Paper life span?
How long would a box of unopened b/w RC paper keep for if it was stored in a cool dark environment, but not necessarily refrigerated?
Would it last, say, 10 years or more?
I've always used up my paper before that. I think paper from 10 years ago is more likely to have developing agents incorporated in the emulsion, which might affect the storage life. Only trial will tell. If you are thinking of shelling out coin of the realm for this paper, I wouldn't if I were you.
I've had paper that old work fine and others not. The higher grades usually fog. VC paper I don't have experience with. If you have some, try it. If you don't, don't get any. Paper is cheaper than time.
Someone was trying to unload an unopened box of Ilford for just a few sheckels and, I have to admit, the price was tempting me. When I saw the expiration of ten years ago, I pulled back.
Because I still stumbling around in the darkrooom, I tend to use a lot more paper than most.
What would be the most likely problem with old paper; fogging?
Fogging and loss of contrast are two problems I have seen. The loss of contrast is common in the old RC papers I have inherited. They just can't seem to develop a dark black any more. I use these for contact sheets as it seems to work fine for this. The paper is well over 10 years old though - I think it is closer to 20. If the price is right, read almost free, it could be good to have around.
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Just find three cases of Kodak Polymax Fine Art in the shed. It was there since spring this year (include the hot humid summer).
I wonder how bad it could be. Will run some test later this week.
I had a box of a bit less than 100 sheets given to me(1968 vintage) and for a heck of it I made few prints thinking I am going to get nothing and to my surprise it printed OK with about half the contrast I normally get and also it had as creamy color to it. The paper was stored in the basement not in the fridge with open box.If the price is right I would try it, at least not use it for something important.
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In terms of fiber paper, Kodak's now lasts about one year (the codes can be gotten from them). I had thought longer until I had several 100 dollars worth of Elite fog... I contacted Ilford and asked them about their fiber paper and they said about three years.... Seems a few years ago the EPA rules changed such that whatever Kodak's process was they had to change it, affecting the life span of the paper, (at least that is what they told me)...
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When I started doing darkroom work in the '70's, I began using Kodabrome RC as my contact sheet paper, and I continue to use it. A couple of years ago, I spotted on E-Bay a 250-sheet box of 8 1/2 x 11 and won the auction. I suspect that the paper is at least eight to ten years old, but it works fine for contact sheet purposes; I have a lot of it left and will continue to use it. Gradually, I'm noticing that the whites are no longer as clean as they should be, but I think it will be OK until the box is empty (another year or two, probably).
Is there a way to tell the paper's age by looking at the box?
I know Ilford has no date anywhere in their boxes, do any manufacturers have?
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