Ilfochrome printing

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Craig, Jul 4, 2007.

  1. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    I spent 3 days last weekend in the darkroom making Ilfochrome prints. Some came out well, others not so well. I was printing a mix of transparencies in 6x9 and 4x5 formats, mainly velvia, but a few Ektachromes aswell. In accordance with other posts here, I made contrast masks on FP4 and then sandwitched the mask to the tranny for printing. I was using the gloss RC medium contrast paper run through a Cap 40 processor.

    The main problem was that the colours were muted, and the whites were grey and muddy on some of the prints. I'm presuming that this is from the masking film having a grey base, and when I printed an unmasked tranny I was able to get a clean white. I was able to produce a beautiful contact print from an 8x10 Velvia, unmasked.

    I was really surprised at how slow the paper is, most trannys were in the 6-10 min exposure ranges at F8. I'm using an Omega D5 and was printing to 16x20. I assume that this is from the layers of the original tranny plus the maskign film adding a bunch of density?

    Any tips to get a nice clean white and control contrast at the same time?
     
  2. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    I think it's mostly getting used to the backwardness compared to printing from negatives. Since the material is contrasty by nature, the main purpose of the masking is to reduce contrast. I rarely use masks, but do a lot of burning and dodging. A transparency overexposed by half stop will print better than one underexposed by half stop, though the latter will project on a wall beautifully. I use an LPL4550XLG and find that the base exposure is usually 1 minute or less for 16 x 20's (no mask).

    Here is an example taken from the 8x10 reference print. My printing notes say the base exposure for 16x20 was 40 seconds at f8.

    Bob

    Hmmm..image didn't upload - Ill try putting it in the gallery
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2007
  3. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    OK, see 'Autumn Tahquamenon in the standard gallery. Even though the sunlight was substantially filtered by high cloudiness reducing the scene contrast, there are still some shadow areas that have no detail. I think that can be a feature of this type of color photography, particularly when attacking a scene like a waterfall with extreme contrast by nature. I don't think a mask would improve the result here. Anyway, keep experimenting, after a while you will be able to judge pretty quickly which transparencies will print well.

    Bob
     
  4. boyooso

    boyooso Member

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    Yes, Ilfochrome paper is slow, but not as slow as it used to be :smile:

    printing with the medium contrast rc paper(CPM.1M paper is discontinued) I would generally not use a contrast mask, or I would make very low contrast "mask". I would use fp4+ and develop it in HC110 1:20 for like 3 min- 4 min depending upon contrast of original.

    If you are getting grey whites and reduced contrast I would reduce exposure and or development time of mask. Generally I look at the original transparency and decide how far into the density of the original film I want to control(reduce) contrast (this is how I decide exposure of mask), then I decide how much I want to alter the contrast by development of the contrast mask...(more development more contrast reduction).

    How have you been exposing and developing your masks??

    Corey
     
  5. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    I was contact printing them, 5 seconds at F11 under the enlarger, then developing 5 min at 20C in Xtol

    For the 4x5 chromes, I was using J&C 100 in 8x10 and exposing 4 sec, same development.
     
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Low contrast and gray whites can also be caused by bad or insufficient bleach or fix. BTDT. You can rebleach and fix to try to correct that type of problem.

    PE
     
  7. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    I don't think it was the bleach, as I was able to get a nice white from unmasked chromes. It looked more like I overexposed the mask and the grey from the B&W film base was showing on the paper.
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Right, sorry, I missed that at first reading.

    PE
     
  9. davetravis

    davetravis Member

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    Craig,
    On the surface it sounds like the density of the grey tones contained within the mask is being recorded by the paper. And that may in the end be the problem.
    Just curious, you're using the CPM1M paper, and what version of chems? P3.5 5L, P3, P3X, P30 2L?
    DT
     
  10. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    P30 2 litre kit in a Cap 40 processor at 30C
     
  11. boyooso

    boyooso Member

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    unfortunately, I've never used xtol so I don't know how to compare your development... but generally you want a significantly diluted developer so that you don't build too much contrast in your mask. If you have a densitometer I would recommend that you might want to build a density of .45 for CPM.1M emulsion, probably less. .45 density would be holding back 1.5 stops of light at the densest places on your masking film... It is not my intent to get technical, sorry.

    Your expsure sounds like a lot to me, but again I don't know your set up... I expose my masks like this.

    I use a 150mm lens probably about 30 inches above my film. I focus light on the easel by moving the head until the edges of light are sharp. I stop the lens down to F8 and have it set to white light. My exposures are about 5-8 seconds, but I am exposing through colored filters that reduce the amount of light by at least 3 stops... I also have a diffusion layer on the top of the sandwhich which further reduces exosure.

    I think Dave is correct, it sounds like have a mask which is too dense....

    Good Luck,

    Corey
     
  12. pelerin

    pelerin Member

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    Hi,
    Two items in addition to reducing the mask density: 1) it is not uncommon to first make a lith mask which, when sandwiched w/ the transparency, protects the specular highlights from gaining density in the contrast mask and 2) PE's suggestion might warrant some further investigation if you are indeed using a P30 2l kit. It has been quite some time since P30 was replaced by the P3.5 kit and any P30 would have quite a bit of age on it. This, combined with the relative ease of cross contamination in a CAP 40, and the fact that your initial prints were fine, (and the cost of wasting sheets of Ilfochrome - ouch) might make it worth at least checking the chemistry.
    Celac
     
  13. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    My masks were probably too dense, as the sheets that I printed unmasked with clean whites were the last prints I made, and that was after running 13 16x20 sheets through the machine.

    In hindsight, I probably could have printed the chromes without masks, instead some careful dodging and burning. I'll see if I can post a scan of one of the prints, or a portion of one, since I can't scan 16x20.
     
  14. max_ebb

    max_ebb Member

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    Aren't you supposed to use the DEZ additive in the developer when using P30 in CAP40 processor?
     
  15. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    According to the Cibachrome printing manual I have, it needs to be added to kits that are all powder, but it is present in the kits that have liquid concentrates.