Help with problem prints!

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Pasto, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. Pasto

    Pasto Member

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    Hi,

    I just recieved prints from a a roll of 35mm Superia that look awful. The prints have an overall milky appearance, with no real whites or blacks. The lab that processed the film does not seem to know why they turned out this way either. I suggested that the labs C-41 or RA4 process may not be in control, or that the film they sold me may have been expired, but the tech disagreed on both counts. Has anyone had similar results???

    Louie
     
  2. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A milky appearance can be indicative of under exposure in the camera, or improper reading/setting in the printer, i.e. the printer treated a normal neg as under exposed. The negative will tell the tale.
     
  3. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Of course. In my experience, 90%+ of the time when a lab returns unacceptable prints, the problem is in the print-making, not in the negative. (Obviously I'm talking about film processing technical problems like bad color, not out-of-focus prints or other in-camera issues.) I don't normally give a lot of thought to the precise cause in the print-making process when I get back bad prints, but if you don't like the results, you should demand they re-do the prints. If you're in doubt, try to scan the film yourself (or have it scanned by somebody else). If you can get better results with a home film scanner, then clearly the lab screwed up. If not, then it's possible there's something wrong with your negatives (which could be the lab's fault if their C-41 process is out of whack, or your own if your exposure was off or something). In fact, you may be able to spot certain problems (or the lack thereof) just by examining the negatives by eye. For instance, you might see detail that's washed out in your prints.

    FWIW, I process my own film now, so I don't often deal with photofinishers, except when I get small prints from scans. Overall I'm happier with my results this way, although it's more time-consuming. I've also produced a few "dud" rolls, mostly when messing with oddball developers or procedures.
     
  4. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    A milky appearance to the prints could be caused by very weak, under-replenished, or exhausted developer in the print processor. Assuming that your negatives look properly processed.
     
  5. Pasto

    Pasto Member

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    Thanks for feedback.

    Thanks for your helpfull comments, I think I'll ask the lab to reprint and see what comes up. I'm so dissapointed with the output of these labs that I am also seriously considering doing my own color. Processing film and paper with a Jobo autolab should be relatively simple. Printing the negative on my enlarger, now that's another issue I have not yet grappled with....

    Louie
     
  6. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    There are lots of threads here helping people who are just starting color processing, so peruse them a bit to see what's involved. IMHO, developing color film to negatives isn't significantly harder than doing the same for B&W (there's just added temperature control issues). Developing color paper also isn't harder than developing B&W paper. The trickiest part is getting the color balance right. That can be a pain, but if you use the same film, the same paper, and the same chemistry, once you've got your settings they won't vary a lot. If you like to play with different products, though, it'll complicate matters.