No, it really isn't easy.

Chemicals: You must use Ilford chemicals. They make two sets, the P30 chems for home use (the three chemicals self-neutralize so you can dump them down the drain) and the P3 set for pro use (you must neutralize the chems before disposal). Both chems are the most expensive chem kits out there (about $40 for a 2L kit, enough to process about two dozen 8x10's).

Technique: Since the Ilfochrome paper has all the dyes pre-made in the emulsion (and processing bleaches out the areas that must be light) it is of necessity high-contrast paper. If you are trying to print modern reversal film (Velvia, Provia F, E100) the result is a very high-contrast print. The normal way of handling this is to make a contrast-reducing mask using some B&W film for each slide you print. It's a total pain to do, and requires mush experience to get the mask exposure right to match the contrast of the slide.

Equipment: Of course an enlarger is needed, and one with a color head (with three dichroic color filters) is the eaisest to work with, though I'm told a good CC filter set from Kodak is usable. The process also requires very strict time and temperature control, so most of us use a Jobo processing bath and drums. The bath holds the chemicals at a fixed temp (30 C) and the light-tight tube that holds the exposed paper will be rotated in the bath to keep the developing and fixing steps also at 30 C. You can do the process with out a processor, but you must still manage to control the temperature. If you don't mind a warm room, you can heat the entire room to 24 C and increase processing trimes. The pamphlet that comes with the chemistry shows the times for both 24 and 30 C.

Colors: The current Ilfochrome chem/paper has a problem that I don't think the older chems/paper had: serious color crossover. I find that often it's very difficult to print a scene with white clouds in a blue sky. Because of color crossover, if you want a blue sky you'll get purple clouds. If you want white clouds you need a slate-colored sky. This isn't something you can fix by adjusting the color filters in the enlarger head, it's built into the process. If you are printing a scene with a set of colors that does not cross over, then printing is a lot easier.

But truth be told, when Ilfochrome works, it works magnificently. It just takes a lot more time and effort to get a good print than the other reversal paper process. It's also the most archival process (about 200 years according to Wilhelm Research). All the best Ilfochromes I've seen were done on a lightjet printer, where a color profile that included methods of negating crossover was used, and those prints are just grand!

The other process is the Kodak R3/R3000 reversal process. It's more like the chemistry of the RA4 process, only with a reversal step. It's also very archival (175 years) and much easier to print.

The trouble with R3 (pro) and R3000 (home) is that R3000 isn't sold in the US anymore. You can still get hold of R3 chems, but in large batches (12.5 or 25 gal kits). I use R3 now, and the only difference between them is that R3 needs a reversal exposure in the middle of processing (dismount the drum, lower a bright fluorescent light inside for a minute, then remount the drum and carry on), and that the R3 chem is replentishable, so you use much less chemistry per print than the R3000 chem. Very efficient, provided you can organize long-term storage of Color Developer component B, the only component that is air sensitive and not boxed properly already (the air-sensitive first dev comes in a cubitainer and keeps very well; I put my color dev B into baby food jars and sealed them with wax for storage, each jar goes into one gallon of working solution).

R3 is very easy to print, very realistic, and I find that in an evening in the darkroom I can turn out half a dozen good R3 prints, where I could only make maybe one or two good Ilfochromes. (When I say make a prinit, I mean to figure out all the filter settings and time needed to print a particular slide well). I use the Fuji Type-35 paper, which I find to be a very nice match for the characteristics of Fuji reversal films. I presume the Kodak Radiance III paper will provide a similar match to Kodak pro reversal films, but I haven't tested them yet.

For more information about color chems and processes, please refer to my personal page on them: and