Re: Just the facts, Ma'am, Just the facts... Kodak B&W Paper Discontinued

From: [email protected]
Date: 07/13/05-12:24:03 PM Z
Message-id: <>

> That's consistent with what I've heard in the past years, but I'm not
> too concerned. Baryta coating is not that high tech (though by no
> means easy---the method of grinding barium sulfate itself is said to
> have a huge influence already) so a smaller companies could jump in if
> this company gives up.

I'm sure it can be done.

The surprising thing to me is that with the current situation, it will boil
down to the operating economy of a single plant that was built when the
throughput was MUCH higher than today. So the question is one of whether the
aggregate demand from all the paper manufacturers will support the continued
operation of this plant. If it does close, then there will be a whole
different calculation involved for any potential new baryta coating
manufacturer, to wit, whether the necessary capital investment makes sense
with ever declining demand.

>From a microeconomic point of view, it would be less worrying if there were,
say, 8 plants making the baryta coating for paper, since market
rationalization could occur by closing down the least efficient plants. As it
is, we depend on the operating economy of one large underutilized plant. My
feeling is that it would require a very bold and probably non-bankable (i.e.
banks would run away) 100% equity investment to pull off opening a newer,
smaller and more efficient plant. NIMBY (not in my backyard) factors would
also be a big hurdle for a new plant because the word barium has that scary
chemical sound to it, and most people typically join it with the word 'enema'.

> Also, RC bases are a lot better now than decades ago and I think it's
> just a matter of choice for particular image. I don't hesitate to use
> RC paper.
> > I dunno, something to ponder for sure. And if paper disappears, will
> > there be any reason to continue making film?
> Anyone reasonably skilled in any branch of historical processes can
> make silver gelatin printing paper. Same thing for camera plates, but
> it's nice to have an option to use roll films. I've been making 20
> inch square and 22x30 inch enlargements from 6x4.5cm negatives with no
> visible grain, and this is a great option to keep.
I'm aware there are alternatives to film - I have learned to make collodion
positives and negatives just in case. But they have some pretty major
limitations - orthochromatic, slow, messy.

Personally, I think we will have plenty of choices in our little backwater
with digital negatives and all the alternative printing processes we love. But
i must confess that the traditional film->enlarge to silver gelatin paper
process is looking more like a wounded duck every day.

Eeyore IV
Received on Wed Jul 13 12:24:23 2005

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