The Fate of Ilfochrome

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Ektagraphic, May 10, 2009.

  1. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    Hello
    I have just been getting into Ilfochrome prints...The first prints I have had made should be back from the lab on Tuesday. I used Visual- Imaging as they were the best price I found. I just have some unanswed questions....How many people are still using Ilfochrome? How much time does it have left? I am not worried...just curious. I have heard amazing things about it and I will soon see for myself. Why have you not had Ilfochromes made of your slides? Cost? I think it is important to try to keep Ilfochrome around to be able to still print slides by hand...Maybe we need to have an Ilfochrome Project division of the Kodachrome Project....What are your thoughts about Ilfochrome?

    Patrick
     
  2. timbo10ca

    timbo10ca Member

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    I friggin' love it and wish it was easier to find cheaply (and locally).....

    Tim
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I used to use Ilfochrome it was re-badged Sakura E6 film and not really up to the same qualities as Fuji or Kodak. I still have an unprocessed roll somewhere.

    Also I made many Cibachromes but actually preferred the colours and less garish contrast of the Fuji R3 reversal process. Cibachrome/Ilfochrome was never to everyones taste, in fact few photographers I know liked them, but a few people loved it

    Ian
     
  4. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    In a month or so (I am in preparation, as time allows), I will be printing a fair amount of Ilfochrome - approx 250 sheets of 11x14. I have been stockpiling the paper and chemicals as finances allow. I will be using a Durst Printo. Most of the images will be from Kodachromes which print really well.
    There are very few places that supply the materials and it is of course expensive. Freestyle will now take orders of Ilfochrome paper and chemicals and will have them shipped from the distributor. Depending on how things will go, this might be my last print run. I have also noticed that I am shooting a lot less color than I used to.
     
  5. Pupfish

    Pupfish Member

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    For some years I actually made most of my living selling Ilfochrome prints. Some transparencies will prove easy to print, and some will prove difficult. Maybe a 1/3 of my 30+ year body of work was relatively easy. Another 1/3 difficult, and the remainder were hopeless. I suggest you keep a very thorough log for every print; I did and soon found it an invaluable reference.

    Kodachrome and early Fujichrome 100 were easiest. Flat-lit Velvia 50, not hard. Lumiere and the other Ektachromes of the mid 90's like 100SW had issues as does Fujichrome Provia.The gamut didn't work for me with certain films, you'd get some strange color crosses that I would pull my hair out trying to correct for. Before you get far along in it, you'll need/want to learn unsharp silver masking. I made my own punch register system for 35mm and found one of the last boxes of Kodak Pan Masking Film on the planet.

    The CPM1M fiber based paper is a lot less expensive and has lower contrast than all but one of the polyester based emulsions. By the turn of the millenium, fresh materials started to get harder and harder to find. The little 2L P30 boxed chemistry kits were usually so old that the bleach would only last a couple of days once mixed, what paper I could find locally was all aged and magenta-shifted. You can probably find a large volume darkroom supply place to sell you jugs of P3 but here in CA it's hazmat and can't be shipped so it was 6 hours R/T and $50 of gas to go fetch it. Even if you can find the chemistry still it won't do much good if the paper has been sitting around too long.

    By comparison, RA4 printing is a joy. Frankly, about 5 years ago Ilfochrome became not worth the effort to me anymore, not when there are far far more effective ways to print that offer more color and contrast control and are purportedly just as archival. No one buying prints ever asks if they're Ilfochromes/Cibachromes, incidentally.
     
  6. Iwagoshi

    Iwagoshi Subscriber

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    Eventhough sometimes a contrast pain, the Ilfo/Cibachromes have a glow about them, the reds and yellows pop.
     
  7. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    My first Ilfochrome 11X14 should be coming in the mail any time now....I really wish I could have a darkroom to print them myself.
     
  8. Pupfish

    Pupfish Member

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    If he's having someone else do these, without either dodging/burning or contrast masking the OP may be in for some contrast pain, alright.

    I find reds and yellows are not only beautiful on RA4 papers like Fuji Crystal Archive and Supra Endura, as well, but more accurately saturated. Magentas and especially purples are often garish on Ciba/Ilfochrome, often freakishly so from Velvia 50 originals. Exposures specifically tailored to Ciba/Ilfochrome would be a little flat for other uses, 4 stops or less contrast range.
     
  9. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    Nothing today
     
  10. Iwagoshi

    Iwagoshi Subscriber

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    Perhaps it was the Kodachrome that I made the prints from, never made a Ciba from Velvia or any other E-6, never had an issue with any garish tints.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2009
  11. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    What I have sent in as my first print was a photo of the John F. Kenndey Library shot on Ektachrome 100 Plus. From here on in, 90% of my Ilfochromes will be from Kodachrome (if I am happy with them). I did not request any sort of contrast masking. Here is the shot that I sent in http://www.flickr.com/photos/35mmslides/3488649696/
     
  12. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Ilfochrome (aka Cibachrome) has been around since 1963! I don't know why people are asking about its future. It still has a commanding take up amongst professionals exhibiting in galleries (myself among; I am not finished with the spot lights in my own gallery). Treat pritns-to-Ilfochrome as part of an holistic approach to beautiful photography: shoot, develop, print, frame, exhibit, sell and don't just print any photo you have to Ilfo' — print only the best.

    Ian Grant: CIbas/Ilfochrome had the foundation objective of adding significant punch to reversal film (prints); that's why you expose the film in consideration of the end result (project or print); often slightly overexposed (typically, but not universally, +0.3, +0.5 or +0.6 for me). Ciba has long achieved this 'punch' with aplomb with contrasty, 'touchy' films such as Velvia, but such film must, must, must be exposed correctly (a more appropriate term might be sympathetically (i.e. in diffuse light and within the film's narrow dynamic range). Velvia (or any slide film) shot in bright sunlight looks just awful, and much worse if printed to Ciba where shadows will be huge slabs of black. Of the thousands of Cibas I have seen beautifully framed and spotlit in galleries, desert landscapes, sunrise, sunset and twilight, rainforests, open woodland, rivers and mountains have all been exploited very successfully by many photographers and immortalised on the Ilfochrome/Ciba media.

    I am intrigued by comments about "Magentas and especially purples are often garish on Ciba/Ilfochrome, often freakishly so from Velvia 50 originals." Really? How is this attributed to Ciba? Pronounced reciprocity failure on Velvia 50 (whether intended or not, but more often enthusiastically exploited) will cast to magenta; so too, will Velvia 100F given this film's flashy, avant-garde palette; if there is a cast, don't print to Ciba, as that process will by default add "oomph" to it.
     
  13. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    '63! That's longer than I thought. Other than that, I was just about to suggest whether we could come up with a better title for this thread. Every time I see it, it scares the **** out of me. The fate of? Can('t) we be a bit more positive?

    (Having said that, I haven't yet used it... So who am I to chime in? Well, if I ever make the move from B&W to colour printing, I'm really going for Ilfo/Cibachrome, that's for sure. Yeah, RA-4 is cheaper, alright, but... as Homer would say: "Mmmm, Ilfochrome". Actually, this might be a good time to order some chemicals and paper; soon my darkroom will be too hot for B&W, so it might just be ideal for Ilfochrome processed at 24°C. :D)
     
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  15. Iwagoshi

    Iwagoshi Subscriber

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    So you have seen Christopher Burkett?
     
  16. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    WOW! What a printing operation!
     
  17. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    I was under the impression that Cibachrome became available in the 1970's, not 1963. Just curious.
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The dye bleach process has been known since the '30s or earlier. Kodak and other companies were competing for this market with dye bleach materials in the 40s but the Kodak product was never released. A Cibachrome type product was available even then, but AFAIK, only in Europe.

    It is noted for high contrast, low speed, high color saturation and often for loss of detail. Most particularly a red rose will show nearly all loss of dark shadow detail. Camera speed films were worked on at Kodak in the 60s and we had some pretty good results, but the grain was far too high due to the technical details.

    Dye bleach will probably vanish due to the high cost of coating, the high cost of the dyes, and the extremely corrosive process chemistry, but OTOH, would be the easiest to recreate sometime in the future if anyone needed a color material and all others had vanished.

    PE
     
  19. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Not quite sure why you're addressing that to me.

    As you know there were various work arounds to lower the contrast of Cibachromes, masking, alternative first developers etc but the high contrast was always acknowledged to be a problem.

    The "oomph" as you call it is also a matter for personal preference, I happened to prefer the Fuji Reversal paper which gave more subtle accurate colour and tonal rendition, but of course saw many superb Cibachromes over the years.

    Whether it was Ciba's intention for Cibachrome to be such a high contrast colour paper or not many commercial labs spent a lot of time and effort into significantly reducing the contrast to make the paper more usable with a wider range of transparencies, something that they shouldn't really have had to do if the paper had been better matched to reversal films.

    Ian
     
  20. Aurum

    Aurum Member

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    Some of those pictures in his Gallery are just a little surreal to say the least.

    He is composing with the eye of someone shooting B&W, but taking colour instead.

    A refreshing, certainly different, approach
     
  21. Iwagoshi

    Iwagoshi Subscriber

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    Seeing Burkett's work under gallery lights is almost a religious experience. I regret not buying one of his prints when they were affordable (~$300 in 1995).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2009
  22. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    They are MUCH more tha $300 now!
     
  23. Iwagoshi

    Iwagoshi Subscriber

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    You don't have to remind me.
     
  24. kompressor

    kompressor Member

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    I have printed ilifochrome for 1 and a half year. But now the prices for chems and paper is too high and almost impossible to have shipped to Norway. No regular customers will pay the price for ilfochrome when the see the pricelist for drumscan and inkjet-print.
     
  25. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I will never print inkjet. I think I would become a chemist and make real photo paper before I had my prints on inkjet.
     
  26. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    It looks like his newest images are $750 for a 20x24. Not a bad price for an Ilfochrome of that size, and I assume of the highest quality (I haven't seen one in person).