I'm reposting this as a new thread as it was a whole different topic from the cold light question.
Please forgive my ignorance, but what is the relative expected lifetime of black and white RC, FB, colour papers (there are diferent types) and digital prints (again there are different types)?
I have B+W prints made on RC paper back when I was at university (almost 30 years ago) that still look good, and have spent much of their lifetime displayed on walls, though not in direct sunlight.
Well, I'm not an expert on archival permanence but over the years I have noticed a thing or two. Some years ago I was asked to copy a family photo dating back to around 1917: fibre based and still looking good.
Forty-year-old colour pics show serious fading and the negs are totally without any image.
According to Kodak their famous Kodachrome will last at least fifty years.
For me that's enough to know that B&W rules supreme.
I apologize for not answering sooner but I been off working. RC paper has had problems in the past. Critin (sp?) did some research several years ago with RC paper that was framed and matted and hanging on the wall. The jest of the article was that the RC paper started to show signs of coming apart. I don't remember the exact phrase and wording but it had something to do with "out gassing". Kodak says they have fixed the problem. That may be, but twice bitten is not something I look forward to. Besides the fiber based paper looks so much better to me. The glossy is too shiny and the mat is too mat. I have been using fiber for many years (over 30) and I am used to all the problems using fiber causes. To me, it is worth it. Your mileage may differ.
As color work goes, I have professionally printed color work that is about 20 years old and it is almost all cyan now. It is fading big time.
I have some RC prints I made ooohhhh about 25 years ago, and they still look OK. Only one seems to be discolored, and only on one edge (very slight). They are black and white. Color does not seem to be as durable.
I too have 30 year old RC prints that are still in good condition, no fading, stains or cracking. Ctein has made some silly claims about RC materials in one of his many rantings but my experience does not agree with his so called scientific findings. I'm with Lee on my feelings about the look of RC paper, the image appears to sit on the surface, that is the only reason that I don't use it.
My experience with colour negative is the same as others, serious fading and colour change after 20 to 30 years.
Digital is in its infancy and we just have to live with what we've got but I'm certain that the manufacturers will crack it given time.
To answer your question Frank, Properly processed black and white, RC or fibre, will be good for many years 75 to 100 years perhaps. Colour negative is dodgy and digital is in the hands of the scientists.
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The only durable color paper is Ilfochrome. All other materials fade significantly within one year, if displayed. One does usually not recognize it, until the print gets a color cast. But if you compare it to a fresh print, you will notice that the displayed one got lighter and less contrasty over the time. Fuji claims that their Crystal Archive paper lasts 75 years in dark storage. But what is the purpose of a print?
I agree with Les here. I too read the article by Ctein (in the magazine "Darkroom Techniques" ????), and although I usually "hung" on his every word in Camera and Darkroom, this one didn't make a whole lot of sense to me.
There was another "writing" in C&D about "environmental conditions" and RC paper longevity - where a significant cause of image degredaton was attributed to phenols "out-gassing" from surfaces freshly painted with oil-based paints. C&D recommended - strongly - that latex paints should be used in all galleries.
As for color ... certainly, in the past, color prints *would* fade - but that may not indicate the permanence of modern materials. I have Agfa "Signum" color prints safely tucked away in my portfolio that have yellowed significantly over the years. I also have Ilfocolor prints hanging on the walls of my studio (incidentally, latex painted) for six - seven years with *no* degredation at all.
I would love to see definintive, really coherent information about all this.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
Originally Posted by Ed Sukach
I wonder about this comment. I didn't find Ilfocolor very stable at least not compared to Signum II/Crystal Archive. If I take a look at the datasheets, Ilfocolor would loose aprox. 0,15 logD in 6 years if exposed to 450 lx/12hr/day. 450 lx is a very low illumination. ~10,000 lx would be a usual daylight illumination (as used in the Fuji Data Sheets where Crystal Archive fades the same amount in 9 Months(!)). I had some Ilfocolor hanging in my staircase (no direct sunlight) besides Signum II and Crystal Archive prints. The Ilfocolor prints did not perform better than the other two. Did you ever compare a print on your office wall to new one from the same neg?
Storage has a lot to do with it, and I've seen variations in prints produced around the same time on the same paper.
The RC papers of today are quite different from the papers of the 1980s, so they may last longer than those earlier papers, but this is as much "in the hands of the scientists," I think, as what to expect from digital output materials.
Fiber we know is good. Kodachrome seems to have held up well. I have Cibachromes that are at least 15 years old that show no fading or shift.
I knew about cibachromes (now Ilfochrome) . They use azo dyes and as long as the glossy polyester base is used, they are supposed to last more than 100 years.
About the surface quality of RC, I use the pearl surface, and when I showed it to an old-time FB printer who hadn't bothered to look at RC since it first came out, was impressed with the look.