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  1. #1
    David Lyga's Avatar
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    shelf life of RA4 paper

    I (we) would be interested in knowing what the longest you have kept color paper without it attaining appreciable age-fog. Please also indicate the manufacturer and type (ie, Endura, etc). Also state the temp it was kept at in either Fahrenheit or Centigrade.

    I think that Kodak Endura in my freezer is six years old but I bought it from someone getting rid of it so it is yet older. Still good. - David Lyga
    Last edited by David Lyga; 10-25-2013 at 03:55 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2

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    Depends on what you mean by appreciable. In critical applications like the printing of a portfolio I'd notice base white changes a year past the expiration date with the kodak professional papers. When printing commercially this was unacceptable. However, with the demise of the optically optimized papers, those days are past. Nowadays, if I'm proofing in a wet drkrm. for my own work, I'd much rather make test prints on old, corked supra then the current slew of digitally optimized papers. I'd trade the ugly pallet, bad reciprocity and highlight crossovers in the current batch of fresh RA papers for the buff whites of out of date supra any day of the week. The oldest paper I'm printing on now is some supra endura, exp. 10/2010, purchased fresh and kept in a chest freezer until thawed out a month ago. The colors are still true however the paper base is not as white as what it was when still fresh.

  3. #3
    David Lyga's Avatar
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    Frotog: that is what really riles me: the whites begin to get compromised and I hate that. You cannot simply filter differently because you NEED pure white at times. With B&W, if the whites start disintegrating, you simply use a weak Farmers reducer to rectify this after fixation.

    That said, I have found that a tiny amount of benzotriazole will help matters with the color paper fog. I mix a solution of 1 gram of benzotriazole into 100 ml water. Make sure all is mixed, as it is a bit difficult to get it all into solution. I use a PET plastic bottle and shake it vigorously for a few minutes. I start by adding about 1 ml per liter of RA4 developer and add more as needed. You have to be careful, though, because restrainer is FAR more potent with the color developers than it is with B&W developers.

    NOTA BENE: In my initial post I stated that I have Endura in the freezer: It is, in fact, Supra II. Sorry. - David Lyga

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    You're absolutely right about needing a pure white when color printing as any age-induced base tint will have you trying filter yellow out of the highlights. Supra II was phased out sometime around 2004. For my purposes that's too past date to even bother. I'd be very interested in seeing a scan comparison of your results with and without the benzo..

    I've heard about using restrainers to bring back true white. Although I'd be interested in seeing how effective it is, I'd doubt it would be very useful in a roller transport system with auto replenishment. Have you measured the effects of the benzotriazole on your blacks?

  5. #5
    David Lyga's Avatar
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    Seriously, the Supra II I bought back in about 2008 and it was PERFECT then. I kept it in the freezer and now it is still perfect. That is why I wanted to know from others if there were similar experiences.

    One gram of BZ into 100 ml of water, completely into solution. That is my stock. You have to remember that I use diluted color paper developer (5X) and add about 1ml of the BZ stock per liter of RA4 diluted developer. Try a small cup of whatever developer you are using and do this: Cut tiny pieces of color paper (about 1 inch square) for the test. Then, each one, put half of each one under a flat opaque object (I use a tape dispenser) and expose to full room light. Now you have each piece half exposed and half not. (NB: if you use a coin, instead, HOLD DOWN the coin. You would be amazed how light will creep under the coin with color paper which is ultra sensitive to yellow light.)

    Process one piece in a tiny cup of developer, stop, fix. (Don't bother with the bleach because the fog level will be apparent even if you do not use bleach.) How much density in the unexposed part? Light, medium, heavy? Now you are in a position to judge how much BZ stock to use. If you use normal dilution (much stronger than I use) you will need more BZ stock. But, remember, measure in single digit ml per each 100ml of developer because BZ really slows down RA4 developer. Experiment.

    frotog: I also have Agfa paper that is quite fogged. I will try to show you the difference between no restrainer and restrainer in the developer. Be patient, I don't even have a computer at home but I will post here within 72 hours. - David Lyga

  6. #6
    hoffy's Avatar
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    So, from what I have read here, the 200+ sheets of Ektarcolor Ultra II that I obtained for a few dollars is going to be useless?

    No major loss, but is there anything I could do with the paper? Up the cyan and magenta to make redscale images?

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    I have frozen cut sheet endura from 4-5 years ago that is still fine. It is even pretty much fine even if not frozen. Though the base does yellow slightly with age, you can still get great prints out of it. Most of my shots don't have base white in the image usually.

  8. #8
    AgX
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    Quote Originally Posted by frotog View Post
    However, with the demise of the optically optimized papers, those days are past. Nowadays, if I'm proofing in a wet drkrm. for my own work, I'd much rather make test prints on old, corked supra then the current slew of digitally optimized papers. I'd trade the ugly pallet, bad reciprocity and highlight crossovers in the current batch of fresh RA papers for the buff whites of out of date supra any day of the week.
    You might try the current Agfa Rapitone paper (if you can obtain it). It is not optimized for digital printing.

  9. #9

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    I'd be interested in seeing examples of agfa rapitone c. It appears as though it's a niche product from their aerographic film division. Regrettably, it's only available in small sizes http://www.agfa.com/sp/global/en/bin...m611-42571.pdf

  10. #10
    David Lyga's Avatar
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    Frotog and all: Here are my quick results. The (beat up) color swash was shot on my window sill under daylight only, with no camera filtration. They are not really sharp images because of the relatively slow shutter speed and hand held camera. I am glad frotog asked me for this because it gave me a better understanding of the drawbacks of this process. The circular part of each image was where I placed a penny in order to demonstrate how the base is represented when completely unexposed. The benchmark is the Kodak Supra II that I bought about five years ago (then, years old already!) and have kept it in my freezer since then. Development time was from 1 to 3 minutes, depending upon the needs for base density. Most people do not consider this base density, as it is assumed that there will be none. With fresh paper, in fact, you can double or triple your development time without worrying about acquiring a base density, but with age-fogged materials it is a mighty concern. (Yes, there is a tiny bit of yellow in the base of my benchmark, Supra II, but I could have used a bit of BZ to correct this. It is not objectionable.)

    Benzotriazole (BZ) is a restrainer, usually favoring preservation of the densest parts of the image and primarily attacking the lesser densities; thus, a bit of contrast is added to the image. But, there is no ‘free lunch’ here, as the restraining action of the BZ causes what many of you already know with insufficient development of color paper: an overall bluishness (blue-blacks) that cannot be filtered out. But you DO get the nice white base. (With low levels of age fog this would not be a problem because there is a safety factor incorporated into the development time: ie, a little less development would not present these bluish blacks.) On the other hand, (see Agfa: NO BZ) you get ‘accurate’ color with fill development but suffer from overall orange caste caused by age-fog.

    The Ektacolor Ultra was acquired without cost about five years ago from someone who does house ‘clean-outs’. I worried that this was stored in some attic where it got much heat. I must have been correct, as this paper shows dense fog when processed without the BZ. But, again, the colors are more ‘accurate’ than those of the Ultra processed with BZ, for which there was NO yellow in the filter pack. Yet I could not get less blue in the image but is almost sensational as to the quality of image I was able to attain here. Kodak paper ages more gracefully than most.

    Again, BZ is VERY powerful with color developers. Take maybe 50ml of your color developer and put it into a small cup. Then, using an eyedropper, put a drop of the BZ stock into this developer and, in full room light, see how long it takes a tiny piece of color paper to turn black. Keep adding drops until takes about two or three times as long (depends upon extent of age fog) as for developer without BZ added. BZ stock = 1 gram BZ into 100ml water. Also, when you use BZ you will have to expose in the enlarger more because you are, essentially, under-developing. - David Lyga
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Supra II no BZ.JPG   Agfa Sensatis no BZ.JPG   Agfa Sensatis with BZ.JPG   Ektacolor Ultra no BZ.JPG   Ektacolor Ultra with BZ.JPG  

    Last edited by David Lyga; 10-28-2013 at 08:48 AM. Click to view previous post history.

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