Chinese Alternatives

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Simplicius, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. Simplicius

    Simplicius Member

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    I was just reading about Oriental Seagull Paper.. I now realise it is more expensive than Ilford.... but it triggered a question.

    What Chinese manufacturers are there, a large population, gotta be lots of papers and chemicals and films. Anyone any knowledge on this?

    Interesting why?
    A: Most Likely to be Cheaper
    B: Could still be manufacturing copies of older discontinued papers I see so many elder APUG people bemoan the loss off.
    C: I'm Curious.
     
  2. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    There has been comment on APUG about the various Chinese films. Shanghai is one of them.
     
  3. Schlapp

    Schlapp Member

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    and there is some Era resin paper available
     
  4. David Grenet

    David Grenet Member

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    Era make paper, but I don't know where to get it - I'd love to try it in the silk surface...
     
  5. ericzhu

    ericzhu Member

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    I am from Beijing, China. I shall say sth.

    Era products are made in Xiamen, the southen city of China. Era 135mm ISO100 film is available in Beijing, about RMB 10 / roll. I enjoy this film for day shooting. Unfortunately, they produce no ISO 400 films. The only problem with this film is that there are some disturbing film chips while using. And also the latest batch of product has no beautiful identification of Chinese words "公元" (meaning Era) or any picture counting numbers on the two sides of film after development, which makes it less art works. It seems that Era is saving the energy and manufacturing cost.

    Era also produces fixed RC papers, usually 2# and 3#, size 10" *12", 50 papers / package. The updated price is about RMB 135 / package. They are good, appearing beautifully pure and thick dark after development in Dektol. Fortunately, I setup my learning curve of black and white by using Era paper 1 year ago. Now Era RC paper is seldom seen now. It may be due to the fact that the more and more families are using the convenient digital camera (even the price of low-ends digital SLR camera body is really acceptable to ordinary family now), 24 hours print shops for picture-record and traditional darkroom paper shrinks. I still keep 2 or 3 packages of Era papers, 1 year outdated, which include the silk-surfaced. The impression of silk surface to me is that they are a little lower in contrast, less sharp than the gloss paper. It has a little water and ink paint effect, just a little. The drawback of silk surface is that it is a little curling after dry.

    My personal expection to Era is that they could produce multi-contrast paper in the future, though the chance is little up to now.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2009
  6. ericzhu

    ericzhu Member

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    So, if Era RC paper is not available, what would beginer use in China? There is another one: Lucky ("乐凯"). Lucky produces 135 and 120 film. I would say that they have different characters to Era. Some people say that for sunny days, use Era; cloudy days, use Lucky. My personal feeling to them is that Era is like Trix, Lucky is like Tmax.

    Lucky also produces fixed RC paper, usually 2# or 3#. But it's not my piece of cake: they are not pure black, and the contrast is a little lower. Maybe it's good for describing foggy nature scenes, though I haven't tried, since mostly I shoot portrait.

    Nowadays, I start to use Ilford RC multi-grade paper. Though it is expensive, I could easily get the contrast I want by split-grading.

    My hope to Chinese manufacturers is that they shall open their eyes further to the future, they shall not give up the traditional darkroom market. China is entering the preliminary developing stage, in upcoming years, more and more mature guys would turn back to traditional B&W, which has the beauty that no digital could express. That's why I seldom use digital camera now.

    China is a large market, Ilford now takes almost all seats of fiber-base market & multi-contrast RC market. The price of Ilford is higher and higher, I hope more and more foreign producers of multi-contrast papers come here, they would not loose money here in the long term.

    By the way, 2nd-hand darkroom enlargers are cheap on ebay in USA, UK, Germany, etc. Sellers of Durst, Kaiser, Beselor, LPL shall sell their enlargers to China, they would make a good fortune through ebay.
     
  7. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Eric, do you ever shop on the huge camera mall on Wukesong Road?

    I imagine so. When I was in Beijing I was really happy with the variety of traditional gear there - I didn't shop around for film or paper since it wasn't feasible for my short trip. But is it a good place to stock up on such items when in Beijing?

    Many thanks. I envy you, Beijing struck me as a great city to do street photography in (or any kind of photography, really).
     
  8. ericzhu

    ericzhu Member

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    Hi, Colin

    I often ride my daughter's bike and go to the Wukesong camera mall. I get my film, paper and darkroom chemicals there. It has little 2nd hand enlargers there, and even has, the price is too high.

    Attention shall be paid for purchasing 2nd hand gears there. You shall be familiar with what you want to get.

    Most time I work in office. I shoot my family at home to record the passing memories.
     
  9. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    "To record the passing memories"...very poetically put, and probably why many of us photograph, also.

    I got my Shen Hao 4x5 there, along with a Schneider 150mm 5.6 lens (and a few copies of View Camera magazine). My Putonghua was shamefully absent, so we basically couldn't communicate! I still managed to haggle down a little bit. I remember it as one of the highlights of my short time in Beijing.

    With luck, I'll be back this summer. Good luck with your recording memories!
     
  10. ericzhu

    ericzhu Member

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    Though I haven't tried 4*5 camera, I heard that Shen Hao is a good Chinese made camera body for the price. Equiped with Schneider lens, I think you would have beautiful pictures. This summer, when you come to Beijing, drop me a line and I would treat you with Beijing duck.
     
  11. Terrance Hounsell

    Terrance Hounsell Member

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    Oriental Paper is NOT more expensive than Ilford

     
  12. blokeman

    blokeman Member

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    Thanks Eric, thats a very interesting update of what is happening in China. As I have some Chinese friends, I am always on the lookout for new b/w products. Please post any new information in the future regarding new Fibre Based Paper. I'm sure Chinese manufacturing will eventually 'take up the slack' for products with a demand which are dumped by western countries.