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View Full Version : Ilfochrome, a.k.a. Cibachrome, Enlargements


venchka
08-17-2006, 18:23
The following statement was made on another forum...

Thanks; I'm assuming Ilfochrome is unfortunately an obsolete technology.

So I was wondering if perhaps I was wrong to suggest an Ilfochrome enlargement from a transparency.

What say ye? True or false and why.

Thanks!

Trius
08-17-2006, 18:42
No way. My opinion is that Ilfochrome still is the best method of printing from transparencies. I haven't done a serious, careful comparison of technologies, but I'd be shocked if any other print type was substantially better. Hell, even the Cibachromes I used to do were terrific by today's standards. K25 printed on Ciba... Yummilicious.

David Goldfarb
08-17-2006, 19:28
Ilfochrome is still a beautiful process, and the materials are very much available.

There are also labs that will print to Ilfochrome on a Lambda or Lightjet from digital files, so it is now possible to get an Ilfochrome print from a scanned negative or digital original. One lab that does this is elevatordigital.ca in Toronto.

Bryce
08-17-2006, 19:34
Well, I don't know where to get it done, and I don't think the materials are available anymore in my city (Seattle). Otherwise it's still THE archival color printing process as far as I know...

julianphotoart
08-17-2006, 20:34
Not obsolete, no way. I'm still amazed at the whole idea of the Cibachrome/Ilfochrome process. Even my humble prints using the CLM1K polyester-backed paper have seemed luminous compared to any regular colour printing. It's so rewarding to make these prints, and its possible using such simple equipment (colour head and drum processor).

So it seems the new leaner, meaner management-run Ilford in England has nothing to do with the Cibachrome/Ilfochrome product line. I read in LFI magazine last month that the Cibachrome/Ilfochrome rights, process, etc. are owned by some company in Switzerland that either is, or wants to, start making/shipping new stuff. Perhaps I haven't looked hard enough but I have yet to find anywhere in the L.A. area with any recently made stuff. It's all expired stuff that they sell me at big discounts.

It would be great to hear from someone who actually knows about availability of fresh paper and chemicals. Where can I get it?

tlitody
09-27-2010, 07:09
The following statement was made on another forum...



So I was wondering if perhaps I was wrong to suggest an Ilfochrome enlargement from a transparency.

What say ye? True or false and why.

Thanks!

Ilford Switzerland ( thats not Ilford Harman in the UK they split when ilford went into receivership) still makes Ilfochrome so it can't possibly be obsolete.

http://www.ilford.com/en/products/ilfochrome/index.asp

has details of where to get it on their contact page

sepiareverb
09-27-2010, 07:29
I've never had a ciba/ilfocrhome come close to what one gets from a scanned slide and a good inkjet printer despite many tries with good labs. Highlights have just never been clean enough. I just may not like the look itself though...

PatrickONeill
09-27-2010, 17:01
I wish I could find a local printer for illfodchrome prints, but even 10 years ago, it was next to impossible to find anyone locally to print it. I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, a large metropolitan city, and none of the labs used this process.

even back then, people were saying that it was falling out of favor because inkjet Giclée prints are AWESOME!

btw. I've heard conflicting reports on the lifespan of illfochorme prints. how archival are they?

tlitody
09-27-2010, 18:27
I wish I could find a local printer for illfodchrome prints, but even 10 years ago, it was next to impossible to find anyone locally to print it. I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, a large metropolitan city, and none of the labs used this process.

even back then, people were saying that it was falling out of favor because inkjet Giclée prints are AWESOME!

btw. I've heard conflicting reports on the lifespan of illfochorme prints. how archival are they?

The quoted life of 500 years is for prints kept in the dark. On display it is much shorter and will depend on environmental conditions as with all artwork. And like all dyes they WILL fade eventually. The stronger the light the worse it gets. But I've heard people say they have their own prints hanging on wall which are still good after 30 years. So for colour prints on permanent display they are at least as good as any other dye based prints and probably quite a bit better.

tlitody
09-27-2010, 18:44
one problem with the ilforchrome chemistry is that it's corrosive and not environmentally friendly. It costs to dispose of it and it eats processors. Labs don't like using it. But you can happily use it in a jobo rotary processor providing you clean everything afterwards and that is just a plastic drum so corrosion shouldn't be an issue unless you are using an ATL unit. So there is no reason not to do it yourself for occasional one offs.

Freakscene
09-27-2010, 19:45
I've never had a ciba/ilfocrhome come close to what one gets from a scanned slide and a good inkjet printer despite many tries with good labs. Highlights have just never been clean enough. I just may not like the look itself though...

I did a lot of process control / QA work on Ilfo/Cibachrome printing when I worked at a lab years ago.

Ilfo/Cibachrome materials have the same disadvantage that all chemical colour processes have: hue, saturation and contrast are interlinked. They also display reciprocity and the hue shifts with reciprocity changes. Unless you can find someone who is a really experienced printer and can make colour/contrast masks and have a good handle on reciprocity, you will get only decent, but not outstanding prints.

Ilfo/Cibachrome materials were the standard for archival stability in their day but modern inkjet materials are much more archivally stable.

I really like the look of a Kodachrome slide printed well on Ilfo/Cibachrome materials, but I do so little colour photography that I have never bothered to set up to do it myself.

Marty

oftheherd
09-27-2010, 21:28
I wish I could find a local printer for illfodchrome prints, but even 10 years ago, it was next to impossible to find anyone locally to print it. I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, a large metropolitan city, and none of the labs used this process.

even back then, people were saying that it was falling out of favor because inkjet Giclée prints are AWESOME!

btw. I've heard conflicting reports on the lifespan of illfochorme prints. how archival are they?

I have a cibachrome print I made of my wife shortly after we were married. It is as vibrant as the day I made it. It has traveled to Korea twice. It also survived a house fire. My wife and I have been married 33 years. I would say it has a good life span.

I haven't done any tests with "archival" inkjet prints, if such a thing exists. So I don't know if they are good or not. But I really have doubts they could match the photo of my wife where she remains eternally a young woman. She is still beautiful, but she has aged some as have I. The photo has not.

JeffMerlet
10-11-2010, 08:23
There is a lab in Los Angeles specialized in ilfochrome/cibachrome: http://www.lab-ciba.com/index.html

scottyb70
10-11-2010, 11:01
Thanks for the info. Talked with the owner and seems he knows what he is talking about. Going to get a print from my 4 x 5 blown to 30 x 50.

Chris101
10-11-2010, 19:15
I must have printed hundreds of Cibachrome prints in the 80s and 90s. It was expensive and time consuming, yet the results are unique and very 'worth it'. I haven't used those materials since I broke down the darkroom in my house, and so I d not know if it as an 'obsolete technology' or not. If the materials are still available, I suspect that it has it's applications and practitioners.

John Robertson
09-07-2011, 20:40
I have framed cibachromes done over 20 years ago, they still look amazing. THE colour process bar none!!! The prints are almost like back lit tranparencies!!! with a glass like gloss.
Pictures I have are of the Stubaital mear Innsbruck, including the now much shrunk glacier. There is also a shot of the A4 locomotive Union of South Africa at speed near Gleneagles in Scotland.:cool:
Find a lab that will do them for you, choose your very best and sharp tranparency, gloss Estar paper, and be prepared to be blown away. Inkjet will never be the same after that!!
I processed my own, and provided you neutralised the chemicals in the correct order,in a plastic bucket disposal was no problem, and no smell!!.

semilog
09-07-2011, 21:01
I have Cibachromes of attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, and of C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... but they're good for 500 years in dark storage! :D

Seriously, what an absolutely fantastic medium to print on.

sanmich
09-07-2011, 21:31
I have Cibachromes of attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, and of C-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time... like tears in rain... but they're good for 500 years in dark storage! :D

Seriously, what an absolutely fantastic medium to print on.

memories...

it was memories...

:D

great scene, great movie

bigeye
12-11-2011, 01:00
I was considering doing ilfochrome when I saw this tonight on APUG from 12/8:

Dear Customer,
ILFOCHROME Classic has been a flagship brand within the ILFORD range of products for well over forty years. The importance of this range is underlined by the fact that ILFORD has continued to manufacture this product even though overall demand has decreased significantly over the last few years. The reduction in volume has led to higher production costs that have been further exacerbated by the dramatic increase in the cost of silver.
Unfortunately, the combination of low demand and higher raw material and production costs has left us no alternative but to discontinue the ILFOCHROME CLASSIC materials and related P3/P3X chemistry.
The affected products are:
ILFOCHROME CLASSIC
CLEAR DISPLAY FILM – CC.F7
TRANSLUCENT DISPLAY FILM – CT.F7
DELUXE GLOSSY MEDIUM CONTRAST – CLM.1K DELUXE GLOSSY NORMAL CONTRAST – CPS.1K
We understand the importance of these products to you and your business, and therefore, if there is sufficient demand, we are proposing a final production. We would like to offer you the opportunity to make a final purchase with the following conditions:
• An official purchase order will need to be placed by 30thNovember 2011.
• Will hold the pre-ordered rolls in storage until June 2013.
• ILFORD Payments for the order can be made in monthly installments.
As indicated, ILFORD has fully absorbed the high raw material and production and unfortunately we are unable to do this for the final production. Therefore, we will need to increase our supply price to you by 30% However, this price will be held
between now and June 2013 and covers all storage and inventory costs.
We would like to thank you for your understanding with this situation and if you have any questions or need any further information, please contact
Mr. Christian Neumann (Tel: +41 26 435 7504)
We look forward to continue serving you in the future Yours sincerely
Paul Willems CEO

Prest_400
12-11-2011, 10:40
I agree that it's sad to lose another material.
I think that if it were more widely promoted it might have survived. It seems an interesting material, specially for it's keeping propieties!

I really like slide film and Ilfochrome is really the only optical printing option. But it's expensive (can't afford it) and haven't got the resources for DIY printing.

jbielikowski
12-11-2011, 14:06
three days ago I asked one of the best master printers in Poland about Cibachrome and he told me a story: "couple years ago in Czech Republic there was a huge exhibition of their color photography, made on Cibachrome. 30 years old prints... faded. after that Cibachrome was withdrawn. but I heard rumors that it was improved and it could come back."

Pablito
12-11-2011, 14:21
Longevity aside, the prints have a unique look to them. Sort of iridescent. Either you like it or you don't. I don't.

oftheherd
12-11-2011, 15:04
Longevity aside, the prints have a unique look to them. Sort of iridescent. Either you like it or you don't. I don't.

I guess that is true of many things in photography.

I happened to like it. I have 3 or 4 prints I made over thirty years ago that are as good as they were when made. No color loss, no fading.

Trius
12-11-2011, 15:10
The few Cibachromes I made aged well. I never tried masking, which for the first Cibachrome material was often advisable. Kodachrome printed onto Ciba was often spectacular, but I can see it not being to everyone's taste. I always used the glossy materials, the matte for Kodachrome originals would have been more appropriate for some types of originals.

I found the processing to be really picky. Times were so short that coverage and agitation were critical unless you had precise machine processing. Maybe the newer Ilfochrome was better.

sepiareverb
12-11-2011, 15:24
As much as I love Ilford and everything they do for B&W I won't miss Ilfochrome.

Sort of iridescent.

Exactly what I didn't like about them.

I gave up on color film about a year and a half ago, haven't looked back.

Pablito
12-11-2011, 15:30
Making a contrast mask could really help the print but it wasn't easy and not worth it to spend the time calibrating everything unless you were going to do volume. Also it required perfect registration. I did not find the processing tricky or the times short (that I remember) but the chemicals were really nasty. This was a long time ago... In the end I worked with C-prints because I much preferred the look of the prints. But they do fade very fast.
;-)