View Full Version : Warmtone v. Neutral FB papers--why the price difference?

Peter Latner
10-Jul-2009, 14:14
I've always wondered why warm-tone FB papers cost 20-40% more than neutral or cold-tone papers. It's the same with every manufacturer--Ilford, Bergger, Adox, etc. I'm assuming they're more expensive to produce, but it can't be just about the paper's tone, can it? What makes it more expensive, and, does that translate into a higher-quality product?

Gem Singer
10-Jul-2009, 14:58
Good question.

Are warmtone emulsions more expensive to coat on paper? Is it a more complicated emulsion to formulate?

Are chloride compounds more costly than bromide compounds? Do they take longer to prepare and ripen?

Do warmtone emulsions contain more silver?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Eric Woodbury
10-Jul-2009, 15:29
Supply and demand. That's what 'they' always say. Could be. Don't know.

Drew Wiley
10-Jul-2009, 15:45
You've got all kinds of variables. Cost of making the emulsion, ingredients, size of
production run and anticipated sales volume, overhead, marketing strategy, exchange
rates, import markup, retail markup. Since we don't know exactly what goes into a
given emulsion formula, it's hard to generalize. You'd have to be an insider to answer
something like this. You also have variables due to country of mfg and local labor rates, amortization of equipment, fluctuations in cost of supplies (significant with things like silver) and the attempt to buffer these variables and remain profitable,
cost of different coating papers,etc. Pretty complex. Not everyone reads the tea
leaves correctly; that's why some manufacturers have gone out of business.

Peter Latner
10-Jul-2009, 16:07
I'm leaning toward cost difference between chloride (or chloro-bromide) emulsions v. bromide emulsions. Or possibly a slower emulsion-coating process. Or both.

Last year I did some extensive tests of Ilford MGFB v. Ilford MGFB-W. The warm-tone paper seemed to offer a longer tonal scale, and more separation in the mid-tones. Clearly a better paper.

11-Jul-2009, 07:11
A manufacturer (I don't remember which one) wrote that warmtone papers have higher silver content... and that that, in part, was responsible for the warm shift.

Peter Latner
13-Jul-2009, 09:31
I E-mailed ilford Tech Support with the same question. Here's their answer:

There are actually several reasons for this cost difference, which I will attempt to explain:

The volume that we manufacture is less than for the standard product, and hence there is more waste due to the lower number and smaller batch sizes involved.

We have shorter runs in terms of boxes and labels that add extra cost.

The silver crystals that are needed to give the warm tone of the developed silver are made in a different way, which means that the growth stage takes longer and hence attracts more cost because of the dwell time in the emulsion plant.

Finally, the silver coating weight itself is also higher, as the covering power of the warm tone form of silver is not as great as for more neutral silver.

I can't speak for the other manufacturers of course, but I would assume that their reasons would be very similar.

Hope this answers your question. Thanks for your continuing usage and interest in our products. We very much appreciate it.

Best regards

Rod for HARMAN techspupport