Fiber based Color paper

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by dslater, Sep 9, 2007.

  1. dslater

    dslater Member

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    I was wondering why is there no fiber-based color paper? Is this something that used to exist and is no longer made due to lack of demand, or is there some other reason?
    Also, what is Polyester based paper like? How does it differ from RC paper? What are it's advantages/disadvantages over RC color paper?

    Thanks,

    Dan
     
  2. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Fibre-based colour paper used to be produced up until the sixties, I think. In my parents' albums, there are a few old contact prints from a Brownie negative that are on a fiber base.

    I would surmise that the exploding growth of photofinishers in the subsequent years made RC a commercial necessity. Fibre base takes more time to rinse and to dry, in addition to require some heat to lay flat. And RC does not suffer from drydown.

    Remember, black and white FB papers almost disappeared in the seventies, if it wasn't for the repeated requests of printers. On the other hand, perhaps the fact that colour photography was in comparison such a massive commercial endeavour explains why RC won. I think I read somewhere that colour dyes might not actually look better on a fiber base, so you would not get the same brilliance you can achieve on RC.

    AFAIK, only Ilfochrome is on a polyester base. It's amazingly stable, robust, and archivable.
     
  3. AgX

    AgX Member

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    In the true meaning there is no polyester based paper, as there is no paper in the true sense involved... (Don't know in which drawer to put it.)

    The base is formed by a polyester sheet. Which means:

    -) greater mechanical/dimensional/chemical stability

    -) a smoother surface (higher gloss) can be produced than on sheer and PE coated paper

    -) greater longivity than PE coated paper
    (It should also have a greater longivity than a sheer paper base, but there still is the emulsion as limiting factor in those two cases.)
     
  4. Photo Engineer

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    Fibre based color paper is subject to higher stain levels due to the process chemistry and so the dmin is not as nice. Also, the light stability is better on RC due to the TiO2 in the support. It absorbs some of the back reflected UV. In addition, RC is less permeable to oxygen than FB.

    It all adds up to RC being better for color.

    Oh, and you can make a high gloss on RC without the need of ferrotyping, and it is easier to make many different textured surfaces which is no longer important, but once was. They were different than those made on FB.

    Drying is quicker and washes can be shorter and replenishment rates of costly color chemistry can be lower.

    You see, there are many many reasons.

    FB was never used for Ilfo/Cibachromes. The very acidic dye bleach process destroys FB paper.

    PE
     
  5. dslater

    dslater Member

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    Unfortunately what you lose is that look that fiber paper has. My B&W prints are on glossy fiber because of the look of the surface. I find that glossy RC paper is too glossy and smooth it has that plastic look - it's basically ugly.
    I see your point about the commercial viability of color fiber paper - I was thinking about it for people who make their own color prints. However, since there are far fewer color printers than B&W printers, I can see why there would be no money in it.
     
  6. dslater

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    Even glossier than RC paper? ick - glossy RC paper is already so shiny, I can't imagine it being even more so.
     
  7. dslater

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    Why does it have greater longevity?
     
  8. AgX

    AgX Member

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    But why has the issue of offering different print surfaces become less important?
     
  9. AgX

    AgX Member

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    The chief scientist of Ilford Imaging statet that the derioration of the PE foils would be the limiting factor.
    PET is more stable and we are talking (for reflective prints) about a rather thick sheet with TiO2 added.
     
  10. Photo Engineer

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    No one was buying the special surfaces in sufficient quantity to justify their manufacture.

    PE
     
  11. dslater

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    O.K. I have to ask - what does PE and PET mean? I thought this was about RC paper vs. polyester paper - obviously I'm missing something.
     
  12. AgX

    AgX Member

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    PE = Polyethylene

    PET = Polyethyleneterephtalate (=Polyester)

    RC = Resin Coated (here in the meaning of laminated with plastic foil; to my understanding only PE foil has been used for this.)


    Thus you have prints consisting of
    -) a plain paper base, with some baryta coating, (called `fibre´),
    -) a base from paper laminated on both sides with PE-foil (called `RC-paper´)
    -) and a base from a plain PET sheet.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 9, 2007
  13. Photo Engineer

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    PET is commonly used for film support, not for reflective materials as we think of them. It can be made translucent and semi opaque (reflective) by various means.

    We think of PET as Estar, Cronar and a variety of other names.

    PE
     
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  15. PHOTOTONE

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    I have color snapshots from the 1950's and 1960's on fibre-based color paper. I can tell you from personal experience, they are inferior in every way to the more modern RC color paper. The while borders are much more yellow, and the images do not have the "depth" that modern papers do. What is good for b/w is not good for color in this case. I worked in a lab in the late 1960's that printed on Kodak pre-RC color paper. It was a long process, and the emulsion was very delicate. The roll paper, processed in a big Pako brand processor was dried face up on a big heated drum before being rolled up on a take-up spool. I remember one time, the paper getting stuck to the big drum. What a disaster that was.
     
  16. Photo Engineer

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    The RC paper was improved by the use of the new hardener. If the old hardener was used on RC, the results would be similar. The emulsion would be less hard and subject to sticking to the dryer belt.

    The process using a blix was partly made possible by RC. Paper support tends to color more from the Ferric EDTA complexes if used with FB. And it takes a long wash.

    PE
     
  17. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Phototone,

    That inferiority, except for the drying, does not neccesarily need to be an RC-issue.
    It also could be due to the barytage and the emulsion itself.
     
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  18. dslater

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    Isn't it also possible that the yellowing is due to insufficient washing?
     
  19. PHOTOTONE

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    No, the yellowing (in prints made by Kodak) is not due to insufficient washing. The yellowing is due to the nature of the fibre base to absorb the processing chemicals and become stained by them, regardless of how much one washes. I have never seen a fibre based color print that had as nice a white border as modern RC color papers. The bleach used in color print processing is quite staining, in my opinion. something we don't find in b/w printing.
     
  20. dslater

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    So are you saying that they come out of the lab yellow rather than yellowing over time?
     
  21. Photo Engineer

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    Prints were somewhat yellow after processing and some yellowed with age depending on the dye stability of the paper. This varied and improved with each generation of paper. Stable brighteners were not available at that time either.

    FB paper absorbed some chemicals and the process chemistry and washes were needed to remove the chemicals from both the baryta and the paper fibres.

    Just as today, you see shorter washes with RC B&W, and longer washes with FB B&W, the same is true for color, with the added problem that the chemicals create colors.

    PE
     
  22. Photo Engineer

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    I should add that the dmin of color prints was about 0.20 with a yellow bias right out of the process, and todays color papers are about 0.10 or less right out of the process. This is due to RC support, a better process (RA developer without benzyl alcohol), brighteners, and the new hardener among other things.

    PE
     
  23. dslater

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    Hmm - If there had been enough demand to support color FB paper development until today, I wonder if it would indeed look as good as B&W FB
     
  24. Photo Engineer

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    I suspect that it would not. I have seen exactly the same coating done on FB and RC and with exactly the same images printed on them. The RC was far better. I suspect that would still be the case.

    And, the cost would be about 2x higher due to the cost of FB material and to the modifications needed when coating. It requires quite a bit different drying setup for FB than for RC. At least it did at EK.

    PE
     
  25. dslater

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    Oh well - I'd be happy if they could just make RC paper with the same surface texture as FB.
     
  26. Photo Engineer

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    It cannot be done with B&W and therefore by analogy cannot be done for color. The surface property problems are quite similar. We did extensive studies of this. The best to be achieved on RC is glossy, matte, pearl, and silk, but FB had suede, tapestry, and a whole host of other surfaces that just did not carry over to RC well.

    At one time, there were 19 surfaces for Azo paper alone.

    Time change.

    And, BTW, these exotic surfaces are not available for digital either so it is a widespread market issue.

    PE