to process them. And I don't know why you keep disseminating total misinformation, Frotog. I'm certainly not going to criticize you for preferring one brand of paper over another. But you quite plainly have never even used the kinds of Fuji papers you condemn, and in fact, keep claiming don't exist. These products are
very high quality in terms of color reproduction and quality control. And I state this for the general readership. Otherwise, it's clearly a waste of time trying to
convince the Flat Earth Society.

tgtaylor
1-May-2014, 12:20
Kodak also refers to the latent image shift and, IIRC, cautions to process the paper with 24 hours. I don’t wait. I remove it from the easel and put it in the Jobo tank and process immediately in a Jobo CPA22 with Kodak RA-4 chemistry. The only difference between the digital and analogue methods is the light source which, in my case, is between the laser LEDs or whatever and my 250 watt Halogen bulb in a Besseler 45S color head.

Also, IIRC, Kodak advises to use an IR blocker. I don’t know if the digital light sources emit IR but I believe that the halogen does although it is shifted more to the blue than a regular incandescent bulb. Since I will be one of the very few still printing chromogenic C-prints, I’d like to perfect printing in this style as much as possible. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thomas

Drew Wiley
1-May-2014, 15:32
Latent image shift with the correct Fuji papers is negligible within 24 hrs. I doubt you could even measure it on a typical densitometer. Leaving the print after exposure in a dry processing drum or paper safe doesn't seem to have any side effect. I've never tested anything beyond a day later, however. The CAII products are very well corrected in this respect, just as they claim. I cannot speak for alleged IR sensitivity, except that ordinary halogen systems seem to be a non-issue.
Most colorheads with dichroic filtration seem to have a sufficient handle on that. I have yet to test the CAII products on my older Chromega colorhead, but based
on previous experience, I would not anticipate any problem. All my current work is done on my halogen additive (RGB) colorheads, though I'm about to install a backup 8x10 Durst unit with a subtractive halogen head (sometimes the additive system is just a bit too much in terms of clean color punch, esp with Ektar film).

tgtaylor
2-May-2014, 17:14
Hi William,

If you haven't already shipped the paper, please let me know. I would like to change the shipping address if you haven't already shipped it. If you did ship, please send me the tracking number so that I will know when to expect it.

Thanks,

Thomas

frotog
2-May-2014, 19:25
TGtaylor - Your paper already shipped to the original address you supplied me with. Please let me know that it arrives safely.

Drew - your willful ignorance on this matter is confounding as information regarding Fuji CAII as well as the rest of their product line is readily available to anyone who cares to navigate to it. CA II is only available in rolls up to 12" wide, sheets up to 20x24. Can you not read? See here... http://www.fujifilmusa.com/shared/bin/AF3-190U2_PIB_TypeII_Paper.pdf for sizes, surfaces and availability. Any questions, save it for a fuji rep and leave me out of it. I've already given my professional opinion on Fuji CAII. I've never tried the fujiflex, but if it's like their other professional papers (see original link for complete list) then it should be of comparable quality to Endura. If you need to tilt at windmills in order to regard yourself as the great apologist for analogue printing, then have at it but your bout of magical thinking regarding what's caii and what's not only serves to make you seem either thick-headed or downright loony.

So put down your lance, brave knight of the sorrowful countenance, and rest awhile...(while I look for the nearest exit from this conversation).

Larry Kellogg
2-May-2014, 20:28
I have used quite a bit of the Kodak paper and love it.

Larry

Drew Wiley
5-May-2014, 09:28
Frotog - first of all, that's the wrong tech sheet. Second, all someone has to do is get ahold of a Fuji price list to note the availability of CAII paper clear up to fifty inch wide rolls. You're welcome to call me a liar, but like I've told you before, I've got forty inch rolls of more than one flavor of it (all CAII) in my darkroom right now.
So does the main commercial lab around here. So do several other people who log into this forum from time to time. Anyone who has successfully printed Super C
or P won't have any problem with Type II. The speed and color balance are very similar. Easy. ... Otherwise, "ignore" function now deployed (long overdo).

mnemosyne
6-May-2014, 09:48
Hi, I am relatively new to RA4 printing and don't want to get involved with the dispute raging between the experts here, but to answer your original question, I found that Kodak Endura Premier gives me excellent results when printed optically.It is available as custom cut paper here in Germany. I printed mostly from Ektar or Portra 400 negatives using a desktop roller transport machine with Rollei Digibase chemicals, but will probably switch to Kodak Ektacolor RT/LU chemistry in the future. So, I don't see any reason why you shouldn't try the paper. Even if you don't have access to cut sheets, the price of RA4 paper is so modest it shouldn't be a problem to order a roll and cut your own sheets to try it out.

tgtaylor
6-May-2014, 12:52
I agree! The cost per sheet of 11x14 is only 56 cents and it should be easy to cut from a 11”x266’ roll. The only problem is that they are packaged two rolls to a case ($137.50/roll) which is too much paper for a single user. If two people can split a case (1 roll each) than that would be ideal. A 100 sheet of 11x14 CA runs almost $90 at B&H (90 cents a sheet).

Anyone out there interested in splitting a case?

Thomas

mnemosyne
6-May-2014, 23:23
I see, situation is a bit more comfortable here in Europe, as the rolls of 30.5 cm (12") and wider are available as single rolls. You might also want to look for someone to split a case over on APUG. Anyway, good luck in finding a partner for your purchase! One more thing, maybe of interest for those who think about starting with their own RA4 printing here in Europe ... In the beginning I tried the Fuji CA paper that is available as cut sheet in Germany from MACO. I have no idea if it is the same cut CA paper available abroad (the whole Fuji CA branding policy is really confusing), but it appears this is the budget (lowest quality) version of the CA available and the price is almost the same as for the custom cut Kodak paper, to which it is clearly inferior. When you compare both side by side, the Kodak paper has a thicker (stiffer) base, darker blacks (the Fuji blacks appear a bit mottled in direct comparison) and (the glossy version) shows a very beautiful gloss just from plain air drying, while the glossy Fuji CA paper has a somewhat dull appearance and has to go through a infrared dryer to show a nice gloss. There are other Fuji CA papers available here in rolls and I have no doubt that they are much better quality than the basic Fuji CA, but I am very happy with the Kodak Endura Premier paper right now, so I do not see any reason to switch horses.

frotog
7-May-2014, 05:07
I see, situation is a bit more comfortable here in Europe, as the rolls of 30.5 cm (12") and wider are available as single rolls. You might also want to look for someone to split a case over on APUG. Anyway, good luck in finding a partner for your purchase! One more thing, maybe of interest for those who think about starting with their own RA4 printing here in Europe ... In the beginning I tried the Fuji CA paper that is available as cut sheet in Germany from MACO. I have no idea if it is the same cut CA paper available abroad (the whole Fuji CA branding policy is really confusing), but it appears this is the budget (lowest quality) version of the CA available and the price is almost the same as for the custom cut Kodak paper, to which it is clearly inferior. When you compare both side by side, the Kodak paper has a thicker (stiffer) base, darker blacks (the Fuji blacks appear a bit mottled in direct comparison) and (the glossy version) shows a very beautiful gloss just from plain air drying, while the glossy Fuji CA paper has a somewhat dull appearance and has to go through a infrared dryer to show a nice gloss. There are other Fuji CA papers available here in rolls and I have no doubt that they are much better quality than the basic Fuji CA, but I am very happy with the Kodak Endura Premier paper right now, so I do not see any reason to switch horses.

Mottled blacks you say? Thin base? Clearly inferior when compared to premier? Sounds like European Ca in sheets is the same emulsion as CA-II here in the states. You are right, this is a budget paper, intended for minilab use and only later marketed as a cut sheet product to hobbyists - for those who remember RA-4 printing before all the cut paper disappeared this current fuji cut sheet product is not only an abomination but a cruel joke being played on those expecting a professional quality product.

Premier is decent but it has nowhere near the color fidelity of the old Supra Endura. These days, printing from digital files is so vastly superior to traditional c-printing that I see absolutely no reason to suffer through trying to make exhibition quality prints from materials not designed to be used under an enlarger. What could you possibly gain?

Admittedly, I'm still printing RA-4 under an enlarger but the bulk of my work this way is archiving. I still have some of the old supra in a chest freezer - some rolls, several hundred sheets of 11x14. Printing with this stuff after working with digitally optimized Premier makes me feel as though I've just removed ankle weights after walking around with them on all day long!

frotog
7-May-2014, 05:18
Frotog - first of all, that's the wrong tech sheet. Second, all someone has to do is get ahold of a Fuji price list to note the availability of CAII paper clear up to fifty inch wide rolls. You're welcome to call me a liar, but like I've told you before, I've got forty inch rolls of more than one flavor of it (all CAII) in my darkroom right now.
So does the main commercial lab around here. So do several other people who log into this forum from time to time. Anyone who has successfully printed Super C
or P won't have any problem with Type II. The speed and color balance are very similar. Easy. ... Otherwise, "ignore" function now deployed (long overdo).

The link I posted is to a tech sheet for Fuji Crystal archive Type II. This is clear as day. Only a fool or someone who has something to hide would say otherwise. This much is not news though...

But just for giggles - if not a tech sheet for Type II, please tell us what I linked to, Drew?

tgtaylor
7-May-2014, 07:21
The benefit of working with C-41 is that negative film has a far greater latitude than transparency and is much lower in cost. And, last but certainly least, you can print it “traditionally” using the RA-4 process and you can print it digitally.

Thomas

agregov
7-May-2014, 09:35
I've been printing with the Fuji papers in the darkroom for the past 4-5 years on either a Colex or Omnipro processors. Unfortunately, I don't yet have experience with Premier (love to try it!). But I have used Kodak Supra Endura. You can't get the Supra Endura any longer but I'd guess it will likely be in a similar ballpark as Premier. My experience:


Fuji Crystal Type II - This is the thinest weight paper of the three I have used--easier to ding, though not much a problem for 16x20 and under. It's the least contrasty of the bunch and skews a bit on the blue/green side of things.
Fuji Crystal Type C - This is a thicker weight paper than the Type II. It's more contrasty and I've noticed it picks up magenta/reds stronger than the Type II.
Kodak Supra Endura - This is the thickest weight paper of the bunch. It's also the most contrasty with very strong, vibrant colors. Makes the Fuji papers look like they came from a different planet.

What do I personally prefer? If I had a paper cutter at home, I'd probably buy rolls of Type C and use that for most of my printing. It's a nice contrasty paper, straight forward to color correct by sight (as opposed to using a color analyzer) and readily available on B&H. But cutting paper is a pain. So, I primarily use Type II. I personally found the Kodak colors too strong for my taste and more difficult to color correct than the Fuji papers. I would have loved to print on the old Supra but I came to color analog printing just as it was being discontinued.

What I hope people just starting out printing RA4 don't take away from this thread is that Type II is shitty paper. Because it's not. In fact, I work with advanced analog printers who prefer it as it offers a flatter look to their images. The irony in the whole "minilab" part of this discussion, is that if these labs weren't still around and doing decent business, there'd be no paper available at all. The paper manufacturers couldn't do enough business from the art crowd to justify continued manufacturing.

I've printed some spectacular images (IMHO) with Type II. I'm glad it's still around in cut sheets. As long as I have access to a Colex and Ominpro, I'll happily continue printing with it.

Drew Wiley
7-May-2014, 09:45
The color balance and speed of Super C, CAII, and Fujiflex are almost identical. The CAII RC-based paper is slightly lower contrast (but higher contrast than Type P). It is a brighter white paper, so renders some hues cleaner, and there are other minor color reproductions improvements. The cut sheet product is a bit thinner than
Super C, so in really big sizes some people prefer the older C paper, though I haven't had an issues handling it. The current Fujiflex is a tad more contrasty than either, with bolder blacks, but otherwise similar to expose. It is deluxe stuff which has the look of Cibachrome, costs a lot more than the paper-based products, and
is only available in big rolls at this time. I handle minor contrast change issues just like all of us did when printing chromes all these years - with unsharp masking.
That might be overkill for routine commercial printing, but is a valuable skill for fine-tuning high-quality prints. CAII is perfectly amenable to outstanding results in
this manner. But most of the time, the average darkroom printer doesn't even need to resort to that if they shoot the correct contrast color neg film for the
subject and lighting in the first place. Please don't get scared off people - printing from color negs onto RA4 papers is just about the easiest form of color printing I can think of, though you can up the quality with advanced techniques too, if you prefer, just like any other category of darkroom skill.

Drew Wiley
7-May-2014, 09:59
Another giant myth is that you can't get good prints optically, in the darkroom, with these current materials. A dedicated worker should be able to get prints AT
LEAST as good as a lab with an expensive Lightjet or Chromira or Lamda system. After all, you're going to avoid all the scanning headaches. And with large format
originals, you'll get sharper prints too, if your technique is good. But how you prefer to handle contrast and saturation is really a personal preference, whether PS
or hands-on darkroom style. Either way, an experienced worker should be able to obtain world-class quality with several current Fuji papers.

tgtaylor
7-May-2014, 12:38
Will,

FedEx just delivered the paper.

Thomas

frotog
7-May-2014, 12:46
I've been printing with the Fuji papers in the darkroom for the past 4-5 years on either a Colex or Omnipro processors. Unfortunately, I don't yet have experience with Premier (love to try it!). But I have used Kodak Supra Endura. You can't get the Supra Endura any longer but I'd guess it will likely be in a similar ballpark as Premier. My experience:


Fuji Crystal Type II - This is the thinest weight paper of the three I have used--easier to ding, though not much a problem for 16x20 and under. It's the least contrasty of the bunch and skews a bit on the blue/green side of things.
Fuji Crystal Type C - This is a thicker weight paper than the Type II. It's more contrasty and I've noticed it picks up magenta/reds stronger than the Type II.
Kodak Supra Endura - This is the thickest weight paper of the bunch. It's also the most contrasty with very strong, vibrant colors. Makes the Fuji papers look like they came from a different planet.

What do I personally prefer? If I had a paper cutter at home, I'd probably buy rolls of Type C and use that for most of my printing. It's a nice contrasty paper, straight forward to color correct by sight (as opposed to using a color analyzer) and readily available on B&H. But cutting paper is a pain. So, I primarily use Type II. I personally found the Kodak colors too strong for my taste and more difficult to color correct than the Fuji papers. I would have loved to print on the old Supra but I came to color analog printing just as it was being discontinued.

What I hope people just starting out printing RA4 don't take away from this thread is that Type II is shitty paper. Because it's not. In fact, I work with advanced analog printers who prefer it as it offers a flatter look to their images. The irony in the whole "minilab" part of this discussion, is that if these labs weren't still around and doing decent business, there'd be no paper available at all. The paper manufacturers couldn't do enough business from the art crowd to justify continued manufacturing.

I've printed some spectacular images (IMHO) with Type II. I'm glad it's still around in cut sheets. As long as I have access to a Colex and Ominpro, I'll happily continue printing with it.

Your report on your findings is woefully out of date. You won't be printing on Supra Endura or Fuji Super C as they were both discontinued about five years ago (see here for a discontinuance notice on Super C...https://dgs.oce.com/PrinterSupport/LJ_Customer_Access/Media_Targets/LJ5000_MediaTargets.htm.
Their replacements, Endura Premier and Fuji type CN, both digital papers, behave in a completely different manner altogether. I suggest you try them, reevaluate and report back.

I'm always baffled by people choosing paper thickness as a priority in their critique of a photo paper. Why would anyone equate thickness with quality? Besides, what does it matter once the image is mounted, framed, tipped into a portfolio or whatever? No, the criteria should be about how well the paper reproduces color. And given that the prevailing state of the art in RA-4 is laser exposure, no paper comparison is complete without factoring in how good a digital print looks on this media. Once an "advanced analog printer" sees the results from a high end scan outputted on Fuji Super type CN or Kodak Premier, the comparison print on the lowly Fuji CA II does indeed look "shitty" in comparison. If the "advanced analog printer" can't see these differences then... well then maybe you should reconsider the use of the word "advanced". Of course if you're a "master printer" like Drew Wiley and prefer to spend your time making contrast masks and color masks in order to make world's sharpest and most authentic c-prints ever then you could just skip that comparison and rest assured that you know best and all these pixel farming hipsters are just lazy sell-outs who don't know better.

BTW, the bulk of the RA4 market is display, not minilab output.

Drew Wiley
7-May-2014, 12:58
The most accurate color reproduction I've ever gotten with ANY color medium so far has been on Type II with the latest Kodak color neg films, OPTICALLY printed. In fact, this is specifically why I went with CAII, besides the alleged improvement in fade-resistance. I'm specifically trying to reproduce very tricky gray-greens and golds that were previously unthinkable with color neg film (and typical of our Calif landscapes to those who want something other than candy-colored postcardy stereotypes), and so far I'm very encouraged with the results. I suspect this kind of color reproduction is attainable with dye transfer printing from certain chrome films (all now discontinued), but am just a beginner in that particular process, with a limited amount of supplies. There are some distinct color temp issues with respect to exposure to begin with, and masking is not all that difficult (compared to Ciba and esp dye transfer) - and not in fact always necessary - but it is distinctly different in the specifics. That's the sad thing. If people can't do something sitting on their butt punching buttons they seem to think it's impossible. Hell... the Zone System is harder to learn than this, and making fine black and white prints of comparable size probably more expensive! Some of the
best digital printers in the world live around here, even within walking distance of me. They know me and that I'm not bluffing.

frotog
8-May-2014, 05:27
Gray-greens and golds! That's so specific! ...and so difficult to reproduce. And you say that your gray-greens and golds are not candy colored? Holy shit! How'd you do it? By printing on fuji's budget, low silver-content, bottom of the line minilab paper, CA-II? ...With a nuclear powered, custom made, additive color enlarger head? Simply amazing! Those best digital printers in the world who print within walking distance of you (and who know you) must be in awe of your darkroom wizardry, if not your forum group participation. Show us a scan or a repro shot! (that is, of course, if you're not bluffing). ...after all, curious minds love to know.

Drew Wiley
8-May-2014, 09:22
Frankly, the previous poster is on "ignore", as he should be. This kind of nonsense only appears if I unfortunately do not log in first, and has about as much relation to
reality as some of those old Bigfoot threads in the lounge.

tgtaylor
9-May-2014, 07:16
Here's an old work print I ran across last night of an image shot on Fuji color negative and printed on Fuji CA (before the digital optimization). I'm having major computer problems (time for a new desk-top) and this is a shitty scan (the print is smooth and well balanced).

https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5186/13958286630_ee0a8c7dea_z.jpg

Filter pack was 0,25,25 and the exposure was 12 seconds @ f11.

Thomas

tgtaylor
11-May-2014, 09:20
Got a few empty 11x14 paper boxes w/ the lightproof wrapping in good condition? I need about 5.

Thanks,

Thomas

mups
1-Jun-2014, 07:46
Hello, I'm color printer in Paris France and I want to tell this little story, in case it can help other color printers running into the same problems...

About five years ago, after working the same way since 1996, I had to switch to rolls because Kodak stopped selling sheet boxes (at least here in France).
Soon after, I had to switch to Fuji Chrystal Archive because the only Kodak papers available were aimed at digital printers and had way too much contrast for enlarger use (especially for proof sheets). For the following four years, I occasionally went nuts trying to get rid of a weird magenta haze in some of the prints (roughly 20%, the ones with medium tones, grays, roads, concrete, etc...). I asked other printers what could be causing that, some said it was because of the Fuji color balance, some said it was because of the lower contrast of the Chrystal Archive. Basically most of them didn't know and it was no big deal for them...

It got to a point where I couldn't anymore stand the stress of always doubting my chemicals, my eyes, my enlargers, or my skills, so I decided to find out for sure. I exposed a few strip tests of a problematic image and processed one myself. Two others were processed by big labs also using Kodak chemicals and the last went to a lab using Fuji. The results speak for themselves :
116162
OK, now I know you can't process Fuji paper in Kodak chemicals (and vice versa) so let's switch to Fuji chemicals. New problem, sometimes I have very little work (and therefore use very little chemicals) and the cool new developer in two parts only exists in packs to make fifty litres, way to much for me. And their old dev in three parts doesn't suit the rate of "machine bath renewing" (?) I have.

In some of the other labs I visited for the test, I noticed they were using Kodak Premier, a paper that didn't exist when I switched to Fuji. So I gave that one a try and, bingo ! More contrast than the Chrystal Archive but not enough to be a problem, and no freakin' magenta issue...
In march, I bought a couple of rolls and painlessly started working on a big Nirvana exhibit (http://www.addictgalerie.com/lng_EN_srub_102-Youri-Lenquette-KURT-COBAIN-The-Last-Shooting.html).

116161
Next job, Alaska. These were smaller prints that I worked on in batches of fifteen to twenty photos. Strip test them all for a good part of the day, and when I'm happy, print them all. Compared to the tests, the prints all came out with an extra 2CC of magenta, extremely obvious with all that snow in the pictures. After trying a few things, like turning off the lights on the Pictochrom remote, etc... I finally found out that this Premier paper behaves very differently whether you process it immediately after exposure or if you wait a few minutes. I tested Fuji paper for that latent image problem but could barely tell which strip had gone in the machine instantly and which had waited ten minutes. And I don't remember having that problem with the sheets of Supra Endura I was using five years ago !
So I'm thinking again about switching to Fuji chemicals, as I like the low contrast of the Chrystal Archive and the thickness of their more contrast paper called DPII.

PS to the first part of my story : in the nineties, I was mainly working for fashion photographers and I remember bitching about those who used Fuji films, that didn't allow me to get the cold pale skins they all wanted. The face were always so red that I had to smear the whole image with cyan, it was uuuuugly. Now I understand that it was probably the same problem : those Fuji films had been processed in Kodak chemicals, and the two companies have a different way of cooking the recipe of the C41 and RA4...

tgtaylor
1-Jun-2014, 09:33
Hi Marc,

Thank you for your input. Am I correct in assuming that you would recommend processing each sheet of Premier immediately after exposure to prevent a latent shift? I am awaiting delivery of RA Developer Starter will be printing on Premier and CA later this week.

Thomas

mups
1-Jun-2014, 09:58
Thank you for your input. Am I correct in assuming that you would recommend processing each sheet of Premier immediately after exposure to prevent a latent shift?


Yes and/or no. What's important is to process your full sheet as fast (or slow) as you've processed your strip test. That's the only way to have a consistency. Because part of the problem is that, when I run tests on 15 photos, the first ones stay in the box for maybe 20mn and the last one, only 20s. And from that time depends the magenta drift...
For now, what I'm planning on doing is to keep on testing in batches, as I've always done, and when it's time to print, launch a last series of tests on which I add 1 or 2CC of green for "rush compensation" and throw those instantly in the machine. Fine tune them and go !

tgtaylor
1-Jun-2014, 10:14
Thanks. Then I shouldn't have a problem as I process both test sheets and prints in a Jobo CPA-2 immediately after exposure and both end up sitting in the drum about the same amount of time while waiting to come up to processing temperature.

I recall reading on apug that Kodak color negative didn't print well on Fuji Paper but both manufacturers negatives printed well on Kodak paper.

Thomas

mups
1-Jun-2014, 10:45
I recall reading on apug that Kodak color negative didn't print well on Fuji Paper but both manufacturers negatives printed well on Kodak paper.

From what know now, Kodak negs processed in Kodak's C41 will print perfectly on Fuji's paper processed in Fuji RA4, and vice versa. Just can't mismatch brands in processing...
In the nineties, all the big labs in Paris used Kodak chemicals. So someone who used Fuji films (with good results because his usual lab, let's say in NY, SF or LA, used Fuji chemicals) was bound to have his films badly processed in a way that no printing skills could save.
I must say I'm a little shocked to discover this only now. Everyone I know in the business assume that RA4 is RA4, be it Kodak or Fuji, but it's not. And each brand's paper is made to be processed in it's own developer, and I bet the same goes for films. But for those, once the mistake is made, there's no fixing it ! Except with digital rescue...

mups
1-Jun-2014, 10:51
OK, recess ! Let's have fun for a minute...
I wonder if this would come out even in the wash : a kodak film processed in Fuji C41 and then printed on Fuji paper processed in Kodak RA4...

Greg Davis
1-Jun-2014, 11:12
I have processed Fuji paper in Kodak RA-4 without any problems. I checked everything with Fuji Process Control Strips and it was perfectly fine.

mups
1-Jun-2014, 12:02
Since I use Kodak chemicals, I run Kodak control strips (from time to time) and it's all peachy. I've never thought about trying with Fuji strips.
Maybe the problem is more obvious to me as I tend to print very "neutral" and my main client's photos include lots of greyish colors, like concrete...
As I explained in my report, many top printers in Paris were kinda blurry about it. But one admited that he'd had the problem before but blamed it on the image and never thought it could be a chemical issue.
I should add that my investigation was done with only the softer Crystal Archive paper, which shows subtleties more. And although proof-sheets are less problematic because of the smaller image and their higher contrast, switching to Kodak Premier made that process a breeze too...

frotog
1-Jun-2014, 15:01
Mups, interesting to finally read someone's account that mirrors my own. As demonstrated by your method and the examples you've posted, you clearly know what you're doing when it comes to the game of color balancing RA prints.

Honestly, I'm always surprised that no one mentions the latent image drift of contemporary, digitally optimized papers. But then again, most here proclaim that the budget, mini-lab, low silver offering of CAii (I believe it still goes by the moniker CA in the EU), the stuff that available in cut sheets, is just as good if not better than the CA of old. The latent image drift variable can be maddening when it comes to color balance neutrality when you first see that it's happening (on this note, I still have yet to see a good example of a neutral print on the contemporary digitally optimized papers posted here - other than the link to your Cobain portrait print job). But then again, printing for neutral in the color darkroom is a more subtle art than people give it credit for and one I rarely see perfected in the home or institutional drkrm.

I'm also keen to read about your findings on EU Fuji DP-ii. My guess is that the US equivalent of this emulsion is the Crystal Archive CN as the poop sheets look similar. Next time I speak to the Fuji rep I'll ask him about the corresponding product in the US market.

For me, Kodak Premiere works... kind of. The contrast is a bit much for most images I print and the blue/magenta end of the spectrum prints with way too much saturation for my taste. Trying to match the beautiful neutrality of the old Supra emulsions from the '90's is just not possible.

I've used the current fuji pro offering, Fuji CA CN (which is what all the pro labs in nyc seem to be using) under the enlarger, developed in kodak chemistry. While it was worlds apart from CAII (the crappy consumer stuff) I was still not impressed. The colors looked wonky, too much contrast and some color cross even after accounting for latent image drift times. Your tests that you had processed at other pro-labs show the importance of matching the fuji professional papers to the fuji RA chemistry. Yeah! Now I'm eager to try another roll of CN with Fuji RA to see if it's even better than my current go-to option for analogue, Premier in kodak chem. The downside is that I can't justify spending $500 and having 50 gallons of their digital pro Ra chemistry lying around as 95% of my printing output is now from digital files. I'll have to wait to rent time at a lab using the fuji chem so to compare it to the kodak premier in kodak chem.

Thanks for your input and your sensible, clearly observed professional opinion on this matter.

PS... while process control strips can tell you whether or not your process is in control, it can in no way be an adequate indicator of the unique spectrum responses of various papers in different brand developers as all you're really testing for with them is dmax, silver retention, activity and cleanliness of transport.

mups
2-Jun-2014, 03:44
Regarding the latent image drift, I'm the only one around here who has the problem because I fly solo and have the luck of having the butt of my processor inside the darkroom, so it takes me only a few seconds to take the paper from the easel to the machine. All the other color printers work in much bigger labs and, even if they expose a single strip test, they still have to put it back in a box, go out and walk to the loading room (on a different floor, for some), which always takes them at least a few minutes. Enough not to run into the latent image issue...
And as a reminder, Fuji CA comes out the same, be it processed 5s or 5mn after exposure.

About Fuji's equivalent papers in the USA, all I can say to help is that the unprocessed mat and glossy Fuji CA I used are light sky blue, the mat says "Fujicolor Crystal Archive Paper" on the back (not the glossy) and they're rather thin (same as Premier). Anything dark underneath a light print will show through.
On the other hand, the DPII is of a light orange, is much thicker and has nothing written on the back.

And for the control strips, I would fine very illegitimate to bitch about papers color balance if I hadn't first made sure that my processing was healthy...
Speaking of which, when I did the Kodak VS Fuji RA4 test, I was pleased to discover that the two strip-tests processed by big labs also using Kodak were off in opposite directions, mine being in the middle !

frotog
2-Jun-2014, 06:18
And for the control strips, I would fine very illegitimate to bitch about papers color balance if I hadn't first made sure that my processing was healthy...
Speaking of which, when I did the Kodak VS Fuji RA4 test, I was pleased to discover that the two strip-tests processed by big labs also using Kodak were off in opposite directions, mine being in the middle !

Agreed. I was merely pointing out that having an on-target control strip, whether it be a fuji strip through kodak chem. or vice versa, does not assure that you won't get the strange casts you experienced when using fuji paper in kodak chem.

tgtaylor
2-Jun-2014, 07:39
From what know now, Kodak negs processed in Kodak's C41 will print perfectly on Fuji's paper processed in Fuji RA4, and vice versa. Just can't mismatch brands in processing...

Now that I think about it, that makes perfect sense Marc. Surely tier one manufactures like Kodak or Fuji would tweak their developers for ultra compatibility with their own product and not worry about the rest. But like yourself, and probably everyone else, I thought that C-41 was C-41 and RA-4 was RA-4 regardless of who manufactures it. Thanks again for your insight on this.

Thomas

Drew Wiley
2-Jun-2014, 08:52
I haven't experienced anything even remotely resembling "latent image drift" in current Fuji papers. And yes, I have specifically tested for this. Images processed
a day later will be identical to those processed thirty seconds after exposure. Fuji claims this is a non-issue and I have every reason to believe them. There must be some completely different source for such alleged difficulties. And I've also very skeptical about the alleged claim that Kodak RA4 behaves any different than Fuji/Hunt. There might be replenishment issues etc, and certain other logistical aspects; but properly used, the outcome should be identical.

mups
2-Jun-2014, 09:16
As specified in my posts, the latent image drift is only a problem with the Kodak Premier and not at all with the Fuji CA.
Regarding the magenta haze resulting from processing Fuji paper in Kodak chemicals, I have a 4 year headache experience and one strip test correctly processed in Fuji to prove it...
I can add that I asked a Fuji tech guy about it a couple years ago and he said that mixing brands results in balance color problems. But back then, I thought he was only saying that so I'd buy their stuff...

Drew Wiley
2-Jun-2014, 09:50
Doesn't seem to be any issue with the labs here. ... and I am referring to full-service pro labs who do pricey work. And as far as sales reps are concerned, you've
got about an 80% chance with any of them that they're bullshitting. That's what a lot of these guys do. They sell encyclopedias one month, cars the next, film the next, rarely do their homework. I deal with all kinds of product salesmen, and the first thing I tell them is that if they BS me even once, they get the boot. If you don't know something, just say you don't know, and I'll pursue the question further up the line". I've had the same kind of BS issues with Fuji Customer Service reps;
but with many manufacturers, customer service is an entry level job, and nowadays, often filled by temps, so the odds of getting a valid answer is pretty dicey.

mups
2-Jun-2014, 12:31
I'm talking about pro labs too.
And the guy isn't a sales rep but a chemical technician. Who naturally prefers that I use his company's products...

Drew Wiley
2-Jun-2014, 12:48
That's probably the case. But Fuji chem seems a little more widely distributed anyway. Here they use it for both Kodak and Fuji papers. I doubt there's anything
proprietary about any of these formulas.

agregov
5-Jun-2014, 08:45
Interesting findings on color shifts. Thanks for sharing. For kicks, I looked up Kodak's recommendation on processing film. For Portra 400 they specify:


Processing
Process PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 400 Film in KODAK FLEXICOLOR Chemicals for Process C-41...

Optical Printing
This film is optimized for printing on KODAK PROFESSIONAL SUPRA ENDURA VC Digital and ULTRA ENDURA High Definition Papers...

http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/e4050/e4050.pdf

I used to just gloss over this sort of stuff figuring manufacturers just want you to use their product. But when you think about it, it makes sense that manufacturers would spend a lot of time testing their materials using their chemistry/film/papers and less time testing on others. From that perspective, it seems plausible that strange occurrences mixing film/chemistry/paper can happen.

That said, I haven't experienced strange color shifts in my own printing. The Colex I print on has gone through Kodak and Fuji chemistry changes and I've noticed no problems with my prints (usually printing Kodak negs on Fuji Type II and C). If there is some magenta drift, is it uncorrectable in the darkroom? Seems to me you just fix the problem in the color pack. Though, I'm not a pro printer so I've never been after precise repeatable results for printing negs over again.

Where I have had challenges color correcting is when printing Ektar negs optically. Portra (NC, VC, new version) color correct very straightforward. Whenever I print Ektar negs I find even 1 point changes can cause pretty dramatic color changes. Have you done any experiments with the negatives you're printing? Are you sure they've been processed well? Some pro labs are seeing less and less color processing work and chemistry might not be monitored or changed as frequently as in the past. I noticed a marked increase in contrast with my own negs when I started processing myself in a Jobo versus sending to a lab. I attributed the increase to using fresh chemistry (though who knows, could have been the chemistry--Tetenal).

Drew Wiley
5-Jun-2014, 09:29
The Ektar issues have zero to due with the RA4 chemistry (if properly run), and everything to do with the inherent tradeoff between a film engineering for contrast, saturation, and hue accuracy reminiscent of the "look" of chrome films (vs low contrast portraiture). I can explain all this at length, but yes, you do need to be spot
on my color balance with printing, and even more, to expose for correct color temperature to begin with. Once you understand this film, it is a spectacular performer,
and will print superbly on your C or CAII papers. I shoot a lot of it, and now am pegging down one of the last idiosycratic hurdles, namely mixed color temp - part of
the scene in warm open sun, part in deep blue north light shadow. This can be fixed with very precise pre-flashing, but CANNOT be post-corrected in PS. But that's a long topic.

mups
5-Jun-2014, 14:00
That said, I haven't experienced strange color shifts in my own printing. The Colex I print on has gone through Kodak and Fuji chemistry changes and I've noticed no problems with my prints (usually printing Kodak negs on Fuji Type II and C). If there is some magenta drift, is it uncorrectable in the darkroom?

My original post mentionned two distinct problems: one is the magenta drift (about 2CC) that I get when I process Kodak Premier immediately, instead of after a 10mn wait. That, I can deal with...
The other one isn't a simple drift that I can correct, it's what we call in french a "bascule", more like a twisted shift... It's a magenta (also) haze plaguing the medium and low lights when I process FUJI CA in Kodak RA4 chemicals, especially noticeable in the medium tones. The tires and the tar in strip tests 2 and 4 (the ones labeled Mups Kodak and Rainbow Fuji) clearly show that difference. Even though the two other strips (Picto and Publi, both Kodak) drift in color overall, they also have the same problem. To be clear for lesser experienced printers, if I added green to tame the magenta on my test, I completely ruin the wall and the sky.




Where I have had challenges color correcting is when printing Ektar negs optically. Portra (NC, VC, new version) color correct very straightforward. Whenever I print Ektar negs I find even 1 point changes can cause pretty dramatic color changes. Have you done any experiments with the negatives you're printing?

Funny you mention this... In France in the 80-90's, we had a Kodak "old school" neg film called VPS 160 (VPH was the 400) that often called for that kind of micro-adjustments. Then came GPX and GPY that were way less touchy... So I've always thought that the softer the film, the smaller the correction, and the harder the film, the more you had to hit it hard. What I know about printing comes from professional working experience and I have too little theorical-technical background to provide another explanation...
So although I haven't seen this in years, I worked a few days ago on a Portra NC 400 neg, not especially soft, subtle or underexposed, that pushed me to divide the amounts of my corrections by 5. Compared to what I'm used to, a 0,2CC had the effect of 1CC.




Are you sure they've been processed well? Some pro labs are seeing less and less color processing work and chemistry might not be monitored or changed as frequently as in the past. I noticed a marked increase in contrast with my own negs when I started processing myself in a Jobo versus sending to a lab. I attributed the increase to using fresh chemistry (though who knows, could have been the chemistry--Tetenal)

The labs that process my client's films are big enough to have a constant production (I wouldn't work we them otherwise). Besides, I know those guys well enough to chat about their sensitometry and even take a look at the control strip analysis software (I ran a C41 processor in a pro lab years ago). Also, my most frequent client's proof-sheets are done with roughly the same color settings for a few years. All that makes me rather confident about quality consistancy...

frotog
6-Jun-2014, 06:17
My experience regarding the seeming anomalous behavior of contemporary RA-4 in an analogue environment points to the inherent incompatibility of today's materials with exposures under the enlarger. I feel that this is at the root of the problem documented here and largely explains the quirks of cross-brand processing, latent image drift, excessive contrast etc. (shitty dmax and generally abhorrent colors on CAii being the exception since it is low-silver minilab stock and not a professional paper). To claim that there is essentially no difference between pre-digitally optimized RA materials and digitally optimized RA is to either ignore the problem altogether or to not favor neutral-balanced color prints (or, perhaps not know what it means to balance for neutral).

Think about it (for those of you who were deep enough into this to witness the change)... The problem used to be the other way around - all the new-fangled digital guys who were experimenting with light jet in the early oughts complained about cross-over (more like the "bascule" that mups refers to than a simple, linear change of cast from high to low) and weak dmax. But the writing was already on the wall and digital printing was here to stay as more and more photographers came to the labs with files instead of negs. It wasn't long before the two big players responded and changed their emulsions to solve the incompatibility problems. Now that 99.999% of all the RA-4 processed the world over comes from digital files exposed to paper via laser or led. Compatibility with the old analogue techniques is simply not a concern for the tech guys who engineered these solutions (labeling some of these products as both analogue/digital compatible is simply a marketing strategy).

I spoke to my pro lab in nyc about this topic the other day and he reminded me of the reasons why he switched over from kodak chem to fuji chem nearly ten years ago - the fuji RA at the time had just been optimized for digital RA which resulted in better dmax and a more faithful gamut with the lambda and chromira machines he was using (the Dursts had already been gathering dust for several years even before this change happened). Fuji had just come out with this... http://www.fujifilmusa.com/products/specialty_chemicals/chemicals/photographic/lab-equipment/digital-ra/index.html and the labs responded accordingly. Now, I don't know of a single pro-lab in nyc running kodak/cpac/champion/russell ra-4 chemistry. Kodak responded not by changing their chemistry but rather by making their emulsions better suited for digital exposure in their RA chemistry (which has not changed). I suspect that this decision had more to do with Kodak's CEO's desire to transition out of analogue with as little fuss as possible - change one product instead of introducing two new products. As everybody knows, preserving their analogue heritage is not a priority over there.

While I've always relied on being able to make micro-adjustments to perfectly dial in a neutral color pack, it wasn't always necessary. With the new materials, using my old closed loop color head is out of the question as stepless adjustments are absolutely necessary to balance the color. Even then, I find the results always involving some sort of compromise - either too contrasty or exhibiting strangely biased gamut, color crossover, etc. These are compromises that I've learned to live with when entering the color darkroom these days as I'm well aware of the shortcomings due to the incompatibility issues inherent in digitally optimized analogue materials and I don't expect results as good as those from the high classical period of analogue in the late '90's. Do you recall how Portra emulsions laid down on the various endura papers without any fuss at all (what a big improvement over VPS and VPH that was!)?

So now I use the color darkroom primarily to proof. For a while I was holding out, primarily to save production expenses with my own work and partly from fear of change. But then I got myself a Creo Eversmart and an Epson 7900 to proof with. Now with several years working with both processes, making a finished RA print in analogue is just not worth it considering the advantages of a high res scan, judicious PS and quality laser/led output. I could understand doing it for a stunt/sales/conceptual reasons (e.g. "a real analogue print from this 1992 negative using a historically correct process!") But if I had a client wanting to match an analogue print from the nineties, I choose to scan, PS and output on a chromira. Besides, I despise sentimentality.

So for me at least, the old way, while fun and hands-on, is just too fetishistic and offers no real advantages at this point in the game other than retro-grouch bragging rights.

Drew Wiley
6-Jun-2014, 08:24
Once again, Frotog and I seem to be living on completely different planets. I've found the new Fuji papers to be better than ever in Kodak RA4 chem and printed
optically. No crossover. No blaah shadows (though DMax is always a function of paper surface - a high gloss poly base will inherently render a deeper black than an
RC matte finish), no significant latent image drift. None of that. Ektar film per se does introduce some opportunities for learning new tricks to fine-tune the results,
but the rewards are also significant. But even it's a piece of cake compared to printing chromes. Now I will admit I use all my chem one-shot, mixed fresh daily, and
haven't even bothered to hook up my automated processor yet. So I don't have to worry about machine variables.

mups
6-Jun-2014, 09:03
Very interesting...
Figure this, it just so happens that I describe myself as a retro-grouch ! Term I found in 1991 in a Bridgestone bicycle catalogue.
I stick to traditional printing (or not using sample instruments in music) because my form of creativity is fueled by limits, not by their absence or the unlimited possibilities offered by digital. I find more pride in working with a process that, at every stage, implies skill, knowledge, experience, attention, and mainly, strong artistic decisions, with no going back, that all leave their print on the final result.
In music, I've never played bass as well as when fucking up was so costly...
But I know that there are lots of people who have such a strong vision of what they want that technical limitations or imprint are untolerable for them...

frotog
6-Jun-2014, 18:25
I hear you mups. However I respectfully disagree with you regarding "unlimited possibilities offered by digital". Just to be clear, I'm limiting my discussion to color balancing and proper exposure to express the full potential of what the individual neg holds on the finished print (changing content is a whole other ball of wax). The limitations are still there with digital printing and ignoring them will yield results just as awful as some extremely biased cibachromes I've seen from certain contributors here.

My workflow starts with a color negative, just like you. Digital exposure allows me to fulfill all the promise that the negative holds without the problems that have been discussed here. The fact is that the current crop of materials is not designed for traditional exposure. Kodak premier is simply not as good as the old endura supra under an enlarger, an opinion shared by every single professional printmaker that I know who has transitioned from analogue to digital. If these problems did not exist, I'd have never transitioned and neither would most other printmakers for fine art photography (after all, most are still shooting film and scanning). But once the digitally optimized papers are used as intended, all of their quirks magically disappear - no more wrestling with weird gamut, crossover, excessive contrast,etc... and it's actual intended potential can be fully realized.

The same degree of skill, knowledge, experience yadda yadda is applicable to the digital arts as it is analogue. And just as in the darkroom, if you over correct or make a mistake, you do it again. I'm not sure where this "no going back" Snake Plisskin attitude comes in - we're making c-prints, not japanese calligraphy. The final result is more about the print maker's understanding of what the print should look like, not the process of getting there. Process might be something artists and craftsmen can get misty-eyed about but in the end what does it matter if the results are inferior? For this reason, your analogy to music misses the mark - in printmaking your audience sees your final print, not all the work it took you to get there. So fucking up is par for the course. In fact the whole process is empirical trial and error - make a test, assess what is wrong, make your changes and repeat until you decide you got what you want. Same thing in digital, except you can preview your adjustments before committing to paper. In the performing arts, you make a mistake and it's heard by everyone there to witness it, bringing down the entire performance.

Still, kudos to you for finding a niche in Paris. Here in the states, while there is still nostalgia surrounding traditional b/w and labs that specialize solely in that, there is no mystique surrounding analogue color and so no labs exclusively devoted to the practice of analogue RA-4 - collectors just don't give a shit.

BTW, I'm a big Grant fan as well and ride a 1988 miyata 1000. But I use indexed shifting - oh the horror!

mups
6-Jun-2014, 19:15
Short answer because away from real computer:
I hear you but, to me, how things are done matters as much as the result. So as long as I can get away with it, I will...

agregov
9-Jun-2014, 07:32
Drew, thanks for the notes on Ektar. You mentioned shooting with color temp in mind as well as some tricks printing. Would love to hear any tips you have. I'd like to give the film another try.

Drew Wiley
9-Jun-2014, 09:18
I pretty much have the Ektar thing pegged, just no time at the moment to do any color printing. Slowly... and I mean slowly, trying to work out Portra interneg
protocol at the moment. Lots of house and lab maintenance projects this summer, plus travel plans. Backpacking season soon.

bob carnie
9-Jun-2014, 09:26
I have witnessed both ends of the spectrum and still operate a wet lab as well as Lambda and inkjet.

Few observations,,

C41 process can accept all film manufactures this has been the norm for over 30 years.
Fuji has pretty much taken over the market due to Kodaks bumbling and not because of a superior product.

The most siginificant change in paper over the last 20 years is the speed increase to be acceptable to laser and Led exposing units.(this has been incredible and is the norm for BW paper as well)
Under an enlarger the colour Papers are extremely fast compared to the papers of the 80's as well a different colour visually pre process.
I see very little reason to print RA4 colour using an enlarger these days, but I do not think that lesser quality is the norm for enlarger prints using modern papers, but
there could be some issues finding the right paper for enlarger work.

Drew Wiley
9-Jun-2014, 10:40
I miss the convenience of cut sheet in bigger sizes. Not a huge issue, but with my fingers getting distinctly arthritic, handling big expensive rolls in the dark is done
rather cautiously. Night vision goggles? The other thing that people might find annoying is the more limited selection of contrast levels. I prefer to mask anyway if
needed, and get exactly what I want, though this might seem inconvenient to those unfamiliar with it. Plus the sheet film cost. But it's certainly not always needed. Contrast can also be pegged just by the appropriate film choice, though this always comes with some shift in hue, saturation, etc. Another reason to learn masking.
You can have your cake and eat it too. And no need to scan. But workflow is largely a matter of personal preference and what equip is OH. I prefer the darkroom.

tgtaylor
9-Jun-2014, 14:09
Kodak C-41 is not identical with Fuji CN-16, Konica CNK-4, or Agfa AP-70. The C-41 process is the same for all C-41 films but different manufacturers' processing chemistries vary slightly. Shouldn't this difference in the chemistries explain the variances noted above?

Thomas

Drew Wiley
9-Jun-2014, 15:01
Nope. Not unless someone really screwed up.

tgtaylor
10-Jun-2014, 08:18
That doesn't sound right to me. If you change the volume or make-up of the chemistry you will change the result. Those chemistries were formulated to give a desired result with their own film and not with another's.

Thomas

mups
10-Jun-2014, 08:48
That's what my test told me... And all the lab guys (and the Fuji chem tech) thought it made perfect sense (of course, they're all french too...).
But believe me, I'd much prefer if the C41 and RA4 recipies were absolutly identical no matter what company makes them.
Just for the hell of it, I'm gonna try to do the same test again but, this time, with Kodak Premier paper, see if I end up with a green haze when processed in Fujuice...

frotog
10-Jun-2014, 09:19
Very interested in seeing your results, Mups.

mups
10-Jun-2014, 09:46
OK, I'll get on that soon.


I hear you mups. However I respectfully disagree with you regarding "unlimited possibilities offered by digital". Just to be clear, I'm limiting my discussion to color balancing and proper exposure to express the full potential of what the individual neg holds on the finished print (changing content is a whole other ball of wax).

I'm also speaking about color balance and density. You're right, I might not there be thinking in the absolute best interest of the neg, but in mine, be the results inferior. It's just that I don't think I can do this job if I'm not excited by how I do it, and spending hours in front of a screen certainly isn't my idea of fun ! 15 years ago, many photographers begged me to get into digital because they said I'd know how to keep it "normal", "natural". I saw that I "taming the beast", keeping it under control. Don't know if this is a clear way of saying it but I much rather be working at 99 on a scale of 100 possibilities than at 1 on a scale a 1 000 (or 1 000 000)... Again, that's only good as long as I have enough clients thinking the same way.



BTW, I'm a big Grant fan as well and ride a 1988 miyata 1000. But I use indexed shifting - oh the horror!

I have a 1990 ZIP MTB poisoned by titanium and with a road style fork designed by Tom Ritchey. TR from whom I have a custom made road bike from the same era, all fillet brazed...

Drew Wiley
10-Jun-2014, 11:15
Each company makes several flavors of RA4. Excluding the "room temp" abbreviated DIY formulas, the pro chem varies with respect to replenishment regimen more
within the brand than brand versus brand. I don't plan on testing for that variable, since I don't need to, and it's one less thing to worry about. It's certainly common for Kodak paper to be routinely processed in Fuji chem, and even visa versa, though Fuji-Hunt is top dog in chem distribution at this point in time.

mups
10-Jun-2014, 11:25
Right... I should have thought about mentionning this to start with ! I use these two :
116503

Drew Wiley
10-Jun-2014, 11:55
Hmmm. I use a slightly different set called RA/RT by Kodak, or more recently an Arista clone of it, which performs absolutely identically. I can even switch the respective kit components with no distinction in method or result. But to describe this accurately, I'd have to look at the specific product numbers, not just the label, which of course also signifies the volume of the concentrates.

frotog
11-Jun-2014, 06:37
FYI...

Kodak Ektacolor RA Developer Replenisher RT is the equivalent to EU Kodak Ektacolor Prime Developer Replenisher LU. Different cat. #'s, different markets, same product. This was confirmed for me by Kodak Professional.

Drew Wiley
11-Jun-2014, 11:17
Thanks. When I find something that works, I stick with it. Fortunately, the RA/RT formula can be precisely reproduced, and has been. I never had good luck with Tetenal.

mups
11-Jun-2014, 13:10
Over the years, Kodak EU so many times changed the names, the references and the packagings sizes that it could very well be that LU was at one point called RT... One day, they stopped making 5 and 20L kits, so the smallest I could buy was to make 50 ! I struggled with that for a year (very different dilution) untill someone told me that the 5L was available again...

Mark Sampson
12-Jun-2014, 11:19
I've been following this thread with interest. From 1985-2008 I worked at Kodak as photographer and lab tech. We ran the color lab as well as made the photographs, so I have long experience with C-41, EP-2, and RA-4 chemistry and processors. Of course we used our own materials, so I'm intrigued with the mis-matches between manufacturers... we used Ektacolor RA/RT in a 42" Kreonite roller-transport machine. All that was closed down in '08 when some contracts ended, and I haven't made C-prints (for myself or on the job) since. I can't say I miss mixing the chemistry or maintaining the processors at all. If/when I go back to LF color I'll scan and print inkjet.

mups
12-Jun-2014, 12:02
I use a 24" Autopan Contimat 1000 that I bought used in 2000. The dryer is vertical, the paper first goes down, then back up and comes out on the top of the machine, what makes it very compact. And it's a tank...
116624

The enlargers are Durst Pictochrom Plus and a 184 with the CLS2000.
116625

Drew Wiley
12-Jun-2014, 12:10
I've been offered a very clean fifty inch Kreonite for free, but I'm allegic to RA4, so actually use a big roller processor on a cart which I push outdoors for the actual chemical steps. The drums are obviously loaded in the darkroom. Otherwise I have to set up a separate little light-tight bldg just for the process step. But I don't run a commercial lab. It's all my own work, mostly 8x10 film, so making just a few prints a week is enough. I'd like to put my twenty inch processor into use for more convenient printing of smaller format negs, but I'd still have the same logistical problem with the fumes ... so I dunno. Drums are just inherently safer for me personally. .. Inkjet is a completely different ballgame. They're inks, so kinda opaque rather than transparent. And the blacks tend to be mottled and blaah. For
many images I prefer the transparency of dyes. And I like the greater detail of true optical enlargements. But whatever...

mups
12-Jun-2014, 12:23
Litterally allergic ? To minimize breathing the fume, I hooked my processor to the CMV via flexible pipe visible on the left of the picture, and the room also has a good extracting vent.

Drew Wiley
12-Jun-2014, 12:58
I have far more serious ventilation and fume control in my darkroom already, that is, the "wet side" of things. My printing per se is done in completely different rooms with their own air. Over time many people do get sensitized to various kinds of chemicals, and afterwards, it takes very very little exposure to trip an adverse reaction. I knew lab owners who eventually couldn't even walk into their own buildings due to sensitization. It will happen to somebody doing inkjet too someday due to glycol sensitization. This might accrue somewhere else entirely, like working a lot with latex paints in a previous career. But a lot of large inkjets drying in an unventilated room will be the straw that finally breaks the camel's back. Some of the effects for me personally are not immediately apparent. For instance, I might
not even notice any problem, yet my respiratory system will suddenly be far more sensitive to catching things like a cold. Or after a week or two my throat will feel
raw. Of far greater danger are hypersensitivities that turn into sudden and potentially fatal analphylactic shock. I knew a couple of lab people whose careers ended that way. They lived after their ambulance rides, but absolutely had to give up their photo business.

mups
12-Jun-2014, 12:58
Speaking of allergies, in july 1983, a friend took B&W pictures of my band on stage and I helped him to do the proof-sheets. I took them home in a plastic bag and put them in my sink. I woke up in the middle of the night with a huge rash from the fix, scratching my body like crazy for a couple of hours ! Next morning, I carefully took them out of the water for drying. But not carefully enough, as an hour later, my shoulder and neck (only) were all red and itchy. Problem, we had a photo sessions schedueled that day for the cover of the upcoming album ! Lucky me, the rash was gone by the time we started shooting...

mups
12-Jun-2014, 13:03
Now that's scary... OK, I'm going digital !!

Drew Wiley
12-Jun-2014, 13:25
Half of digital is RA4. The more popular half, namely inkjet, is still going to pinch somebody, just like I said. Not a lot of glycol there, but enough to become a problem over time. It's already being slowly phased out of residential housepaints completely due to various air and health issues. Just gotta use common sense. Inkjets take a week or two to outgas; so you need at least a bit of ventilation when that transpires. But I obviously have my own sustainable method for working with RA4 safely.
It just requires mild weather so the temp inside the drum remains stable for that two min dev cycle. I keep the tempering box nearby, and for critical work use
noryl drums - one of the most expensive thermoplastics, but the variety with far better thermal insulating properties than the usual suspects.

Drew Wiley
12-Jun-2014, 13:33
Oh that plastic rash thing... Ha! I walked into Costco with my wife the other day and at the very entrance there was a huge display of these silly jogging wrist whatevers that tell people how many calories they're supposedly burning. They're quite a fad at the moment, but there is also a simultaneous epidemic of horrible
wrist rashes, which the mfg of these things "just can't explain". BS. This is just one more example of how outsourced crap is being made with obscene amounts of
phthalate plasticizers. People are mysteriously getting the "flu" in stores where this kind of stuff is sold, or present in quanitity. I got a rash from even the rubberized
handles on my new North Face trekking poles, even after I heavily scrubbed them with alcohol and let them outgas a month first. To hell with it. I replaced the damn
things with true Austian-made pole using real rubber (cork is fine too), not plasticized, rubberized vinyl. I got a rash even handling my new Big Agnes tent a couple years back. Fortunatley, that had dissipated by my second backpacking trip. Somebody in the EPA needs to wake up.

tgtaylor
12-Jun-2014, 14:27
(cork is fine too)

Watch out for the marmots - they like cork. Was brushing my teeth one morning before breakfast and a marmot that had been watching went over to my tent and started gnawing the cork handle on my hiking pole.

Thomas

Drew Wiley
12-Jun-2014, 15:48
The adolescent marmots can sure be cute and friendly, but I never quite trust their intentions. One befriended me up in the Clark Range early one summer, almost
like a pet. But the minute I turned my back he tried to get into my pack. And the tamest ones seem to be the wildest, not those accustomed to people like pesky
regular squirrels or chipmunks. I've even had pikas try to raid my pack at nite, even though they tend to be very reclusive critters. ... But troublesome? I'd reserve
that description for mtn goats. I had finished some shots with my Sinar right along the edge of a glacier in the Enchantments in WA. There were goat track right
smack at the edge of the void, where wouldn't didn't dare step. So I tracked em about a mile and came onto the herd raiding a campsite. The goats were working
as a team, tag-teaming the campers, just like a pack of clever coyotes! One poor dude was hopping along on one foot, with a half-tied boot on the other foot,
chasing a goat. Another goat was diverting another camper with a chase; and this allowed a little goat to outright run off with the remaining unattended boot, and
no doubt chew it to bits at his leisure. Something worse happened to my nephew when a Kea (giant parrot) grabbed one of his Koflach boots on Mt Cook in NZ,
and then dropped it almost two miles away on the glacier below. Good things he had a telephoto lens to look for it. But his buddy had to spend an entire
day crossing crevasses to fetch the thing.