Due to the thickness, carbon is hard to coat. You just about have to cast it. I would like to reformulate it to get a better coating quality and methodology, so carbon is not neat or clean.
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
OTOH, the Cibachrome is coated in 6 stages or 5 depending on formulation, but can require up to 8 or 9 stages if you do it according to the Ciba/Ilford method. As you do each stage, you reduce the yield due to coating imperfections and you also have to do this all in total darkness.
So, they are both hard and messy.
Actually, coating matrix film as Jim Browning does is probably the best route to color printing if you like spending lots of time in the darkroom. The time taken making 1 dye transfer is about the same as the time to coat a few sheets of the Cibachrome material, and the yield might be comparable. The difference is that the dye transfer has more control knobs to turn and the dye transfer matrices allow you to crank out duplicates by the dozen until they wear out.
So, actually Matrix and Pan Matrix film are the other contenders for color, but dye transfer is not a true 'color' material in the sense of chromogenic and dye bleach materials.
What I fear is that if conventional color ever vanishes from the marketplace, it will be almost impossible to re-start manufacture as it is so cost intensive to start up and so 'art' intensive. As the engineers die off, this will become a very real problem for the future of conventonal, making a 'restart' virtually impossible. (remember, I'm talking color here - there are a lot of B&W engineers out there at very good companies such as Ilford, Kentmere and others)