ilfochrome in small dark room

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Rudeofus, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,569
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I would love to give ilfochrome a try, and from what I read the process itself is not too complicated. What worries me a little is what I read about the extremely small latitude of the ilfochrome paper which supposedly requires contrast reducing measures like masking slides and whatnot.

    So the basic question is: if I create ilfochromes from regular slide film (Fuji Astia, Kodak E100VS), using this paper and their standard developer, can I expect results worth looking at or will I produce garbage until I play tricks with the contrast?
     
  2. andrewkirkby

    andrewkirkby Member

    Messages:
    328
    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Aust
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    It all depends on the original image.

    If you have a high contrast image, it will probably require masking to control the highlights which easily blow out.

    If you have a low-medium contrast image it will be much easier to print onto Ilfochrome - avoiding the masking.

    I just got some Ilfochrome prints back last week [made by Stephen Frizza, another subscriber] and while a relatively high contrast image, printed perfectly on Ilfochrome CLM1K (High Contrast material) without masking. He has a proper lab with top tier equipment - 50" Colenta processor, Durst 2501 enlargers, vacuum walls etc.

    If you can control the temperature using the drift-through method (google) and ensure that your process is repeatable, you can probably achieve spectacular results with minimum hardware outlay.

    I have found a desktop Ilford ICP-42 processor and just going through the motions of purchasing it. This is an expensive option though.

    The results from Ilfochrome are far superior than anything else i have ever seen and well worth the effort.

    Good luck.

    AK
     
  3. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

    Messages:
    1,438
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Rudeofus I say buy some Ilfochrome and chemicals and experiment! Ilfochrome is an amazing material and more people should print on it. Sure its now only sold as a high contrast material and the red can on occasions be a hard colour to control but I'm sure when you print with ilfochrome you will get addicted to it.
     
  4. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,257
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    After my first attempts with a Jobo tank (no temp. control, manual agitation) I'm pondering about the same. It would make the process a lot easier to control.

    However, after seeing the post of Steve on the corrosion caused by Ilfochrome chemicals, I have my doubts about the state of any Ilfochrome processor that's to be found on the 2nd hand market.

    Or is this not an issue in the Ilford processors? (different material, maybe, different scale than Steve's processor, for sure.)


    Having said that... to the OP: go for it, give it a try. I tried it for the first time about a year ago, when it was too hot in my darkroom for B&W work :wink:. Now it is again too hot for B&W, and I'm tempted to order another set of Ilfochrome paper and chemicals.
     
  5. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,332
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I knowingly (I.E., I am sure I have seen them in the past, just not been told about it!) looked at my first Cibichromes over the weekend. Needless to say, I can see why you would be really enthusiastic about it Steve! I was floored by the look and the rendition.

    Hmmm, I have been slowely gearing up to do RA4......I wonder, I wonder....
     
  6. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

    Messages:
    1,438
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    i bough an ilfochrome ICP 42 processor 5 years ago and it was second hand. it arrived in mint condition. the previous owner looked after it very well and there were no problems. the reason for this in my opinion is because the tanks took such small amounts of chemistry and the owner was using it for home use chemicals would not have been sitting in it day after day year after year. the machine would have been tanked up for a batch of prints then the chemistry dumped and machine washed with water and left idle until the next lot of prints to be made. my current ilfohchrome processor is designed to process 50inch widths of ilfochrome material. It needs at least 5 meters of ilfochrome material to go through it a day to keep the chemistry stable and there for the chemistry in the machine is constantly around 30-40 degrees Celsius. I encourage everyone to take up ilfochrome printing at home, it really isn't as complex as some may have made it sound. im sure home users will be able to achieve results they are very happy with.
     
  7. Ian C

    Ian C Member

    Messages:
    722
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2009
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Color Reversal Printing

    Whether you need masking depends upon the contrast of the transparency. Transparencies shot in high-contrast direct sunlight cause the most problems. Those are the situations where masking was needed. I simply chose not to make reversal prints of such high-contrast scenes. In the Complete Guide to Cibachrome Printing by Peter Krause & Henry Shull a nice example is given of a red parrot with white markings on its head. The slide was shot in bright sunlight and printed poorly without a mask. The making of the mask is shown and the resulting print is nicely balanced with no blown-out highlights.

    Open shade, overcast, or any even lighting of moderate contrast usually results in transparencies that print well. The natural tendency of reversal materials to increase contrast works best with scenes of low-to-medium contrast. Actually, many such scenes benefit from the contrast increase. The sunrise and sunset scenes I did looked good without any masking.

    Reversal printing materials don’t do as well at rendering subtle detail, especially in shadow areas or overly-bright highlights. But, used with discretion for transparencies shot in the appropriate lighting, the results can be outstanding. I’ve printed some excellent fall color scenes under soft, hazy skylight. The increase in contrast and saturated color was quite pleasing for this type of subject.

    In the Jobo drums and processor, Beseler or Cibachrome drums, the solutions are never in contact with any metal parts so corrosion ought not to be a problem.
     
  8. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,257
    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for pointing that out, Steve, I hadn't thought of that. Even if the machine is several years old, it is likely that the chemicals have only been in there occasionally.

    Too bad I only have limited space (even when the processor is not in use and emptied, it needs to be stored somewhere). I need to think about this, but it is tempting to get one. I'm sure it would be a lot less tedious --and probably lead to more reproducable results-- than with a Jobo drum.
     
  9. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

    Messages:
    1,438
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    their a great machine and yes i think they do result in a better finish that jobo processing. I had a jobo but i never put ilfochrome through it. I have heard jobo and the ilford drum processors have been known to leave streaky results if not very careful.
     
  10. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,003
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    England, Bir
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Just a side comment. There is always specualtion about how long Ilfochrome will be around - I've looked into this extensively recently because we want to start promoting it. I've had meetings with Ilford Switzerland and also the Uk distributors - demand is very strong worldwide and becoming stronger because more and more people are realising:

    1. Inkjet is very expensive and just doesnt cut it for top end results and longevity.
    2. Ilfochrome addes a monumental amount of value to the end product.
    3. For what you get - it's not actually that expensive.
     
  11. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,569
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    This doesn't surprise me one bit. We should be fully aware that Ilfochrome and also RA4 paper do not require a purely analog work flow, in fact, most labs nowadays scan your slides or negs (or just get data files directly from digital shooters) before laser exposing the desired photo paper. Since it is now common to have only a small subset of your photos printed out (regardless of work flow), there is more budget and higher expectations for good quality photo paper - maybe not in the quantities seen 20 years ago, but still.

    Thanks to all who replied, this was definitely very helpful and encouraging, let's just hope it works out with the dark room!
     
  12. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

    Messages:
    1,438
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    so true. are you commercially printing Ilfochrome? interest is certainly building down in australia around this product and i intend of getting more people interested in it.
     
  13. John R.

    John R. Member

    Messages:
    158
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Location:
    S Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree about contrast issues expressed. In most work I have seen over the years it sure beats the blown out digital HDR crap that abounds these days. Not saying all HDR is no good, like anything else it can look good if used properly but there is a look to a Ciba that just is hard to beat. Of course a dye transfer can be gorgeous also. Good luck to the OP in his efforts, wish all Ciba users great results.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

    Messages:
    4,210
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Richmond/Geelong, AUS
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The nearest match to Ilfochrome in appearance and archival stability is Chromira from hi-res scans. The problem is the noted clumsiness of even pro-labs in scanning (e.g. fundamentally altering image characteristics such as shadows, highlights or saturation).

    I am intrigued by the commentary about worldwide interest in Ilfochrome increasing. Would be good to see some concrete evidence of this, as most pro labs have now migrated to e.g. Chromira or the (ugly, ugly, ugly) Pegasus things.

    A few years ago an Ilford representative in Sydney (I think) quoted a mean dark storage life of finished Ilfochromes as 400-600 years (!). Would you really trust your most beautiful and treasured images to an inkjet print that will last no more than 15 years?

    There are tricks to enhance the finished job. I have employed museum-grade conservation framing to all of my 'chromes and have done so since 1994. Anybody in Melbourne doubting the beauty of 'chromes under spots can call in (Geelong) and see my nearly 160 Ilfochromes (matted) and 5 others changing regularly on the gallery wall under spots. Hang the bloody expense if you have to get a leg-up over the trigger happy digital ninnies: I'm happy to pay whatever it costs so long as I get what I want in terms of quality and in a timely manner. :smile:
     
  16. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

    Messages:
    4,210
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Richmond/Geelong, AUS
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    1. Inkjet is very expensive and just doesnt cut it for top end results and longevity.
    ***We might do well to find out just why inkjet is very expensive. I see no reason for it given it is not archivally stable.

    2. Ilfochrome addes a monumental amount of value to the end product.
    ***True, but the message will be won over clients if you take the time to explain the fundamental differences between Ilfochrome and the everyday Heinz variety inkjets and other types of printing. Fine art clients will already understand the value of Ilfochrome, as with galleries in toto, but ordinary mums and dads (even cashed-up daughters) will need some convincing.

    3. For what you get - it's not actually that expensive.
    ***Yeah, right, after 2 prints and the frame-up, I'm living on a boiled egg until the client coughs up...


    I have not seen any home-spun Ilfochromes from home darkrooms. Only B&W prints of endless varieties. The difficulty of disposing of 'chrome chemicals, additional to the horror of handling, machine upkeep and the very high cost of raw materials discourages people, which is an enduring shame.
     
  17. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,130
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2004
    Location:
    Trim, Ireland
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have recently started to use this company but now see they are switching to their new Chromira printer. I will probably send them a tranny that they already printed as an Ilfochrome and see how the Chromira compares. http://www.photech.co.uk/printing/traditional-printing/
     
  18. Wyno

    Wyno Member

    Messages:
    546
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2005
    Location:
    Gerelong, Au
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Gary,
    I used to print on Ilfochrome years ago in all sizes upto 16x20. They have been gathering dust (and sometimes fingerprints before I can say DON'T TOUCH) for ages. They still look as bright and vivid as they did the day I printed them. If you want to have a look, send me text or email and I'll bring them over. They were all done in either my dad's tiny darkroom (LPL770 with dichroic filters) or in the darkroom of the State Geological Survey (Fuji 4x5 enlarger with Ilfochrome square filters in custom cardboard holders).
    cheers
    Mike
     
  19. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

    Messages:
    4,210
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Richmond/Geelong, AUS
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Hmm. Despite being 22,000km or so away, I would be very interested indeed to know what your comparison turns up. Seems to my understanding the Chromira process is printed to material that is very similar to the Ilfochrome base media and it does not use injket technology.
     
  20. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

    Messages:
    4,210
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Richmond/Geelong, AUS
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    PM sent.
     
  21. wiltw

    wiltw Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,468
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    Location:
    SF Bay area
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The Chromira 30 and Chromira Prolab both use LED technology to create beautiful, high quality prints on any RA-4 media and surface, including backlit display films. and RA-4 has nowhere near the archival longevity of the azo-based Ilfochrome dyes.
     
  22. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

    Messages:
    4,210
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Richmond/Geelong, AUS
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Great. Just great.
    The much-vaunted, least-proven "digital revolution" is thus far incapable of leaving us with a lasting legacy of the photographs we produce.
    I hope all its chooks turn into emus and kick its dunnies down.
     
  23. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

    Messages:
    1,438
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Being in a situation where daily I am printing on Ilfochrome, Ilfoflex and Fujiflex via both traditional hand printing and drum scan / digital out put via chromira I can say that anyone who thinks the digital option is as good a quality as traditional printing is either not looking / able to see the difference or they are kidding themselves. Fuji flex often refered to as the RA-4 equivalent of ilfochrome is not even close in its colour gamut. Also the richness of the blacks in a fujiflex fails next to an ilfochrome.

    its a shame so few are in a position where they can daily use both methodologies to compare the output. but then again i can refer it to this simple idea photocopy a photo look at the quality, photocopy the photocopy look at the quality, photocopy that copy and look at the quality. with hand printing to ilfochrome you have the film a lens and there is your image first generation copy. with digital you have your film , your scan and then your digital output device.... its further than a first generation and loss of quality has to occur.

    Hand printed Ilfochrome was ,is and always will be king of the commercial colour processes.
     
  24. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,003
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Location:
    England, Bir
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi Stephen,

    Have you tried the Ilfochrome sister product - Ilfocolor? RA4 material.

    Matt
     
  25. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

    Messages:
    4,423
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    So, sorry if I missed any mention of this throughout this thread, but can you do Ilfochrome in trays?

    Everyone seems to be using processors, but for a small-time hobbyist, is it possible/feasible to do it w/o any special equipment?

    Also, could I order the chemistry today and have it quickly? I thought that there was a waiting list or something.... who knows, this is how rumours get started I guess. :D
     
  26. TimmyMac

    TimmyMac Subscriber

    Messages:
    308
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2010
    Location:
    Guelph, Onta
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I don't know about the feasability of doing it in a small darkroom, but before I die, I'm going to do Ilfochrome as well. It'll probably cost me $500 for a handful of 11x14s when all's said and done, but I am going to do it. There's no way I keep shooting slides to just look at them on a light table every now and then!