Paper Shelf Life

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Martin Aislabie, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Packets of paper do not come with a use by date - only a batch number.
    Why doesn't paper have a use by date like film?
    Where are the first signs of deterioration in the emulsion first seen?
    Thanks in advance
    Martin
     
  2. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon, Martin,

    I can't answer your first question. Generally, a higher fog level and/or reduced contrast are early signs of deterioration.

    Konical
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The answer to the first question is because if paper is stored well it has a very good shelf life, as it ages it loses speed and a bit of contrast.

    It can last for years in a cool dry darkroom away from chemical fumes. I've got 40 year old Kodak Bromide & Bromesko paper that still prints well, and Agfa Record Rapid that is still virtually like new from about 1988. Not all papers keep well, I found Sterling built up a very high base fog with age.

    Ian
     
  4. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I think "it depends" on the paper and storage conditions. I have a bunch of Zone VI paper that is about 10 years old that prints well with no fogging or apparent reduction in contrast.
     
  5. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    FWIW, I've got some Kodak Polycontrast III RC paper that must be several years old. (I bought it with some other stuff on eBay a while back and have only gotten around to using it recently.) I've found that prints I make on it are faded around the edges, as if the paper's losing speed from the outside in. I don't know if this sort of thing is common or not, though. My solution to this problem is to print with borders rather than borderless; the faded area is small enough that even narrow borders mask it.
     
  6. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    I used some llford Multigrade Pearl paper that was 7 years old. It wasn't stored very well but I was able to get a decent print. It was definitely slower, however, with a slight loss of contrast.
     
  7. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    I have 40 yearold Brovira that is fine. The worst I have encountered is Polymax FB which seems to fog much too soon. Pity as it has a beautiful surface texture
    Mark
     
  8. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

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    I had the same experience as Mark with some older Polymax. I purchased a 500 sheet box off Ebay. I got a tip from a LF forum member to check the paper for fogging. When it arrived, I tore a sheet in 1/2 and put 1/2 straght in the fix while developing the other 1/2 in dektol for 2 minutes. At the end of 2 minutes the developed piece was about a zone IV in tone.

    I contacted the seller and they promptly refunded my $$. I tossed the paper, but now I wished I'd kept it. Perhaps some day I could fix the paper and coat it with one of PE's Azo like emulsions.

    My experience with some 30+ year old Azo grade 4, is that it compares quite favorabley with 21st century Azo grade 3. The old grade 4 has just the very slightest hint of fog, but I may be able to get rid of this with a little extra KBr in the Amidol.
     
  9. maxbloom

    maxbloom Member

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    Cadmium helps.
     
  10. Rich Ullsmith

    Rich Ullsmith Subscriber

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    Having bought out fairly large stocks of paper from estate sales, and knowing that they were stored in like conditions, I can say with great certainty that VC papers will not tolerate time as well as graded papers. Of the graded papers, the silver chloride papers seem to tolerate aging even better.

    The first sign of deterioration? Well, to me, any second-hand VC paper is suspect. Your contact sheet will look muddy. The quick test was mentioned above: develop an unexposed strip, fix it and compare to an undeveloped fixed unexposed strip. So long as your safelights are good, they should look the same.
     
  11. Cor

    Cor Member

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    Hi,

    Could you elaborate in this? I know and have used Benzotriazole successfully in reducing/eliminating fog, and I know that cadmium enhances stability of photo paper (but is banned nowadays because of environmental reasons), but how do you reduce fog with cadmium (adding to the developer?)

    Best,

    Cor

     
  12. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I think its a bit late to add Cadmium. It can be used as a white toner :D Don't ask I have tried it !!!!!!!!

    Adding bromide can help.

    Ian
     
  13. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Modern papers have a 2/3 year life after which they fog. They started adding chemicals so they did not have to be aged in inventory after coating and the end user got shafted.

    Older paper can last decades. I have some expired in 1968 that still works, Kodak Medalist.

    Ilford dates the paper by lot number, unfortunately only readable by them. An e-mail will get you the mfg date. I used to follow it and knew, but lost tract. It is in the first two digits that change by month and cycle 01 to 99 and restart. What I can`t remember is the code to match a month/year to the number. Just buy on with the highest number you can find.
     
  14. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

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    What???? I would suspect that a number beginning with, oh, say 03 would be fresher than oh, say 86
     
  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The Ilford coding system which had nothing to do with emulsion/batch numbers used to be a letter followed by two digits, these indicate the date of manufacture, the digits were the last two numbers of the year. I've used very little Ilford paper and almost no film since about 1986 so I can't tell you when the system changed.

    Ian
     
  16. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    How does one "repair" the paper ? i.e. strip off/remove the emulsion in preparation for coating it with another emulsion ?

    I also have plenty of out of date or fogged paper that could be put to good use this way.

    Peter
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2008
  17. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You fix the paper and wash it well, you don't actually remove the emulsion just the silver salts.

    Ian