RC Paper Longevity

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by bobwysiwyg, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    I tried a search but it turned up nothing. Having recently returned to B&W film work, I recalled that a number of years ago there were issues with the longevity of RC papers. Is this still a problem, or have these been resolved? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    I don't know how long a time you are thinking of but I have some RC 11X14 that is over 6 yo and still prints nice. Agfa and Luminos
     
  3. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    No one knows for certain, but modern RC papers seem quite log-lived.

    Still, if you want to be assured of the longevity of your prints, fibre papers are not that difficult to use, have a beautiful tonality, and will give you the best that silver photography can do.
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    It depends on manufacturer.

    The chemistry used for most stabilization is expensive, and so to cut costs, the amount is reduced. Other companies don't have big research budgets so they do the best they can.

    Only Ilford, Kentmere and Fuji papers meet my criteria. Kodak would if they made them. :sad:

    Others, maybe? IDK. I rarely test them and have no recent experience.

    Sometimes RC is worse than FB and sometimes FB is worse than RC. It depends. You cannot make a generalization that works for a specific paper.

    PE
     
  5. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    I guess i read this wrong (shocking) I was thinking about keeping unexposed paper not in terms of the archival quality of RC paper!! Now about the archival quality of RC paper-----I don't know pooh about that. I have read 7-10 years max and I have also read properly process RC can last 100+years who really know---I like the look of fiber better----sorry
     
  6. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I have hundreds of prints on Kodak RC paper from 1972 to 1975 that are as good as ever.
     
  7. cotdt

    cotdt Member

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    I just used Kodak RC paper made in the early 70's and they work perfectly still. i'm getting bright whites and deep blacks.
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    You can read the OP either way. And, either way, my answer is valid.

    PE
     
  9. AgX

    AgX Member

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    The first generation of PE/RC papers suffered from yellowing (and brittleness?) of the polyethylene foils over time. This was believed to be caused by the titaniumdioxide, which was added to the plastic as white pigment, catalysing destructive reactions under the influence of oxygen and light .
    Meanwhile antioxidative agents and peroxide scavengers are added to the plastic, which are believed to stop that problem. Accelarated-aging test make the industry consider a longevity of these foils of many decades.

    However, I wonder about the outcome or consideration of the aging tests of the first generation RC papers…
     
  10. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear All,

    Our on-going longevity tests of RC base products show better stability than we ever thought at the outset.
    Quality RC ( monochrome ) products from the major manufacturers should certainly extend to the 50+ year mark with ease, the issue as correctly noted above is on the structure and permanence of the substrate and its interaction with the coating. As always, for true archival permanence use fibre base, and correct storage disciplines.

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  11. weasel

    weasel Member

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    I'm with Jim Jones. I have prints made on RC paper from the early seventies that are fine. I believe they are all kodak paper.
     
  12. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    I've got stuff from late seventies and it looks fine.

    A properly processed, toned and properly stored RC print (assuming paper from a good maker) will probably outlive all of us. Fiber should go even longer.
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Early 70's RC papers suffered from image bleaching if the prints were stored in plastic folders, this was a major problem. Most of the prints I placed in plastic portfolio sleeves suffered, and the highlight detail has completely bleached out. Other prints made at the same time are still fine.

    Ian
     
  14. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Thank you all for the replies and cumulative experiences.
     
  15. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    That's been my experience -- if RC prints were left lying loose or in redrope portfolios they lasted. If RC prints were bagged or framed then there were problems. Agfa papers were notorious for bronzing.
     
  16. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    AgX,

    Thanks for this info. I stopped using plastic material for prints (color and B&W) ever since some of my RC prints showed cracks ("brittleness") in the emulsion. I also never liked the way the edges of RC prints would swell, and that awful curling over time. Dry mounting presented other problems. Actually, the only color prints I've done in recent years are hand-tinted B&W fiber prints.

    Paul
     
  17. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Live righteously and healthily and you might be able to amend this to cover RC in another 50 years or so when the proof is there for all to see and announce it at the Ilford tour.

    The MD says: "I'll now hand you over to Simon who still organises and conducts these tours despite receiving his telegram from the Monarch yesterday. We only keep the poor old devil on out of cruelty. you know" :D

    pentaxuser
     
  18. Ryuji

    Ryuji Member

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    Early generation polyethylene coated papers were not sold for serious long term archive uses and I doubt they did thorough accelerated testing in 1960s. Look at almost any synthetic plastic material from that time. Nothing is as good as today's.

    Also, plastic storage materials of that time were also inferior. We now know materials like PVC can damage the image, but PVC is cheap and easy to make so it's everywhere. Only after seeing the problem, are people reluctantly willing to accept more difficult and expensive solution. (People who can predict the problem are usually unpopular in front of uninformed consumers... and voters, I guess.)
     
  19. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

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    Not me!

    My remnants of 1980's Kodak PC II are off white going straight to the fixer.

    As to longetivity, the topic you didn't ask for, current Kodak color RC papers say 100 years in a home display environment and 200 years in the dark.

    Not shabby.
     
  20. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Paul;

    Not shabby indeed. Back in the 60s, we were working on antioxidants for RC support. The main problem was that the polyethylene resin itself cracked due to aerial oxidation and UV radiation. Our efforts at EK were directed to both of these.

    Surprisingly, Titanox in the support was less of a problem than expected due to the fact that it absorbed UV and therefore lessened the contribution of the UV to cracking and crazing of the support. Of course, this differed between the two types of TiO2. One has more UV absorption than the other.

    PE