Cold vs. Warm - is it not all about the paper?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Klainmeister, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Hi All,

    I'm experiencing something new here and want to see if some people can help me understand this phenomenon. First, let me establish my work flow:

    M7II - 43mm or 80mm
    Fuji Acros @ iso 64
    Pyrocat HD 1:1:100

    compare this to

    Yashica TLR
    400tx
    Xtol 1:3

    Now here's what's going on. I've been printing the M7II negs for a while now and they usually are quite stunning. I use Ilford MGIV mostly, but more recently started using MGIV Warmtone just to give it a shot. Both in LPD 1:3. There's a picture of my sister and her fiance I printed on MGIV and thought it looked too cool, so I then printed it on Warmtone. Looked pretty solid.

    Moment later we printed a very similar image from my girlfriend and her TLR with the above scheme. With MGIV the image looked somewhat warm. Then printed on Warmtone and wow, really a comfy photo all of the sudden.

    We then started looking at my other images. Sure enough, everything looks cool (in the sense of cold). Started looking at my scans. Cool again. Kinda odd.

    Is this possible? Am I going nuts here? Could this be attributed to my workflow? Are the Mamiya lenses too sharp in a way? Contrast?
     
  2. ROL

    ROL Member

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    I've read your post several times now, and am unsure exactly what you're asking.

    Mamiya 7 lenses are (arguably) well known to both be very sharp and contrasty. Unsure what comparison (if any) to the Yashica you're looking for.

    I'm mostly a cold tone printer, because that services my visualization of my subjects. Some things look better on warmer or neutral papers, to me. Tastes also change over time. Going out on a limb, I would say that most people prefer warmer prints, especially when humans are the subject, and often because that is their sepia toned memory (Ken Burns) of what monochrome prints should be. Frankly, warmer tones can serve as a crutch to improperly composed, lighted, and visualized printing. Lastly, I find that it is much easier to move in the direction from cold to warm tone printing if that is where your process takes you, than the other way around. Keep moving the boundaries and experimenting!
     
  3. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Not seeing photos or links.
     
  4. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Sorry ROL for not being clear.

    If I took two pictures, one with each of those setups and printed then on the exact same paper with same developer, somehow the Yashica feels warmer and the Mamiya cooler. It's some sort of visual effect, not to be measured by any sort of color analysis.

    Does that make any sense?

    I can try to post pictures later tonight but the problem is how do I get my scans or pictures balanced well enough to show this.
     
  5. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I'm assuming when you say "cold" you mean the feel you get? Obviously if you printed to same photo from each setup with all variables the same then the results would be same, regarding image color. I think what you're seeing is the difference in lens signatures. TLR lenses I believe are most often Tessar or Planar type designs. The Tessar design leaves an interesting signature, particularly at wider apertures, where the corners go soft and there is almost a sense of movement. The Mamiya 7 lenses on the other hand are perfect. And by perfect I mean they don't have much of a signature other than being super sharp and contrasty. I own a Mamiya 6 kit and see the same thing. These are the sharpest lenses in MF. So it's all in what you want in a photo. Use the right tools for the results you desire. If you want super sharp landscapes, documentary photos, or environmental portraits, the M7 would be the choice, if you're looking for people photos, or alot of out of focus areas then the TLR may be the best choice.

    This is an interested topic and I will follow this thread closely.
     
  6. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Yes, this is what I am speaking of!

    I wonder if I never had come across this effect before since I normally don't shoot people with the M7, rather my old trusty Pentax. It just so happened to be that both her and I shot the same subjects and subsequently printed them both using the same papers, etc. Then it kinda hit me: my images feel colder.

    It's not a decidedly bad thing, but very distinct when comparing the prints side by side. I tried moving to the Warmtone and yes, compared side by side the paper was warmer, but the feeling was subsequently the same.
     
  7. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    If you are talking about the color tone of the paper, then development time and temperature for the print can have a very noticeable impact.
     
  8. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    What I think Brian and I are trying to describe isn't a color tone, but more of a feeling a print can convey with being the exact same color/tone. Side by side identical, but when looked at individually, a distinctly warmer or cooler feeling based on the content alone.
     
  9. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    I can understand that, but was thrown by your comparison being MG IV and MB IV Warmtone.

    A little over 10 years ago I had a Mamiya 6 outfit and a Rollei 2.8F at the same time. The Mamiya normal was better in every way than the Rollei (except for slightly more noticeable vignetting at large apertures with the Mamiya). I really liked the Rollei and the image quality it produced, but just somehow couldn't rationalize having both and eventually sold it.

    In the long run, the image quality of the the Mamiya just didn't suit me, though it was technically astounding. I sold the Mamiya after a while. It has been gone for a long time now, and I have not really missed it. The images did have something of a colder, more clinical feel to me.

    I did miss the Rollei all these years, and recently I picked up another 2.8 F. These have a planar lens and are very well corrected, but just do have an image quality that suits me more than the Mamiya. I'm sure many people would feel the opposite, and I have no disagreement that the Mamiya lenses are fabulous.
     
  10. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Well, my comparison was that I tried printing therefore onto MGIV Warmtone to warm up the image, yet it still looked cold somehow. I think that clinical look is a good descriptor for the lenses. They have a very different look than almost anything else I've used. Maybe I need to keep it around for my landscape and use the Yashica for people here on out.
     
  11. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Exactly, choose the tool that suits the job. Unlike Mark, I find the Mamiya 6 to fit my style and way of seeing. I prefer MF and prefer even more to have portability with MF. Plus I'm a stickler for sharpness and it just doesn't get any sharper than Mamiya MF RF lenses. I also have a Bronica RF645 which is a wicked system too. My subject matter doesn't demand two different types of camera systems, though I do miss doing some still lifes and close ups and may purchase a used Bronica SQ-A kit to do so.

    Don't forget, there's also toning of MGWT to warm it up even more. It is beautiful in selenium and brown toner (Viradon). MGIV also looks fantastic in a heavy selenium, though that is not warm. Try MGIV in Viradon used indirectly (bleach it first). This is a nice sepia tone.
     
  12. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Now I get what you are saying.

    Yes I have seen things look too sharp, too clinical.

    Must say I haven't had the opportunity to do the same test.
     
  13. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    I ended up selenium toning the MGIV Warmtone and it turned out beautifully. Just not quite the same though...

    If you look at my uploaded images, the BW ones, do you get the same feeling? Even with the proposal shot?
     
  14. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    While I preferred the Rollei (and Hassleblad) Planars to the Mamiya lenses, if I pointed either one at something interesting and pushed the button at the right time, it didn't matter which camera/lens I used. I made good and bad pictures with both. I have several from each up on my walls and if they'd been from the other camera, they'd still be up.

    Your Mamiya has some of the best lenses ever made. I imagine you only noticed this difference because of a side by side comparison. I also find waist level viewing far less than ideal for people pictures (I use a prism on the Rollei). If that is true for you also, then the Mamiya will probably give you better pictures in those situations in spite of your lens preference.

    I just happen to enjoy the image quality of some lenses more than others so might as well use those.
     
  15. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I took a look at your gallery, some of the work I've seen before in the main gallery. The work looks great. It doesn't give me a 'cold' feeling, nor a warm feeling either. I think it's just great work, and works well as cold neutral toned prints. I may change my mind if I saw them on a warmer toned paper, and some may work well that way too. I believe for much of that work the Mamiya 7 fits perfectly.
     
  16. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Thanks, it's always good to hear some support.

    I really enjoy Lith printing these with the rosy golds and yellow hues. Many pictures lend themselves to that appearance while others need a good solid dark, heavy midtone look. I kinda am giving up on straight BW prints and moving more towards the former and a many alt process.