Color paper

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by JD Morgan, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. JD Morgan

    JD Morgan Member

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    Finally have this color head of mine working and succeeded in making a few prints on the only paper I had my hands on - Kodak Supra Endura in 'N' surface. Not sure if I like the paper because I have nothing to judge it against.

    -- funny note: I was in a bit of a rush when I went to a pro shop in Portland the other day and grabbed a box of the paper above in 8.5x11 instead of 8x10. I didn't realize this until I couldn't fit it in my 8x10 speed easel. Cutting paper in the dark on a cutter NOT set up with guides is kinda hit or miss! :wink: --

    Any recommendations for a good all around paper and surface for portrait, wedding, glamour and other crap normally shot with color?
     
  2. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Fuji Crystal Archive
     
  3. JD Morgan

    JD Morgan Member

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    Oh, forgot to mention that most color negs would be Portra in 160NC, 400NC and 800.

    Does that Fuji vote still hold for those?
     
  4. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I have only used it with transparecies, but I have heard good things about it as an all round paper. I think the best person to ask would be mrcallow.
     
  5. JD Morgan

    JD Morgan Member

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    Ahhh... Perhaps I shouldn't have used the word 'vote' in my reply then. :wink:
     
  6. Neil Souch

    Neil Souch Subscriber

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    JD,
    I am not sure if there is much choice apart from Kodak and Fuji when it comes to colour papers these days. Does anyone know of any others ? Cutting up colour paper in the dark is not to be recommended!
    All the best,

    Neil.
     
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I like Supra Endura. If you want a little lower contrast Portra I guess.

    Agfa makes colour paper.

    I cut paper in the dark all the time. No problem at all once you've screwed up enough. :D
     
  8. Jane Lydick Staid

    Jane Lydick Staid Member

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    Hello I am new to this board and am so glad to see people talking about film! I print all my work on Kodak Portra Endura paper and I love the Portra B&W paper. I use E surface on both papers.
     
  9. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    According to the Silverprint.co.uk online catalogue, you have a choice of
    Agfa, Fuji, Ilford, Kodak & Tetenal RA4 papers (in the UK at least).

    Personally, I'm colour blind so I never use the stuff. I spent much of my youth wondering why so many women liked that awful looking pale blue lipstick: turns out, it is actually pink... ho hum....


    Cheers, Bob.
     
  10. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I should qualify my opinions on colour. I do print a lot (over 400 11x16 for my portfolio in the last week), I print for myself and I do use or have used anything and everything I can get my hands on (cheapest available often the deciding factor). I doubt I am the best printer or most knowledgeable on the forum maybe just the most vocal.


    Fuji CA is very good it comes in 3 flavours I am familiar with two C (c for contrast) and P (p for portrait). Kodak comes in three flavours (although portra may have been dropped) Porta (portrait), Supra (a little more punch than Portra) and Ultra ( good deal of punch).

    Some here will tell you that there is a world of difference between CA and Kodak. I may be blind, but I don't see it. Fuji works well with Fuji films and to a lesser degree Kodak films. Kodak Portra Films on the NC side work very very well with Portra and Supra and OK with Ultra. The NC/Porta combination may be one the most significant matches. Fuji NPC and Reala on CA C is also a pretty perfect match (assuming you like your prints juicy). Most fuji films I have used look best on the Supra Ultra end of Kodak's line.

    When roteague talks of printing his tranies to CA he is referring to a scan that is printed digitally. At this point matching profiles and equipment to paper is more important than matching films to paper.

    IMHO the difference between CA P and C is equivalent to about 1 contrast filter in B&W. The difference between the Portra papers Portra to Ultra might be 1.5 or 2. In other words not much.

    The palette of the paper is similar to the palette of the film, but less so. There are not alot of awful combinations. So much can be done during enlargement that the influence of the paper can be to a large degree negated. There is a lot to be said for matching strengths and keeping these in mind from conception through printing.

    Cheaper consumer papers and some of the fringe papers (that may no longer be available) had some real contrast differences. Ilford super gloss being one very good very punchy paper Kodak edge being another contrasty paper.

    Agfa Signum is a pretty good general purpose paper. Ilford at one time sold an RA4 paper called (I think) 2000 that I loved. It was easy to print on and was very consistent. Much of the work I have sold on ebay is on this paper.

    Considering the film you shoot and If you have to choose one I would choose Kodak Supra.

    FWIW. Konica's papers appear to be an exact match to Fuji's papers (they produce the same results when using the same profiles in a digital printer) and they are making similar claims of longevity to CA. Konica can be cheaper than CA.
     
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  11. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I have been using Ilfocolor, nearly exclusively. It has *wonderful* lot-to-lot and size-to-size uniformity; as well as what I consider to be the *best* color balance of all. No idea of the current availability, considering Ilford's troubles. The last I bought was from B&H.
     
  12. JD Morgan

    JD Morgan Member

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    Thanks for all the input. I put off doing any color for years because of all the horror stories about color balance and toxic chemicals etc. Now I find all that was hooey. Analog color balance is a whole lot easier than Photoslop and I haven't smelled anything at all from the RA-4 stuff.

    Really very simple and so sharp that I have to defocus or try to hold a softnet under the enlarger lens on some of the girly stuff.

    Right now the Endura in 'N' surface is the only paper I have and it seems to work great. When I get low I'll test the other surfaces.

    The image below is a print scan from an 8x10 I did last night. The film was Portra 160VC rated at 100. One large softbox with gold insert. The rest of the 'set' was lighted with five other studio lights w/gels and two spot lights. I built the 'set' in my living room. :D
     

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  13. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    JD,
    Nice shot.:surprised: Are the blacks black on the print they look blue on my screen?
     
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  15. Robert Brummitt

    Robert Brummitt Member

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    Fuji's Crystal Archive is a very nice paper. What I found is that I can test on 8x10 and jump to larger papers with not too much difference from my final. I use to make Inegs for my chromes and print.
     
  16. JD Morgan

    JD Morgan Member

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    Thanks.

    Yep, the print doesn't exhibit the color cast in the shadows that the scan does except in the area between her right hand and body (had blue and purple gels at work, so there will be some color mixing).

    I tried to color balance the shadow casts out in Photoslop to better match the print, but then the skin tones would go too yellow. I could probably get it out using selective color and other disco wizardry, but I just don't see the need. It's not too bad on my machine. Besides, the only people that would notice that or the fact that the outfit could use some ironing would be photogs. :wink:

    With softness, artifacts, color casts etc. scanning just sux. The skin is actually a bit less yellow in the print and the overall contrast is lower. I had to boost the contrast a bit from the scan to help reduce some of that blue shadow cast in the scan.
     
  17. JD Morgan

    JD Morgan Member

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    I pulled the image up in Thumbs+ and used it's shadow balance to pull the blue out. Now it more closely matches the print. I edited the original post so you should see the new image there now.

    I find that Thumbs+ shadow balance is much more keyed to just the deep deep shadows unlike Photoslop. I used the slider and pulled -50 out of the blue.
     
  18. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Looks better now... Nice job all around
     
  19. JD Morgan

    JD Morgan Member

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    Developer exhaustion RA-4

    Now that I'm moving along a little with this color stuff, I ran into my first quirk that required some analysis.

    Printing last night I had one come out very low in contrast as if fogged. I then looked back through the most previous two prints and noted a shift to slightly lower contrast with blue casts in the blacks.

    Is this how RA-4 developer starts warning you it's a bit short and ready for the big bird back to the world? Perhaps the reason I was asked about the blue/black relationship in the print I posted yesterday?

    I refreshed chemicals and printed the one below full-bleed 8.5x11 (the size I'm thinkin' of standardizing on for 35mm -- unless someone has a better suggestion) and it was fine, I think... umm... does it look fine? :cool:

    The film is 35mm Portra 160VC rated at 100 printed on Supra Endura 'N' surface and using Jobo CPE-2 with Kodak RA-4 chemicals. How many 8x10 size should realistically be expected out of 122ml of chems (I top off the chems back to 122ml every couple prints)?
     

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  20. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Blue blacks can be an indication that some bleach has mixed into your dev. I take it by your post you are not repleneshing your chemestry. I have only used RA4 printers that replenished as they went a long, so I don't know if what you experienced was weak or contaminated dev. You can buy RA4 test strips (small 4"x8" strips) that print out a scae that is easily checked by the naked eye.
     
  21. JD Morgan

    JD Morgan Member

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    Haven't had any 'oops put the hose in the wrong bottle' events and the drum is rinsed and dried after each run. I'll have to check on the replenishing particulars for what I'm doing. I figured I'd run through a couple boxes of paper and a kit of chemical just getting everything down pat before getting into the other details.

    A roller transport? Hey man, that's cheatin'. But how in the world are you controlling/battling dust well enough to print 400 in a week?

    Dust is enemy #1 for me. Dust never sleeps. It makes me craaaazzy! :sad:
     
  22. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Not sure about Kodak RA-4 chemistry, but Tetenal and Photocolor recommend replacing 30% of the used chemistry with fresh, for replenishment with each print.
    It does sound like a faint possibility of "carryover" - Bleach-Fix into the Color Developer. How are you washing the prints? I normally wash 6 x 30 seconds in the CPP-2. That should be sufficient to flush out the tank and processor.
     
  23. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I don't replenish either. When mine is dead then the whole print is sort of faded. It's a hard cutoff from working okay to dead. The main thing I notice is that during the life of the developer the print needs a touch more exposure.

    What are you topping up the developer with? More developer? Kodak likely lists a number for square meters of paper per so much developer. Depending on how much you're topping up then you might be replenishing. Are you pre-washing?

    With me I find the bigger issue isn't the number of prints so much but the amount of time since I mixed up the developer. I can get quite a bit more then the kit I'm using claims I should if I use the stuff quickly.
     
  24. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Hose the negs off in a seperate room. I do full image test prints (seldom do I use test strips). This way I can make damn sure the neg is clean prior to printing many. I figure 10mins max will get any neg clean which beats the hell out of 1min of spotting. I also shoot at least 2 of everything so if one frame is hopelessly dirty/stained whathaveyou I have a back-up. Mostly I don't have dust issues though -- oops I probably should not have said that.
     
  25. JD Morgan

    JD Morgan Member

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    I'm rinsing 3 x 30 with 20ml more than required each rinse. Been doing it the same through 2/3 of a box of 50 and it was the first I noticed it. There is a remote possibility the paper got fogged because I was having issues with the cutting board in the dark involving quite a few prints -- time delays at the cutting board and the LEDs were glowing on the color head. The cutting board is about four feet away ninety degrees starboard of the LEDs and even with wrestling the cutting board for ten minutes there was not sufficient illumination for me to see anything. I'm pretty sure my eyes were open at the time -- maybe that's it! :surprised:
     
  26. JD Morgan

    JD Morgan Member

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    I just top it back with more developer -- just to keep the fluid amount right. I chuck it all and refresh based on how dark and icky it gets and blind intuition. I pre-rinse 30 seconds.