Archival qualities of RA-4 process

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by bluejeh, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. bluejeh

    bluejeh Subscriber

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    We would like to start the RA-4 process. We have a number of pieces of equipment to help us, as well as the ciba tanks.
    Which RA-4 chemicals and which paper produces the longest archival results with best color. Your advice please.
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Both Fuji and Kodak papers top the list for image stability. Others fall far behind in this regard unless rebranded and equal to the parent product.

    PE
     
  3. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    PE, what is the prevailling opinion on archival life of these 2 papers? Will the cyan fade as badly as old Ektacolor prints do, or has it been improved significantly in recent times? I recently got some guff for making such a claim, and unfortunately had no information to back it up.

    Is a museum making a wise investment by buying modern C-prints?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2011
  4. Photo Engineer

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    The dyes are sensitive to different conditions and therefore can fade unequally depending on storage. The factors are light (FCH or Foot Candle Hours), spectral distribution, heat, humidity, air contaminants (O3, SO2, H2S and etc). The rough guideline is a neutral fade with prints lasting about 200+ years.

    Fuji tests using High Intensity light but Kodak tests with Low Intensity light. These differ in that the former is based on Mall and Office lighting and the latter is based on home and museum lighting which is lower in intensity.

    PE
     
  5. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Is it fair to say that significant improvements have been made in the last 10 years, 20 years, 30 years?

    That is to say, were we told in the 70's (we... I wasn't even born yet!) that the Ektacolor prints would last as long as 200 years?
     
  6. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    200plus?????

    nuetral fade , does that mean the print will be a neutral white in 200 years?

    I would be thinking more in the lines of 30 +- years.

     
  7. bluejeh

    bluejeh Subscriber

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    "The rough guideline is a neutral fade with prints lasting about 200+ years. Fuji tests using High Intensity light but Kodak tests with Low Intensity light. These differ in that the former is based on Mall and Office lighting and the latter is based on home and museum lighting which is lower in intensity. PE "

    With such a long archival quality of the RA-4 process, what is it that I am losing by moving from Ilfochrome to the RA-4 process? Thanks.
     
  8. Photo Engineer

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    The 30+ is a digital photo lifespan for the same change, but with digital prints you also have image smear due to movement of dyes with humidity.

    And both Kodak and Fuji have worked hard to equal or surpass Ilford materials.

    This information comes from three sources, the ICIS Short Course on Image Stabiity, The RIT Image Permanence Labs, and Henry Wilhelm's web site with information on image stability.

    PE
     
  9. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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    No, nor Ilfochrome prints. Were I king of the world (or museums, at least), only pigment prints would be allowed. And that doesn't refer to inkjet prints using pigmented inks. :smile:
     
  10. Photo Engineer

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    Somehow I missed this earlier.

    Sorry.

    Actually, in the 70s, Ektacolor 70 and then Ektacolor Plus papers just about doubled the stability of the previous products. They both used free radical chain stoppers in the magenta layer to prevent dye fade from Oxygen, and the yellow layer used a high glass transition dye droplet to prevent early fade. Neither used Formalin or Ferricyanide in the process.

    They were both planned to use a stabilizer, but Kodak marketing apparently changed the plan or the dye stability would have been even better.

    The new Endura and CA papers use modified couplers and solvents to extend the life of these products even more.

    The figure for 200 years can only be estimated and comes from a variety of testing sources. See my previous post.

    PE
     
  11. bluejeh

    bluejeh Subscriber

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    if I use Kodak endura paper, which paper chemicals doe I use and which negative film to photograph with?
    If I use Fuji chrystal archive paper, which paper chemicals and which negative film should I use?
    I want to get the best out of film, paper and chemicals.
    thanks.
     
  12. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Sure start with an easy technical question then ask what the meaning of life is. :wink:

    First the easy part, the RA-4 process is standard. These chemicals will work for any brand of paper.

    http://www.adorama.com/KKRADRRT.html
    http://www.adorama.com/KKRABFR10L.html

    Any C-41 (color print) film will work with either paper.

    Now to your "meaning of life question".

    "Best" is a purely subjective judgement.

    I have yet to find a Fuji or Kodak C-41 film that can't do a real keeper print.

    The situation and my intent typically drives my choices.

    My favorite subjects are typically people and or things of man and I'm not into super-saturated "tourist trap color" so standard contrast/normal color films suit me just fine.

    I also find that many times I enjoy the limits of detail that a 400 or an 800 speed 35mm film blown up to 11x14 gives; other times I want the detail and smoother tones available from larger formats and or slower film.

    Sometimes I want the sharpness of my RB67's 90mm lens or my Nikon's 105 2.5 but many times the dreaminess of my Holga is just exactly what I want.

    Best for me is actually a very loose and often serendipitous definition. Like my friends, I like my prints to have some personality. Some of my friends are very sharp and smooth, others are a bit rough.

    The choice of film, format, and lens is very much like choosing who you might like hanging out with this weekend.
     
  13. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Back to the 200 year statement for longevity of RA4 papers.

    For those who believe this to be a fact, I have a very large tower for sale here in Toronto, its situated right beside the Rogers Center and I am selling it cheap, I will negotiate on the price and
    it is a cash only deal , with no refunds.
     
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  15. olleorama

    olleorama Member

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    Wow, I wonder how much Gurskys 4.3 million print will be worth in 200 years, considering he sold it for something in the tens of thousands a few years ago.
     
  16. Photo Engineer

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    Try here: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/e4042/E4042.pdf

    and here: http://www.kodak.com/global/plugins/acrobat/en/professional/products/papers/enduraWhitePaper.pdf

    and also in the textbook for the ICIS short course on image stability. I highly recommend it Bob.

    I'd love to take you up on your deal, but somehow I think that what I am saying is more reliable than what you have said, unless I have to discount all of the articles I have read and tests I have run. Oh, BTW, there are 2 lengthy articles on this in the proceedings of the last two ICIS meetings (2006 and 2002). One is by Fuji and the other by EK. I also suggest that you look at the Wilhelm site.

    PE
     
  17. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Sorry Ron , I respect your opinion, but the only reliable issue is that over the last 35 years I have been printing Colour C prints, and very much doubt the claims you are making as I am in a commercial climate and have made in the hundred of thousand colour images on C print material and still do today, and sadly wish what you say to be true , there is a reason why I am moving to pure pigment prints.
    I have met Whihelm, I have his book sitting buy me right as I type and have read it cover to cover, and I am amazed that a 200 year permanance claim for colour C prints is even being put forth.
    I do not need an education by you btw , maybe you should go out and ask a few lab owners about this topic or even art photographers working long term with this material.
    Bob

     
  18. Plate Voltage

    Plate Voltage Member

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    Uh, you did mean to say, "Sky Dome", right?
     
  19. Bob Carnie

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    Yes one of those big empty buildings.
     
  20. Photo Engineer

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    Bob;

    And over those 35 years color papers were improved dramatically so a 35 year old print will not be the same in image stability as a present day CA or Endura print. Both of these products are less than 35 years old, in fact they are less than 15 years old. In between, in the Kodak line up was the Supra I, II and III which were not up to the image stability of the current Endura, and CA underwent a major change in about 2006.

    I know Henry Wilhelm too, and I met him in Washington at his first talk to the SPSE. His data was both right and wrong at that time because the actual data depends on test condition. I last spent about 4 hours with him in 2006 when we talked about - gee, dye stability, and we toured the RIT Image Permanence Institute. Then I left to take the ICIS short course on image stability.

    At the present time, Endura stored and displayed in a museum at about 100 fc - 150 fc will, according to reports last for up to 200 years. This can only be estimated by accelerated tests though. We will know when we get there, right?

    PE
     
  21. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Ron

    I can only hope you are right about the new materials, but for the record we never have sold shows of colour c print or inkjet work with that type of life expectations to our clients since the mid 90's.
    Currently Wilhelm is giving c print a very poor rating, my understanding he is giving inkjet a better rating, and pure pigments are still the king, whether they are tri colour carbon or gum, where there are now many workers producing images.

    I personally know about three major colour portrait / wedding photographers who's whole careers are in question, due to colour image fading, these three are in litigation with carriage trade customers. I am not calling you up on the carpet on this, you have your rightful opinion, and I have mine. Your background is well documented here and I respect your knowledge but I have to take a completely different stance here.

    The Archives of Canada were asking one of these photographers to provide a historical background of their work and would not accept his colour prints, I was asked to make silver gelatin fibre prints by black white conversion, this would have been a wonderful assignment, unfortunately not only were most of the prints faded and not acceptable by the archive, the colour negative were also damaged to a point that I could not rescue them , I grudgingly turned away a very lovely assignment. I believe one of my competition did inkjet black and white prints for him.
    I do not think I am the only one that can point out this problem, and to say the new material is light years ahead of the old material, is news to me and my counterparts in the colour print industry in Canada and internationally.
    I got into the lab business over this very issue, I started out in a portrait/wedding business and could have taken over the shop, I refused due to all the colour prints coming back as cyan replicas so this issue is dear to me and I hopefully with silver gelatin prints and alt prints can leave behind some legacy of my little time on earth, I really doubt they will be current RA4 prints, I wish it was so. My first lab was a Black and White lab only, then we brought in Cibachrome, then we purchased a Lambda with the inkling of being able at some day to make digital separation negatives and make pure pigment prints. That day is here now and all R&D is in this area for us.

    Bob



     
  22. Photo Engineer

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    Bob;

    I have seen the actual test data. And, the white paper gives the figures that I gave.

    But, anyone can make a print fade quickly under the right condition. You could probably increase the stability even more by using a stabilizer, but then you have more to contend with in terms of other problems. We always found that stabilizers improved print stability.

    I have to disagree with Wilhelm's data on digital prints. Again, see the white paper.

    Relatively speaking, Fuji paper behaves better under bright lights and Kodak paper behaves better under dim lights. Dim lights are found in most homes and museums. Again, see the white paper.

    PE
     
  23. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Ron

    Its not worth the time to argue this , you suggest that I look at the white paper, I suggest Ron to look at the cyan faded prints that are in the hallways of every high school in North America. It seems the Principles from 1970 onward are a very light cyan complexion group of individuals. I trust my eyes over data and I am not smart enough to debate the complex data issues with you. Therefore you can go on record that colour C prints will last for 200 years under right conditions. **whatever they may be**
    To the OP my 2 cents on this subject are here and I need to move on as I have no need to convince anyone of this little quirk that I have noticed over the years in regards to colour C- prints and Colour negatives fading within short periods of time.
    Maybe I am making this up and telling my clients the wrong information, but btw my business partner agrees with being conservative when selling the archival aspects of colour prints.
    I will go on record that they will last at least 5 years on display without noticeable fading, under right conditions ** whatever they may be** but after that time line all bets are off.


    Bob
     
  24. Photo Engineer

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    Bob;

    You are right and wrong at the same time, and it IS worth convincing you!

    You are right, there was a problem over 35 years ago. You are wrong about today's papers. The problem has been fixed. In fact, I have prints from 35 years ago with that same paper that are just fine because I knew how to handle it in the darkroom. I have 16x20 prints on the wall here that are just fine and they were printed in about 1980 or earlier.

    The old paperers were process sensitive and not as stable as the papers now made. So the prints and data you are looking at are years out of date. And digital prints of today are as bad or worse than old analog color prints from 35 years ago.

    Please hear what I am saying.

    PE
     
  25. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Ron

    I don't want to argue with you as you know I respect your background, I print digitally on a lambda RA4 on a daily basis, in fact while we are bantering back and forth I have exposed a third of a roll of Fuji luster RA4, so I am well versed in colour C prints.

    What you are saying will please Ed Burtynsky , Gursky and others creating wonderful works on C print....
    I just happen to be jaded and do not have 200 years to be proven wrong, I will still move forward with pigment colour prints ( carbon or gum) , at least I will feel my 35 plus years of printing colour and acquiring all this equipment will be worth it. Luckily I have figured how to make separation negatives on my lambda and have been working the last few years on how to make a permanent pigment print that I can be proud of leaving behind.

    regarding any white papers, in the words of the Great Canadian Country Singer Shania Twain ( they don't impress me much )

    Bob
     
  26. bluejeh

    bluejeh Subscriber

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    Is there a post printing coating that you can apply to the paper to make it more archival? Thanks.