Kodak paper lamentation....

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Guillaume Zuili, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Member

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    I started printing in the early eighties in Paris then moved to the US in 2002.
    For 20 years I never printed on Kodak paper.
    Nobody I knew printed on Kodak either. All the printers gurus of the time were using Agfa or Ilford or Oriental.
    I was living next door to the main darkroom store in Paris, they NEVER had Kodak paper.
    Very few talked about Ektalure or Elite but I never knew where to find it anyway.

    Kodak was huge in France, Newspapers or even Kodak used to give me bricks and bricks of film for assignments or just to help.
    So.... Why ?
    Why they never advertised their range of paper over there ? This is something I will never understand.

    Such a pity. Because here I discovered the beauty, unique in many ways, of their long gone papers.
    Now I print on Opal, Ektalure, Medalist or Kodabromide. They are Amazing.

    Just yesterday I did some lith with 1959 Kodabromide that just went perfect.

    Why was it the best kept secret ? I can't understand.
     
  2. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Kodak has never been good at knowing what it's got when it's got it.
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    if george eastman were alive ... or someone with the same ENERGY that he had
    then they would have advertised the heck out of as many of their products as they had for sale.

    i often think if they advertised their films and papers in the 1980s+90s
    they probably wouldn't be selling off their technology portfolio to the lowest bidders...

    at least we can enjoy the stuff we find like searching the beach with a metal detector !
     
  4. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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    I am so jealous right now!

    KB and Medalist are my favourite papers of all time.
     
  5. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Paper from 1959 was still good?

    I have some Ektalure and Panalure in my freezer. I was never a fan of the Kodak papers I did use, but those were primarily the varieties of Polycontrast. Maybe I didn't work with them enough or try the right ones. I do miss Panalure as there's nothing like it, and I have lots of color negatives.
     
  6. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Member

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    Yes 59 still good.
    Lith is perfect for fogged papers. The blacks, creamy middle tone, highlights and contrast I got were amazing.
    Also what strikes me is the quality of the surface, the weight of the paper.
    Not only KB. Opal and Ektalure are just Wow.
     
  7. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Just lith printed an image on Polycontrast RC from 1979.....the best highlights I've seen in my lith prints. The old paper can sometimes do amazing things. Now to try the Polycontrast I have from 1963.
     
  8. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Member

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    This is simply cadmium heaven Mark :smile:
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I discussed this 1:1 with Tony Perez. Oh well. what do you expect.

    PE
     
  10. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    So what did he say?
     
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    We hare losing money out of all paper products. The exact quote as far as I can make it was posted at tht time.

    PE
     
  12. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Member

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    PE that conversation was when ? 2006 ?
    If I had known theses papers in France in the 80's... I (and a lot of people) would have used them...
     
  13. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Mon Ami

    You were too busy watching Dean and Jerry reruns.

    Ectalure G was my favourite paper along side Ilford Ilformar which if Simon is lurking ... make our day.. please Simon pretty please

    I have some Kodak Elite which is really beautiful for Lith my friend if you can get some. If not I will give you what I can find, I do not have much
    but its yours, I will ship it inside the portfolio crate along with some other tasty papers for you to try .
    I am not into that pretty lith thing anymore, making some multiple layer prints.. last real long, combines digital and analoque, love it.

    Bob


     
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  15. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    For a while some people like Adams and other West Coasters thought the Kodak papers available throughout the 50s-60s were generally below par. I remember something about correspondance between Adams and Kodak on this. He told Kodak there was no excuse for a company like that not offering better papers. So at the time, I don't know, maybe this is why so many people liked Oriental and Agfa better. Who knows.

    I came along too late for Kodabromide, Medalist etc. But I can say the late Elite Fine Art was wonderful. And the most recent version of Polymax Fine Art was my favourite paper for years up until they quit papers altogether and I switched to Ilford.
     
  16. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Gee, if they stopped paying his salary, they would be loosing less money!
     
  17. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I'm finding what you're finding too, Guillaume. Most of my lith paper Kodak stock is Kodabromide and Ektalure G, K, Y. There isn't much left, but I love printing on it. Some of those papers are still good for regular printing too, particularly a box of Ektalure G that I use once in a while. Beautiful paper!
     
  18. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    My only kodak paper experience was with their polycontrast-rc paper with Kodak written on the back. I didn't think it did anything special compared to Ilford, so I mostly bought Ilford and was happy with it. No big loss as far as I was concerned. Never used the ancient Kodak papers.
     
  19. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear All,

    KODAK monochrome papers of all types, like all KODAK products were absolutely superb products, made with great technical skill by very gifted people, but in the UK and Europe in the 90's KODAK mono paper was hardly seen unless it was a roll up deal with colour in a lab, simply put AGFA and ILFORD just squeezed KODAK out, also to be really focussed on a product range helps I had only monochrome in my bag to sell, KODAK reps had lots of things to sell, especially colour!. The big change to KODAK was when we ( ILFORD as was ) overtook sales of KODAK monochrome paper products in the USA in the mid 90's.... that was a really big deal for us.

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  20. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    There was another issue in the UK, Kodak kept changing their papers in the 70's & 80's and there was no consistency, Ilford & Agfa papers on the other hand seemed to evolve more smoothly.

    When I started printing in the 1960's Kodak papers were easy to find but that changed to the point Simon mentions, the 1990's, it was rare to see Kodak B&W on dealers shelves. Plenty of Ilford and kentmere, but Agfa disapperaed for a while and was only imported independently by Peter Goldfied and sold through his shop Goldfinger.

    Even Kodak emplyees used to say that Ilford B&Wpapers were superior to their own.

    Ian
     
  21. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The pollution laws in the US and the variations from state to state began to be felt in the early '60s. By the time I joined EK in 1965, the full effect was underway causing removal of Cadmium, Lead and Mercury from all products. These three metals gave some of the papers their unique tone and curve shape. It took a while to overcome these changes. In addition, there were some old timers who refused to budge and wanted to keep the old emulsions for quality purposes. There was a very severe political struggle over this but the new emulsions won out.

    I worked on the new emulsions and we had to develop a series of organic compounds that would give us the proper curve shape, and do it with good keeping and give the same results over a broad range of process temps (20C to 40C). This was a long and laborious job. I might add that the gutting of the R&D B&W division in about 1988 didn't help.

    During this time, the range of products varied (as did some of the products), and after this, Kodak tried to break into the SA market by building a paper plant in Brazil.

    Then in about 2005, the same year that Ilford had difficulties and Agfa went bankrupt, Kodak exited the paper market. It was that time that I spoke to Perez at a luncheon. He answered my question from the podium and walked right up to me with the mike. He had a very serious and sincere tone when he answered me. Bob Shanebrook was there at another table. He made some comment to me after the lunch about this.

    At about this same time, Kodak experienced a 30% drop in sales in one quarter. This drop affected the entire photo business.

    PE

    PE
     
  22. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Member

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    Thank you for these insights PE and you Simon & Ian for the european market infos.
     
  23. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Having worked for several sick, suicidal, and dying organizations in my career, I feel your pain, PE.
     
  24. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Although I printed with many of differnt brands over the years, Dupont, GAF, Ilford, Agfa, just to recall a few, when in the US I always had more Kodak on hand than any other brand. I was disappointed when Kodak stopped production and remain hopful (long shot a best) that after re organizaiton Kodak might find some way to make B&W paper and earn a profit. As PE has pointed out the in the past the issue is the scale of production for a limited run.
     
  25. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    Ok, no idea if this has ever been mentioned, but could Kodak do a small production run of Any Paper?
     
  26. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    For black & white, in a word? NO