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  1. #1

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    Life of b&w papers?

    Hello - Ive been given a load of black and white papers which seem to be quite old, most dating back to 1996.
    From what I can see, most of them are unused and still sealed. The papers range from Kodak, Ilford and Kentmeer and varying sizes including sizes no longer available.
    I have done a search for a few of the papers but wanted to get a definitive from the forum. Should these papers be ok to use. I would naturally do tests first but wondered what you thought.
    Ive placed them in the fridge until I take a closer look at each one. Ive also seen a pack of plates which Im going to have to search which camera's use them and more info.
    Many thanks.
    Paul

  2. #2

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    I have papers that are two years old that are open and stored in room temperature. Just recently, I noticed they lost some contrast. Perhaps 1/2 grade worth of it. Strangely enough though, it seems to require less exposure to reach the same density.....

    I know this because I used the same enlarger, same setting, same chemical, etc, and the print required additional adjustment.

    I was able to bump the contrast 1/2 grade and lessen the exposure time to make the same print; however....

    Just one experience - not anything scientific.

    I think it's safe to say they do change over time....
    Last edited by tkamiya; 07-18-2012 at 06:34 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  3. #3

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    Thanks tkamiya - I wondered if the contrast would be out, but that's not a problem once I work out the actual contrast for each box of paper. I just wondered if there was a max shelf life before they give up the ghost regardless of contrast/exposure adjustments.
    Ive also seen some microphen and id-11 in the original boxes/sachets - would this be ok do you think?
    When did Kodak stop making papers, 2006? Ive only used Ilford and Silverprint. There seems to be a few gems in the box.

  4. #4
    Colin Corneau's Avatar
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    I've noticed old papers -- 3 or 4 years -- are fogged slightly. That's just my observation in a very limited perspective.

    Powdered chemistry in unopened packets should be OK, esp if it's <10 years
    "Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, you're a mile away and you've got their shoes."

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  5. #5

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    Hi,

    I was informed by Ilford rep (who is a regular on this forum), they do last quite a bit, especially if they are cold stored. Numbers such as 5 years seem to be tossed around. I have seen some data charting number of years and reduction in contrast somewhere recently.....

    I would think, loss of contrast, loss of Dmax (darkest density), and fogging would be an issue. I think you really will have to test your own stock, since no one knows how they are stored anyway. I certainly wouldn't toss them out. If nothing else, it would be kind of fun to see if they are still in decent shape...
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  6. #6
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    You will have to test them yourself. Mildly fogged film can still make some fine exposures, but fogged paper produces an annoying gray cast to the entire image and border. You can also try lith printing it if it is fogged and unsuitable for standard prints.

  7. #7

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    As others have said you have to try them. Even if the fogging is quite pronounced try benzotriazole it can make a difference.

    Even if all the paper is the same age don't assume that if, say the Kentmere is fogged, that the Ilford will be the same. Try each pack.

    pentaxuser

  8. #8

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    Thank you all
    I'll give them all a try and see what's what.

  9. #9
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcooklin View Post
    Thank you all
    I'll give them all a try and see what's what.
    Especially the Kentmere Art Document stuff is brilliant for lith printing, even if it's fogged. I think there are many people who would shell out a decent penny for it if you decide to get rid of it.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  10. #10
    polyglot's Avatar
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    Depends on paper (Agfa was terrible for fogging) and storage conditions (temperature, humidity and presence of sulfides). I have some 4-year-old Kentmere and Ilford that's perfect (no refrigeration but always indoors)... but 1996 was a long time ago and you will have to test.

    If they haven't been stored in the fridge up to now, putting them in the fridge now is pointless. If you're going to use them in the next year or three, refrigeration is irrelevant even if they've been stored cold their entire life. Don't waste the space on such old paper.

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