Ilfochrome newbie: In need of some help

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by DanielStone, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    Hey all,

    After seeing some well-done Ilfochromes recently(I know theses were done via "straight" analog-only methods, no digital(even LVT film) manipulations, just prints(although I believe they'd need masking)), and much reading up on the process, I've decided to give it a whirl! I've become unhappy with results from color neg films(in 4x5 and 8x10, the latter being contact printed only, due to lack of access to an 8x10 enlarger). My primary reason for being "unhappy" is the simple, lower contrast "look" of color negatives. I used to like it(especially 160VC, my favorite!), but my vision has changed.
    So, I'd love to start with some printing!

    After talking with Mr. Christopher Burkett recently, he recommended using ONLY the P3 chemicals for printing, as, according to him, the P30(if they're available anymore) gave flatter tones, and less "brilliance" in the final print vs P3 chemistry. I'll take his word on it :wink:.

    So, after looking over the net for recent topics about this issue of sourcing chemistry(preferably in smaller sizes, say, 5L sizes), I need some help. I know there are a few(maybe one serious person) people on APUG doing Ilfochrome on a regular basis, so if you're able to lend some advice, it would be much appreciated! I'm located in the greater LA area, and I know that some of these chemicals classify as "hazardous", so shipping can/will be expen$ive. If anyone knows of a local supplier in the so-cal area for it, please let me/us know.

    I'll be using a Jobo once I can find one for the right price, a CPA2/CPP2 preferably, due to the circulating water system for greater temperature control. I'll be using 8x10 paper to start, printing from 4x5 and 6x6 transparencies, possibly some 35mm as well(some of my treasured kodachromes!). Contrast masking will come eventually if I decide to stick with the process, however, for now, I just want to get used to the process, not go "full bore" quite yet.

    To those who might ask "why not use Fuji Supergloss? and use RA-4? I'll still shoot some 35mm color neg, but after seeing Ilfochromes, I really want to try this out, I just love the look of those super-glossy(almost wet looking) prints! And no "texture" like on RA-4 papers(even glossy).

    thanks

    -Dan
     
  2. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    For supplies, call freestylephoto. They should be able to get them for you. Get your wallet ready ;-)
     
  3. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    I've said it before and I don't mind repeating myself: Ilfochrome prints are stunning!
    I get my chemistry (P3) and paper through Freestyle - no hassles. I process in a Cibachrome CAP40 processor when I need 16x20's and Durst Printo for prints smaller than 16x20.
    I would suggest you buy the largest batch of paper you can afford - cuts down on the testing when the emulsion is the same batch.

    Enjoy this wonderful process while it is still available.
     
  4. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    hey guys,

    thanks. I'll talk with them Monday morning :smile:. Being a "student", we'll see if it can warrant any pricebreaks, fingers crossed!

    Renato: You mention using a Durst Printo, are those still available parts-wise, like NOS, or still being made new? I've never seen one in the flesh, but I've heard good things about them.

    I was recommended to use single-shot processing for consistency(especially if doing multiple prints, say for a series of portfolios, or print orders where matching was critical), but for getting started, and getting the "hang of things", I was going to use it 2x before dumping, especially the bleach, which is the most expensive part.

    -Dan
     
  5. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    P-3 and P-30 give exactly the same tones, and if they don't it's because the chemistry is either outdated or has been mixed up too long. P-30 is in amateur kit form, with the bleach based on sulfamic acid in powder form. With P-3 you puchase the liquid chemicals individually in larger volume. There are
    a couple of big advantages to this. For one thing, it comes out a lot cheaper in the long run. For another thing, you can mix up just the chemistry per a single work session or even a single print, so the odds are high that the chemistry will have optimum performance every time.
     
  6. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Oh - another point. Dump everything one-shot. You'll be very disappointed if you try to recycle any of the chemistry. Leave that to expensive replenishment roller-transport systems. Rinse thoroughly with
    water between every step. Have plenty of ventilation. The bleach acid is nasty stuff (with P3 it's largely
    strong sulfuric acid - nothing you want in your lungs!). Drain the bleach into a plastic bucket containing
    a little baking soda to neutralize it before dumping down the drain. Don't use it in trays or other open
    systems. A drum is ideal, although the Jobo RPM is a bit high for the bleach step. This might affect the
    saturation of blues.
     
  7. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    Daniel - the Durst Printo has not been in production for a while but units and parts can be found, with a little patience, on eBay.
     
  8. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    Buying as much as you can afford is a gamble before you know you are going to stick with the process. Otherwise buy as much as you can afford AND use before it goes bad. I've got a couple hundred sheets of bad.
     
  9. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    Check the latest instructions, but you probably can only partially reuse it, ie you have to mix used with fresh. I never got satisfactory consistency with reuse, but others have.
     
  10. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Ciba paper keeps very poorly once it is thawed out. Six months at the most before serious crossover
    develops in the highlights. If you buy it in quantity, keep the unopened packages of paper frozen.
     
  11. Vivaldi

    Vivaldi Member

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    I am also interested in trying ilfochrome on a Jobo, and I am wondering how the P3 chemistry is used in a Jobo. Will the P3 chemistry harm the jobo?

    If I plan to use one shot chemistry, I assume I would only purchase the P3 developer, bleach, and fixer for the Jobo and not the developer replenisher, bleach replenisher, or fixer replenisher. Is this correct?
    Does anyone have suggestions on how the chemistry should be stored? Should it be refrigerated? How long will it last? Any special containers?
     
  12. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    You order P3 STARTER sets of dev, ble, and fx. Mix it one-shot on the same day of use, of even for each print if your prints are large. The chemistry stores quite well if left in concentrate and unmixed.
    It will not harm the plastic components of your Jobo drums, but the bleach can definitely corrode metal
    drains. You need to neturalize the bleach with baking soda before pouring it down a drain. This is best
    done by dumping the bleach immediately into a plastic bucket containing the baking soda, so that the
    sulfuric acid fumes are neutralized too. Good ventilation is also very important when mixing or processing
    the bleach. The developer and fixer are fairly innocuous.
     
  13. Vivaldi

    Vivaldi Member

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    Thanks Drew,
    Does the recommendation about baking soda also pertain to the bleach in the Kit30.2?
    Any idea about P3 shelf life and any special storage procedures you follow with P3?
    Since I will be a low volume user of maybe around 10-15 of 8x10 prints or 16x20 prints per month I was thinking of using the kit 30.2. Any recommendations?
     
  14. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    The problem with the P30 kits is that you have to mix up the whole batch, so if it isn't used up soon
    enough you'll get poor results from the oxidized partial solutions. The chem is more expensive that way
    too, but if you plan correctly, and use up all your paper and chem around the same time, it might be
    cost effective. The P30 bleach is still highly acidic (sulfamic acid), so you still need the baking soda.
    One reason I prefer to mix up solutions per print or work session is that I'm pretty paranoid about overexposure and sensitization to the chemicals. If I need to skip a day or week to avoid sensitization,
    I can easily do so with the P3 approach. Another trick is that I load the processing drum in the darkroom, but my actual processor is on a cart which I wheel outdoors. That a way I get very little
    exposure to the fumes. This only works in mild weather, obviously, so I do my color printing late Spring
    thru Fall, and not in Winter, which is my black-and-white season.
     
  15. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Can you not just seal it back and re-freeze it? When you order it, it IS going to thaw in shipment.

    I don't remember what I did when I used to print with it in the 90s, probably used it up in time. I think I put it back in the refrigerator (not freezer though) between use.
     
  16. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Like any other gelatin emulsion, if you put Ciba paper back into cold storage you have to ensure that the
    pkg is well sealed and won't get condensation inside. Once thawed there were will a slow but inevitable
    color balance shift, often from greenish to magenta, which means you might have to periodically recalibrate your "standard" filter settings. I have always used this characteristic creatively, i.e, printing
    those images in sequence which best utilized the particular bias of the age of the paper. After a certain
    point, you get crossover in the highlights. This can be either beautiful or annoying, depending.
     
  17. Erik L

    Erik L Subscriber

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    The p30 home kit is in liquid form and you can mix as little chemistry as you need. No need to mix the whole kit at one time.
    Regards
    Erik
     
  18. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    They must have changed the kit since I once used it. You used to have to mix the sulfamic acid powder
    form. I have only used P-3 for quite awhile now. Results were identical.
     
  19. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Humm. I've been re-freezing film and black and white paper for years without a problem. All I ever did was squeeze the air out of the pack and tape shut. For 35mm I just put it in a film can. I do ensure it warms to room temperature before I open the package (or film can) though. Never had a problem with this that I could see.
     
  20. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Ilfochrome has an especially soft emulsion and frills easier than other color papers. One thing I do to prevent this is, during the final rinse, slowly change the warmer wash water to cool water for awhile
    before using the squeegee. I suspect the problem increases as the paper gets older. I live in a damp
    coastal climate where the humidity is seldom low. I bought a fancy vacuum seal device which evacuates the air and heat seals the wrapping bag at the same time. But I still haven't used it! What
    also works to seal things back up is a tacking iron on poly bags. Generally I'm just too lazy, and simply
    use two or three layered bags and freezer tape. But I'm careful not to do this if the lab conditions are
    cold and damp. So far this has been fine too.
     
  21. Vivaldi

    Vivaldi Member

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    I just received a copy of the Ilford Cibachrome-AII publication today, and on Page 14 it states,

    "If unopened packages of paper are stored in a refrigerator at 50 degrees F or below, good printing results may be expected for up to two months after the expiration date. Storage in a freezer at 0 degrees F can extend the life even further".

    Ilford goes on to say,

    "You can store unopened packages of paper at room temperature for three to four months without seeing changes in the paper. However, if possible, we recommend refrigeration."

    To avoid condensation of moisture on surface of sheets of unopened packages, "allow refrigerated packages approximately four hours to reach room temperature and allow twelve hours for freezer stored packages to reach room temperature"

    Finally, Ilford goes on to say, "Open packages should be kept at room temperature...not in the refrigerator or freezer"

    So it looks like the take home message here is that once you open the package of paper, you should not put it back in refrigeration.
     
  22. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    "Ilford says" != "it will screw it up if you do it."

    It MIGHT, but I suspect it won't if you seal the package carefully. I bet they just want to CYA (er, CTA) against people handling it sloppily.
     
  23. Vivaldi

    Vivaldi Member

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    I am thinking about ordering the P3 chemistry, but I am not sure how to store it after it has been opened. Can someone give me some guidance on the best way to do this?
     
  24. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    The unmixed P3 concentrates do not readily oxidize. If you're using them over a period of several months, just keep them out of the light in a cool place and keep the lids tight. Never mix more than you need is a single work session. And remember that the bleach is very corrosive. Rinse the outside of the container well and always handle it with plastic or rubber gloves. Store it where none of the fumes can reach a residential room.
     
  25. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    anyone got a list of P3 part #'s that we can order from(or call up a local supplier at least to order from)?

    thanks

    -Dan