Getting more saturation

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Sirius Glass, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I know that if I slightly lower the ISO for slides, I can get some saturation which is limited by the latitude of light for a good exposure. For example, I have shot 64 ASA film at 50 ASA.

    But what about color print film? If I use a lower ISO [or open the lens a half stop] I will get a thicker negative. If I use a raise ISO [or close the lens a half stop] I will get a thicker negative. Which the best to do if I want to raise the color saturation?

    Steve
     
  2. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    With print film, raising the ISO gives less exposure and a thinner negative, while reducing the ISO gives more exposure and a thicker negative.

    Print film is much more tolerent of over-exposure than underexposure, and there is more overall latutude than slide film. But a significantly underexposed neg will give prints with muddy shadows, poor colors and generally yucky results. Overexposure is less of a problem, maybe just an increase in grain, and perhaps a slight increase in contrast, but not so that you could use it to usefully increase saturation.

    To raise saturation in prints, I think you perhaps need to adjust the lighting (if it's under your control) or use one of the brands of film which gives intrinsically better saturation.
     
  3. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    If you rate slide film higher you will get more saturation (by underexposing relative to box speed); with print film the opposite is true, you will raise saturation by rating the film slower than box speed, thus by overexposing relative to box speed.

    My results with print film shot this way are not all that convincing to me, however (using all the various Kodak and Fuji 160 films on the market and reala 100). The problem is that the colours do seem more saturated but not in a credible and appealing way (for my colour palette). What I like most about slide is its the ability to get rich, saturated colours that also look the way I want them to look. (Something tells me somebody is about to cite velvia 50 as unrealistic, as if that's the only slide film on the market... or even the only velvia film on the market....)

    Anyway you could try 160 colour print film at 125 or even 100, developing as normal for 160.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 17, 2009
  4. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    As rule or stating point if you over expose c41 film by 2 stops and under dev by 1 you'll get more saturation. Each film is different sometimes it works well other times not. You want to try and find a balance where the highlights do not block up, and the mids start to get xtra juicy. The neg will get a little flatter and will benefit by being printed to a flex paper.
     
  5. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

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    When I've tried this at with my local pro lab I've always gotten a color cast. The explanation I've gotten from them, and from participants here at APUG, is that shortening the development time of C-41 doesn't give the developer enough time to reach the "bottom" layer and to process it correctly. So it throws the color balance out. Half a stop isn't too bad. A whole stop is too much for me.

    The only way I know to reliably change the saturation characteristics of C-41 films is to pick the right saturation film in the first place. For example, either the NC or VC version of Portra. Or the C or S version of Fuji Pro 160.
     
  6. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Bruce, you may be getting at why I haven't gotten quite what I want from the 160 films. So far, when I overexpose 160 films (by rating them a bit slower) I do indeed get more saturation.. but not even saturation across all the primaries. In other words, some colours look more saturated while others don't keep pace, the net result being something that just doesn't look naturally balanced to me. I realize that one how defines 'natural' is a very individual thing, but... my sense is that my slide films of choice (astia, provia, and 64T) give the extra saturation and keep fairly neutral balance between those colours. The net result being a bit like the palette of oil paints: sophisticated colours which also have more saturation across the spectrum... as opposed to wowie colours that look limited in gamut. For me, slide is just realistically unrealistic enough. It's all a matter of taste, of course.
     
  7. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Bruce, Keith I think it would be cool if you posted some examples. I've been pulling films for years and haven't had this problem. Crossover is a more likely culprit, but I haven't seen much of that either. The biggest problem is finding an exposure and dev time that keeps the highlights from blocking up.
     
  8. kevs

    kevs Member

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    Use a polarising filter, that will intensify colours and eliminate reflections when properly used. Open up two stops to compensate for the loss of light. They are effective as ND filters too.