House brands vs. Name brands

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by JustDave, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. JustDave

    JustDave Member

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    I've been poking around some online photo supply stores and I see that a couple of them have house brands. How do they measure up? And I don't mean the house brands that are, at least, named similar to the name brands - ex. Arista76 vs Kodak's D-76 or Kenmere's KMAX vs. Kodak's TMAX developers - which appear to be just the same formulations as the named brand.

    Also, speaking of Arista, is there any difference between the "Premium" and the regular versions?

    I ask this because I'm looking for some sort of reference point. Something analogous to the digital cameras that show the focal length of the lens and in parentheses 35mm equivalent - Xmm.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2009
  2. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Think of it just like going to WalMart and buying the Equate brand of bar soap instead of the Dove brand. These are items that are made by the same manufacturer and just rebranded or are made to "similar standards" as the original. With Freestyle's Arista stuff I haven't seen any need to spend more on the brand name vs. their rebranding and have not had any problems.
     
  3. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Freestyle's Arista Premium = Kodak Tri-X and Plus-X.
    Arista legacy =Fuji Acros and Neopan.
    Arista EDU = Foma.

    I believe the Arista II paper is Kentmere. The EDU paper IIRC is Foma.
     
  4. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Actually, Arista.EDU was Forte; Arista.EDU Ultra is Foma. That "Ultra" caused a lot of confusion in the past, since the two lines were concurrent for a while. Today the chance of serious problems arising is reduced, since the Forte-made stuff is no longer available. You might have to watch this when looking up development times, though!
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Well, house brand vegetables in cans have the same weight but the water to vegetable ratio is different, more water. The house brands have less spice, the house brands have lower quality meat, the house brands have more defects in the veggies and more fat on the meat.

    You judge.

    PE
     
  6. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    PE--see I like some of the Safeway Select house brand stuff better than the big name brand!!! So you be the judge is right.

    The bottom line is if it works for your photography and you are getting consistent results then it is good stuff.
     
  7. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    I'm just getting back into the darkroom after a 23 year hiatus. I've done some research into what's available now as opposed to back then and have opted to purchase Arista chemicals, film and paper to give them a try. Years ago I used nothing but Kodak products and was very happy with them. Plus-X was my favorite film but it is not available in 4x5 anymore. The point is to try different brands and see what you like. I may not like the Arista when I get it but who knows. It may become a favorite.
     
  8. JustDave

    JustDave Member

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    Here's my other conundrum. With regards to the chemicals, particularly developers, I'm trying to get a handle on how they might look in terms of grain, sharpness, shadow detail, etc... without having to shoot many rolls and developing them. Meaning, for one, is Arista liquid film developer like HC-110? or TMAX? Or what about the premium? The same for the liquid paper developer. Many of their descriptions are pretty vague and you know how they are when you ask them who makes what.

    At least with the like named developers(i.e. KMAX), I know that I'm getting a Kodak TMAX Developer copy.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2009
  9. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    Exactly. One difficulty with house brands is the lack of disclosure of the actual manufacturer. The distributor can change manufacturer sources at any time without notice or warning and cheapen the product. I have been witnessing this lately with a major chain grocer and have stopped buying their house brands. As for photo items, you need to test it for yourself decide if it floats your boat. Be alert to changes in characteristics with new batches.

    Bob
     
  10. JustDave

    JustDave Member

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    Yeah, I see what you're saying. I have fallen in love with TMAX film. I love the stuff: the look, the grain, the taste (kidding). And it looks great in either D-76 or in TMAX. And I print in on Illford MG V - my favorite paper. I've shot the Foma film (Pretty good) and the Arista.EDU, Arista II (Ick!) , Illford HP5 and SP4 (Both have great tonality), and Fuji Across (second choice after TMAX!). All developed with either D-76 or TMAX.

    I printed on: Polycontrast RC(when it was still available), Illford, Foma, and Arista II. The Arista II was too damn fast for me. The Foma was nice, I liked the look. The Illford developed in Illford Multigrade developer - I get that especially when I can get those 40 sheet packs for the price of 25 - my personal favorite!

    I am trying to find some substitutes for the named brand chemicals without having to go through a bunch of paper and film. As far as the TMAX combination, it's looking as if I'm SOL on that combo, but the printing?
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i guess it is safe to say your mileage may vary from the mileage
    posted on the sticker on the side of the vehicle ...

    i look at house brands like knock-off handbags.
    often times they are made side by side in the same chinese factory
    as the actual "big name" bag. the difference is the name plate ...
    some folks like name brands, some don't mind so much.

    yes, i used to have a sankyo radio in my car. :smile:
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Bob;

    Variability is exactly one problem we have with the products of one large grocery chain. We too have pretty much stopped buying their products. A certain product in upstate NY is made in Canada, while the same product near the Pa border is made in Alabama, and the quality and taste are entirely different.

    This isn't to say that all of their house products are bad either, some are quite good and there is no competition for them.

    OTOH, as said above, my philosophy is "if it works, use it". Same thing applies here.

    PE
     
  13. r-brian

    r-brian Member

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    Some of the Arista chemicals are just relabeled Clayton chemicals, the Ultra Cold Tone Developer for one and maybe the Premium Cold Tone Developer, the two I've used. I've also used their Rapid Fix without any problems.
     
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  15. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Something to consider. A couple of years ago Kodak sold its chemical producing division to a third party, not sure but it might have been Champion. Now Kodak contracts with "Champion" to make the photo chemical products it sells under the Kodak name, both color and b/w chemistry. If Freestyle, or other vendor is selling versions of Kodak chemicals under their own name made by the same company that makes Kodak chemicals, then they could be identical in everything but name.

    All private label film is made by the "known" film manufacturers. If you figure out which, then you can expect just about identical results. The "private label" films are sold cheaper because of large orders to the manufacturer giving a wholesale discount price, and also because the selling vendor is the warrantor, and the manufacturer does not advertise and warranty the product. Also, some vendors purchase film in bulk rolls (very-very large rolls) and cut and package it themselves, thus giving an additional cost savings.
     
  16. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I'm sure that Kodak would ensure an exclusive license to use their own processes and not allow Champion to sell proprietary materials to others. Kodak also now buys their own formulation of color paper support from Schoeller now that the paper plant at Kodak Park is closes. This does not mean that Ilford or any other company can buy or use it.

    I do know that Kodak is now permitted to package products under other labels, but this does not mean that they supply the latest generation of materials under someone elses name.

    PE
     
  17. Lowell Huff

    Lowell Huff Inactive

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    PE, I must take exception to your characterization of "house brands VS. name brands". What you say may be true of vegetables, spices, and canned meats; but when we, Clayton Chemical, private label products for our customers, the formulas we use are richer in active indgrediants, the concentrations are greater, and in many instances the quality of raw materials is higher. With all of those advantages, we still can provide greater value and image quality to the user and greater profit margins to the dealer.
     
  18. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    JustDave, there are so many products out there that to help you, we really need to know what you like. If you like Kodak D-76, then somebody can probably point you to third-party products that work more-or-less like D-76, but first we need to know you like D-76. (Just to pick an example.)

    On another issue, although the grocery store product analogy is apt in some ways, it may not be in other ways. We here on APUG have a pretty good collective understanding of who makes what (particularly for Freestyle's offerings), so we can offer good overall advice on what's equivalent to what. Although I'm sure some people know who makes Kroger's or Wegman's or Safeway's canned veggies, most consumers are clueless about this detail. Thus, there's a huge difference on that score.

    That said, there are questions of quality control. A D-76 workalike (to pick on D-76 again) made by FooBar, Inc. might be made to very different QC standards than Kodak's D-76. For film and paper, it's yet another story, since it's all made in the same place -- Arista.EDU Ultra is Foma film, made in the same factory. (In fact, I've gotten Foma-branded film with "Ultra" edge markings!) I doubt if the manufacturers lower their QC standards for rebranded products, but who knows -- maybe they do. OTOH, when another company gets their hands on the product, say to cut down big rolls of paper into their own boxes, things can go awry. I've heard tales of paper being improperly sealed in its (supposedly) light-proof bags, for instance. I've never heard of such problems with Freestyle's house brand films or papers (most of which have packaging that resembles that of their name-brand equivalents, so I suspect it's packaged by the original manufacturer), but I have heard of it with some others, such as UltraFine's repackaged papers.
     
  19. cmacd123

    cmacd123 Member

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    BUT whould it be practial for (say Kodak) to make a Different type of film to package as "Arista Profesional" that was substantally different than their main offerings? Freestyle is a big seller but I don't imagine them selling (39 Strands * 3000 FT = 117,000) @18/100ft =~ 20,000 rolls of film. which would be just one master roll. if the film was not the same as sold under the name brand.

    (the Arista Pro I received was either packaged by Kodak or someone took a lot of trouble to duplicate the font used for the expiry date and the current Kodak Film cans.

    MIND YOU - I supose that Kodak might have had a master roll that was slightly off spec and offered it to freestyle rather then junking it... ?
     
  20. JustDave

    JustDave Member

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    I had this thought, why don't I just look at the bio hazard sheet and compare chemicals? (I see where you get a manufacturer for a house brand Arista Liquid Film Developer = Clayton).
    Anyway, as an example, I compared KMAX with TMAX:
    TMAX:
    50 - 60 Water (7732-18-5)
    35 - 45 Diethanolamine-sulphur dioxide complex (63149-47-3)
    1 - 5 Sodium metabisulphite (7681-57-4)
    1 - 5 Hydroquinone (123-31-9)
    0.1 - 1 4-hydroxymethyl-4-methyl-1-phenyl-3-pyrazolidinone (13047-13-7)

    KMAX:
    POTASSIUM SULFITE 10117-38-1 N.E. N.E. 10-15
    HYDROQUINONE 123-31-9 2mg/m³ 2mg/m³ 1-5
    DIETHYLENE GLYCOL 111-46-6 10mg/m³ (WEEL) 50 ppm TWA 1-5

    Now, it's been decades since my college chemistry classes, but from what I remember (not much), aside from the Hydroquinone component, these developers aren't identical. BUT! I guess TMAX developer is just a Hydroquinone developer and when shopping for a developer, I should just look for a Hydroquinone developer? The Hydroquinone is what really counts?
     
  21. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Well, here are answers for two of the above posts here.

    Kodak does not market any defective product either under their label or under any one elses label. If it has a defect, it is scrap. They may however, offer an older formula film to a company at reduced price. For example, it would be foolish of Kodak to offer their new Ektar 100 to a "competitor" and allow it to be sold at a discount.

    I can also see a competitor using spooling equipment or some such that resembles Kodak spooling equipment. And I can see their buying boxes from Kodak's supplier. There is no magic in getting the same packing, but I can also see Kodak packing it for them. It really does not matter. I doubt if the film sold under another label is the latest and greatest from Kodak though.

    As for the KMAX and TMAX in the MSDS, note that the Kodak formula contains a phenidone type developing agent whereas the KMAX does not. Also, the Kodak formula does not contain any potassium salts. In addition, the Kodak developer contains DEA, but the other one does not list the alkali at all.

    These are thoughts to consider when thinking about similarity.

    PE
     
  22. JustDave

    JustDave Member

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    That's what I thought and was asking about. Thank you.

    I pretty much have come to the conclusion that, in regards to my film and developer choice, it's TMX, TMY-2, and TMAX - accept no substitutes!

    I'd like to know why, in this era of modern film bases that don't need hardeners, why Kodak still puts a hardener in their fixers.
     
  23. thmm

    thmm Member

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    The safety data sheets only need to list dangerous ingredients, and for dangerous ingredients (classified as irritant, harmful or toxic) there are minimum concentrations below which they don't have to be listed, IIRC 1% for harmful substances. This, along with the imprecise percentages, is designed to allow manufacturers to keep their trade secrets.

    Therefore, I would assume that the KMAX developer is of a PQ type as well, although phenidone or dimezone are not listed.
     
  24. fotch

    fotch Member

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    You buy Peace of Mind when you buy the name brand. The house brand can be a bit of a gamble. For me, the goal is the image, the price is the cost.

    I am so fed up with the look alike products imported and prove to be crap in disguise. Walfart is the master of this sham, sadly, not the only ones doing it.

    With some exception, you get what you pay for.

    JMHO
     
  25. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    In Kodak fixer with hardener, the hardener is an option to be used at your discretion. Kodak knows that there are softer products out there that may need it.

    So, it is a convenience to you.

    PE
     
  26. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Just to oversimplify, and to confine attention to the Freestyle house brands: Is it safe to conclude that the films are neither more nor less than relabelled "brand" films, but the chemistry may be separately formulated "work-alike" stuff? I guess we can almost know from the discussion above that KMAX is not just relabelled TMAX developer, for instance.

    Or are you, PE, suggesting *also* that (as an example) Arista Premium 400 might not be exactly the same as TX400 after all?

    -NT