When white is not white.

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by papo, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. papo

    papo Member

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    I've been making color prints at home for some time and am quite satisfied with it, but there is one problem that I've not been able to solve as yet. The white margins (hidden below the masking frame) are not as white as they should be. It' not due so some stray light, I tried to process a piece of paper right out of the box, without any exposure, in total darkness, with the same result. I was using the Tetenal RA4 chemistry for room temperature before, now I'm using the Tetenal professional kit for higher temperature (35 deg C), but it has not helped. The papers I use are Kodak Supra Endura. It seems to me that it gets worse as the working solutions are close to capacity, but it is noticable right after preparing the solutions as well. It's not totally bad, if the print is viewed against a dark background, it doesn't matter, but when placing it against the back of another print, the slight chamois hue is clearly seen.
    In any case, prints from a minilab are brighter (made on Kodak Royal).
    Can it be due to chemistry or paper used? Has anyone a similar experience? I know two or three people here who have reported the same problem.
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    This can be due to retained Iron salts from the blix. Try using a 2% acetic acid stop after the develooper. If that does not help, try adding about 5 g/l of Disodium EDTA to the blix. Keep using the stop.

    This is NOT normal. I get very good whites, but remember when I saw the brown color. This was an indication of bad or exhausted blix.

    Also, make sure that the pH of the blix is no higher than 6.7. If it is, you are sure to form Ferric and Ferrous Hydroxide in the paper, and those are brown.

    PE
     
  3. Richard Harris

    Richard Harris Member

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    I had this problem and it was discussed on this forum or photonet. Ron suggested the blix thing to me too. Eventualy my problem was solved by Fuji UK who took a sample of my paper. It was just too old. This was annoying for me because some of it was recently bought and I had the same problem with Fuji and Kodak paper. Fuji gave me the name of a UK supplier who held good changing stocks of Crystal archive paper and I ordered a bit, unconvinced: The problem was gone. It seems that in the UK at least there is lots of old paper floating about and that includes at pro suppliers. Why the manafacturers will not date stock is a loss to me.
     
  4. Photo Engineer

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    Well, Kodak stock of Supra III and Endura is not dated because it can be kept on the shelf so long without bad effects. I have very old Supra III that is still good. The filter pack has changed, but not the curve shape or dmin.

    PE
     
  5. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Papo. It seems that in a number of threads recently Fuji paper has been called into question and I don't think that it is anyone's intention to deliberately criticise Fuji paper unnecessarily. However based on another thread, it would seem that Fuji MP paper which has been replaced by Fuji for the latest Fuji Crystal Archive, is now some years old and in another thread there was a strong suggestion based on an APUG member's conversation with a Fuji representative that Fuji Crystal MP should really have been withdrawn by now.

    Certainly in the future it may be sensible to check what Fuji paper is being sold. I had a problem with the last box of MP and raised the issue with Fuji who replaced it with the latest paper. Problem solved. It wasn't the same problems as yours but I think it may have been related to age. Maybe the latest level Fuji paper was simply introduced because it was a better paper than MP and maybe also because MP just didn't have the shelf life of Kodak.

    Any Fuji paper being sold at a bargain price or at a price much less than Kodak needs careful checking before buying. It's not cheap if it doesn't work

    pentaxuser
     
  6. papo

    papo Member

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    Thanks for your remarks and PE for his tip. I'll try that with Disodium EDTA as soon as I get some. I'm using the stop bath, until recently it was 2% acetic acid, now it is 2% citric acid. The reason for the change was quite pragmatic, I'm using home-made slots glued with epoxy resin and the acetic acit is aggressive to epoxy.
    I don't know how old the Kodak Supra Endura papers I'm using actually are, they were bought from a shop over the Internet. By the way, what is your opinion of Kodak Edge paper?. There is a possibility to buy this paper in rolls and so if it is good, it might be an option, it is also much cheaper, only I would have to cut it in sheets.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2007
  7. Photo Engineer

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    Citric acid is not as good as acetic acid in this case IIRC. I have to try to remember what the reasoning was.

    I'm not familiar with Edge at all.

    PE
     
  8. frotog

    frotog Member

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    I print on Kodak endura papers with a roller transport machine. Other than an oxidized developer bath high dmin is most often a result of using outdated paper. I've noticed subtle but nonetheless noticeable changes to the print border with papers as little as 8 months old. If you're making one-offs this 1-2 cc difference is no big deal but in a portfolio where relative color control is absolutely critical it's aggravating to say the least. My solution is to get the emulsion code dates from Kodak and then call the suppliers to hunt down the most recent stock. Storing paper in the fridge helps too.
     
  9. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I had similar problems (a faint yellowish fog) on some Konica paper I bought off of eBay a while back. I don't know how old the paper was. The seller claimed it had been refrigerated, but I can't verify that. The interesting thing is that the fog problem occurred only with one particular developer (a home-brew formula which PE doesn't recommend). That developer didn't produce this problem with fresh Kodak, Fuji, or Agfa paper, and the Konica paper was fine in store-bought developers. Reducing development time with the problem combination minimized the problem but didn't eliminate it completely, but I could only take this so far before the paper was clearly underdeveloped. The moral being, I suppose, that problems like this can vary with your developer. I don't know that it's worth trying other developers, though; chances are, as others have said, that the paper is old. You might luck out and find a developer that would work better, but you might also waste a lot of time trying to find the "magic developer." (None of this is to say that you shouldn't try PE's suggestions, which are driven by knowledge rather than being scattershot attempts to find the "right" combination.)
     
  10. Photo Engineer

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    I once mixed up 12 experimental developers that gave the same results with one batch of Kodak color paper, and matched the original P122 developer. This was a long time ago.

    Then I got a dozen different production runs together and ran the same test and got a different result for every paper in every developer except for the original.

    The moral of the story is that Kodak and Fuji both release paper to a fixed developer. Other ingredients may interact in different ways to different batches of paper due to the tweaking in the plant which, no matter how severe, must ALWAYS work identically in the reference developer.

    So, other brands may not work!

    PE
     
  11. Richard Harris

    Richard Harris Member

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    I thought I had better add that when I first became aware of this problem I thought it must be chemical related. I was having similar problems with Kodak portra endura and supra endura and fuji Crystal Archive MP. The fog was different, slightly, but existed across my paper stock. I had discussions on APUG and photo.net all of which suggested developer or Blix problems. It was fuji themselves who came to my rescue by blaming old paper and giving me the name of stockists to whom they had recently shipped. When I used this new paper I had paper whites again and thereby visibly cleaner colours. I think RA4 paper, even rolls, which is how I bought my Portra and Supra needs buying with care by the casual user. One thing I can say is that Fuji MP paper is out of date and even if stored carefully should not be bought without testing.
    PE I am using fuji hunt developer replenisher and may be that had somthing to do with the pinky base fog that I had with Kodak paper.
    Incidently my local Kodak liveried minilab told me that he thought the best chemicals were the old Agfa, now available again, he thought it ran much cleaner and produced cleaner more saturated colours.
    My best pictures have been printed on Konica paper but I don't know where I could buy that now, fresh at least. I think the colour palette from Kodak paper has seemed to me to be wider, fuji always seems tight on spectrum and prone to blowing out the whites.
     
  12. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    My understanding was that Konica-Minolta ceased all photographic film and paper production in early 2007 (or maybe even a little before then). If that's true, then there'll be precious little fresh stock left in the supply chain by now. I've still got a little left in my freezer, but I think it was out of date even when I bought it a year or two ago. I use it for less-important color enlargements.
     
  13. Richard Harris

    Richard Harris Member

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    srs5694 what do you use for your important prints then?
    I think it's time to open a discussion on RA4 paper characteristics, I might post a question.
     
  14. Photo Engineer

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    Guys;

    There is a comment here about Fuji. "Fuji always seems tight on spectrum and prone to blowing out the whites". This is a characteristic of the paper which renders it more difficult to print sometimes with Kodak films. I've commented on it before.

    Kodak and Konica papers were broader and allowed more latitude in printing with different materials.

    Konica is no longer with us, but it was fine paper. It was modeled more closely on the Kodak type paper than Fuji is.

    PE
     
  15. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Most recently I've been using Agfa; I bought several boxes at a very low price just after Agfa folded, so I've had a big stash of it. The reason I don't use the Konica paper is that I believe it was old and/or improperly stored, so I don't entirely trust it. I'm almost out of both the Agfa and Konica, and I'll probably go back to Kodak after my current stocks are gone. I've used Kodak paper in the past, and I found it easier to print on than Fuji paper. Maybe it was just bad luck with the Fuji, but I had a harder time getting good color balance with it than with Kodak (or Konica or Agfa).
     
  16. papo

    papo Member

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    OK, now I'm inclined to say that my problem was really caused by outdated paper, or perhaps a combination of paper and chemistry. Because I bought a roll of Kodak Royal paper and the problem is gone. Even with rather old blix I was able to get very good whites.
    I also tried to add 5g/l of Disodium EDTA to the blix, according to PE's advice, but I saw no visible difference.