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  1. #1

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    A question of volume.....

    I wonder if we could say that "The bulk of the prints made of amateur photos-that are not made at home, either digital or film are made on RA-4 paper in mini-labs?" If so, and I think it is so, I wonder what percentage of that market Kodak has, and what percentage of that market Fuji has?
    Last edited by PHOTOTONE; 11-21-2007 at 03:06 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: clarity

  2. #2
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    Yes and about 80% last I looked.

    PE

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    Qualifier added.....

    Fuji has gained market share due to astute marketing and a slightly better response to digital printers. Kodak is gaining it back with the new paper, and has good distribution of chemicals.

    So it is a see-saw between 60 - 80% for EK.

    PE

  4. #4
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    Is that true internationally PE? I practically never use minilabs, but you'd certainly get the impression from what I have seen that Fuji Frontier and Fuji Crystal Archive are the defacto standard over here (UK).
    Another day goes under; a little bourbon will take the strain...

  5. #5
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    It depends on what stores you visit here in the US.

    For example, WalMart has put a lot of pressure on Kodak to sell things to them cut-rate. IDK who they now favor, but some of the stores use Kodak paper exclusively and others use Fuji.

    Kodak production of the Endura and other lines remains high AFAIK, but as I said, it see saws. Kodak had a huge lead in China last I checked. Fuji was getting nowhere, but since they have been making inroads. Kodak is producing a lot of Endura paper at Harrow for some reason.

    Remember that Fuji can undersell Kodak on all RA products as they didn't have to develop the chemistry for the process nor directly do major work on the paper, but simply make something to fit. They did do major research on stable dyes and they did do major research recently on Tellurium sensitization to come out with the CAII papers which they say do not go through the current RA process, so Fuji has finally branched off.

    The original research on RA came from Kodak. The high speed emulsions that develop rapidly without benzyl alcohol were quite a major project.

    PE

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    ... They [Fuji] did do major research on stable dyes and they did do major research recently on Tellurium sensitization to come out with the CAII papers which they say do not go through the current RA process, so Fuji has finally branched off. PE
    If I want prints from my film scans, I want them on Fuji Crystal Archive paper. I do not care if they are compatible to RA-4 or whatsoever. I do care if my relatives can look at them in 50 years with the same joy as I do today.

    It is not a pity that Agfa has gone out of business in this field. Their RA-4 papers were the worst in regard to fading stability - not to mention the fraudulent proprietary crap that they sold in the 1970s. But I won't miss Kodak either and will, in the future, ask only for Fuji paper also for poster enlargements. The only ones doing their homework have been the Fuji people, as documented in Henry Wilhelm's book.

  7. #7

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    This is only anecdotal i.e. not based on any real evidence other than my own. We've been having a clear out in the house and came across prints from about 15 years ago to currently. All printed by minilabs All of the older prints were Kodak or Konica which surprised me. Recently all are Fuji. OK the older one came from a variety of labs and the recent ones are all from the local lab which is Fuji.

    Various friends have sent us some prints recently and they are all Fuji also. I have a feeling that most labs in the U.K. are now Fuji but as I say my evidence is too small to make this other than conjecture.

    I want to avoid a Kodak v Fuji war here but I would be interested in hearing Heinz's reason for choosing Fuji. I think it is based on the belief that the new Fuji CA paper will last longer than Kodak's rather than better colours or other qualities. Am I right Heinz?

    I must admit I haven't studied any research from the Wilhelm Institute. Again I cannot claim this as scientific evidence but my limited expenence of both papers is that Kodak is more forgiving in terms of filtration to produce a good print and that Kodak Supra III and then Endura were a seamless continuation of quality whereas Fuji MP and then the new Fuji CA were not. I found Kodak easier to work with in the darkroom.

    In the U.K. now, Kodak paper from a company called MORCO is by far the cheapest RA4 paper for the home darkroom user that I have seen. It may be that for minilabs Kodak cannot or will not try to compete with Fuji. Even if they can compete, once you lose the minilab market place on paper and chems it is probably difficult to get it back without embarking on a no profit or even loss leader strategy which in today's market is never going to give a return even if market share is restored .


    pentaxuser

  8. #8
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    Having talked to Henry personally for severa hours, and having taken the ICIS short course on image stability, I can say that there is no 'golden' or 'magic' bullet for defining image stability, nor is there a single reasonable test that will 'prove' anything conclusive.

    I have said this before. There are two standards for testing light stability, one involving high intensity light and another involving low intensity light. One simulates office buildings and the other simulates homes. Additional tests involve heat, humidity and pollutants. Every individual testing photo materials gets a different result.

    In the case in point, Wilhelm uses high intensity light and so does Fuji. Kodak tested 10,000 homes world wide for light level and then tested their (and Fuji) products under those conditions. Due to the diffusion rate of gases from air, and reciprocity effects in fading reactions, the Kodak and the Fuji-Wilhelm tests differ greatly. Gas (oxygen, pollutants and water vapor) diffuse slowly. Under high intensity illumination, gas related photo induced reactions are slowed due to rapid gas diffusion, whereas with low intensity illumination, gases are replenished more readily. In rapid tests therefore you see reciprocity.

    Which is right? It depends on how you treat the prints and what your environment is like locally. Hot and humid is bad, high industrial pollution is bad and etc and etc.

    As it now stands, I believe that both Fuji and Kodak products will last for at least 100 - 200 years based on my own dye stability studies while at EK. I don't think either company can throw a stone at the other, because by changing the test conditions I can change the order of the results.

    I should add that Kodak products were the first to incorporate UV absorbers and oxygen barrier process solutions and incorporated antioxidants. So, Kodak can plot a continuous curve of improvements vs innovation. By building on those inventions, Fuji came out with their CA paper, and then Kodak came out with their Endura paper. Both are quantum leaps involving new image forming materials. This is well documented in the ICIS literature and in the ICIS short course.

    PE

  9. #9
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    On the other subject of who uses what, here in the US, Ritz Photo uses Kodak paper. Most photo stores send their work to a central professional plant that also uses Kodak paper. RIT stocks both brands of paper and film. This being Rochester, you would expect Kodak to dominate, but remember that their NE distribution center for products is not in this city.

    PE

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by pentaxuser View Post
    I want to avoid a Kodak v Fuji war here but I would be interested in hearing Heinz's reason for choosing Fuji. I think it is based on the belief that the new Fuji CA paper will last longer than Kodak's rather than better colours or other qualities. Am I right Heinz?
    That is the only reason, because I do neither print my negatives in an own analog color darkroom nor have prints made with the film processing. The last time I did so I noticed that the paper the "Kodak Photo Perfect Service" done by our last, but independent color lab here in Austria, was Kodak Royal (no wonder) - but as well printed from the scans of the film strip. When I send a CD with image files to the same lab, I am happy to know that I will get prints on Fuji Crystal Archive Supreme paper.

    Even if Kodak's Professional Endura Supra paper may be more stable than Fuji's crystal archive, I doubt that this paper has been intended for normal mass-volume prints.

    In my family's photo box there are some purple-faded prints from the 1970s, what I want to avoid to happen again.

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