Fuji doesn't really even need any of our business. About 2/3 of the big Lambda, Lightjet, and Chromira printers in this country use Crystal Archive routinely, as do those still doing optical enlargement. Amateur home use is just a fraction of the sum. The pros certainly don't have
any problems with it, either way. I certainly don't. And what I routinely do is actually quite a bit more advanced than simple portrait printing,
which I learned to do with chromogenic papers decades ago. No need to take my word for it, not unless Fuji themselves are downright lying
on their own websites and tech sheets. But if you are interested in the convenience of cut sheet, as well as affordable small batches of RA4
chemistry remaining in the pipeline, this is something which needs the help of quite a few little guys to sustain. Even though I sometimes
make big prints, I'm not a high-volume user, in other words, not a commercial lab. So there are certainly times when it would be nice to pick
just up a box of something rather than a huge roll. And right now, the premium glossy version of CAII is ONLY available in big rolls. That wasn't the case just a few years ago, with the previous C version. Every little bit helps. Besides, making color prints if fun and affordable.
Don't believe everything the inkjet propaganda engine tells you. Analog chromogenic printing is better than ever.
PS - the ONLY condemnation of CAII I've ever read have either been on amateur forums like this one, or on analogous vendor feedback lines
likewise by firsttime users. No serious user of this kind of product talks that way. Like I said, Fuji could probably care less about losing 1% of
their potential sales to the same crowd who makes 99% of the complaints. Talk to any serious lab owner - not the sixteen year old kid behind
the counter at the drugstore - and get their opinion of this product.
Fuji CAII paper seems to be a bit of a mystery. There have been posts in the past saying it is great, is better than Kodak, and others saying that compared to Kodak it has low contrast, low saturation, high contrast, high saturation, poor color rendition, crossover, works with this developer but not that developer, works on saturdays but not sundays, you name it. It has also been said that it requires a different, proprietary developer from Fuji.
So just what is the deal with this paper?
It does have slightly higher contrast and saturation than Supra Endura paper, and whiter whites, in my experience. With the cut-sheet CAII paper I have been using I find that with Kodak RA/RT developer used at room temperature it is otherwise very close to Endura paper. With properly formulated home-brew developer it again closely matches Endura in RA/RT. This is at two minutes at room temperature; if one uses other temperatures and times one should test.
When I have tested my home brew developer and Kodak's with CAII and Endura paper I took many measurements with gray scales on my densitometer and found no crossover at two minutes and room temperature. You certainly can get crossover if developer is bad or time/temperature are incorrect or paper is old, as with any paper.
Last edited by RPC; 10-10-2013 at 02:14 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Let's just put things in realistic perspective. The largest quantities of RA4 paper are sold directly to the bigger labs, generally in rolls. So that
leaves the cut sheet products, which in the case of paper-based CAII still involves a significant amt of product being sold by places like Freestyle, B&H, and even our local camera store, which kept stacks of it on hand for the local colleges (though some have since switched to
inkjet). And all that volume adds up quickly. So how come the complaints are not proportional, if this is such tricky stuff, and it just keeps selling? Somebody must be happy with it - in fact, logically, way more people must be happy with it than the handful of shoot-from-the-hip
compaints one encounters over the web. I don't work for Fuji and certainly realize that there are difference tastes and preferences involved. But C'mon. Let's use a little common sense here.
I have been using fuji CA papers for over 20 years in my own lab, before that another 15 years a mixture of Kodak and Fuji, depending on which supplier my bosses liked best at the time.
I have been using Lambda laser exposing units for the last 8-10 years with Fuji CA paper. I have not made a colour enlarger print in that time.
one simple observation... Kodak and Fuji have been optimizing the speed of their emulsions for over 20 years to use with laser, and now led.
The paper has taken on a different characteristic under the enlarger... The speed of the paper is so fast now that I found it difficult to dodge and burn which in my world is critical.
I feel there is very little difference in Fuji and Kodak products and yes Fuji does know what they are doing... With that said both kodak and fuji are more concerned with roll paper and laser and led exposure which is pretty much the standard world wide.
They are not concerned with cut sheet paper for Enlarger work and some of these problems some may be having is due to this speed up of the sensitivity of the paper.
I am not interested in trying my paper **Fuji** under and enlarger as it is designed for Lambda use and I may find it lacking for enlarger work.
When the laser devices started coming out.. Lambda and Lightjet in 1998 both manufacturers did have paper that would work optimally under both enlarger and laser... The market changed like a tsunami wave to laser output and I believe the manufacturers had to change the emulsions or sink.
Finding an optimized paper for enlarger may be tough.
Finding one for laser exposure or LED exposure is easy.
I have spent half my professional life printing colour under an enlarger and now the second half with laser.
They both have their benefits, and I doubt very few people worldwide could tell the difference.
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Hi Bob. The big full service lab here uses exactly the same CAII product selection under enlargers as in the Lightjets. No difference. The "digital optimization" as far as I can see only amounted to about 5cc's of greater green sensitivity, since that is typically the weakest laser color. Yeah it's fast, but these big Durst commercial enlargers generally have some kind of ND selector. Ordinary household enlargers aren't that pumped up anyway. And a little more speed is sure nice when one is working with an attached silver mask and big enlargements. The Supergloss digital tweak simply involved a little more contrast in the extremes, since this product is often marketed to commercial display work with text. In my opinion it actually improved the general optical printing characteristics. The release of CAII RC
paper, in between the former Super C and Type P with respect to contrast, seems to have been a marketing decision. The base itself is whiter and the color a little cleaner. But in our analog world, contrast tweaks are simple enough by masking up or down, or tailoring the
neg film itself to the output contrast level. The current Fuji literature is unequivocal. The material is suited to analog as well as digital
printing. And from my own experience, I'd say it's damn well suited for enlarger use. I'd have a question mark about some of these room temp
chemistry kit etc. I use standard RA/RT in drums at 2 min, and everything is very consistent. Great product - has the punch and saturation of Ciba, without the idiosyncrasies. Conventional colorheads differ a bit in their
residual white light contamination, with the older subtractive units being the worst. I'll admit that my personal additive heads hit the nail on
the head a little more precisely, much like RGB lasers. That has it's advantages in terms of color purity, but it also means even one CC of
change can make a visual difference when printing from higher contrast negs like Ektar. But nm sensitivity is engineered identically with respect to the dyes in the paper, and theoretically should not make any difference between digi vs optical. But laser themselves are not
dead-on, and that's one reason why there are different parameters between different models. With respect to Fuji Supergloss, you need to
know the batch code to find out when the change took place between CA and CAII. They published this in advance, though it took a fair
amount of work to find the page. By now I'd imagine all the inventory is CAII, though some minilab suppliers seem to specialize in old product
of various descriptions at discount - more like liquidators than lab suppliers per se. So again, Bob, try it optically - you might be damn pleased
yourself at what you get.
Fuji CA works great for me, doing optical prints from both Fuji CN and Kodak C/N materials, originals 35mm->4x5(I don't have access to an enlarger that can handle my 5x7 color negs as of right now, otherwise I'd be enlarging 5x7!)
I much preferred Kodak's Supra Endura papers, the slightly warmer base(and thicker base too!) lent itself to what I wanted in a print w/o changing filtration and/or adjusting how I expose & process the film.
Alas, Kodak cut sheets are no longer ...
Fuji is still cutting paper down, and Freestyle(who I believe is re-packing Fuji-made paper, IIRC) is delivering a product that works well, and is; for all intensive purposes, a GOOD(but not excellent, IMO) paper for "the masses".
FYI: Fujifilm coats *paper* here in the USA for the N.A. markets, since we're such a huge market and Japan alone cannot keep up with demand(hence the "Made in USA" moniker):
That's interesting. I haven't actually tried any of Freestyle's private-label paper. Their substitute RA/RT chem kit seem absolutely identical
performance-wise to Kodaks - in fact, I can interchange the ingredients without any difference. I still have some of the older Fuji C paper on hand and both the color balance and speed difference between it and the newer CAII are miniscule. The new paper has slightly cleaner hues. Supergloss is a little more punchy. The key to fine-tuning contrast in the darkroom is to learn basic unsharp masking. Otherwise, it's just about
the end of my color printing season - I'm switching into my black and white mode for the cooler months, as usual. It's a matter of keeping the
darkroom nice n cozy, vs high ventilation etc.
Interesting that Fuji also manufacture in the USA. One thing I did note about the Aristacolor is that it's base isn't quite as white as the FCA; maybe it's an older version? Fuji were recently claiming to have made their base brighter.
You might be onto something there. Perhaps the new formula on remaining supplies of the older paper ??? Or maybe different paper sources
completely, due to different mfg locales. I really prefer the brighter base. But when it comes to the polyester base Supergloss, colors behave in a somewhat different manner in relation to the base color itself ... and I haven't quite figured out the relation yet, though my prints are coming