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
the four papers I use there is significant difference in the paper base well two are the same... the luster finish and the glossy finish are white .... The flex always seems a bit more yellow than the first two and the metallic is really grey by comparison.
Originally Posted by polyglot
Last edited by Bob Carnie; 10-11-2013 at 01:43 PM. Click to view previous post history.
The new Fujiflex has the same yellowish base color as the previous C version, but the hues come out cleaner anyway. Last nite I looked at a
few recent prints on it, and weirdly, there were white highlights in some of the prints which actually look brighter than the base. I pondered
over this before. Perhaps those "true" whites in the actual scene contain a tad of blue and just look cleaner, just like laundry bleach bluing or
how, when someone wants a really clean bright looking wall paint, a tad of blue is added to give it that impression under indoor light, even
though the measured reflectance might be less. But I don't think so. A few of my print borders are a bit brighter than others, so it must be
related to something else, and I've ruled out fog. And it seems to have no effect of the final image - haunted? A very minor difference, but
has me puzzled. I've checked temp and chem freshness, test strips vs big prints (no difference), and still can't figure it out. Anyway... The earlier supergloss never did that. Yet overall, for me at least, the current version is giving much better results, really nice and clean, esp from masked Ektar - rival Ciba, maybe even better. I never use metallic, so can't comment there.
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The slight yellow is the Flex materials natural state, I have discussed this with Fuji, they could not tell me why but its something to consider with flex.. Kind of freeked me out the first couple of years as , yellow stain is generally not a good thing in process control for RA4 and took a bit of patience to get use to the base.
Still bothers me.
I just very carefully match the color of my matboard to the exposed margins of the poly base, that way everything looks "white". But the image area itself is so damn rich - even better than the RC version of CAII. (Maybe too good sometimes - there are obviously subjects where I want
to pull things back a bit, but without the "muddiness" inherent to Portra 160 or traditional neg films). I don't think it's a stain, but perhaps something which changes with even minor amounts of exposure. A very different base material from what Ciba used, that's for sure. Oh well,
I've got bigger fish to fry, cause the current CAII lineup is going to give me a lot of happy mileage...
These are my findings exactly. Although I suspect that if Bob were to try CAii under an enlarger today he'd see that even the most indiscriminate of color correctors could easily tell the difference between the two. I also suspect that Bob, who prints for clients and thus has an eye for neutral color balance instead of the gross, dominant color casts that some here seem to prefer, were to attempt making a neutral balanced color print under the enlarger with today's papers then he'd more than likely come to the same conclusion that I have.
Originally Posted by Bob Carnie
My reference to not being able to tell the difference ... was is that a colour print made in 1990 with an enlarger using the best papers available,, and a colour print made
of the same scanned negative today using a laser device and current best paper... I believe both prints are of excellent value and look, and very hard to tell which one is which. They both would be good and with good workflow I can see the benefit of both printing methods.
I have had the pleasure of doing both, I think that today its still possible to enjoy enlarger printing of colour, just not sure which paper is maximized for that process.
I do not have any experience using an enlarger with current paper optimised for current LED or LAser printing. There may be huge differences, I would be surprised it there were not complications.
I do not have any motivation at this time to try it , other than for my own edification, and currently I have work to complete rather than testing.
When it comes to comparing a digital c to an analogue print made in 1990, you're right, it's hard to tell the difference. But now try to print that same neg under an enlarger and you will confirm that your suspicion is correct - complications abound. No amount of tweaking will get you anywhere near the paper you were using in the '90's. I have tried every current paper under the sun (with the exception of metallic, which I abhor) and all digitally optimized papers suffer under the enlarger in ways that make it impossible to get a great print. I wish this weren't the case as I hate not being able to use my roller transport machine, it doesn't make sense to invest in a laserlight printer when I can use a service bureau nearby, and ink jet is just not the same as a glossy c-print. So currently I proof work on a cache of kodak vc (the predecessor to premiere, exhibits some of the nasty qualities of the digitally optimized papers but nowhere near as bad as the current crop), then I go to a digital flow for finished, exhibition prints.
Mind you, I'm just as much a die-hard analogue practitioner as the biggest retrogrouch here, however, what's the point of pretending that it's the same as it's always been when clearly the manufactors have directed their efforts solely towards the digital workflow (misleading manufacture's info and erroneous misinformed personal testimonials of luddites aside).