Ilfochrome printing - filters?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by tim_walls, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

    Messages:
    1,044
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Bucuresti, R
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I'd like to try my hand at some Ilfochrome printing sometime, but having never done any colour printing at all have some probably stupid questions about filters; apologies if this sounds stupid, but any advice would be gratefully received!


    Anyway, at the moment I have a B&W condenser enlarger head. I sort of assume that unlike colour neg printing, I could stick an Ilfochrome directly under it (or with only a UV filter) and actually get some kind of passable image; but, to do anything seriously I'm assuming I'd still need to make adjustments for colour casts.

    I have no interest whatsoever in colour negative printing; and from what I've read, with Ilfochrome once you've got yourself a 'standard' colour balance you don't need to make adjustments slide-to-slide or print-to-print. Which means the inconvenience of using colour printing filters rather than a dichroic head may not be that great.

    Soooo... My dilemma is, I can buy a dichroic head for my enlarger, but obviously it will cost. Or, I can buy a set of colour printing filters from someone like Lee and do it 'by hand', on the assumption that it'll be a pain at first but once I've got a basic handle on things no more trouble than changing multigrade filters is for B&W.

    Any advice/experience on which is a better path?
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,677
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You don't say which enlarger you have.

    Why not look for a used colour enlarger? They tend to be even cheaper then condensor enlargers. Some people get the idea you can't use the head for B&W. When in reality the colour filters make using VC B&W paper that much easier.
     
  3. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

    Messages:
    1,044
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Bucuresti, R
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Sorry, didn't think it was relevant. A Meopta Magnifax; it has a filter tray for above the lens filters, and it's also easy enough to get hold of a dichroic head - the question is, do I really *need* one or not for just Ilfochromes.

    (The cost isn't necessarily the main barrier - if I need one, I'll worry about what's the most cost-effective way of doing it then - the hassle factor is just as important. I live in a very small flat, the wife has just about come to terms with the Magnifax, having two is right out so buying another one means the hassle of selling the other - in short, it's just a pain I'd rather not have if using colour filters instead is practical.)
     
  4. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

    Messages:
    757
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Using filters in the filter drawer above the lens will work just fine. But you are mistaken about not having to check each image for proper color balance. I have found some variances printing slides from the same roll. There is usually some variance in the light that may not be noticeable on the light table but shows in the print. It's not particularly difficult though, Ilfochrome is a slow paper with a wide exposure lattitude and takes twice as much filter change to have the same effect as color neg printing.

    Just remember that it's backwards from printing from negs - burning will lighten an area and dodging will darken it. Since it's pos to pos, filter adj means adding yellow to the filter pack will add yellow to the print. If there is too much green, you need to add magenta, etc.

    Good luck,

    Bob
     
  5. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,550
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto-Onta
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Tim
    As Bob said your approach will work, what will be a bit of a pain will be finding your initial filter pack, once you do the balance will stay consistant within 10pts colour. I found that like Bob each image will need/ some adjustment.
    I would look for a used dichroic head for the future , as they should be cheap and your life will be much easier with the dial in filters.
     
  6. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

    Messages:
    1,044
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Bucuresti, R
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Bob/Bob,

    Thanks for that, much appreciated.

    I think I'll put a used dichroic head on the list for the future then, I think, but see if I can get hold of some acetate filters now, then. If I like the results I'm getting then a new head will be easier to justify!
     
  7. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,550
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto-Onta
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Tim
    go for it for sure, the filter pack for cibachrome is quite a bit different than that of RA4, you may need a cyan series as well as the Yellow/ Magenta series.The last filter pack that I used with dichroic head. was 10cyan,0 yellow/4-15magenta for a nuetral balance, I do not have any idea how this may help you by using acetate filters.. PE is very good at this sort of thing and he may chip in some ideas.

     
  8. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

    Messages:
    1,044
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Bucuresti, R
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thanks Bob! I've been in touch with Lee Filters here in the UK and they offer CP filters at a pretty reasonable price. I was looking at a set of 05/10/20/40 in yellow, magenta & cyan.

    I've seen use of a blue 020 or 025 filter mentioned as well, although with no explanation why - I assume that's to correct the tungsten light source? Is that needed for Ilfochromes (I think I read somewhere that Ilfochrome was balanced for tungsten anyway, but I could have dreamt that!)?
     
  9. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,550
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto-Onta
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    I don't think you will need the blue filter, but see if you can tighten the range a bit, from 1 .2.5 . 5 and so on
    I am a bit worried about your starting pack as I stated earlier , it may be quite heavy*ie strong filters* to get you in the ball park. I cannot help you here as I don't know. I would suggest only buying one filter *10* of each colour to see if you are anywhere near. Use only two filters as mixing three filters CMY will only introduce Nuetral Density which will mean longer exposures.
    The cibachrome product is very slow as compared to RA4 and you will be into long exposures which will introduce other problems, specifically condensor light is hot which will buckle your transparancies, 120 film is very thin and fragile as compared to 35mm .
    This could mean glass carrier which opens another whole can of whoopass, which is trying to keep your image clean.
    Have I scared you off yet, hope not but welcome to Ciba. when everything works you will piss your pants with glee, but be prepared for some technical crap to sort out.

     
  10. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,640
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Wes
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Dear Tim,

    Make your life easier and cheaper by starting your color printing experience with negative film. It is a bit easier to color balance when using slides as you have something to compare your print to, but the cost and ease of RA-4 make up for it. Search the forum for RA-4 tray processing.

    BTW: A nice color head is great for b&w printing on variable contrast paper as well as for color.

    Neal Wydra
     
  11. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    From a color theory point of view, a blue filter is equivalent to a cyan filter plus a magenta filter. Since I don't know where you read that advice, I don't know what the reason was for it, but it could just be to simplify things -- if you need similar amounts of cyan and magenta filtration, substituting a blue filter of similar density might be a little easier. I'd think it would be more confusing when you're just starting out, though, so unless somebody suggests a compelling reason otherwise, I'd just stick with the standard cyan/magenta/yellow filters (or possibly an enlarger with an additive red/green/blue light source, but those are rare).
     
  12. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

    Messages:
    757
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Location:
    Michigan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ilfochrome gives a 'starting' filter on each batch of paper - but they don't specify the enlarger lamp color temp to which that applies. After some experimentation, you can figure out the 'enlarger factor' for your enlarger. My enlarger lamp is rated at 3300 K and comes pretty close - if yours is warmer (lower than 3300K) you may have to back off a bit on the yellow. Just takes a bit of fiddling until you figure it out.

    Bob
     
  13. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

    Messages:
    1,044
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Bucuresti, R
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thanks for the advice everyone, you've saved me some money anyway! I've dropped the blue filter and cut down the range slightly and will see how I get on from there.

    Neal,
    Genuinely, thanks for the advice but I think in my circumstances neg printing probably won't save me any money; yes, Ilfochrome paper is hellishly expensive, but on the other hand I develop all my own E6 by hand (so working with colour chemistry/temperature control etc. isn't something I'm concerned about.) If I were to switch to negs, I'd need to buy C41 chemistry as well as RA4, buy a load of film (I have a fridge full of E6 but no C41,) find a film I liked... etc. etc. etc. And I'd lose the best way of looking at the photos I took - projected on the wall :smile:.
     
  14. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,550
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto-Onta
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    Tim
    If you are already processing E6 by yourself , you will have no problem with Ciba, Just sorting out the filters. My advice put a colour chart in your room as quick reference of what colours when mixed will create what, or said differently if you remove a filter from your pack what will happen.
    I have been printing colour since 1975 and I still use a colour wheel at all my workstations*it is really critical for select colour enhancement when printing digitally*.
    Get a handle on what you need for a starting filter pack, then buy all the smaller increment filters. Also larger filters are great for colour/dodging/burning on cibachrome , but that is another can of whoopass that you will be able to overcome.
    As well Donald Miller here on APUG is a master of contrast/control , enhancement masks if I have ever seen one. He would be the go to guy for questions on controlling your image after you have gotten the basic colour and density issues sorted out.
    I encourage you to continue with this as you produce your own transparancies , now you will be able to control the whole process.
    have fun.
    Bob

     
  15. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I'm not really trying to convince you to go with negative film, but it is possible to make slides from negatives. There are a few commercial photofinishers who offer this service, and have for decades. I'm sure it could be done in a home darkroom, but I don't know offhand precisely what film you'd need or how it's processed. Of course, as it's a copy you'd lose a little quality, and it wouldn't look quite like whatever E-6 slide films you like.
     
  16. davetravis

    davetravis Member

    Messages:
    659
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    Castle Rock,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Tim,
    Not much I can add here that Bob C. & and Bob L. haven't covered. All this experience in one place! :smile:
    I would suggest you start with some 8x10 while you get your feet wet.
    And when you find the chems, would you post where?
    Good luck new Ciba guy! :smile:
    DT
     
  17. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

    Messages:
    1,044
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Bucuresti, R
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Great isn't it, Dave? How did people learn this stuff before the Internet & places like this?!

    Will definitely be starting with 8x10s - cost alone will dictate that! I put in an order for chems and paper with Silverprint last night, they're showing the P30 3x1l kit as available on their site. Of course, I'm also half expecting a phonecall on Monday to say they're having trouble sourcing it, so I'm just keeping my fingers crossed right now!
     
  18. Bill Mitchell

    Bill Mitchell Member

    Messages:
    527
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Doesn't Ilford offer a set of filters like Ciba used to? They came in two sizes, one large for above the film and one small for under the lens. Also, get the little book put out by Ciba about printing Cibachrome. (I'd bet there are APUG members who would contribute both of these just to help get you started.)
    It's all really pretty easy, just time consuming and relatively expensive.
     
  19. John Meyer

    John Meyer Member

    Messages:
    46
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    Shooter:
    Med. Format Pan
    KM Camera, NY has the filters in for i just bought some a few months
    ago.. PH # 800 343 9826.. I bought the 6 in. ones.. they can be cut.
    As far as the chems go ive been getting mine from Calumet
    (Bennsinvile) suburb of Chicago. They wont ship the 20l kits, i pick
    them up. But i think they will ship the 5l kits for they had them posted
    on the web site not long ago..I order from a guy named Roy,that is
    more than willing to provide me with anything i want..
    John
     
  20. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

    Messages:
    1,044
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Bucuresti, R
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Well I finally did it...

    ...I just made my first Ilfochrome print. And I have a few observations...

    1. The label lied. The one that says 'emulsion side faces this label.' It lied, the swine. As I took the first sheet out of the pack I felt it and thought; hmm, that doesn't feel like the emulsion side, but everything I've read says you can't tell, so I'll trust the label. Grrr...

    2. Surprisingly, you can expose Ilfochrome through the base and still get an image. A very dark red image, granted, but an image nonetheless.

    3. Trying again the right way round, gosh, it's slow this stuff isn't it? I did test strips (8x10, f/8) at 20s, 40s, 60s and 80s - the difference between 40/60/80 was incredibly small.

    4. Finally, test strips done and wotnot, on the final print...

    ...wow, this stuff is gorgeous! I've never actually seen an Ilfochrome before trying it myself, only read about it - it's stunning! It has an almost metallic lustre about it and the colour just pops out!


    Anyway, thank you all for your help getting me this far - the only shame is that it's going to be a rather expensive habit... (My only other worry is that they keep making the damned stuff.)
     
  21. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

    Messages:
    786
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Calgary
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, you can tell, and Ilford says so in their Cibachrome manual. They say to hold the paper close your ear and run your thumb over the surface. The back side will make a whispering noise, and the emulsion won't. It's noticable if you've got it upside down as soon as you start exposing the paper, as the back is white and the emulsion is a dark grey/brown I think.

    It is slow, several stops slower than Ilford Multigrade. Be aware that it shifts to yellow with long exposures. It's also red when wet, so you have to judge colour on a fully dry test strip. I pop mine in the microwave for a few seconds to help speed the drying. Too long (over 20s or so) and the steam created will bubble the emulsion.

    It is beautiful, but be careful if you're using the super gloss polyester base material. The emulsion is quite fragile when wet, and will scratch if you so much as look at it funny.
     
  22. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

    Messages:
    1,044
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Bucuresti, R
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yeah, as soon as I saw it under the projector I figured "that's definitely not right." I assumed that given it's a bleaching process the emulsion would be as good as black. At least even if I do get it wrong again I'll know as soon as I put it under the enlarger and can save time/chemistry bothering to process it.

    Aha, that's good information on long exposures, thanks. I had read that it was more magenta when wet - obviously being the impatient type I took to my test strips with a hairdryer.

    That's how I learnt it's easy to make a mess of the emulsion :smile:. I shall try the microwave trick next time, thanks!