Fuji Crystal Archive Type DPII printed with enlarger

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by iranzi, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. iranzi

    iranzi Member

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    I'm looking for some information regarding printing on Fuji Crystal Archive Type DPII paper ("digital only" according to Fuji) with an enlarger. I heard that some people do that and I wonder if they could share their experiences.

    DPII is supposed to be superior in quality to the regular CA and CA Supreme papers, both of which are "analog friendly". Does any of this superior quality come through when it's used with enlarger, i.e. is there a benefit in switching to DPII?

    I hear that DPII has higher contrast than regular Crystal Archive paper. What is the contrast difference between these two in terms of grades (or grade fractions)?

    Also, has anybody had good results processing DPII in Kodak Ectacolor RA4 chemistry? Or is it better to use Fuji chemistry for optimum results?

    So far I've only had experience with regular Crystal Archive paper processed in Fuji X-press kit at high temperature. But I'm really tempted by the much lower prices for DPII rolls and Ectacolor chemicals.
     
  2. GeorgK

    GeorgK Member

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    I only can talk about the "digital" version of the Kodak paper, and trust me: there is a reason why they call it "digital only". Dyes and sensitation do not match the actual film dyes, and the prints show strong color shifts. It may work out if there is only one important color in the picture, and the print can be filtered for this, and the other colors dont matter (or if colors do not matter at all, because it is some weird, experimental stuff anyway). If one needs an acceptable balance of different color hues, he's completely lost.

    Georg
     
  3. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Crystal Archive Type II works superbly printed optically. It is slightly less contrasty than the previous
    Super C, yet more contrasty than Type P. The tweak for digital printing involved increasing the sensitivity to green light, since this tends to be the weakest laser in digital systems, but it's only a few cc's different than Super C and it took me only a couple of test strips to rebalance. I use Kodak RA/RT chemistry one-shot in drums. I have printed mostly large-format Ektar and Portra 160VC negs lately, and admit that I
    do use a specialized RGB additive enlarger, but see no reason why excellent results would not be obtained
    using a conventional colorhead and a variety of color neg films. When necessary, I tweak the contrast up or down using unsharp masking. This is damn good paper.
     
  4. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I should have qualified my remark by stating that I have not worked with any of the funny Fuji papers like the metallized or digital "Pearl" stuff, just the conventional Type II. But all one would have to do is compare the spectral sensitivity of the tech sheets between these and the typical RC paper. Initially,
    Fuji tried to state that their paper were digitally improved, but did so in a way that confused analog
    printers. Since then, some of the marketing statements have been revised to include the thought of
    analog compatability. The Type II papers got some bad rap on certain review sites from inexperienced
    indivduals who probably would have mucked up any kind of paper. But as Fuji claims, hues do tend to
    come out crisper, and the white base is cleaner than previous papers.
     
  5. iranzi

    iranzi Member

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    Thanks a lot for the reassurance and the details!
    I ordered a roll of Type DPII, plus Kodak chemistry.
     
  6. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Is DPII the same as Type II? I use Fuji Crystal Archive Type II optically but thought the DPII was a different paper, "Digital Pearl" which I haven't used.
     
  7. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    Thanks for that info. I've been worried about the switch to Type II. A box arrived yesterday, but I haven't printed on it yet. Maybe this weekend. If it's really lower contrast I may order some more sizes and keep the remaining Type C for where I want the contrast. With Ektar it's usually too much contrast without a mask.

    Of course I don't have an additive enlarger, so we will see.
     
  8. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    The type II paper has a distinctly whiter base, and perhaps certain dye improvements too, and this really
    helps render certain hues more cleanly. Additive printing is yet another tweak which renders cleaner color
    by eliminating residual white-light spillover and hitting each color layer spot on. But these kinds of color
    heads are much more difficult to engineer.
     
  9. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    Re additive color: not that hard to engineer really... Just buy a nice beseler minolta 45a head from ebay. I use one of these, and like it a lot. I have only printed with endura so far (havea big stockpile) but I imagine CA-II should do ok too.
     
  10. iranzi

    iranzi Member

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    Type DP is not the Digital Pearl paper. Digital Pearl is high gloss, Type DP comes in gloss, lustre and matt. And I also suspect Type II and Type DP might not be the same paper.

    The UK range of Crystal Archive papers seems to be different from the US range. The names are all different. Type DP is not listed on the Fuji USA site and Type II is not on Fuji UK site. Very confusing. Can anyone shed any light on this.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2011
  11. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Ed - the Beseler/Minolta is an extremely weak flash tube system which presents
    distinct problems dodging and burning. It has indeed been successfully used for relatively small C-prints, but probably isn't bright enough for either large prints or
    something like Cibachrome. Similarly, a long time ago Phillips made a small simple rheostatic additive colorhead which was simply too weak for most professional
    applications. So once you up the ante things start getting complicated. To my
    knowledge, the only 8x10 colorheads in the world are my own and six owned by
    the NSA adapted for 9-inch aerial spyplane film (I don't know who built them or
    if they still use them).
     
  12. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Sorry, I obviously meant to say, the only 8x10 "additive" colorheads... But expensive laser digital printers and the Chromira concept work on a similar RGB premise.
     
  13. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    One more postscipt - big additive enlargers (up to 11x14 film size) using powerful xenon flash tubes were once available for color separation work with pin-registered easels, but these would be classified as sequential additive rather than simultaneous. Similarly, one could simply print on a conventional enlarger
    using deep tricolor filters in sequence, but this would be quite slow and clumsy, and require a lot of trial and error testing. It has been done.
     
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  15. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    In college I used an Nord enlarging system that was RGB , took no time to adabpt, Lambda digital Printer is an RGB system but uses CMY control board plus density.
    In fact it is identical to an 8x10 Durst Enlarger in application.
     
  16. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    Drew, tell us more about your color head. Indeed, beseler 45a has some limitations, but for up to 4x5 negs and prints up to say 20x24 it seems to work ok so far. I do wish the tubes had more power though.
     
  17. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    The whole problem with additive enlargers is that the narrow-band filters are so dense that it takes a lot
    more light to do the job, and then you end up with serious heat issues. Too much heat not only ruins the
    filters prematurely, but drives up the utility bills and potentially fades the original neg or chrome. Real
    powerful flash tubes would ideally need to have the colorhead water-jacket-cooled and can cause electrical havoc. I used a powerful spectrophotometer once that blew its capacitor and every surge
    protector in sequence, then destroyed a whole room full of computers. Joe Holmes up the hill from me
    made a 4x5 additive head using a bank of tunsten-halogen bulbs each controlled by rheostats. It delivered
    nice color but his Ciba exposures were running eight or nine minutes. So to keep the color within parameters he had to resort to excessively narrow-bandpass filters which slowed things even more, with
    the inevitable reciprocity failure problems. At the end of their pro mfg, Durst adapted their top of the
    line 8X10 colorheads to additive, but never marketed them because labs were switching to digital printing.
    I suspects the remaining components for these were used by the NSA for their bank of enlargers, along
    with controls from ZBE. The problem with both the Durst and ZBE colorheads per se was again the terrible
    heat. Under lab use, filters might last only six months and cost hundreds to replace each time. So I'll
    explain my own approach in a following thread, when I get another moment....
     
  18. iranzi

    iranzi Member

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    Crystal Archive Type II and Type DPII are completely different papers.
    I just checked the data sheets for both of them and Type II is "designed for both analog and digital printers", whereas Type DP is "designed exclusively for digital output".
    Their spectral sensitivity curves are also very different.

    It's possible that Type DPII is not sold in the US at all, or has a different name.
    I know that DPII is being used for optical printing here in UK, but i'd love to find out how this paper responds.

    Many thanks for all the replies so far.

    I'm also very curious about the benefits of additive printing and enlargers (I'm using medium format negatives).
     
  19. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    To continue ... as some of you might know, Beseler attempted to introduce a more powerful additive
    colorhead using multiple tungsten-halogen bulbs. There were several things good about the design and
    several things terribly wrong that gave it a bad rap. I don't know who the subcontractor was, but they
    didn't spell out our understand the implications of EMI (electro-magnetic interference) with multiple
    solid-state circuits, and the need for dedicated or isolated power; then they had a bad batch of triacs in some of the controllers; and the diffusion system was very poorly designed; plus, around the same time, Beseler changed ownership and the new owners had very little interest in honoring warranties on confusing equipment. But the control panel was very useful for converting YMC to RGB and was not itself
    problematic. I cannibalized some of this stuff to make a prototype colorhead for my 5X7 Durst chassis,
    but competely redesigned everything else, including a mirror box which essential tripled the light output
    (important for slow-printing Ciba work, which was my specialty at that time). This equipment works perfectly to this day, but that was the simple project, and next I had to figure out how to convert the
    idea into an 8x10 system. I'm neither an electrical engineer or a rich guy, so had to do it right the first time with only a fifteen grand budget... (to be cont'd)...
     
  20. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    The last round of big Durst colorheads used a 2000W bulb which stairstepped down through two or more
    stages of diffusers. In the additive form, if it ever reached the market, the price for the colorhead would
    have probably been around 45K back then or a lot more at todays inflated prices. From my previous experience having custom mfg air compressors, I learned that the best way to control heat is to divide
    and conquer. So for my 8x10 enlarger I split the colorhead into a Y formation feeding into a common mirror
    box. This kept is running cool but presented a different set of problems. I had to integrate the light output
    of each; fortunately, ZBE had already engineered a device which monitored this kind of thing, and I could
    simply calibrate the heads together. Size and weight were obviously also going to be an issue. I built the
    colorhead housing out of 3/8 black Garolite phenolic, and it has to be raised or lowed for maintenance using a block and tackle. I wanted the enlarger chassis to be bombproof in this seismic neighborhood.
    It stands about 12ft tall and is made out of expoxy-impregnated structural beam material which is extremely dimensionally stable and strong. I load the enlarger using a rolling platform ladder. The focus
    device was cannibalized from a Sinar P studio camera, the yaw correction from a $0 military surplus micrometer-driven mortar aiming device (it would have costed thousands to custom mfg), the precision
    30X40 pin-registered vacuum easel was cannibalized $0 from a 22 ft long process camera when a print
    shop was being remodeled. The mirror box was tricky. I was able to distribute the light laterally using a
    linear array fresnel (no resemblance to a typical focussing fresnel lens), then grind a series of graduated
    diffusers per different lenses for falloff correction. Sometimes I still need to edge and corner dodge or burn, so this could use a little more fine-tuning. The electronics were an utter beast to psychoanalyze.
    Won't go into that. Today I would use sine-wave technology like they use for stage light setups in rock concerts etc, but that simply wasn't available yet.
     
  21. iranzi

    iranzi Member

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    listen mate, why won't you start your own thread?
     
  22. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Sorry that I never answered your question directly. I tried looking at the Fuji selection here, but apparently the papers are either labeled or distributed differently.
     
  23. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Oh, one thing that just occurred to me... I asked a similar question last year to someone who does CA
    printing in another country both optically and digitally. Apparently there are certain papers designed primarily for advertising or trade show displays where they want the lettering to be very crisp black and white. So they've tweaked the curves to dump the blacks a little harder and raise the whites to the max. For this reason they consider them unsuitable for "typical" color neg applications like portraiture. But this doesn't meanthey're insensitive to ordinary exposing lights. You might have to do a little contrast masking to optimize for such papers. I hope this explanation helps. And again, I apologize if I seem to have been
    hijacking the thread. I was simply trying to explain how the effect of digital and analog printers really can
    be made quite analagous.
     
  24. iranzi

    iranzi Member

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    Thanks Drew. I just thought the information you were sharing was too valuable to be buried in an unrelated thread. But perhaps it's not that unrelated, I just have to re-read your posts. Cheers
     
  25. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    My thought behind the whole additive exposure diatribe was that certain "digital only" papers might be at risk for crossover in the extreme highlights if a conventional
    YMC colorhead has too much residual white light spillover affecting all three dye layers. This is very difficult to predict since I don't have direct experience with such papers and because subtractive enlargers differ somewhat in how narrow a
    spectrum they pass, Durst and Omega colorheads less than twenty years old generally being superior in this respect to older units. If this happens there are
    ways to correct it. But my assumption, given the general ambiguity of Fuji's literature, is that by "digital only" they mean that the scan might need certain
    curve corrections in PS in order to fit the entire range of certain subjects. In
    analog printing we do this through masking. But it's certainly worth a try. Good
    luck!
     
  26. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    Thanks for the info , Drew. That sounds like an awesome setup. Would be cool to see pics sometime. I too wondered if additive heads like beseler 45a could get around the issues with 'digital only' type papers.