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  1. #1
    Mats_A's Avatar
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    How long does paper last?

    Sorry if this has been discussed before but could not find it.
    Is it wise to buy Ilford MG paper used? On a certain auction site you can find people dumping their stock of Ilford paper.
    I suppose paper goes bad like film does. Or does it. I remember sometimes using really old paper found in some darkroom drawer and it turned out alright.

    I don't have any paper here now so I must ask: Are there a Best Before date on paper boxes like on film?

    r

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Depends on how it's been stored.

    Some papers last well without any major loss in quality and should keep for at least 5 years, the first signs of deterioration are loss of speed and contrast. Some emulsions keep better than others.

    Ian

  3. #3
    polyglot's Avatar
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    And some of them (all the old Agfa I've seen, for example) go foggy. Depends on storage of course.

    Fog doesn't really matter with film - you print for longer and maybe at a higher grade, but you get a good image. Fogged paper is good only for the bin.

  4. #4
    Mats_A's Avatar
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    Are there a Best Before date on papers like on film?

    r

  5. #5
    Slixtiesix's Avatar
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    Unfortunately there is no expiry date on papers, but I have heard several times that you can mail the batch number to Ilford and they will tell you the production date. I have made bad experience with buying paper from Ebay. A package of Multigrade IV was fogged and though it was still usable it was not very good any more. I think classic fiber papers, especially graded ones, have a very long lifetime, but multigrade RC, regardless from which manufacturer, has a shorter storage life.

    Regards, Benjamin

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    Multigrade RC Agfa papers die very quickly, have had bad experiences only with them.

  7. #7
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Of all the papers I find Ilford's last the longest, Kodak's VC papers less well but their Graded Bromide papers exceptionally well, I have some from the early 60's.

    Sterling had the worst keeping properties along with some Oriental papers (when they still amde their own).

    Ian

  8. #8
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    It's a bit of a lottery really. I have bought quite old paper which has been fine and newer paper which has had an image of a black cat in a coal cellar at night pre-exposed onto it.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  9. #9

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    Only paper I've had a problem with is Kodak Polymax RC with a process by date 12/2007. It's been showing a very slight mottling since I bought it in mid 2008, but was good enough for proofing, it's now reached the point where it's become unusable. Other Kentmere and Ilford papers bought used, or clearance stock, between 5 and 11 years old are all still fine.

    Ian

  10. #10
    Mats_A's Avatar
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    So If I understand this correctly, you can buy Ilford paper and there is a good chance it is usable.
    If only I was rich enough not to have to worry about things like this :-).

    r

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