How long will unexposed paper last?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by micwag2, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    I recently acquired the unwanted darkroom contents from a local photographer that was down sizing. Among the finds I received that day was an assortment of unused color and B&W papers. They have been sitting for awhile so I was wondering, how long is the paper still good for if stored properly? And what consists of "stored properly"? I'm still taking inventory or I'd list what I got.
     
  2. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    There's all kinds of different times for how long paper lasts. No way of telling. All you can do is try it. And get a jar of benzetriole and/or KBr and get busy. Personall I have found any package of Agfa is totally worthless when old. Others might disagree.
     
  3. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    I guess I should state that the dates on the packages is around mid to late 90's. One Agfa, different Kodak papers, and some Ilford.
     
  4. AgX

    AgX Member

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    In general: it depends

    I even got a batch of 60years old Gevaert paper that is still fine
     
  5. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Not too terribly bad. Sit tight and wait on the answers to start rolling in. I'm just an early bird on your question. Sharper people than me will soon chime in. GL
     
  6. mesantacruz

    mesantacruz Subscriber

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    As someone who looks on ebay for paper (expense reasons), i now stay away from mgIII... which seems to at this point, begin to fog unless properly stored (as in kept in fridge/freezer for long term use, or kept in cool dark place with minimal changes in room temperature for short term use, which seems to be from right now up to about five years).

    I was wondering if even after you get responses, which will probably suggest that you to test the papers themselves, if you could please list the results of your findings. which for general purposes might help others.

    Thanks
     
  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    with photo paper it is hit or miss, try some
    and if you like it, use it. there are chemicals you can put in your chemicals to
    "restrain" the grey, or there are some photo processes that spent paper is great for.
    have fun!
    john
     
  8. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    I had some old Forte graded paper which seemed to lose a grade over time. The grade 4 was grade 3. I did not get any of it less than grade 3. Received a fair amount but it was good practice. Trial/error is the only thing you can bet on on old paper. Buy the good stuff for your final prints.
     
  9. kerrpanda

    kerrpanda Member

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    And if the paper turns out to be fogged, it's PRECIOUS for Lumen prints (sunlight photograms without developer, only fixer). See www.alternativephotography.com). I have a whole stack I inherited, and I've gotten wonderful colors on the fogged paper lumen prints.
     
  10. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    I received a bunch of paper from a former film photographer (he's given up film work). I tested much of it and I could find no rhyme or reason as to what was good and what was bad. I.E. testing different packages from the same era, some good and some bad. Based on packaging, sometimes newer paper was bad while older paper was good.

    So, as others have said, test it.
     
  11. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    Thank you for all the replies. Later today if I can I'll post some pictures and list what I have. I figured it may come down to try it and see if it works, so that's what I'll be doing with most of it. It'll be a little bit yet before I can start printing, I have to setup the darkroom first. I also got his Omega Super Chromega D Dichroic II Enlarger. it has a 3 lens turret with Rodenstock lenses. Unfortunately the lenses have fungus not just on the outside but between the elements too. I think they are salvageable, but we will see. This enlarger make my Beseler 23C look small.
     
  12. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    YES! I look for old paper at photo shows, etc. just for this reason. See the Lumen print section on my web site for the great results.
     
  13. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    Ok so here it is, the list of what I got:

    1. Oriental Seagull G4 16x20
    2. Oriental Seagull G2 16x20
    3. Kodak Polycontrast III RC 8x10, 16x20
    4. Kodak Polycontrast Rapid II RC 8x10 (He has hand written "For Contact Sheets" on this box, not sure why)
    5. Kodak Polycontrast Rapid II RC 8x10, 11x14
    6. Ilford Multigrade IV FB Fiber 8x10
    7. Kodak P-Max Art RC 8x10, 11x14 full box 50 sheets
    8. Agfa Broveria Speed 8x10
    9. Kodak Polyfiber 11x14
    10. Kodak Ektalure 8x10
    11. Agfa multicontrast Premium MPC 310 RC 8x10
    12. Kodak PolyPrint RC 8x10 unopened 25 sheets

    Most of the boxes/envelopes have been started, so I'm not sure of the condition or quantities in any of them, but seem to have been stored properly in light tight sleeves. Two of the packages are unopened. If any of this is good it'll keep me entertained for awhile. As far as dates, I didn't seen any printed on the packages but I did see a handwritten date on one of 1995, but I don't believe all of it is from that era, some seems newer. Fortunate for me, since he had this size paper I also got 4 Kodak 16x20 trays, 4 hard rubber 8x10 trays, 3 8x10 trays, and printing easels for all the sizes above. I'll have to read more about it but there's also Cibachrome Tubes and the motorized roller for Cibachrome Prints.

    I didn't just get the paper........ I got the entire darkroom, including the stainless steel sink. Included in the deal: Omega Super Chromega D Dichroic II Enlarger with 3 lens turret, Rodenstock and Minolta Rokkor enlarger lenses, power supplies, enlarging easels with one having been new in an unopened box, timers, 15 developing tanks in different sizes, photo paper listed above, 20 rolls of professional film, safelight, film drying clips, thermometer new in box, film dryer, paper safe, grain focusing, lots of stainless steel developing reels in 35mm, 120, and 220. All for the princely sum of..............$100USD. I think I made out pretty good. I have a few items I may sell off and this whole lot will probably have cost me nothing in the end but my time.
     
  14. mesantacruz

    mesantacruz Subscriber

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    :D

    WOW... happy for you!

    The reason he put for contact sheets is i don't think that paper was considered top of the line, so it wouldn't make sense to put your best print on it so contact sheets of negatives was his use for it... Fiber is more along those lines....

    As for the IV FB from Ilford, i know that paper is pretty robust, and so is probably still good. (considering it goes from about .50 -$1 per sheet 8x10, any amount of this is good)
    The G2 is pretty ancient by paper standards, but this is when we find out how well stored it has been.
    the rest i don't know of.

    i think the recommendation is to get a piece of paper from all of these packs, and develop each one for the standard 2-3 minutes and see if it greys/fogs up... If it doesn't that means it's still plenty good, if it does, as was mentioned earlier, you can try and save the paper, but i wouldn't print my best prints on it. Also, even if it doesn't fog, you have to consider that it might not print as intended after so long of being in storage (contrast issues).

    On another note, congrats again on your awesome find, i similarly received plenty of stuff as well as a blessing from a photographer gone all digital all for the sum price of 100 as well (sans paper). Also consider each pack of WORKING paper as a return from your $100 bucks as it's probably the most costly part of darkroom work.
     
  15. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    Lower contrast grades seem to last longer. I have some Oriental Seagull Grade 1 from the late 80's (the original Seagull, that Adams and Brett Weston used - the stuff in the silver package) that still prints beautifully. I also have some grade 4 of the same vintage which has lost a lot of its contrast punch.

    Azo seems to last just about forever, although again the higher constrasts (3 and 4) lose a little bit of contrast over the years. Just a little. I've never kept any other paper for longer than 5 years or so.

    If your Oriental paper is the original stuff from the 80s, cherish that paper. They really don't make 'em like that any more. It's really beautiful paper.
     
  16. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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  17. dances_w_clouds

    dances_w_clouds Subscriber

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    "Kodak P-Max Art RC 8x10, 11x14 full box 50 sheets." I also have a box of the 11x14 and it produces very nice show quality prints
     
  18. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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  19. AgX

    AgX Member

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    He did.
     
  20. micwag2

    micwag2 Member

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    Uuuuggggghh! What a shame!
     
  21. Oxleyroad

    Oxleyroad Subscriber

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    I have been able to use a good portion of my Ilford paper I purchased as a kid in the early 80s. The paper was made (or at least packaged) here in Glen Waverley VIC, Aust. This paper was never stored as it should as my childhood darkroom was a tin garden shed 8'x16' and the Summer temps outside would regularly reach 45degC so it was hot in the shed. Yes there is fogging particularly around the edges, but the centres of my paper is fine. The small boxes of paper 3.5"x5" not so useful as the fogging is severe.

    Little off topic but how old would that Agfa paper be in the German EBay auction. I ask as I was given a lot of this 2 years ago. Mine has not been opened to check its condition :smile:.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2013
  22. Molli

    Molli Subscriber

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    Andy, use it! I have lots of Agfa paper, including stuff made in Berlin where the factory was located prior to 1945. A lot of mine is perfect and wasn't stored with any particular care. The packages that ebayer opened (Oh, the humanity!), was made after 1945 when Agfa had moved to Leverkusen but before 1964 when the company became Agfa-Gevaert. Some of my paper has "burnt edges" but the rest of the sheet is fine and almost all of my Brovira-Speed prints with a soft pastel salmon sort of colour. See below (my screen isn't calibrated at all, so I've no idea if the scan will match the print, but here goes):
    004202V_zpsaf9fe378.jpg
     
  23. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Nice image & nice print! Suites the time period the paper was made in (Pictorialism).
    And yes: I see the pastel salmon :D
     
  24. Molli

    Molli Subscriber

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    Thank you. I'm always wary of posting anything with any sort of colour because my scanner is so ordinary and usually blows out the highlights and blocks up the shadows and, with no sort of calibration, I never know how it's going to look on anyone else's screen.
     
  25. Oxleyroad

    Oxleyroad Subscriber

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    Thanks for that Molli.

    It is good to know some of the history and the fact you have been able to use this paper.