Colour printing: how?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by haris, Apr 27, 2003.

  1. haris

    haris Guest

    Hi, I would like to try colour printing. My question is: Where to find information for starting filtration for printing. I use old Meopta Opemus 5 with Meochrom colour head. Films I mostly use are Fuji Superia 100 and 400. OK, I don't have money for analyser, so what is the way to figure out starting filtration, or is there some paper written about it. And in future I would like to do Ilfochrome process, so same question is for slide printing.

    I know more or less about what equipment and chemistry I need, but starting filtration is biggest issue.

    Thanks and regards,

    Haris.
     
  2. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    not every haivng used your type of enlarger it's hard to give you a starting point. essentlally you must get the exposure correct before you begin trying to nail the filter pack. The mistake a lot of beginners make is trying to get the color right before they get the density correct. I use to have a worksheet my students used to guide them to a correct filter pack. If I can find it I will PDF it and email it to you.

    Kodak has a good book called something like Printing Color Negatives and it has a good set of pictures in it that show you what adjustments to make if your print looks (color cast wise) like their examples.

    Color printing is much easier than B&W printing so once you go thru the grunt work of finalizing your filter packs for the various films you use it's clear sailing from there.

    have fun!!
     
  3. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    It's been a long time since I tried colour printing. At the time it was too difficult keeping the temperatures of the various baths right. Nowadays it seems possible to use the dev/stop/bleach fixer at room temperature!
    I can remember that each packet/box of paper came with a recommendation as to a basic filtration.

    All the best

    Hans
     
  4. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (EricR @ Apr 27 2003, 09:57 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
    Color printing is much easier than B&W printing so once you go thru the grunt work of finalizing your filter packs for the various films you use it's clear sailing from there.
    </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Uh ... I've got to disagree here.

    The filtration necessary will vary as much, if not more, with different lots of paper, different lots and "brands" of chemicals, even different sizes of the same color paper.
    Additionally, the color temperature of the light used to produce the exposure will have a major effect on the overall color balance.

    I start each printing session with"test strips", analyzing with a ColorStar 3000 Analyzer. So far, the most stable combination I've found has been Ilfocolor paper and JOBO/Tetenal RA4 chemistry.

    Without the Analyzer, the "old" method was to take a "suitable" negative and produce a - what was the name of that print - a series of images using controlled amounts of filtration ... in the center, a correctly balanced image (by trial and error); to the right, three or four images with increasing steps of magenta filtration; to the left, increasing steps of yellow; below, increasing cyan; and in the intermediate radial locations, increasing steps of the combinations of the two values adjacent.
    This, then, would be used to compare "first exposures" and make educated guesses of future filtration.

    Ah... memories. It was a monumental struggle ... that became easier with practice. It still takes some trail and error to arrive at correct filtration without the gray card image, although "averaging" with the ColorStar is helpful. Unfortunately, few images will contain color values that "average" to a neutral gray.

    My best advice would be to get an analyzer ... I have used the ColorStar for quite a while now, and I consider it to be the most important piece of equipment in my darkroom.
     
  5. docholliday

    docholliday Member

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    I use an analyser too, but I also keep around a set of the old Kodak color printing viewing filter kit. Sometimes, I have to print a neg that the analyser won't pick up correctly, then it's time to go back to the filters.

    Plus, I'd suggest learning to do it the "Old Fashioned" way with viewing filters before getting an analyser. It'll train your eyes to "see" necessary filtration.

    When you get a pack of paper, you'll have a recommended starting filtration pack printed on the paper package. Start with that, then correct with filters until you get a good print. Now, you know the ball park of where your enlarger will get the correct color for that neg and paper.

    Do be sure to get the exposure density correct first. You can get one of those Ilford exposure meters for about 15.00 and it works for B&W & color. It's a lot cheaper than the whole color analyser and will get you started.

    Also, if your color analyser ever quits, you can still fall back to the "manual" way of doing it until you get the analyser fixed!
     
  6. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    To get the strating filtration close enough, buy on of the cheap Unicolor or Beseler magic cubes. These are pieces of glass that have different color filtration squares in the surface. You put it on top of the print and diffuse the light and expose the paper. Once you have developed the print you will see many different color squares, the one that is gray is the "correct" filtration. Then, like Doc said, use the color viewing filters to fine tune the color filtration.

    With these cubes you can even guess at the exposure time depending on how light or dark is the "gray" square.
     
  7. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (docholliday @ Apr 27 2003, 01:45 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>When you get a pack of paper, you'll have a recommended starting filtration pack printed on the paper package. Start with that, then correct with filters until you get a good print. Now, you know the ball park of where your enlarger will get the correct color for that neg and paper.
    </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I'm glad I checked before I replied. There is no information about "starting filtration" on the external packaging of Iford, Agfa or Kodak Color Papers; The data sheets for both Ilford and Agfa have nothing like that... Kodak, in their data sheet suggests:
    "Starting filtration for the white-light method for EKTACOLOR PORTRA Paper is 50M + 50Y; suggested starting filtration for EKTACOLOR PORTRA Paper, Type L, is 50M - 40Y."
    It continues: "Adjust the exposure and color balance as required."

    That has to be a really rough approximation. The color temperature of enlarger lamps varies all over the place - the halogen lamp in my Omega D5500 is something like 3600K - and will vary with age. the incandescent bulb in one of the older enlargers - like my old Omega B22 (? what WAS that model?... ) would be something like 2800K - which would have a marked effect on color balance - to say nothing of the non-standard color correction units in different brands of enlargers. In short ... I've never found the "starting filtration recommendation" to be of any practical use.

    Kodak and Iflford also make "Color Correction `Wheels'", an array of different filtration panels that can be used somewhat like a "step wedge" in black and white printing.

    So ... Been there, done that ... got the T-shirt. I know color analyzers cost money - but if you are going to work in color, I can't in good conscience recommend the struggle that accompanies of going without one.

    The same applies to Grain Focusers - I have three (3) "el cheapos" in my darkroom and one "expensive" Omega. Anyone want one of the cheap ones?
     
  8. magic823

    magic823 Member

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    I just took a color printing workshop 3 weeks ago and we never even bothered with analyers (but again we had a big sheet fed processor, so it was no big deal to keep trying.)

    I just looked at three boxes of Kodak color paper (1 Endura and 2 Supra) and they all had suggested filtration. Using a Omega Cromega D colorhead I found that I was usually about 5-10 cc lighter in both Y & M (Kodak Portra 160VC 4x5 shot with strobes).

    The best bet is to run a test strip to hit exposure and the use color viewing filters to zero in the filtration. This also helps you figure out a burning and/or dodging that you might want to do.
     
  9. docholliday

    docholliday Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Ed Sukach @ Apr 27 2003, 04:27 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> I'm glad I checked before I replied.&nbsp; There is no information about "starting filtration" on the external packaging of Iford, Agfa or Kodak Color Papers; The data sheets for both Ilford and Agfa have nothing like ... </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Hmm... All my packs of Portra III, Supra III, Supra Endura, Ultra, Crystal Archive "C" from 8x10 to 20x24 and rolls have it printed on the outside of the box. "Test Print Starting Filtration 0C 60M + 45Y" for Supra Endura...

    Even the pack of EktaColor paper I have here that is some 15 years old has it printed on the outside...
     
  10. docholliday

    docholliday Member

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    Oh, and BTW, if you don't have a voltage stabilizer on your enlarger and can get one for it...do it. If not, you can get a APC Smart-UPS, or any of the good UPS's that have line conditioning (not the generic Belkin or Tripp-lite junk). A few volts difference (such as when an air condition or refrigerator is starting up) can make the color temperature change enough to make certain colors shift 5 to 10 point + or -!
     
  11. Thilo Schmid

    Thilo Schmid Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (docholliday @ Apr 27 2003, 11:45 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Plus, I'd suggest learning to do it the "Old Fashioned" way with viewing filters before getting an analyser. It'll train your eyes to "see" necessary filtration.</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Haris,

    I second this recommendation. I have discarded all analyzers and testing kits. They never produced the picture I had in memory and they do not provide any visual feedback prior to printing. There do exist expensive previsualization techniques based on video technology, but they are usually not feasible for the Amateur or even Studio Lab.

    Start with something around 40 yellow and 20 magenta and look at the picture. In the beginning, use viewing filters (the cheap kits e.g. from Kodak – not lens filters) to determine compensations. You will soon learn the meaning of e.g. “–5Y”. Start with whole prints on small paper sizes, since it requires already some experience to judge color filtration from test strips or contact prints.

    Since reversal paper is very soft, you always need higher correction settings than with normal paper. A “+5C” is almost invisible there. Ilfochrome usually has a filter recommendation printed on each paper box as a suggested starting point.
     
  12. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (docholliday @ Apr 27 2003, 09:35 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Hmm... All my packs of Portra III, Supra III, Supra Endura, Ultra, Crystal Archive "C" from 8x10 to 20x24 and rolls have it printed on the outside of the box. "Test Print Starting Filtration 0C&nbsp; 60M + 45Y" for Supra Endura...

    Even the pack of EktaColor paper I have here that is some 15 years old has it printed on the outside...</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I'm not going to get into a p***ing contest here. I've scoured the contents of my fridge - I have packages of Ektacolor Supra, PortraII, Ultra, and Radiance - all dated 12-93 (!! I don't use Kodak much) and **NONE** have "starting exposure filtration" on the outside of the package ... I even considered the possiblity of a negative "hallucination" (what was the proper name for that?) and had my wife and youngest daughter verify that. I would assume that at one time or another Kodak did - and did not - print that on the packaging. No matter ... for the variables I cited before, I consider that information to be marginally useful, at best. As an example, check out the data sheets for Ilford Mutigrade VC papers ... where they suggest different dichroic filter settings for various contrast grades according to the settings of Durst, Kodak, Meopta and Leitz Focomat V35 enlargers.

    I am not trying to critique the way others operate ... If one wishes to eschew analyzers, it is FINE with me.

    There are those who view a densitometer as a necessary - or at least a *very useful* piece of equipment - and that is exactly what the ColorStar 3000 is - a "Color Densitometer" with a lot of useful "automated" features. I *love* mine.

    In a former life ... along with calibrating Cascade Photomultiplier-based Photometers, I became (grudgingly) involved with Tri-Stimulus Colorimetry. I am somewhat familiar with the factors that can affect the perception of color. Ambient lighting ("North lighting is a defacto "standard"), gloss - angle of view... more than I'd care to go into here... are MAJOR factors. We were trying to match (slightly) "Off White" painted fiberglass panels for a large machine (a CAT Scanner). The only way we found to keep all eight panels appearing the same was to paint them together as an assembly, serialize them ... and *never* try to "mix" them up.

    Color sensation is a funny thing ... I can produce five color prints, show them to an experienced "Camera Club Judge" (sound like I've already done that - specifically?) and have one pronounced, "Too cyan - definitely too cyan" - mix them up, and have a different one pronounced "Too cyan" ... although all were done with the same filtration, same lot of paper - using the same "batch" of chemistry (one-shot), same processing time - same everything - except they were done sequentially over a period of an hour or so. Analysis using the ColorStar (I've devised a method for use with prints) indicated *no* difference.

    I think I have some expertise in color printing without using the ColorStar - recently, I was able to produce an acceptably well color balanced print from a 35mm color negative taken on one of the local beaches at daybreak ... Made it using "Kentucky windage" on the fourth try. I consider that "lucking out" - big time.
     
  13. Thilo Schmid

    Thilo Schmid Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Ed Sukach @ Apr 28 2003, 03:17 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>I am not trying to critique the way others operate ... If one wishes to eschew analyzers, it is FINE with me.

    There are those who view a densitometer as a necessary - or at least a *very useful* piece of equipment - and that is exactly what the ColorStar 3000 is - a "Color Densitometer" with a lot of useful "automated" features.&nbsp; I *love* mine.</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Ed,

    a color densitometer is a useful device to determine if your process chain is within the standards or not. While a B&W-Densitometer might give you an impression on how your negative will print, the color densitometer will not do this in the same way.

    You may learn that a density of 0,6logD on your B&W negative will print to Zone V on a grade 2 paper. But a density of 0,5logD[G] on a color densitometer will not tell you anything, except when processing control strips.

    A Color Analyzer may help you to determine the correct filter values to print any given spot on your neg to a neutral color, but that may not be the "right" filtration for the whole print (e.g. you may wish to have it slightly warmer). And while a B&W Analyzer can show you the relation of several measurements on different paper grades, a Color Analyzer will not tell you anything useful about your measurements.

    IMO, the practical value of densitometry is totally different for color and B&W. And a B&W densitometer/lab meter will usually suffice to determine the correct exposure times for color printing, too.
     
  14. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    Haris,
    you've gotten a lot of good advice so far. I've never used an analyzer but it sounds like you're starting a bit on the cheap, as a learning process, so my experience may be relevant.

    Start with the filtration recommended on the box.
    Get the density of the print close to right.
    Dry the print quickly with a hair dryer (color is different when wet).
    use the kodak viewing filters to make filter adjustments.
    get the density right using the new filtration settings.
    adjust filtration and repeat density correction, as required.
    (BTW, color printing at home is a pain in the ass!)

    since you'll be doing lots of trial and error, I reccommend you use room temperature RA-4 chemicals from tetenal or someone else. I develop in open 8x10 trays, wearing gloves. this will maximize the number of test cycles you can do in a given time, to maximize your through put and gain experience.

    The RA-4 chemicals can be used and reused up to the max number of prints on the instructions. that is, pour the chemicals back into the bottle from the trays for use next time until you reach the stated print capacity.

    you should also standardize on a film/paper combination and take notes, while printing. after a while you'll find that most of yours negs taken on a cloudy day, for example, will require approximately the same filtration.
    hope this helps.
    tom
     
  15. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (tschmid @ Apr 28 2003, 11:19 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
    You may learn that a density of 0,6logD on your B&W negative will print to Zone V on a grade 2 paper. But a density of 0,5logD[G] on a color densitometer will not tell you anything, except when processing control strips.

    A Color Analyzer may help you to determine the correct filter values to print any given spot on your neg to a neutral color, but that may not be the "right" filtration for the whole print (e.g. you may wish to have it slightly warmer). And while a B&W Analyzer can show you the relation of several measurements on different paper grades, a Color Analyzer will not tell you anything useful about your measurements.
    </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Yah ... but ...

    I may be deluded, but doesn't a Color Densitometer determine the densities in each color layer? ... the density of the magenta layer will produce a directly proportional magenta value in the final print. In reading the ColorStar, I get one value for magenta, one for yellow, one for cyan and an overall density. If I do not have enough "green" in the print (negative material) I will get *very useful information* directing me to add magenta, and telling me when to stop adding the magenta filter.

    This is not only for an "average" color balance - I have one channel set to produce "Fair Caucasian Skin", another to balance the gray in my most commonly used utility backgroud, under DynaLite lighting... and others.

    The "right" value for the final print is a matter of aesthetics. No machine will be of infallabe use in discovering the "final" filtration, but machines can serve a very useful purpose of recording your progress, causes and effects - along the way.
     
  16. Thilo Schmid

    Thilo Schmid Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Tom Duffy @ Apr 28 2003, 09:52 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>(BTW, color printing at home is a pain in the ass!)
    </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Tom,

    you're right. That's why you shouldn't try to compete with the lab in printing 35mm rolls. Take the cheap prints from the drugstore and choose the ones you like to have big and the way you like the colors.
     
  17. Thilo Schmid

    Thilo Schmid Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Ed Sukach @ Apr 28 2003, 10:17 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>The "right" value for the final print is a matter of aesthetics.&nbsp; No machine will be of infallabe use in discovering the "final" filtration, but machines can serve a very useful purpose of recording your progress, causes and effects - along the way.</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I'm with you Ed. My objection was that a color analyzer does not give you any idea of what the final print might look like and is thus of less value (than a B&W Analyzer with a grayscale display). How does your Color Analyzer tell you when to stop adding magenta? Things would look different, if the Analyzer could tell you how a certain color on the neg would look like in the final print. But they usually can't do that. And one usually cannot imagine how a 0,5logD[G]+0,3logD+0,2logD[R] with 30M+40Y filtration look like on a Fuji Crystal Archive, if you know what I mean. On the other hand it is no sorcery, to determine how a 0,4logD will look like on a Grade 3 Ilford MGV.
     
  18. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I didn't read all the posts so what I'm about to say may be redundent or already discredited.

    I do a lot of c-prints from a wide variety of negs. I now have in my head starting points for most of my emulsions (and paper cmbinations I use), but they are only starting points. When I get a new film or one which I don't do often or don't have notes on I set the filter pack to 50y 50m 0c and do a test strip from 8sec to around 40sec in 4 sec. increments. The test strip will give me my density and the colour shift in that density will tell me how to tweak my filter pack. Always get your density first.


    It really is pretty simple:
    0) make test print (8-40sec)
    1) get the density
    2)adjust filter pack for that density
    3) make new test print
    4) adjust density (your initial colour pack changes may change the density) and filter pack
    5) make test print
    6) repeat 4 and 5 as needed
    7) once you like your test print make full size print
    8) pull neg and clean off all the sh!t you didn't see while makeing test prints

    Hints...
    Paper comes with recommended filtration on the box it is for the most part useless, but you could use it as a starting point. Lenses, different paper batches, size of enlargement, and quality of exposure can change the filterpack from one frame to anouther on the same froll. When doing the first round of filterpack adjustments don't take baby steps or you'll never get to the end. There is NO perfect colour balance -- it is purely subjective. Keep notes on the back of your test and final filter packs for films and or film /papers. If you get to the point where your debating between + or -2cc and an extra 1 or .5 sec. on a print you've been working on for hours slap yourself pick one and move on. Don't view wet prints for colour balance. Don't check the colour balance under non-daylight balanced lighting unless you're really good at it. Learn to work fast during the tests. Your first impressions are often the best. Keep an RGB/CMY colour reference or viewing filter pack handy (I'm not as big a fan of these as others are but they do help).
     
  19. tommorris

    tommorris Member

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    What do you need for colour printing?

    1. Lots of paper towels.
    2. Patience.

    Oh, and a drum processor, colour head on your enlarger, lots of money to spend on all the bits (colour analyser anybody?).
     
  20. haris

    haris Guest

    Thank you all. I will do it next way. First I will get Jobo CPE-2 processor. I already have Jobo COmTime b/w exposure meter/timer which can determine density of colour prints. For getting "right" colour I planed to use something like Colourwb from Lee filters. It is octagonal shape piece with different yellow/magenta/cyan densities. It 's work like: you dial starting filtration. Place Colourweb on paper and expose it. Then look on print. Look position of "properly" coloured piece(s) of print Then you look at suplied second Colourweb card where is indicated that on particular piece of print you must dial that much more or less particular colour to get "right" colour. For example, second Colourweb shows that on this piece of print for right colour you must dial +10 magenta from starting filtration. Sorry, much easier to ue than to explain. That is why I wil need rough sterting filtration, not exact, and no analyser(well untill having money to get one [​IMG])

    Thanks again, regards

    Haris
     
  21. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I use an X-rite 810 color transmission/reflection densitomer, a Beseler dichro 45 color computer head for accurate filtration setting, an Omega SCA-300 color analyzer mainly when I change magnification or aperture, and last but most useful tool, the Konica Minolta dimage dual scan IV hooking up to a PC with calibrated monitor. I can get very close to what I see on the monitor screen with the first try. All of the stuff are quite expensive when new but in the used market may be only the color head is really worth something.
     
  22. davetravis

    davetravis Member

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    Hi Harris,
    When you're ready to try Ilfochrome, be carefull to mix the P3.5 chemistry according to the latest instructions, either supplied or on their website.
    Just use the starting filter pack on the paper box, and go from their. Most of the time I only have 5 or 10 cc adjustments from the pack.
    Good luck, and Long Live Ciba!!!