How Do You Set Up ColorStar 3000 For Color?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by RedSun, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    Working on setting up the colorstar 3000. This is a 8-channel device and it is complete with all the test negatives.

    Since it has 8 channels, I just wonder how I should set up the channels. Should I set up some channels for different papers, or I should use the master channel whenever I switch paper?

    I use mainly 3 types of Fuji color papers. One of them behaves totally different from the other two with the fact that the exposure time is at least 5 times longer.
     
  2. frotog

    frotog Member

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    Not sure about the colorstar 3000. But I have used one of the jobo 5100's back when it was initially introduced. My estimation was that it wasn't worth the effort as it didn't get me any closer to a neutral print any faster than without it. In fact quite the contrary - it's just a thingamajiggy with blinking lights designed to take up space on your counter-top and fog your paper. This is probably why I've never heard of anyone who's good at making color prints using one of these things. Besides, your eyes are much more sensitive than a couple hundred dollar "color calibration" gizmo. Beware the magic bullet.
     
  3. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I think I have - he's called Mike Wilde and he's here on APUG. If you are constantly swopping between papers depending on what look you want then I'd do the grey test for each paper as described by F Schultz and in the manual then at least note the readings and change them as required.

    pentaxuser
     
  4. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I take it you do not have the original manual. Not sure what probe covers you have either.

    Using the NG on color neg test negative in the enlarger, work on printing a neutral grey print, with an exposure time of 5-15 seconds.

    Then you set the channels, ideally with the masters all set at 50. I use the spot probe cover on NG subjects for channel 1. I also use the semi integrating (about 2" round disc with wierd under surface cover for NG on channel 4 . I use neutral skin tone on channel 2 spot, channel 5 semi integrating. Then I have a setting which gives a warmer skin tone, which gets chanels 3 and 6.

    There are other ways.

    You are not postal wise a million miles from me.

    PM me, and I will make a copy of the manuals I havem and mail them to you.

    I think you posted elsewhere here that you have the Frances Shultz articles from Darkroom User already?
     
  5. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I deal with variations in paper response type to type with the masters. So far I have found that they all work about the same amount dailled in to get a certain effect once you get the basic filtration set.

    Different films have different base colours. Chemistry varies in how it acts on the print as it ages. These are places where the color star shines for me, allowing me to quickly hone in after months away from the darkroom. If I printed colur every day I may not need an analyser, but I don't think the Colorstar would hurt even then.
     
  6. yellowcatt

    yellowcatt Member

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    That was the same as my experience of using a colorstar 3000, more trouble than it was worth.
    The management of a lab I was working at bought it and none of the printers working there bothered with it.
     
  7. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I am not sure that telling the OP that he shouldn't have bothered to buy the Colourstar in the first place is actually answering his questions.

    pentaxuser
     
  8. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    Well, the good news is that I get it to work after redid my calibration. Now I can use it to tell me what filtration I should set and the exposure as well. It works for several negatives and two kinds of color papers I used so far.

    So now for each session, I replenish my chemicals. Then use a test strip to calibrate the developer. The difference is normally small since my developer is stable now. Then for each negative, I use the probe to meter up to 8 areas of the frame, and I can control where I want it metered. Then I would use the color filters to balance out the star and set the aperture to get the exposure time I want. After that I just need to print one or two test prints (about 4x5 size, or even 2x5 size) to verify the settings. I normally print 8x10 and larger.

    Compared with the Beseler PM2, it is a huge improvement. With the grey calibration, I do not have to have a "perfect" print. The auto balancing is great. The best thing for the colorstar is that you balance all three colors at the same time and this is really fast. And you can test chemical change with one single test strip, a 1"x5" paper.
     
  9. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    A have a colorstar 3000 which is relegated to occasional use as a regular timer on a Meopta Magnifax 4a. I spent a few afternoons trying to get to grips with the unit but found one often went around in circles with regard to results and calibration; colour balancing and printing by eye seemed to produce better results.

    Tom
     
  10. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    Yes, I agree that calibration can be tricky. And it can become erroneous when used beyond its effective range. But for the few folks who have overcome the initial hurdle, this is a smart darkroom aid that can help to save time and paper.
     
  11. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    Can someone tell me what the final test print you get from the grey color negative? When my calibration is done, my final test strips are always grey greenish. It is nowhere close to the 18% grey card I have.

    The color metering is fine, I still need to adjust the actual test prints for both filter settings and exposure time.
     
  12. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    That exactly sums up my experience as well. I must admit that when I read the F Schultz article and the manual, I got the impression that I should be able to get a very neutral grey piece of RA4 but never did. Maybe you and I are the exceptions but if not then it's a pity that there isn't a P.S. in the article or manual that says " Just ensure that you get within point one or two of the target figures and don't worry if the colour isn't a neutral grey.

    pentaxuser
     
  13. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    Frances did say that the first strip she got is a dark blue color. I think I got similar the first time from the 600/600/600 setup.

    The other thing is that, the probe is about 1" thick. 1" may make some difference in meter reading. Also, the image is not focused on the probe. This may not make any difference on the semi-integrated probe cover.

    Also, the test strip has to be processed perfectly. Somehow, the last time, my test strips had some blue color residual on the un-exposed paper. I believe that is the color of the Fuji paper emulsion. Maybe I did not pre-wash the paper long enough, or because I skipped the rinse stage and just washed the strips in tap (cold) water.
     
  14. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    OK try it again as thoroughly and as meticulously as possible and let us know how much closer to neutral grey you can get.

    Thanks

    pentaxuser