Help with Ilfochrome
I am interested in exploring some of the issues involved with Ilfochrome ( cibachrome ) printing-including cost, and availability of materials. I note that some here still utilize the process in their darkrooms. Consequently, I wonder if some Ilfochrome users might be willing to provide some references as to the questions above, and might be available for some PM as to a realistic estimate as to "what it takes" to even think about "getting" started with Ilfochrome printing.
Thanks in advance.
Ideally you need:
A reliable processer (I use a Jobo CPP2).
The capacity to handle $5 per 8X10 sheet for paper and chemicals.
The patience to put yourself on waiting lists to get paper, and the deep pockets and freezer space to store a larger quantity when it is available.
A source of chemicals that you can pick up (or who will ship) (Calumet?)
The considerable effort to tweek the process every time they change the formulation (are we on our third iteration in 6 years?)
The capacity to follow the instructions TO THE LETTER. (Strange red cast to your print, you decided to increase the developer rinse quantity, didn't you? It needs to be the same volume of the other chemistry, etc.)
Look at some of the helpful postings around here for serious "Ilfochromers" (Bob Carnie and Dave Travis come to mind)
Look at what is available at B&H and Calumet online and call Freestyle.
I've been considering getting into Ilfochrome myself, but that seems too expensive and complicated for my small darkroom, low budget, and limited experience. I'd like to try color, though. Is RA-4 anywhere near as complicated and expensive? I'd rather use E-6 film because of the better color and because I think I could process it at home with the Arista 3 bath process, but C-41 is cheap to process in the lab. If printing RA-4 is anything like Ilfochrome, I'll stick to rarely bothering with color and doing hybrid or all digital *shudders thinking about those reds* when I do.
Ilfochrome is not so complicated nor difficult, in fact it's a lot of fun, but being 15 times more expensive than RA-4, there's definitely one requirement over anything; money.
But, RA-4 is even more easy than Ilfochrome, process being more quick and you can do it in trays without any drums, just like BW. And it's cheap to play around.
RA-4 today gives quite vibrant colors, some people even think they are too vivid. So if you find Ilfochrome too expensive, RA-4 print your negs. You'll get excellent results. And if you like to experiment and have slides to print, you can reverse process to print slides on RA-4 paper and the price will remain low. Quality will be so-so with high contrast but colors will be vivid. Look at a thread started by me for a few months ago for examples.
Thanks Dug. The process seems to have many associated problems. As far as the cost of the sheets....costly, but I recall that current TMax 400 in 8x10 costs about the same per sheet...
Originally Posted by Dug
Will research the posts that you suggest....thanks again.
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Ed - Ilfochrome prints are absolutely beautiful and worth the effort and money.
I have been ordering from Freestyle and the chemicals are drop-shipped. IMO, Buying off the shelf at stores might be risky: the chemistry might have only a few months left (at least, that has been my expensive experience).
I am no longer printing cibachrome, but am open to any questions and I will try to help with info.
I only did my first Ilfochrome print on 4 days ago, I had bought up a lot of out of date papers and questionable chemistry from eBay for cheap so I could experiment which cheap paper before going down the road of buying expensive fresh paper and chemistry.
My first 2 prints produced black, so substituted in Warmtone developer of the Ilfochrome developer and was able to produce a print and it looked stunning.
So from my experience so far which is pretty limited, I think willing to experiment and get it wrong is probably the most important part of printing ilfochromes.