Best route if I want to try color printing?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by BetterSense, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Since I have some color negatives right now, I want to try color printing. I have two enlargers, one condenser/incandescent MF enlarger and one diffusion/cold light 4x5 enlarger. I have everything needed to print B&W. I just don't know what I need to buy to get started with color. Is this a good shopping list, or is there a better way to get started?

    Fuji Crystal Archive 8x10 paper
    http://freestylephoto.biz/07586757-Fuji-Crystal-Archive-RA-4-Color-Print-Paper-Type-Super-C-8x10-100?cat_id=1201

    What's the difference between "Type Super C" and "Pro Super Type PD"?


    Arista color print processing kit
    http://freestylephoto.biz/11812-Arista-RA-4-Color-Print-Processing-Kit-2-Liter?cat_id=1004

    Is the 2-liter kit enough? Can I use this in trays at room temperature? How long will it last?

    Color filters
    http://freestylephoto.biz/31633-Arista-Color-Filters-3x3-in.-22?cat_id=1602

    Can I use these below the lens? I will have to get the expensive 6" ones to print 4x5 if I have to put them above the negative. Is there anything else I need?
     
  2. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

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    You have what you need, but you may want to get a color print viewing filter set. Kodak used to make them, now Lee does. The cold light will not be a good choice to use, go with the condenser head. Dichroic color heads are going for cheap on the used market and will be of tremendous help.
     
  3. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I have an old color print viewing set already.

    How come cold lights don't work well? I assume it's the color spectrum.
     
  4. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

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    That's right. The bulbs do not put out the entire color spectrum, so they do not reproduce colors well.
     
  5. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    Your list is enough to start.

    > What's the difference between "Type Super C" and "Pro Super Type PD"?

    Type C is thinner and has "Fujicolor Crystal Archive Paper" on the backing. Type PD is noticeably thicker and has "FUJICOLOR Professional Paper If copyright applies, permission to reproduce required" on the back. They appear to have similar color response, but I have not tried side-by-side comparison. Unlike Kodak's papers, Fuji are much more sensitive for color filtration. However, once you get your filter pack right, the results are very comparable.

    > Is the 2-liter kit enough? Can I use this in trays at room temperature? How long will it last?

    I would recommend getting these instead:
    http://www.calumetphoto.com/item/KP04045/
    and
    http://www.calumetphoto.com/item/KP04043/

    Much more chemistry for not much more money. If you call freestyle on the phone, I think they can get them for you as well.
    The Arista kit doc lists room temperature times. I only tried it at 35C. Arista chemistry did not last for me as long as Kodak
    but I used it differently, so no good side by side comparison here.

    > Can I use these below the lens? I will have to get the expensive 6" ones to print 4x5 if I have to put them above the negative. Is there anything else I need?

    Sorry, don't know the answer. I'm using dichroic enlarger. I suspect that using the filters below the lens would affect sharpness of the print.

    One thing I don't see on your list is a safelight. If you are planning to use trays, definitely get a safelight that is acceptable for color paper.
    I believe it's the one that uses Wratten 13 filter. I personally use Jobo Maxilux and it works great!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2010
  6. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    A small hint. The quickest way to get good color filtration is to take a photo of a gray card on the same type of film as your
    photos. Use that photo first to figure out filtration of the paper. Once you get close to gray with that negative, the rest of the roll
    can use exactly the same filter pack. Using an ordinary photo for figuring out filtration can be maddening experience ;-)


    Eugene.
     
  7. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    The OP asks about Fuji paper at room temp. I have yet to see any response be it good or bad from those who have tried Fuji paper at room temp. Maybe no-one on APUG has tried it. We know from PE and others that Kodak paper responds well to room temp printing but as I understand the supply situation then unless you can cut rolls into sheets at home we will all have to use Fuji paper sooner or later

    So has no-one tried any kind of RA4 chemicals with Fuji paper at room temp?

    I agree with the comment that Fuji's paper is much more sensitive to colour fitration than Kodak' and this is not to its advantage IMO.

    So we have Kodak paper that scores better on two counts( room temp and less sensitivity) and we end up with the inferior paper becoming the last man standing. Incredible!!

    pentaxuser
     
  8. hrst

    hrst Member

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    I've done lots of prints on Fuji CA with Tetenal room temperature kit at 24 deg C with no problems (well, no additional problems to Tetenal blix problems :tongue:).

    A few days ago I finally tried Fuji CA with Kodak chemicals (24 deg C, 2min 15sec, without starter), and the result was absolutely fine without any problems. However, the image I used had some mixed lighting and is hard to evaluate for delicate gray balance.

    To match Kodak Supra Endura, I had to correct around -5M -5Y and decrease exposure by around 20%. Then, the images are very close, Fuji CA has a bit higher saturation and a small contrast boost, but definitely not bad.

    But well, I'll continue using Fuji CA with Kodak chems at room temp and will report if I have any problems arising.
     
  9. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Interesting and thanks, hrst. Why 24 deg C instead of 20 deg C? Is 24 deg C the lowest and closest to room temp that gives good colour balance or is 24 deg C the lowest temp that gives reasonable dev times? I have in mind to use a Nova slot processor and while 2 mins 15 secs and 24 degrees C is a reasonable temp to aim for, it means keeping the processor at a higher than room temp. 20-21 degrees would be ideal unless there were addition colour problems or very long dev times.

    Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  10. hrst

    hrst Member

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    Pentaxuser, because the darkroom I use happens to be at 23 to 24 deg C most of the time, both in summer and winter, and I cannot control it :smile:.
     
  11. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Thanks hrst. Your room temp is about right for my room in the summer but for the other three seasons 20 deg C is much closer to the room temp.

    pentaxuser
     
  12. Split70mm

    Split70mm Member

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    Am I hearing this right that you are opting for color filters (CC) instead of a dichroic head? Color print evaluation filters are great, but CCs are a real pain. Since dichroic enlargers are being thrown out all over the place, you may want to get one of those if you can.
     
  13. hrst

    hrst Member

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    Of course dichroic head over color filters. Color filters are just a quick and very cheap way to get started in an existing BW darkroom, but OTOH, why not buy a dichroic enlarger from the start.
     
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  15. Split70mm

    Split70mm Member

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    Yes, or you may be able to get a dichroic head for some enlargers (usually condenser does not work though). I tried putting a dichroic head on an otherwise identical condensor enlarger and it just did not work probably because the condenser lenses couldn't focus the light right.
     
  16. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Well, I don't have a dichroic head right now, and I don't have room for another enlarger. It's pretty much the enlarger situation that's keeping me from trying it. I like using my cold light head for B&W and those apparently don't work well with CC filters so I'll probably just sit back and watch the good materials get continued like I've been doing.
     
  17. warrennn

    warrennn Member

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    As another beginner wanting to get into color printing, I notice that a lot of people seem to be developing in trays at or near room temperature. Can one reliably get good results this way or should I purchase a drum and motor base (difficult to find used)?

    I have an LPL 760 dichroic enlarger and a Beseler 45 (for B&W). A local photo store (Glazers) has a supply of Fuji CA papers, but not the chemicals. I can order the Kodak chems from Calumet, as suggested above. Aside from a special safe light, is there anything else I need? Is there a good tutorial for color printing on the web?

    Thanks!

    Warren Nagourney
     
  18. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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  19. warrennn

    warrennn Member

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    Thanks, Steve!

    Warren N
     
  20. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    Warren,

    Go with the trays. The issue with color is that it takes quite a few test prints to get filtration right, especially in the beginning.
    Doing it in trays you can get more iterations per hour than with a drum which requires rinsing and drying time.
    Kodak's chemistry works well at room temperature. Just make sure that chemical temperature stays more or less
    constant during the printing session.

    One thing I found extremely helpful to get filtration quickly was a color calculator. Something like this: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270665190877

    However, don't buy one until you learn how to get filtration by hand. It's very helpful once you know what you are doing, and
    can get in a way if you don't.

    What else? Make sure you have good ventilation. B/w chemistry smells, but color is worse ;-)
    I don't remember any good online tutorials, but I did not look for them. I just got a couple of books in the library. Call me old-fashioned ;-)

    Anyway, don't over think it. It's not too much harder than b/w. You'll get more confident once you try it.

    Eugene.
     
  21. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    One other thing. Stick with one film to start with, you'll find that once you've found an approximate filtration, every subsequent roll will be quite close. If you standardise, colour is no more difficult than B&W.
     
  22. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    I'll second Steve's tip. Staying with one film and one package of paper will save a lot of headache. Also, take one shot of a
    gray card on the film. I took a picture of my left hand holding a gray card. I mounted that shot in a slide frame. This is
    always the first photo I print when I start printing session to make sure that all variables are in place. If the gray card is
    gray, and my left hand looks just the like the one in the freshly developed photo - everything is ready for printing. If the hand looks different, I just take the glove off and check again ;-)
     
  23. warrennn

    warrennn Member

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    Many thanks, Steve and Eugene, for your excellent suggestions. Although I am a bit new to printing, my last 4 rolls of e6 were developed at home, using my temperature stabilized bath. I expect the chemistry side of RA-4 should be easier than that. I agree, the filter settings will take a little fiddling and the suggestion of taking a pic of your hand holding a gray card is brilliant.

    I find the best model of the 3 colors to be negatives of RGB; thus cyan is minus red, yellow is minus blue, etc. This might help in my color calculations.

    As soon as I get a little more experience in B&W, I will plunge into color. (My B&W prints have some funny artifacts I need to sort out.)

    Thanks!

    Warren N
     
  24. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I've never seen a dichroic lamp house that uses condensers at all. I think that Omega made one at one point but I've never seen it. All the dichro heads I've seen use a light mixing box and are diffusion type light sources.
     
  25. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Is there a rental darkroom in your city? I would recommend that?
     
  26. jpberger

    jpberger Member

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    +1 for darkroom rental. Especially if it's got a machine to process prints.

    I'm a little concerned about this talk of colour in open trays-- would defiantly want to have really excellent ventilation with an intake just above the tray and most home darkrooms I've seen don't have it. The thought of breathing in fumes from open trays of blix doesn't appeal much. NB that when we expose ourselves to chemicals we aren't just talking about bad smells, but the possibility of causing permanent chemical sensitivities which get worse over time. Something like a nova slot processor might be easier to manage no?
     
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