Dye Transfer Labs

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by Stephen Frizza, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    Are there Still any Dye Transfer Labs in operation and if so who and where are they?
    Links would be appreciated.
     
  2. MDR

    MDR Member

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  3. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I didn't know dye transfer is still around with Kodak not making the matrix film any more. They're sure beautiful.
     
  4. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Dyetransfer International (dyetransfer.de) makes their own Matrix film

    Quote:"These matrix films are produced exclusively for our company following our own formulas", they also produce their own Baryta paper.
     
  5. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Wow that's great. I thought dye transfer died with Kodak discontinuation of matrix film.
     
  6. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Mordanted paper is made by Filmotec.
     
  7. Iluvmycam

    Iluvmycam Member

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    I would not want a dye transfer. Very expensive and they can fade like hell. Transfers are the Worst color imaging media I've tested for fading. Beautiful color, but dye stability is terrible. (They have good dark storage stability.) Inkjets are the best for overall image IQ and stability.

    Cibachrome are the best for stability and will beat an inkjet, but have poor contrast adjustments. Ink jets are behind Ciba, but ahead of Fuji Crystal Archive for stability. Laser prints are above inkjet for stability and maybe(?) equal to Cibacrhome for stability, (but not sure about the last statement. i was never able to test this one area.) I think inkjets are better than Lasers for IQ, but I have not tested all options

    OP...after you study up your DT options, let us know what is going on with them for costs.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 27, 2013
  8. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I thought the same. I didn't know that there was a company that was still making the materials.
     
  9. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Charlie Cramer sold off his dye equip quite awhile back, and now Ctein is throwing in the towel for good, but still has some leftovers for sale.
    There are maybe a hundred people in the world still doing dye transfer printing, but only three commercially that I'm aware of, including Jim
    Browining (mostly just prints his own works) and Egbert Haneke in Germany, who exposes the matrix film via laser. The redux materials have
    been custom run a number of times. My own matrix film was made by Efke, and I mordant my own paper; but it would be nice just to buy the
    paper. Some of the blanket comments above about the alleged longevity of certain media versus others are too generalized to warrant taking seriously. There are all kinds of variables relative to display and storage conditions, and in the case of media like either dye transfer or inkjet, the actual ingredients are not necessarily standardized. Many inkjet inks actually contain blends of color utilizing dyes which are closely related to certain dyes sometime used in dye transfer printing - they are "pigments" only in the sense of being "lakes" at best. The nonsense of the post above is also apparent because most laser prints are in fact directly onto Fuji CA paper, and exactly the same thing as I currently use in an enlarger. Ciba is close to extinction, but it doesn't do well under UV either - I've got more than my fair share of experience with Ciba. Nothing is forever - even the Sphinx of Egypt is a weathered mess compared to its original quality. But if any of you are interested in taking up dye transfer printing, it's still potentially one of the most beautiful forms of color printing ever invented, and can still be done if you are patient, innovative, and have a fair amount of time and budget, and above all, love darkroom work. I only have time at the present to
    tinker with it off and on, but have learned that the complete process can still be done totally analog, in a well-equipped personal darkroom.
     
  10. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I printed Ciba for a while and it's a gorgeous print. Controlling the contrast was a big issue for me. The chemicals were pretty nasty and I was told if I didn't neutralize the chemicals, I'd wreck my pluming. The colors of Ciba seemed liquid to me. What is still approachable to me is RA4 processing. The paper and chemicals are cheap. Dye transfer printing is out of the question. I went to my friends art opening. He had nudes printed from Epson printers and they're beautiful also. I hate to admit that a digital inkjet print looked as good as RA print.
     
  11. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    I was going to ask WTH a "laser print" was if not just lasers exposing conventional chromogenic print material.
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    There is the Dye Transfer forum on Yahoo. It is run by Jim Browning and has members such as Ctein and many others interested in DT. One of them should be able to answer your question Steve.

    PE
     
  13. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    what? you're full of it.
    how does this contribute to the op's question?
     
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  15. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Mr. Iluvmycam never read so much BS in my life most Inkjet prints have the longevity of a gnat that is except for pigment inkjets. The tests by Nelson etc... are a joke in my opinion one can speak about the longevity of a medium if it actually survives that long not trough artificial test that mostly serve as marketing tools. But that's just my opinion and the opinion of many archivists and conservators. If I would want ultra longevity I would make a three colour gum or or three color pigment print now these mediums really have what I would call longevity but an inkjet print pfft (except pigment based ones and even then not every pigment is really lightfast or has any kind of longevity). If also seen quiet a few 60 to 70 year old Dye transfers that looked just as good as the day they were made and maybe you should visit the national portrait gallery and take a look at Madame Yevonde Dye Transfers from the 1930's these still look superb so much for Dye transfer lack of longevity which I agree is not the best there is but is still quiet good. The most beautiful colour process is the three color carbro print but again that's just my opinion.
     
  16. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    DREW WILEY May I Private Message you?

    PHOTO ENGINEER Thank you.

    And as for those who mentioned the archival nature of dye transfer process. I have seen samples printed in the 1970's which look like they were done today....Like all materials its simply how its cared for.
     
  17. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Like all materials its simply how its cared for Stephen Frizza

    +1000

    Truer words were never spoken
     
  18. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    In reply to Mr. Mainecatasbigasadrafthorse : Ciba had to be routinely masked not only for contrast but for color reproduction errors. If one wanted to master Ciba, being comfortable making masks was vital. Basically, you used masking to bludgeon the medium into submission. Masking for dye transfer work is generally even more involved, but is mainly related to balancing all the different separation negs, matrices, and dyes to
    one another (an oversimplified explanation). Supplementary silver masking with current color neg films printed onto RA4 papers is optional and
    more like power steering - just a little goes a long ways. I find myself making either simple mild contrast decrease or contrast increase masks
    for about 30% of my color negs. It's kinda like having the variable contrast option with black and white, and at this point in time is capable
    of dramatically improving the rendition of color neg images when the basic orange mask isn't dead-on in terms of magnification ratio or
    contrast-related color saturation. It's a very valuable tool to have, though a lot of color neg printing can obviously be done without it.
    But at the moment I am routinely making RA4 prints with just as much snap as Ciba, and better hue reproduction. But the inkjet and consumer electronics propaganda machine seems to have convinced everyone that this is impossible. After all, how can it be true if it's
    actually cheaper and faster?
     
  19. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Ron - Ctein worked exclusively with pan matrix film, a very different animal from ordinary dye printing from chromes. He was running low on
    Kodak paper, and getting tired of the process anyway, so decided on a permanent change of scenery. So that spells the end of pan matrix
    printing period, unless someone manages a few more images with his leftovers. I bought up the last big lot of Efke matrix film that Jim B. had formulated. Egbert and Bettina over in Germany have since switched from it to a different matrix film as well as a new dye set better geared
    to their hybrid workflow, and sufficient to allow them to operate a custom lab for clients too; but I don't know if they have a reserve of materials allowing resale to other potential printers. I'm trying to find wiggle room in my own lab to squeeze in another 8x10 enlarger dedicated to DT work, so I don't have to interrupt my ordinary RA4 printing needs. But it's just a matter of logistics (don't want to tweak my
    back manhandling that thing just before I leave for another backpacking trip!).
     
  20. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Lots of great info here! My next question is how many prints those matrix films good for?
     
  21. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Mr. Myittbittyspottedfrontporchcatchasesawaythathugecooncatdownthestreet: Wish I knew the question to that myself. Matrices pick up dirt or specks of gelatin and wear out eventually, so when they get old don't perform as well. Older matrices which are reconstituted also generallyneed some tweaking of the dyes to get them to perform like they did before. I've heard of people making well over a hundred prints with a set of them, but I've also seen a lot of sloppy looking production dye prints. But in my case I'm really trying create a modernization of the wash-off relief technique, which post-hardens the matrices rather than using a tanning developer (I have several practical reasons for
    preferring this method), and nobody seems to know if there is any pro or con to this which might affect matrice film longevity. But I just can't
    see myself making a lot of prints of any single image anyway. The dye transfer process was geared to limited edition printing ... that's about
    all I can say. You might query over on the Dye Transfer Forum where there are still a couple of folks tuning in who ran commercial DT labs
    back in days of yore.
     
  22. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    One day curiosity is going to kill this cat.
     
  23. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    If you treat your mats well, you can make many many prints! There is no set limit, but as Drew said, you might get a hundred or more prints from a set.

    Drew, Ctein might know of some labs though, and does participate in the DT forum.

    PE
     
  24. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Ron - I should just drive across the Bay and visit Ctein again. He had me over for his birthday party a couple years ago; and I drove away with a few jugs of Kodak dyes. We still chat from time to time. But he's going to concentrate on inkjet now, which he does much better than most.
    I'm looking at dye transfer printing as more a hobby than anything else. Yeah, I hope to eventually get good enough at it to bag a handful of
    classic prints from my older chromes, but with respect to the future, Kodak color neg is it as far as I'm concerned. I'm happy I had my years
    of printing Cibas, and then put in my additional hours betting on a different horse, which now seems to be the clear winner. I just don't have any spare time to go around teaching or even exhibiting until I retire. But chromogenic has really evolved, and just a little tweaking does indeed make it a many-trick pony!
     
  25. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Isn't it ironic that now we need Pan Matrix film for DT, and it is all gone.

    Ctein and I exchange e-mails and the last time he was here in Rochester, I ended up in NYC for a workshop. So, we have missed meeting in person.

    PE
     
  26. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    The more complicated path from chromes does seems to allow a greater degree of correction relative to individual dye idiosyncrasies than the direct to
    pan matrix approach. But there are bigger issues. It would be wonderful to have a matrix film with less toe to it and thus less highlight block-up. At the moment Ctein and Bettina are having a bit of a tiff over the subject of dye permanence. The composition of Kodak dyes isn't really a trade secret. Their
    prepackaged buffers were handy, but as far as I can tell there isn't a lot of difference between Kodak dyes and the powdered Pylam dyes which Jim B.
    worked with. I have both. I don't know the composition of the current German dyes, but they have apparently been well tested. I'd be more concerned
    with the nuances of how the transfer paper and mordant affects permanence. Kodak seems to have had a double coating system for their paper with the
    thorium nitrate deeply embedded, and the paper could be stored and used for long periods. Alum M1 paper seems to have to be used soon, preferably
    within a day of mordanting, though some very old images done this way are still looking good. A couple of us are experimenting with supplementing this
    with uranyl nitrate - expensive, but it takes very little to do the job. Then there's a question of the appropriate gelatin, along with the fact that if one is
    simply using some ordinary fixed-out b&w fiber-based paper, there aren't a lot of options. Again, I don't know exactly how the Germans are handling this
    right now - the link to a commercial paper is well out of date. As usual, dye transfer printing is a lot like home cooking with no set rules. All kinds of ways
    of doing it. Pan Matrix film could be realistically made again, or so I have been told - but there's no financial justification for it. Who would put up the money?