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Thread: Is the current Ilfochrome able to direct positive photos?

  1. #1

    Is the current Ilfochrome able to direct positive photos?

    Apologies if this is really obvious or has been discussed before but saw on the Ilford website that they have "Ilfochrome" on it. https://ilford.com/product/platinum-matt-white/

    I was under the impression that Cibachrome and/or Ilfochrome was discontinued?

    Is this the type of paper that you can do positive one of a kind prints from? Similar to what the artist Richard Learoyd does with his colour prints?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Re: Is the current Ilfochrome able to direct positive photos?

    It's a dye sub printing system. nothing to do with the old Cibachrome/Ilfochrome.

    https://ilford.com/wp-dev/wp-content...ochrome_EN.pdf

  3. #3
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Is the current Ilfochrome able to direct positive photos?

    No relation to the classic Cibachrome then Ilfochrome catalytic color medium. They should have never revived the name; it is misleading. But at one time, as a brand name, it did cover a broader range of products than just those high-gloss polyester-base color prints normally associated with that name, but nothing like this particular product. And this new offering is not even their own invention by a long shot. But maybe someone will have fun with it.

    If you want the true Ciba look in a modern darkroom product, the answer is Fujiflex Supergloss. But it's RA4 and not direct positive, and only comes in large rolls.

  4. #4

    Re: Is the current Ilfochrome able to direct positive photos?

    Thanks so much for the clarification! Much appreciated!

  5. #5

    Re: Is the current Ilfochrome able to direct positive photos?

    This is quite interesting. The original Ilfochrome dyes were developed by the Swiss chemical company, Ciba. Ciba merged with Geigy to become Ciba-Geigy. I believe Ciba-Geigy was taken over by Novartis. In the meantime, The Cibachrome processes were sold to Ilford and became Ilfochrome.
    Ilfochrome dyes had a unique color saturation, which I like. They were also extremely durable, especially when compared to the other color processes which were available at that time.
    My father was a chemist. He was friends with the chemist who had developed the dyes for Cibachrome. The same chemist developed the dyes for the Polaroid SX-70 instant film. If any of you have used that material when it was still made by Polaroid, you know that those dyes are also very durable.
    I'm interested to know whether the new Ilfochrome has a similar color saturation to the older stuff. It's too early to tell, but I'm also interested to know if the new Ilfochrome dyes are as durable as the older ones.
    I'm also interested to know more of the lore of this.
    David

  6. #6
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    Re: Is the current Ilfochrome able to direct positive photos?

    Quote Originally Posted by david@bigeleisenlaw.com View Post
    I believe Ciba-Geigy was taken over by Novartis. In the meantime, The Cibachrome processes were sold to Ilford and became Ilfochrome.
    Not quite. Ilford was sold to International Paper in 1989, and as a consequence was obliged to change the "Cibachrome" name to "Ilfochrome". Ciba-Geigy merged with Sandoz to form Novartis in 1996, well after Ilford had been sold.

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Is the current Ilfochrome able to direct positive photos?

    Cibachrome had deep roots going way back to azo dye-destruction prints of the 1930's. Ciba-Geigy was mainly a pharmaceutical entity. I don't keep track of Novartis. I did know the CEO who sold out here to Novartis. Although he was one of those guys making money so fast that it wasn't even worth his time to pick up a hundred dollar bill, he characteristically spent almost an entire day haggling over the price of door locks with me. That was just for sake of his barn while his guest house was still under construction, and then the main house. The barn had over twenty stainless steel stalls for his racehorse collection (each horse itself averaged around $200,00). The upper level ONLY had seven bedroom and bathrooms as I recall. He certainly griped about the "cramped quarters" he had to live in before the main house was completed. All the doors and windows were solid true Ebony wood - that sure chewed up the carbide tooling! We had a nickname for him, which I can't repeat here, but it was equivalent to skinflint. But he was really more complex than that, and sometimes cheated his workmen, and sometimes gave out stunningly big bonuses. Gosh knows how many billions he was worth when he sold out; and he probably still owns some stunningly valuable patents.

    I recently took down a big photo installation of mine near the huge local Novartis facility, when that particular complex itself finally sold to a new entity. Another giant local player is Bayer, who bought the old Colgate plant. My wife once worked for yet another local Biotech company; but the Euro buyers of that got overextended trying to outcompete Bayer, and most of her stock option value collapsed. She still walked away with enough to pay for med school outright, no loans.

    Anyway, Ilford had some skin in the game even before they purchased that particular division from Ciba and renamed it. This so-called new Ilfochrome isn't going to be related at all, either in detail capacity or in the nature of the dyes, the manner of printing, or the look. It's seems to be more an amateurized version of an entirely different lineage. Actual Ciba azo dyes were quite stable if protected from UV; but that was their achilles heel. Prints hung in INDIRECT mountain sunlight bounced off walls for nearly 30 years still look like I made them yesterday, though a bit of fading has occurred. But I've seen Cibas fade out in just a few months when displayed under strong halogen projector lighting, common at one time in high end galleries. I did many experiments myself to separate fact from fiction in this respect. The nice thing is that the three dyes faded at about the same rate, so color shift wasn't evident until things approached the edge of the cliff, when fading quickly accelerated. Fortunately, most of my collection is still like new in drawers or portfolio boxes.

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