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  1. #1

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    House brands vs. Name brands

    I've been poking around some online photo supply stores and I see that a couple of them have house brands. How do they measure up? And I don't mean the house brands that are, at least, named similar to the name brands - ex. Arista76 vs Kodak's D-76 or Kenmere's KMAX vs. Kodak's TMAX developers - which appear to be just the same formulations as the named brand.

    Also, speaking of Arista, is there any difference between the "Premium" and the regular versions?

    I ask this because I'm looking for some sort of reference point. Something analogous to the digital cameras that show the focal length of the lens and in parentheses 35mm equivalent - Xmm.
    Last edited by JustDave; 03-31-2009 at 06:47 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: can't spell

  2. #2
    Jeremy's Avatar
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    Think of it just like going to WalMart and buying the Equate brand of bar soap instead of the Dove brand. These are items that are made by the same manufacturer and just rebranded or are made to "similar standards" as the original. With Freestyle's Arista stuff I haven't seen any need to spend more on the brand name vs. their rebranding and have not had any problems.
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

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  3. #3

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    Freestyle's Arista Premium = Kodak Tri-X and Plus-X.
    Arista legacy =Fuji Acros and Neopan.
    Arista EDU = Foma.

    I believe the Arista II paper is Kentmere. The EDU paper IIRC is Foma.

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    Actually, Arista.EDU was Forte; Arista.EDU Ultra is Foma. That "Ultra" caused a lot of confusion in the past, since the two lines were concurrent for a while. Today the chance of serious problems arising is reduced, since the Forte-made stuff is no longer available. You might have to watch this when looking up development times, though!

  5. #5
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Well, house brand vegetables in cans have the same weight but the water to vegetable ratio is different, more water. The house brands have less spice, the house brands have lower quality meat, the house brands have more defects in the veggies and more fat on the meat.

    You judge.

    PE

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    PE--see I like some of the Safeway Select house brand stuff better than the big name brand!!! So you be the judge is right.

    The bottom line is if it works for your photography and you are getting consistent results then it is good stuff.

  7. #7
    Wade D's Avatar
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    I'm just getting back into the darkroom after a 23 year hiatus. I've done some research into what's available now as opposed to back then and have opted to purchase Arista chemicals, film and paper to give them a try. Years ago I used nothing but Kodak products and was very happy with them. Plus-X was my favorite film but it is not available in 4x5 anymore. The point is to try different brands and see what you like. I may not like the Arista when I get it but who knows. It may become a favorite.

  8. #8

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    Here's my other conundrum. With regards to the chemicals, particularly developers, I'm trying to get a handle on how they might look in terms of grain, sharpness, shadow detail, etc... without having to shoot many rolls and developing them. Meaning, for one, is Arista liquid film developer like HC-110? or TMAX? Or what about the premium? The same for the liquid paper developer. Many of their descriptions are pretty vague and you know how they are when you ask them who makes what.

    At least with the like named developers(i.e. KMAX), I know that I'm getting a Kodak TMAX Developer copy.
    Last edited by JustDave; 04-01-2009 at 08:09 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Well, house brand vegetables in cans have the same weight but the water to vegetable ratio is different, more water. The house brands have less spice, the house brands have lower quality meat, the house brands have more defects in the veggies and more fat on the meat.

    You judge.

    PE
    Exactly. One difficulty with house brands is the lack of disclosure of the actual manufacturer. The distributor can change manufacturer sources at any time without notice or warning and cheapen the product. I have been witnessing this lately with a major chain grocer and have stopped buying their house brands. As for photo items, you need to test it for yourself decide if it floats your boat. Be alert to changes in characteristics with new batches.

    Bob
    "I always take a camera, That way I never have to say 'Gee, look at that - I wish I had a camera'" -Joe Clark, H.B.S.S.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wade D View Post
    I'm just getting back into the darkroom after a 23 year hiatus. I've done some research into what's available now as opposed to back then and have opted to purchase Arista chemicals, film and paper to give them a try. Years ago I used nothing but Kodak products and was very happy with them. Plus-X was my favorite film but it is not available in 4x5 anymore. The point is to try different brands and see what you like. I may not like the Arista when I get it but who knows. It may become a favorite.
    Yeah, I see what you're saying. I have fallen in love with TMAX film. I love the stuff: the look, the grain, the taste (kidding). And it looks great in either D-76 or in TMAX. And I print in on Illford MG V - my favorite paper. I've shot the Foma film (Pretty good) and the Arista.EDU, Arista II (Ick!) , Illford HP5 and SP4 (Both have great tonality), and Fuji Across (second choice after TMAX!). All developed with either D-76 or TMAX.

    I printed on: Polycontrast RC(when it was still available), Illford, Foma, and Arista II. The Arista II was too damn fast for me. The Foma was nice, I liked the look. The Illford developed in Illford Multigrade developer - I get that especially when I can get those 40 sheet packs for the price of 25 - my personal favorite!

    I am trying to find some substitutes for the named brand chemicals without having to go through a bunch of paper and film. As far as the TMAX combination, it's looking as if I'm SOL on that combo, but the printing?

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