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Thread: Chromira Print Color Degradation

  1. #1

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    Chromira Print Color Degradation

    I’ve been going through my archive of Chromira Prints stored back in 2001 and I found 2 where the whites and light grays have shifted warm to light tan (snow scene), and the color differentiation is now muted, overall color again shifting warm.


    Since these were framed by a preservation method (3rd party gallery) and have been stored the entire time without any light source hitting the print for 20+ years, and all other Chromira and Durst Lambdas from the same period look great, I am wondering what might have caused this degradation? They will both have to be discarded.

    I contacted the original printer for their input but have not received a response. My impression was stored prints would maintain their original quality for 100? Years?

    Pdm

  2. #2
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Chromira Print Color Degradation

    What specific medium were they printed on? An RA4 chromogenic paper made by Kodak or Fuji perhaps? The Chromira printing method would have nothing to do with it - that's just a fancy laser exposure light source. What could be a factor involves residual dye coupler yellowing, or perhaps an improperly washed RA4 print, maybe paper that was getting too old to begin with before exposure, improperly replenished chemistry, or else mounting or storage issues.

    Where did you come up with that hundred year figure? Maybe somebody made that claim based on marketing hype, but it wasn't realistic unless the print was a Cibachrome stored in the dark or a distinctly later Fuji RA4 paper than that vintage. Still, only 20 years until discoloration is quite disappointing. It's hard to give a specific answer unless we know more about the mounting and storage details. But since you have other prints seeming to do well, it does sound more like a processing issue.

  3. #3

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    Re: Chromira Print Color Degradation

    Drew, these were Chromira chromogenic “C” prints on Fuji archival paper, and I have a large collection from this period in various sizes, many framed/matted. The same printer produced all of these prints other than a half dozen durst prints (which I have always preferred), so it’s guesswork as to the cause. Yet framed prints that I have had hanging for 6 years, up to 30x40, look great - no change.

  4. #4
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Chromira Print Color Degradation

    Well, it can take 15 to 20 years on display to even begin to assess realistic distinctions. Sometimes a print in storage, if improperly processed, will be affected sooner because of trapped contaminants. The whole topic is complex. Chromira versus Lambda or Lightjet prints are basically the same thing IF the same Fuji paper is used, though there will be minor visual differences due to the different laser systems involved. But there has been quite a variety of Fuji Crystal Archive papers over the past 20 years, with not all being equal. But premature outright discoloration does sound more like a processing chemistry or washing issue. The term "C print" is just an old shorthand expression identifying any kind of RA4 chromogenic print (versus a chromolytic dye-destruction process like Cibachrome).

  5. #5

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    Re: Chromira Print Color Degradation

    You are such a great resource. Thanks for providing your thoughtful response.

  6. #6

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    Re: Chromira Print Color Degradation

    Lab confirmed the change in color was probably due to dated chemicals. They also mentioned that Fuji advertises their archival paper as up to 75 years longevity, while Epson is stating that current pigment ink jet prints will last between 100-200 years.

    So is one better-served with pigment prints (on exhibition fiber paper) rather than having Chromira prints assuming you can approximate the Chromira “look”, which i prefer?

  7. #7
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Chromira Print Color Degradation

    RA4 prints will deteriorate in dark storage or in light, I think 30 years is a good guide for both ways of storing, in light a bit faster.

    Epson will state 100, 200 or even 500 years but I take it with a grain of salt, Imagine a chocolate chip cookie- hand made prints like gum or carbon have thousands of pigment chips,,, inkjet prints may have one or two pigment chips... time will tell on inkjets and their stability, we are coming up to about 15 years on pigmented inkjet prints, I would like to be around in 20 years to see if they are still good.

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Chromira Print Color Degradation

    Hmmm. It's quite interesting that someone has been working at Epson for the past 200 years to monitor all this, and that they waited 185 yrs before marketing the amazing product. Maybe they should be in the time machine business instead. And please keep in mind that inkjet prints are NOT real pigment prints. They do contain some pigments, but also colored dyes and "lakes" (dyed inert pigment particles). What Bob now does involves real pigments instead; but even those are not all created equal. I'll let Bob authoritatively respond to that in another 200 years.

    Cynicism aside, my big roll of Fujiflex Supergloss finally arrived, so it's a good day for me. If those prints look good for the next 30 years, they'll have probably outlasted me. But I'm sure they'll do even better than that. It's a polyester based medium, and allegedly more permanent than their RC color papers; but I like it for its distinctly superior color gamut as well as contrast depth.

  9. #9
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Chromira Print Color Degradation

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Hmmm. It's quite interesting that someone has been working at Epson for the past 200 years to monitor all this, and that they waited 185 yrs before marketing the amazing product. Maybe they should be in the time machine business instead. And please keep in mind that inkjet prints are NOT real pigment prints. They do contain some pigments, but also colored dyes and "lakes" (dyed inert pigment particles). What Bob now does involves real pigments instead; but even those are not all created equal. I'll let Bob authoritatively respond to that in another 200 years.

    Cynicism aside, my big roll of Fujiflex Supergloss finally arrived, so it's a good day for me. If those prints look good for the next 30 years, they'll have probably outlasted me. But I'm sure they'll do even better than that. It's a polyester based medium, and allegedly more permanent than their RC color papers; but I like it for its distinctly superior color gamut as well as contrast depth.
    I like to consider my Gum over Palladiums as such -- Palladium noble metals reportedly through Wilheam and others as very stable to light. -CRUSHED STONE my stones or colours are crushed to a fine powder with a Blue Wool Scale of 8- COTTON the paper the image sinks into- TREE SAP is the vehicle that holds the crushed stone- WATER which is the agent that cleans out all the unwanted material in my process... The only fly in my Ointment is Ammonium Dichromate which is required to harden the gum in relationship to UV light.

    I feel that these prints are very possible the most archival prints being made in our Photographic History.

  10. #10

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    Re: Chromira Print Color Degradation

    Quote Originally Posted by bob carnie View Post
    I like to consider my Gum over Palladiums as such -- Palladium noble metals reportedly through Wilheam and others as very stable to light. -CRUSHED STONE my stones or colours are crushed to a fine powder with a Blue Wool Scale of 8- COTTON the paper the image sinks into- TREE SAP is the vehicle that holds the crushed stone- WATER which is the agent that cleans out all the unwanted material in my process... The only fly in my Ointment is Ammonium Dichromate which is required to harden the gum in relationship to UV light.

    I feel that these prints are very possible the most archival prints being made in our Photographic History.
    You may be able to replace Dichromates in Gum Prints with a Diazo compound. Don't expect it to be plug and play though, it takes quite a bit of fiddling to use these compounds, at least that was the case when I started using DAS for my Carbon Prints.

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