Cyan cast on print

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Matt5791, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    I was doing some RA4 printing at the weekend - I'm quite new to this, but really enjoying it.

    I was printing a particular negative. First print following test strip OK colour balance, but one area needed a little buring in.

    So second print I burned in this area with a card and a hole.

    When it comes out of the Durst Printo there is a clear Cyan cast, although nothing had been changed in the filtration and the temperatures had not changed either, infact there was only a matter of a few minutes inbetween the two prints being processed.

    Third print, Cyan cast now gone

    Any thoughts would be appreciated on what would appear to me to be a strange occurance, but I woudl guess there may well be a straightforward explanation for.

    Thanks,
    Matt
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Fog, insufficient stop bath or hypo contamination on print.

    Cyan fog from a safelight is most likely if it is uniform, but streaky cyan is one of the latter two.

    PE
     
  3. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    Thanks for that PE - I was wondering about fog - maybe I managed to fog the paper somehow, although I don't use a safe light.
     
  4. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Matt. If the process used and conditions prevailing were exactly the same on all occasions mentioned then this rules out most explanations.

    I am assuming here that the burn sequence etc on the third print which was OK was exactly the same as on the second print with the cyan cast.

    Almost suggests a faulty piece of paper as a one off but this seems unlikely.

    What paper was it?At the risk of spreading alarm and despondency which is not my intention, I have to say that I am convinced that I had a set of Fuji CA a couple of years ago which delivered a cyan cast that I couldn't filter out in most cases. Fuji very kindly replaced it for me but of course never admitted any problem. The new stuff was fine. Might have been a small batch of paper affected but I'll never know now.

    I cannot even say how many sheets were affected as I stopped after about a dozen attempts and contacted Fuji.

    If it doesn't occur again and I hope it doesn't you may never get to the bottom of it.

    It is a little unnerving of course to say the least. If I had the choice of any weapon to destroy civilised life as we know it, my vote is for unleashing constant uncertainty and the demons it spawns.

    pentaxuser
     
  5. Photo Engineer

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    There have been known cases of one or two bad sheets in a box for one reason or another. Usually it is an accidental exposure to safelight or an accidental cutting error. I remember two sheets with a small spider pressed between them which were returned to EK so that we could "get the bugs out" as the customer expressed it.

    So yes, single or double sheet errors, or area errors can happen. A worker might use the wrong safe-flash on the moving web and fog a few square feet and then it is cut and chopped. If the web is moving they can't tell where the error is and let it go. This is uncommon though.

    At Kodak all safe-flashes are forbidden in color, or they use IR.

    PE
     
  6. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    You didn't mention what enlarger and filters you're using. There are possibilities for problems there, particularly if you touched the filter dials on a color head or temporarily removed color filters. You might have set the dials to slightly different positions (possibly mis-reading something). Some enlargers have electronic controls, and it's conceivable these could malfunction. (I've seen my Philips PCS150 delay kicking in one of its three lights on rare occasion, I assume because the electronics are old and getting a bit flakey.)

    I think some of the other possibilities mentioned here are more likely explanations, at least barring additional information, but I thought I'd toss these out for the sake of completeness.
     
  7. Richard Harris

    Richard Harris Member

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    I have posted similar questions on this and other forums and it seems to get me no where. I have what sounds a similar set up to you, Durst printo, LPL enlarger and colorline 5000 analyser and a colorstar 1000 analyser. The problem remains for me. I can't guarantee 2 prints seconds apart will not have completely different casts. I suspect the power to my enlarger fluctuates but, I have measured the voltage continuously and re-analysed the light source on many occasions without finding any fluctuations in colour temperature etc. The process temperature of my printo is static and I have tried running prints through with massive temperature differences ie 4-5 deg C. The change seems no greater than those run through within seconds. I remain convinced that the warm up period of the enlarger light and minor voltage differences have a big effect on Modern ultra fast colour papers. I thought of a stabilized enlarger power unit but the stabilization is to within around +/- 5% much more than any voltage fluctuation I'm measuring already. I have considered a DC regulated power supply which seem to be spot on the voltage at all times but; they seem to consider the cold bulb resistance to be a short circuit,so will not power up the lamp. Please! please! any engineering type photag's, give me some ideas of what to try next.
     
  8. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    Richard - interesting. I dont use a colour analyser yet, but I do use a DeVere 507 enlarger complete with the trans-stab unit, which I guess is a stabiliser.

    After monochrome printing, what amazes me is the speed of the paper - I commonly have exposures of around 3 - 7 seconds with an aperture of f22.

    Matt
     
  9. dslater

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    Hi Matt,
    Just curious - what light source are you using? Is it a color head or are you using some other head with filters? If the latter, it's possible you are missing a piece of heat absorbing glass. When I first started RA-4 printing, I had a Beseler condenser head with color printing filters. I found the same thing as you - very short printing times even at f/22. Also, I needed a very strange filter pack - something like 5-10 Y and 5-10 M - in some cases I even needed some C filtration. Needless to say this something was wrong Turns out the problem was due to IR - I didn't have a proper heat absorbing glass. I now have a dichro color head and my printing times are much more reasonable 6-10 sec. @ f/8. and my filter pack is also where it should be. I don't know if this explains your cyan print as I would expect all your prints to have a cyan cast if this was the problem.

    Dan
     
  10. dslater

    dslater Subscriber

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    Hi Richard,
    If you suspect this - and I tend to agree with your, have you tried not using your enlarging timer to time your prints? My timer has a metronome feature, so when I print, I hold a card under the lens, start the timer, wait 10 seconds, remove the card and time my exposure by counting ticks, put the card back to end exposure, and turn off the enlarger. It might be worthwhile for you to try this.

    Dan
     
  11. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Likewise Matt but not quite as short. Maybe 3-7 at f16 mostly. With my 50mm Nikon El Nikkor f16 was the min aperture. To build in a safety margin I used a 75W lamp instead of a 100W. The alternative was to switch to the 6x6box on the Durst 605 and used the MF 80mm lens which went to f22.

    Neutral density is another solution but yes colour paper is very fast. Any burning or dodging becomes "problematical" at these exposures. Fortunately very few of my colour prints seem to need either dodging or burning. It's a pain when they do.


    pentaxuser
     
  12. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    FWIW, I also often need ridiculously short exposures with modern color paper. I typically deal with it by dialing down the light output. My Philips PCS150 light source lets me do this pretty easily; it's got separate red, green, and blue lights, and "filtration" is really just adjusting the brightness of each light. I typically dial down the red about 100 (equivalent to 100cc cyan filtration) and adjust the others from there. This typically gives me ~10-second exposures at f/8 from 35mm negatives on 8x10-inch paper. When printing smaller than this I often have to cut the aperture to f/11 or f/16 to avoid bumping into the minimum brightness ("maximum filtration") end of the scale for the other colors. If color paper gets any faster I'll have to buy an ND filter to use in addition to these tricks!
     
  13. Photo Engineer

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    I use just about the same exposure for an average negative in color as I do for B&W, therefore Ilford MGIV grade 2 (30M) is 12" for an 8x10 from 35mm with about an f16. Same thing with my color prints but the filter pack is about 50R.

    PE
     
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  15. Photo Engineer

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    I do not use an analyzer and don't recommend one. I also don't believe that the warm up time is significant with anything but a fluorescent bulb.

    PE
     
  16. dslater

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    Hi Ron,
    I have an analyzer (a Beseler PM2A) and have found that it is generally not very useful for color analysis - it's just too difficult to find a spot on 2 different negatives that has the same color. What I have found it to be quite useful for is as a simple exposure meter. Once I get a negative printed the way I like it, I null out the analyzer. Then as I go to other negatives, the white light reading works quite well for determining exposure.
    I have found that the warm up time is significant when you're determining exposure from test strips - for example, if my test strips are made at 3 second intervals, and you're exposure comes out as something like 24 seconds, then just setting your timer to 24 sec. won't give quite the same result as 8 3 sec exposures. This is what I have seen for B&W printing - not sure about color as I always use a metronome now.

    Dan
     
  17. Photo Engineer

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    Dan;

    I use an Ilford B&W meter for color and B&W. I have 2 and have one set for color and one set for B&W. They work just fine.

    PE
     
  18. Richard Harris

    Richard Harris Member

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    I find my Colorline analyser great and I think it is very accurate. If I am printing different negatives of a similar scene or of somebody in the same outfit etc I can quickly set a channel to give me filtration for that colour eg a grey suit on a wedding guest. But I still have the problem of not being able to replicate the same picture (No change in filtration or process times or temperatures even within a few seconds) and that is why I suspect the enlarger and its power supply or bulb etc. Incidentally I try to print with 10 second exposures, this needs lots of neutral density which I dial in with cyan ie 30cc of cyan matched with 30 cc of magenta and yellow equals one stop of exposure. With the Colorline I don't need to worry I can dial in any filtration and neutralise the affect by zeroing the magenta and yellow. The Analyser also works fantastically for B & W It gives me the filtration for multi grade paper and tells me the relative contrast or delta for a given negative and sets the analyser to filter the light for the given grade. This improved my black and white immensely. I can usually get a great print first time now. I have found in the past without an analyser that colour was easier than black and white; strange that a colour analyser has improved my black and white, but still leaves me with a colour problem.
     
  19. Matt5791

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    I'm thinking - I could probably slow it down if I switched to the 5"X7" diffuser box (I guess that is what it is called).

    I do like short exposure times, but these are kind of just a bit too short.
     
  20. Richard Harris

    Richard Harris Member

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    My analyser has a metronome feature too. I have never tried this but it sounds a good idea. Thanks, I'll keep you posted next time I do RA4.
     
  21. Matt5791

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    Regarding my short exposure times - I wonder if this is anything to do with the amount of filtration I find I am commonly using in the DeVere colour head - I always seem to be hovering around 20M 20Y - or thereabouts.

    Don't know if this is significant.

    Matt
     
  22. PHOTOTONE

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    It "used to be" that color paper had wider tolerances in manufacture, and there were more variables in results from negative to negative. Color analyzers were useful in situations where a photographer was printing hundreds, if not thousands of images of very similar or identical subject material, such as portraits or weddings, where the goal was very consistent skin tones.

    Nowdays color paper (and film) is very stable and consistent in characteristics, and once you arrive at a filtration for your film, paper and processing set-up, just about the only thing you need to vary is exposure.

    You don't use an analyzer to arrive at your initial color balance, this can only be done by trial and error. You have to make a perfect print to program an analyzer. Now, unless you expose an industry standard 18% grey card as the first frame of each roll, and program your analyzer to a perfect print of this grey card, you will never have an identical "spot" on each roll to adjust your color balance with. Color paper is so much cheaper than black and white paper, I have always just made a few tests to get balance. Used to be that minute variances in light from the enlarger could alter color balance in significant ways, also changes in exposure time could alter color. This is old information, just not valid with modern materials. With modern materials you do not need a voltage stabilizer on your enlarger head. Partly due to improvements in paper technology, and partly due to better stability of our modern electrical utility providers. However, don't run your enlarger from the same circuit that runs your household air conditioner.
     
  23. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    That's really interesting

    Before I started colour printing I was expecting to have huge variations in filtration for every negative - hence why I have been so suprised at the consistancy - infact I've found it hard to get it wrong - and, as you say, have found myself only fiddling with exposure, but usually one test strip has pretty much nailed it.

    Infact, I've found less variation in exposure, from neg to neg, than monochrome.

    Matt
     
  24. Photo Engineer

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    In the 60s, color paper came with an exposure index like -1.5 or + 2.3 and a color index like -10M +10Y.

    To move from your current paper to the new box, you multiplied exposure by the exposure index, and added the color index to the filter pack.

    Our goal in 1965 was to eliminate Cadmium and Mercury for sure, and ferricyanide from the process, but a side goal was to eliminate this and have a constant speed product. The first paper to achieve this was Ektacolor 30 and 37 papers in 1969, one year ahead of schedule.

    C41 was to come out one year before or one year after, so we came first with EP3 then they came out 1 year later.

    PE
     
  25. dslater

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    Hi Matt,
    What paper and film are you using? I am using a beseler dichro-Dg color head to print Portra VC 160 and 400 onto Kodak Supra paper. My filtration is something like 65 Y 70 M. When I first started RA-4 printing I was using a condenser head with color printing filters, I had very low filtration values and very short times - turned out my condenser head didn't have heat absorbing glass and my paper was responding to IR. Since you have a color head this seems unlikely - is your color head a dichro color head?
    Also, I think - though I'm not sure of this, that Fuji Crystal Archive paper needs less filtration than Kodak paper. One thing you can do to increase your exposure times is add more filtration to add neutral density. For example, if your filtration is 20M 20Y, you can change it to something like 40M 40Y 20C - this will give the same color balance with less light - sorry if you already know this.

    Good luck,

    Dan

    Hi Matt - sorry - I just realized that I've already posted most of this to you.
     
  26. Matt5791

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    Thanks for this - I'm using Fuji CA and mainly enlarging Kodak Portra negatives, although I have also enlarged some Fuji negs too.

    The enlarger head is a Dichro head.

    I have attached what was my first print I even did - it was from a Fuji Reala negative onto FCA.
     

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