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  1. #1
    Blighty's Avatar
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    Thought I'd try colour...

    Fellow Apuggers,
    It occured to me the other day that I might try my hand at colour printing. Getting the hardware shouldn't be a problem. What about the consumables though? Although the chemistry and paper is still available, how long will they remain so? I know this is a difficult question to answer (and I also know that the best people to ask are the Lad and Lasses of APUG) but how healthy is the future of colour printing? Many thanks, Blights
    Norman is an island.Time and tide wait for Norman.

  2. #2
    Snapshot's Avatar
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    It's likely that as long as people can obtain prints for film then colour processing will remain viable. As far as I understand, a large portion of the print runs at your local lab is still film prints. Consequently, I don't a fear a near term demise for colour prints or chemistry.
    "The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."

  3. #3

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    The future of Color printing is probably healther than B&W. As Snapshot points out, most of what comes from mini-labs is on light sensitive photographic paper, the originals can be film or digi.
    It's been pointed out several times here that the major driver for small scale availability is the commercial use.

    However, I think the biggest indicator may be price, a 100 sheet box of 8x10 Ektacolor is $32.95 from B&H! I wish I could buy a 100 sheet box of B&W for that price. It's making me re-think doing color.

    As long as printing on traditional paper out-performs other methods in the mini-lab context, the future will stay pretty healthy.

  4. #4

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    I don't have exact statistics, but much of the printing done at minilabs, even from digital cameras, is on RA-4 color paper. I don't know what the trends are in terms of what new minilabs (and bigger operations, for that matter) are buying, but I'd be surprised if RA-4 printing took a nose dive in the immediate future. AFAIK, it's possible for darkroom users to use RA-4 materials intended for minilabs, although if paper started to become available only in rolls you'd need to hand cut it, which would be a minor nuisance. The bottom line: RA-4 could well outlast C-41, since RA-4 can be used for making prints from digital sources.

    A bigger concern might be obtaining chemistry in small enough quantities that it won't all go bad before you can use it. There are threads on APUG on this topic, although I don't have any pointers. There are several mail-order sources in the US, but I can't offer advice for you across the pond. In a worst-case scenario you might need to get chummy with some minilab operators and piggyback an order for chemicals with their orders.

  5. #5
    Kevin Caulfield's Avatar
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    Here in Australia it looks like the kits from Tetenal for RA4 and also for C41 and E6 are about the only ones available in small enough quantities for the individual as opposed to the minilab, and there are only a few places which will get them in for you.

  6. #6

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    I asked around before starting to loko for a jobo on ebay (found one which I bought for a decent price last night ). Here in Zürich, Switzerland I only found one shop which could provide anything - but they also got me a special order before (underwater diving bag for the camera) and I was planning on using them as my regular supplier despite them being not so easy for me to get to (work end of town).

    They can do chem without a problem but have had problems getting cut paper for a couple of years now. I've seen plenty of paper on ebay too so I'm not so worried about that

  7. #7
    davetravis's Avatar
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    You could try shooting slides and printing onto Ilfochrome, but be prepared for sticker shock!
    $500 US for 50 sheets of 16x20!
    And the chems are getting harder to find in the US...
    Funny, but I'm going the other way, starting to print B&W!
    DT

  8. #8

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    Dear Blighty,

    Assuming you have an enlarger with a filter drawer (a color head is nicer of course), the cost to try color printing is minimal. If you enjoy yourself while you go through that first box of paper and chemicals then you still had that experience even if all the products were discontinued the next day.

    Search the forum using the keywords RA-4 and trays.

    Neal Wydra

  9. #9
    Blighty's Avatar
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    Many thanks you lot! My confidence is boosted somewhat. Regards, Blights.
    Norman is an island.Time and tide wait for Norman.

  10. #10
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    I keep meaning to try RA-4. I have a box of 8x10 Fuji Crystal Archive sitting around, it's about 6 years old... wonder if it still works okay. I literally only need to get off my butt and get one of those little fotospeed RA-4 kits, as I have a very nice colour enlarger and that paper and have already done some c-41 negatives of my own too. Maybe the special photography Santa will get me some for christmas
    ~Heather
    oooh shiny!
    http://www.stargazy.org/

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