photokina Special Coverage; Silver Halide Photography: Films, Papers, Chemicals, Darkroom, And More Page 2
By the time you read this Kentmere expects to have their problems with their art papers, Art Classic and Art Document, sorted out. The problem was that the paper base they had always used was discontinued and they have spent well over a year trying to find a replacement. But rather than hurrying, they are determined to get it right. Knowing Kentmere's commitment to quality it will have been worth the wait.
The real news in paper, though, was Ilford's new fiber-based, machine-writable paper for use in Lightjets and other paper writers. Of course, the machines that are needed to do this are very expensive indeed and only in the largest of labs, but the fact that there is sufficient demand for Ilford to introduce this new product speaks volumes for the continuing support from photographers, galleries, and even commercial photography for black and white.
After the success of the two new Ilford paper developers from Harman Technologies, there is a selenium toner. This is the first in a line of Ilford toners, and I look forward to testing them as they come out.
An important message from Tetenal is that they are still producing E6 and C-41 compatible chemistry. A number of other companies have dropped these lines, but Tetenal, distributed by OmegaSatter, has no plans to do so. As you can effect useful savings in both time and money by processing your own color films, this is an option well worth considering: it's what we do.
Darkroom equipment is nothing like as common at photokina as it once was,
but De Vere, Kaiser, and Kienzle were still showing current-production enlargers,
anything from a simple 35mm enlarger from Kaiser to the new 17 million-megapixel
504DS large format digital-head enlarger from De Vere. LPL was listed in the
catalog, but perhaps the location of their stand had been changed, because I
couldn't find them. Meopta was there, too, and although they no longer
make enlargers, they promise spare parts for up to 10 years.
LED light sources were introduced by De Vere and by Heiland Electronic. The advantage of LEDs is that there is no "light drift" so lighting is even and consistent. De Vere has a new tungsten light source especially for black and white fiber-based papers to take advantage of their maximum range and density.
But if you want to economize, there has never been a better time to buy a used enlarger. Photographers switching to digital are often more than happy to see their old friend go to a good home for little or (sometimes) no money. And repairs for some are still available. In particular, many Kaiser enlargers can be updated with new or bigger format light sources. Spare parts and instruction manuals are available for almost all De Vere enlargers since the 1960s (Odyssey Sales in the UK, Colex in the US). Durst no longer support their enlargers, but Kienzle can sell you parts to restore many Durst enlargers--or Leitz Focomats, or Agfa Varioskops, or their own Kienzle machines. And Heiland have upgraded their Splitgrade Controller and have added Splitgrade conversion kits for enlargers from Beseler, Omega, and Durst. Check their website for details.
There was even a new archival print washer from Kienzle, in four sizes, the largest taking prints up to 51x71cm (20x28"). They are made of Plexiglas and feature accessory air pumps (ideal for increased agitation) and water filters. Kienzle products are available directly from the manufacturer via their website.