Colour Printing: Beginners Question

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Roger2000, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. Roger2000

    Roger2000 Member

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    Evening all,

    I'm currently halfway through m'first attempt at colour printing, using a Durst M605 (with new 100W bulb) and Supra Endura.

    This is proving to be very difficult as the image as projected onto the baseboard is so blasted dark. I can barely tell what's what nevermind whether the blasted thing is in focus. I've tried to use a Paterson focus finder but everything is simply too dark.

    I've done B&W printing for quite a while so have some experience in making prints - it's not just that the lens is stuck at f22 - and I'm currently stumped. I've amended all the settings that can possibly be amended, and I've tried using it with the filters all to 0, all at their max, but nothing seems to make any difference.

    Is this normal, or can anyone let me know how to get more light through?

    Any help most gratefully received.
     
  2. largeformat pat

    largeformat pat Member

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    G'day,
    The only things I can think of is,
    1. Check lamp is fitted correctly.
    2. check apeture on lens is fully open
    3. disengage filters,(remember the setting). (some enlargers come with a disengage lever which will leave your setting and give you white light)
    4.Check nothing is loose in the light chamber.
    Thats all that comes to mind at present.
    Pat
     
  3. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Based on my experience with colour neg printing and the Durst M605, something is seriously amiss(and yes I know you have in effect told us that) but it may be some comfort to state that I have never had such a problem so if everything else is OK such a problem shouldn't exist therefore can be solved.

    I'll ask all the usual questions first: Do the negs look particulary dark when you hold them up to the light?

    You don't say whether it is a 35mm or 120 but are you using the right lens with each(50mm/80mm). Even the "wrong" lens should give plenty of light however at f4 and the 80mm should go down to f4 or f5.6 at its smallest.

    The light intensity should improve by leaps and bounds as you move the lens through its range of aperture, does it improve at all. If not could it be stuck at f22 even through you are apparently moving it? Take it out and try it, holding it up to the light.

    There is a light box that moves from 35mm to 66. Is the lever fully home at both settings. If it sticks in the middle then ot can shade the light from the baseboard a lot. Have a look inside the box and move the lever both ways, does the two settings give full exposure by moving the acrylic vanes fully out of the way?

    Is the bulb sitting square in its holder? Bulbs in the 605 are a bit fiddly to set correctly. It is easy to place the bulb at an angle. While looking does the bulb and reflector look OK. The bulb should produce such a bright light that you can't look at it for more than a second or so without being blinded.

    You don't say whether you had any problems with B&W negs prior to attempting to focus a colour neg. If B&W negs were brightly illuminated at big apertures like f2.8, f4 or f5.6 then either something has happened by coincidence to one of the items mentioned above when you've switched to a colour neg or we're back to the look of the colour neg and it's very dark which suggests a colour processing problem. Have you got any other negs to compare with?

    All you can do is work through each possible problem to see where it leads you but rest assured a bright neg projection is the norm.

    Best of luck

    pentaxuser
     
  4. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Dichro heads are darker than normal heads because of associated light loss. Darken your room and let your eyes adjust. You should be having light coming off of the lens. Make sure your diaphragm is open and your filters are set at 0 and your bulb is good. Also try making a smaller enlargement. Using filters with a regular enlarger works if you don't mind screwing around with addition and whatnot.
     
  5. Roger2000

    Roger2000 Member

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    Thanks for all the advice. I'm going to take the head back from whence it came. Having looked at all the points you've raised, it still doesn't work properly. Stupid thing.
     
  6. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    is it definitely the correct bulb and you're not using something like a 24V in place of a 12v bulb ?
     
  7. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Let us know what conclusions were reached about its fault(s) when you return it to the giver/vendor. I am curious as to what it is that caused the issue when it seems that even after "testing" all the things recommended, you weren't able to see what the problem was.

    Unless all the negs were all greatly overexposed and /or overdeveloped then it strongly suggests a lens which has stuck at a very small aperture at just the point that you switch to colour neg printing and yet if this is the cause then switching back to a known B&W neg which was previously OK and bright would have revealed a similar dark neg projection. I am totally flummoxed.

    pentaxuser
     
  8. Roger2000

    Roger2000 Member

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    I too am flummoxed, as was the chap in the shop when I took it back. They're going to give it the old once over, and I'll report back on what they find.

    I should point out though, that my previous b&w work was on the 605 black and white head, and the problems with the dark projection only started when I traded that in for the colour equivalent.

    By the way, I don't think the wrong bulb is in. I double checked with nova when I bought it that it was the right bulb, and the thing is so bright in the head - before you close the hatch and stick it back on the enlarger -that you can only stand to look at it for about a second. In addition, the negatives are all correctly exposed and developed.

    Thanks once again.
     
  9. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    It sounds like to me the only thing that could be wrong is that the Magenta dichroic filter or all the filters are stuck in place completely in the lights path.
    This would be due to the head possibly getting banged when moving or the gears are meshed.
    As someone pointed out , most colour enlargers have a white light point position and if you cannot see bright light and complete filtered light then you have a problem.
    Also the other source could be within the mixing box where one of the side panels has fallen and is blocking the light path. This has happened as well as the dichroics locking in place.
    A camera store probably would not know how to look for these problems btw.
     
  10. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I try to be dogmatic about very little - I haven't the experience for a start :D: but I am certain you are right about your bulb. I started off with a 100W as I started in B&W but exchanged it for 75W when switching to colour as some of the prints from the negs would have been overexposed at the min exposure that my Paterson colour analyser dial could be set for( about 4 secs).

    It is true however that colour negs did look much darker than the B&W negs I was familiar with but certainly not anything like so dark as to prevent the use of a focus finder.

    If the dichroic filters are stuck then a simple test is dialling in each filter and observing the changes. Try 0 -130 on each in turn then all three at units of 10 or 20 each time. If all three are dialled in with the same amount each time then you get an ever darkening neutral grey.

    pentaxuser
     
  11. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I was fixing a Hansa enlarger over the weekend that I picked up in an as is state as part of a way cheap lot. There was poor light output with it.

    The lamp house cover was taken off to have a look under the hood. It was apparent that the bulb, a 75W unit like in Omega's I have seen, was not clipped into its mounting position. I made up a new clip with some copper wire, and now the light bulb sits so 100% of its beam goes into the optical path, as oppused to about 30%.

    It was still dim. Pulled the mixing chamber to see what the diffusing media looked like. All was still clean and white, but a mirror box used to turn light from the lamp after the filters into the box had only ever been friction fitted, and it had slipped low. Pull tape on the back of the enlarger, and there were two screw holes that lined up with tapped holees in the mirror box assembly. Two salvagesd small screws later, and the mirror assembly was mechanically held in proper alignment.

    While the hood was off, I looked at the filters. All looked good and clean, but the Y one was stuck into the optical path about 8% even with its dial at zero when the filter lift lever was slid from white to colour. Minor disassebly ensued, and a linkage was carefully bent to allow the yellow to fully clear with its dial at zero. As a part of this investigation, I found that the filters fully engaged in the light path by the time the dial was turned to 120, despite being able to turn all the way to 170. I guess the cam designer was not fully conversant with the filter lever designer to match their system values properly some 30 or more years ago when this thing was being designed.

    After re-assembly things were looking good.

    To calibrate the thing a bit better for printing with MG B&W paper, since it now is know to have wierd filter settings, I sat its light path under my Lici 3000 colorstar analyser.

    On white setting I would stick an Ilford MG filter in the neg carrier, and then fiddle with the analyser programming on an idle channel to null the display. I would then pull the llford MG filter, and use Y and M dials to match the colur the MG fiter made. I did this for filters from 00 to 5, and now have a table to start with to do a real calibration tonight printing step wedges onto MGIV to see how many steps I actually get for each of these settings.

    I really bought the lot this enlarger was in to get the old paper boxes, which included the papers that I started out printing on over 25 years ago.

    This enlarger once tuned in, will form the nucleus of a collection of surplus to me bits that I can set up in the laundry room on top of the washer and dryer to teach interested people how to do their first b&w printing. I have found that I have so much stuff crammed into my normal darkroom that it scares them off that they could ever pick up this craft if I introduce them to it in there.

    By doing it bare bones, it is simplified, and if a person expresses an interest, I make a deal to sell/mostly give them all to get started from an old camera to the enlarger, chemisrty, film, paper and bottles, trays etc. to get them started. I have done this once now, and want to have a rig to be able to offer this agian.

    The other cool thing with this particular enlarger is that this enlarger bulb is 12V, so it is feasible to run it in a set up on the road in a remote location powered from an automotive source. Looks like it is time to start looking for compatible 12V bulbs for a safe light.
     
  12. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    Hi Mike. I think you can still buy 12v incandescent bulbs in standard base in wattages from 25 to 100. Maybe an RV dealer would stock them. You could use one in a standard Kodak safelight.
     
  13. Roger2000

    Roger2000 Member

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    Just to let you know, I took the enlarger back and the chap at the shop stripped it down, put it back together, and pronounced that everything was A-ok with it. Far from convinced, I took it home and put it threw its paces last night.

    The brightness seems to have improved by a fractional amount, to the extent that you can just about make out what your looking at when there’s a colour 35mm neg in it. It was still extremely dark however, and there was only just enough light to pick out the grain on a four year old Fuji 400 consumer neg. I stuck to B&W printing last night however, as this is something which I have a fair bit of experience with.

    There was far less light coming through the head than with my previous enlarger – the Durst 605 condenser – and this had a substantial effect on printing, to the extent that a 10x8 print which would previously have taken 10-20 seconds under the lamp at f8 is now taking 2 and a half minutes.

    Is this normal for a diffuser head?

    I’m going to try colour printing tonight using Kodak RA developer and SE in trays at 20 and will report back.
     
  14. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    I have a Durst CE1000 with a CLS450 head and power supply with a 250 watt bulb installed. With the 6x6 mixer box installed, my exposure for Supra Endura on an 11x14 print is 6-8 seconds at f11 with a Componon 50 f4 lens which dates from 1963. When I use a 90 watt bulb, I open up the aperture about one and a half stops.
    It almost sounds like the filters are all fully in the light path all the time. Does the light change colour when you adjust the filters one at a time?
    With all three at max, you have a pretty dark image, whan all are set to zero it should be very bright.
     
  15. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    There is still something seriously amiss here. We have the same enlarger with same dichroic head and yet with a 10x8 B&W print my times are under 20 secs at f8 and this is with a 75W bulb and not the 100W that Durst recommends.

    Have you tried what Bob suggests? His test and mine are much of a muchness. Set the Y and M filters to any figure say 50and 50 units then swing them out of the way with the lever on the left or at the back if yours is a slightly older Durst 605 and any colour on the boards should instantly disappear and be replaced by bright white light. Then dial in Y and M as I suggested to check on the progressive change and finally do all three filters by the same amount together say 20 units at a time to see if it progressively darkens but with a neutral grey. All three filters together should give a grey look

    That way you can eliminate any problems with the filters sticking.

    I have never had a condenser head so can't compare but both B&W and Colour negs are very bright at f2.8. I use this for focusing but f4 is nearly as bright. It is true that at the aperture and with dual filtration for say grade 3 -3.5 correct for an exposure of say 10-15 secs the neg does then look gloomy but that doesn't matter as you have focused. What counts is the print.

    However ignoring the darkness aspect of the projection your exposure times are still a complete mystery to me.

    pentaxuser
     
  16. Roger2000

    Roger2000 Member

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    Thanks for all your help chaps.

    I had a bash at colour enlarging last night, and found that a 6x4 print from a well exposed 35mm neg took 35 seconds at f8. Obviously when printing at 6x4 the enlarger head was quite close to the baseboard which helped with the focussing and composition. Does this exposure time seem a little long?

    I tried the experiment as suggested and found that the in / out arm on the left hand side DID move the filters in and out of the light source. However, when set to ‘out’ and with a fully opened aperture (f4 on this 50mm Minolta enlarging lens) the light coming out was far from bright. Would you suggest buying a lens that can go to f2.8 for compositional purposes?

    In addition, I wondered whether there might be a more suitable focusing tool than the smaller of the two Paterson focus finders for use with colour? It’s fantastic with B&W but doesn’t work a jot with colour.

    Although I’m very frustrated that the head still seems to be defective, I was very pleased with the quality of the 6x4 prints mentioned above. RA4 prints seem to have a very attractive softness and subtlety to them which is most agreeable.
     
  17. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Is there a mixing box??
    If so make sure it is intact.
     
  18. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    35 secs at f8 is way more than I get. As I said I even had to reduce the wattage to 75W because my Paterson colour analyser had a min exposure of about 4 secs and I couldn't null the exposure dial so needed less than 4 secs.

    Unless there is something wrong with the aperture movement on your f4, don't bother to buy a f2.8. f2.8 isn't going to improve the light dramatically. Have you checked that the lens' aperture setting is operating properly. When you remove it from the enlarger and hold it up to the light you should see the aperture open and close as you move the aperture setting.

    When the seller inspected it on its return and pronounced it OK, did you insist on seeing it in operation? That way the seller's OK and your not OK might be the same thing but 35 secs at f8 for a 6x4 print strongly suggests that the seller's OK is not OK.

    Can you find anyone nearby from a camera club who still has some knowledge of enlargers? Unless you can get a knowledgeable second opinion I fear that we never get to the bottom of this collectively. 5 mins in your darkroom with another user might solve this but short of that I am beginning to despair of getting to the bottom of this.

    pentaxuser
     
  19. hrst

    hrst Member

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    Your enlarger or some part of it is, no doubt, defective, the possibilities ranging from the bulb (wrong voltage, wrong wattage, wrong type) to lens (malfunctioning aperture) -- and the entire lightpath between them. Your light seems at least about three stops too dim. It's quite much. Don't try to get a brighter lens, instead find help to fix the actual problem. It's probably something obvious for someone familiar with enlargers. They are not so complicated.

    There are many things mentioned but has anyone mentioned the bulb voltage yet? Check it. If the bulb is for double voltage than the enlarger, that would explain the problem. Halving the voltage may be about two stop loss in light output or even more. And it's always possible that the enlarger gives wrong voltage, different than specified. Measure it if you have access to a volt meter. Or maybe the enlarger has 220V/110V switch and it's at the wrong position. It's easy to check - open the bulb compartment and switch the light on - it should be white and so bright that you almost feel pain in your eyes :smile:. If it's a little orangish and lame like the common house bulbs, it's not working at the specified voltage.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2009
  20. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    If I recall correctly, the Durst M600 series enlargers use a mirror or mirrors to create a light path.

    If my recollection is correct, I would check that the mirror(s) are there, that they are in the correct position, and that they are undamaged.

    Matt