RC Paper Longevity
I know this topic has been done to death, but I thought I'd report on an interesting personal experience.
Just today I removed from their frames six RC prints of mine, produced in my darkroom on 12 X 16 Ilford Multigrade IV Pearl RC. They have been in frames in our two Philadelphia houses over the past three years, WITHOUT any glass or plexi covering -- because I prefer to exhibit them that way, but also because I had read somewhere online that RC prints can suffer if confined behind a cover. (Something about urban gases being trapped there, eating away at the print surface.) For two years they were hung in fairly subdued light, but this past year they were in a very bright location, with the sun actually shining directly on some of them for a couple of hours a day.
As it happens, I have virtually identical prints of these same photos, done at the same enlarger settings and processed in the same way, stored in an archival box. So I compared the prints removed from the frames with these boxed prints.
There was absolutely no difference.
Obviously, this is a particular set of circumstances, and I realize that RC prints exhibited in other circumstances may show deterioration over time. But I personally have never found any such deterioration, even in my prints done over ten years ago (all on the same paper). YMMV.
That's good news I think. I have some prints on RC paper hanging on the wall in mixed light condition for 7 years now. Behind the glass. No changes. And why they should occur ? Emulsion is the same silver halide in gelatine. What I understand the main danger for RC paper is the separation of plastic layer from the paper base in certain conditions, as the plastic may deteriorate much faster, than a paper, just by itself, due to basically unstable characteristics of plastic. Otherwise everything else is like with FB.
I don't want to be a party breaker, but three years is not much. I have noticed some detoriation on most of my RC prints, the exception being those printed on Ilford RC glossy paper.
sircarl and timor, I get the impression, rightly or wrongly, that Simon Galley is tempted to say exactly what you have found but refrains from stating it outright because(a) he has no wish to risk antagonising a lot of his APUG customers who believe otherwise and (b) Ilford still hasn't had its latest version of RC (MGIV) in production long enough to be able to state categorically that will last as long as FB.
Maybe things have changed with the latest rc papers, but I always thought the biggest issue was "silvering" on the image surface, which could be prevented by selenium toning during processing.
i have an rc print in my darkroom that has travelled with me since 1981 ..
its migrated to probably 15 apartments/ homes/dorm rooms&c
never been matted/framed .. never toned, and was one of my first prints ...
and it looks like the day it was printed.
the problem with rc is the misconception that it is olde bad rc from the 70/60/50s
and "a plastic print" when they can infact pe processed to be as arcival as fb prints.
i enjoy printing on rc .. saves water and time, and looks as good as fb most of the time ..
i dont like the logo on the back though, and dislike attempting to wax or paint on them which seems
more difficult than hand coated or fiber paper
John, there is no more logo on the back since Kodak quit making BW paper. :)
What should cause the silvering in this papers ?
Originally Posted by jamie young
I know, that 5-7 years is not long enough for much of an evaluation. I am also afraid, that different manufacturers etc. may have importance. On the other hand I don't think I will live long enough to see, how long can last RC paper from "good manufacturer" and properly processed. :D
I think the bad opinion about RC papers also comes from the fact, that many contain own developer.
Originally Posted by jnanian
That's good news. I've been worried about even giving my prints away and having them deteriorate. Given my location/setup (well water, septic system) Fiber Paper is a MASSIVE pain and waste. Our well water is very hard (very tasty, though!) and I usually hypo-clear RC prints so I can wash in a small amount of distilled water. All the added washing of FB is difficult and pricey if I used distilled.
Any way to point me to some research of the disadvantages of keeping RC prints behind glass? As long as I am using them, I may start making/modifying frames to be glassless, and take a dry-mounted print, vs a hinge-mount behind glass, or just start mounting on 4 ply and supplying stand-offs for wall-mounting...