[Alt-photo] Alt-photo-process-list Digest, Vol 101, Issue 2

Nelson Mark ender100 at aol.com
Mon Mar 21 03:15:05 UTC 2016



I tested the Pictorico Ultra Premium for Mitsubishi before the started production. I received no compensation for doing so except they listed me on their web site as a user, though that is a compensation of sorts.  I did get free samples to test, though not much. 


I ran side-by-side tests with the new Pictorico Ultra Premium and with Pictorico Premium. I was using an Epson 3800 I believe for the tests. 


I was not told why they were developing the Ultra, just that it was extremely important for some of their users and they needed to get it into production fast.  I later learned that it was because the silk screen industry was having problem with the new Epson inks and could not make positives/negatives with enough density.  So they needed a film with an emulsion that could hold more ink.


The ink set of the 3800 and subsequent photo quality Epson printers (3880, 7890, etc.) work very well with both versions of Pictorico. 


There are other Epson printers (1800, 1900) that use inks that have less UV density and also have the annoying characteristic of being very slow to dry to the touch.  These inks tend to attract dust, which sticks to the surface and very likely will flake off later, leaving a black spot on the final print.  I did not test any other films. There may be films that do not cure well even with the best of inks. 


The issue with the inks and any film is not just how quick do they dry to the touch.  That is important, but just as important for making a good negative and for calibration is how long you allow the negative to cure.  I tested both versions of Pictorico by measuring all different combinations of inks at regular 5 minute intervals with a UV densitometer.  The density of the inks changes as the inks cure.  In a sense you might say as the film substrate emulsion + ink cure.


Pictorico Ultra Premium  (TPS100):

*More Scratch Resistant than Premium

*Dry to touch out of the Printer

*Minimum Cure time 30 minutes (varies with Ink color density setting)

*Maximum ink load before pooling +50  (Can depend on ink colors used)

*More water resistant than Premium


Pictorico Premium  (TPU100):

*Less Scratch Resistant than Ultra 

*Dry to touch out of the Printer

*Minimum Cure time 60 minutes (varies with Ink color density setting)

*Maximum ink load before pooling +30  (Can depend on ink colors used)

*Less water resistant than Ultra


As far as ink sticking to the alt photo emulsion, this can happen for a number of reasons:

*When the negative or positive is not cured long enough.

*When the alt photo emulsion is still too wet.

*When the vacuum is too strong and it compresses the negative against a sticky alt photo coating like salt, polymers, glossy silver gelatin, etc.

*When the ambient temperature and/or the temperature from the bulbs of the exposure device heats the negative too much and makes the ink “gooey”.  I removed the curtain around my two NUARC exposure units to keep the heat down.

*In some cases the ink sticking to the emulsion is not a problem as it usually comes off when you develop the print.  However, it does make it difficult to make a second print from the same negative or positive.


By the way, did you know there is a 3rd version of Pictorico?  It is the same as the Ultra Premium emulsion and base only the base has a very slight matte lecture to it.  The designation is TPF100.  This is used for Photopolymers  in the silk screen industry and my guess is that it might be good for glossy silver gelatin papers, Salt Prints, carbon Prints and other slick, shiny, sticky surfaces.  The texture does two things.  1.  Eliminates Newton Rings.   2. Helps air bubbles to be drawn out by the vacuum if you are using a vacuum frame.  TPF100 only comes in rolls.


While at the Mitsubishi Headquarters in New York, I noticed that employees sometimes said Pictorico with the accent on the 2nd syllable and other employees placed the accent on the 3rd syllable, which sounds almost Spanish.  The employees of the original company, Pictorico, before Mitsubishi purchased them put the accent on the second syllable.

Best Wishes,
Mark Nelson

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