One day curiosity is going to kill this cat.
One day curiosity is going to kill this cat.
If you treat your mats well, you can make many many prints! There is no set limit, but as Drew said, you might get a hundred or more prints from a set.
Drew, Ctein might know of some labs though, and does participate in the DT forum.
Ron - I should just drive across the Bay and visit Ctein again. He had me over for his birthday party a couple years ago; and I drove away with a few jugs of Kodak dyes. We still chat from time to time. But he's going to concentrate on inkjet now, which he does much better than most.
I'm looking at dye transfer printing as more a hobby than anything else. Yeah, I hope to eventually get good enough at it to bag a handful of
classic prints from my older chromes, but with respect to the future, Kodak color neg is it as far as I'm concerned. I'm happy I had my years
of printing Cibas, and then put in my additional hours betting on a different horse, which now seems to be the clear winner. I just don't have any spare time to go around teaching or even exhibiting until I retire. But chromogenic has really evolved, and just a little tweaking does indeed make it a many-trick pony!
Isn't it ironic that now we need Pan Matrix film for DT, and it is all gone.
Ctein and I exchange e-mails and the last time he was here in Rochester, I ended up in NYC for a workshop. So, we have missed meeting in person.
The more complicated path from chromes does seems to allow a greater degree of correction relative to individual dye idiosyncrasies than the direct to
pan matrix approach. But there are bigger issues. It would be wonderful to have a matrix film with less toe to it and thus less highlight block-up. At the moment Ctein and Bettina are having a bit of a tiff over the subject of dye permanence. The composition of Kodak dyes isn't really a trade secret. Their
prepackaged buffers were handy, but as far as I can tell there isn't a lot of difference between Kodak dyes and the powdered Pylam dyes which Jim B.
worked with. I have both. I don't know the composition of the current German dyes, but they have apparently been well tested. I'd be more concerned
with the nuances of how the transfer paper and mordant affects permanence. Kodak seems to have had a double coating system for their paper with the
thorium nitrate deeply embedded, and the paper could be stored and used for long periods. Alum M1 paper seems to have to be used soon, preferably
within a day of mordanting, though some very old images done this way are still looking good. A couple of us are experimenting with supplementing this
with uranyl nitrate - expensive, but it takes very little to do the job. Then there's a question of the appropriate gelatin, along with the fact that if one is
simply using some ordinary fixed-out b&w fiber-based paper, there aren't a lot of options. Again, I don't know exactly how the Germans are handling this
right now - the link to a commercial paper is well out of date. As usual, dye transfer printing is a lot like home cooking with no set rules. All kinds of ways
of doing it. Pan Matrix film could be realistically made again, or so I have been told - but there's no financial justification for it. Who would put up the money?
Drew, the step from Matrix to Pan Matrix is not hard. Dye hue and dye stability will be problems. Many modern DTs use a magenta and a cyan that are too short. The magenta is reddish and the cyan is bluish. Many have poor stability. More work is needed to bring this back to where it once was.
Well this is inevitably part of the ongoing debate, Ron. The Germans claim their dye sets test out better than the Kodak dyes. But the primary
dyes in the Kodak sets are easily identified by the CAS #'s and are still in manufacture by reputable sources. Of course, back when DT printing was popular people used all kinds of things as long as they'd mordant, and Kodak was not the only major player. It's kinda academic to me. I'm not a dye chemist and will listen to the debate from the sidelines. Meanwhile, I've got enough actual Kodak branded dye and buffer sets on hand to last me the duration of my own tinkering.
I believe that Guy Stricherz is the other remaining commercial dye printing service in this country, though it's likely he only works on one big
project at a time. But if one glances at what Egbert and Bettina are doing in Germany it's pretty impressive - they've got a helluva mechanized roller right on the homepage. Yet as I understood it, they had to buy six laser rigs and backup computers just so they'd have spare parts and can keep running in the future. That's the problem with going hybrid - you're still at risk for software and hardware going rapidly obsolete, with no reliable service option. Everything was a massive investment. But scanning does allow capture and inversion of negative images, so they don't need a separate pan matrix film. For immobile still life or studio work, I think direct tricolor capture on black and white film gives the best results anyway.