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  1. #1
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    Paper Shelf Life

    Packets of paper do not come with a use by date - only a batch number.
    Why doesn't paper have a use by date like film?
    Where are the first signs of deterioration in the emulsion first seen?
    Thanks in advance
    Martin

  2. #2

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    Good Afternoon, Martin,

    I can't answer your first question. Generally, a higher fog level and/or reduced contrast are early signs of deterioration.

    Konical

  3. #3
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    The answer to the first question is because if paper is stored well it has a very good shelf life, as it ages it loses speed and a bit of contrast.

    It can last for years in a cool dry darkroom away from chemical fumes. I've got 40 year old Kodak Bromide & Bromesko paper that still prints well, and Agfa Record Rapid that is still virtually like new from about 1988. Not all papers keep well, I found Sterling built up a very high base fog with age.

    Ian

  4. #4
    jeroldharter's Avatar
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    I think "it depends" on the paper and storage conditions. I have a bunch of Zone VI paper that is about 10 years old that prints well with no fogging or apparent reduction in contrast.
    Jerold Harter MD

  5. #5

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    FWIW, I've got some Kodak Polycontrast III RC paper that must be several years old. (I bought it with some other stuff on eBay a while back and have only gotten around to using it recently.) I've found that prints I make on it are faded around the edges, as if the paper's losing speed from the outside in. I don't know if this sort of thing is common or not, though. My solution to this problem is to print with borders rather than borderless; the faded area is small enough that even narrow borders mask it.

  6. #6
    Snapshot's Avatar
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    I used some llford Multigrade Pearl paper that was 7 years old. It wasn't stored very well but I was able to get a decent print. It was definitely slower, however, with a slight loss of contrast.
    "The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."

  7. #7

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    I have 40 yearold Brovira that is fine. The worst I have encountered is Polymax FB which seems to fog much too soon. Pity as it has a beautiful surface texture
    Mark
    Mark Layne
    Nova Scotia
    and Barbados

  8. #8

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    I had the same experience as Mark with some older Polymax. I purchased a 500 sheet box off Ebay. I got a tip from a LF forum member to check the paper for fogging. When it arrived, I tore a sheet in 1/2 and put 1/2 straght in the fix while developing the other 1/2 in dektol for 2 minutes. At the end of 2 minutes the developed piece was about a zone IV in tone.

    I contacted the seller and they promptly refunded my $$. I tossed the paper, but now I wished I'd kept it. Perhaps some day I could fix the paper and coat it with one of PE's Azo like emulsions.

    My experience with some 30+ year old Azo grade 4, is that it compares quite favorabley with 21st century Azo grade 3. The old grade 4 has just the very slightest hint of fog, but I may be able to get rid of this with a little extra KBr in the Amidol.
    John Bowen

  9. #9

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    Cadmium helps.

  10. #10

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    Having bought out fairly large stocks of paper from estate sales, and knowing that they were stored in like conditions, I can say with great certainty that VC papers will not tolerate time as well as graded papers. Of the graded papers, the silver chloride papers seem to tolerate aging even better.

    The first sign of deterioration? Well, to me, any second-hand VC paper is suspect. Your contact sheet will look muddy. The quick test was mentioned above: develop an unexposed strip, fix it and compare to an undeveloped fixed unexposed strip. So long as your safelights are good, they should look the same.

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