Intro to Color Printing

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Wolfeye, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,140
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I came across a Tetenal 2-step paper developing kit so now I'm curious about maybe trying color printing. I have an Omega C700 enlarger. If I wanted to use that enlarger and not purchase a color head, would a filter pack be the only way to go? What kind of safelight is good /safe with color paper - if any?
     
  2. E76

    E76 Member

    Messages:
    374
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    Location:
    Rochester, N
    Shooter:
    Instant Films
    If you're not willing to acquire a dichro head then yes, a filter pack will be your only choice. I do, however, highly recommend using a dichro head (especially if you think you're going to be doing a lot of color printing) as it greatly simplifies the process and improves precision. With the filter pack the smallest change in color balance you'll be able to make is usually 5 CC.

    For color negative (RA-4) paper a yellow/amber safelight is required, but using a safelight is not recommended if you can avoid it.

    You may find this article informative: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum221/58260-ra-4-printing-200-a.html
     
  3. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

    Messages:
    2,936
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Location:
    Misissauaga
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I printed for the first 5 years or so that I printed colour, (way back with EP/2) with acetate filters. Then a dichroic head enlarger came my way as a lot of gear I bought. Oh, it made RA-4 printing a lot handier. Then I spent on a colorstar analyzer, which is not a necessity, but is very appreciated and well made. Keep an eye on a nearby craigslist or kijiji or whatever your local online classifieds are. They will ultimately yield a darkroom lot with the enlarger priced right.
     
  4. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,140
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thanks!

    Excellent link, thank you for sharing it.

    I looked around and a C760 Dichro head can be had for less than $50, so I'd be a fool to try and mess with filters. Hmmm... getting more and more interested here...
     
  5. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

    Messages:
    2,258
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Location:
    Warwickshire
    Shooter:
    35mm
    It's great fun Wolfeye, give it a go.
     
  6. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Tufts Univer
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I wrote that article a while back as I was getting into color darkroom. Since then some of my recommendations have changed. Don't use fuji paper ever. It's not made like the kodak paper and requires its own developer at the full 97 degree temperature process. Kodak paper looks great when processed at room temperature in trays using Kodak Ektacolor RT replenisher (just mix the developer from the three bottles, don't add the starter). Use this with the bleach fix and you are golden. For papers try either Kodak Supra Endura or Kodak Edge (search for it on ebay.)
     
  7. Tom Taylor

    Tom Taylor Member

    Messages:
    269
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Why leave the starter out?

    When mixing a tank solution from the replenisher, Kodak calls for adding 175ml of water and 25ml of starter to 800 ml of mixed replenisher for 1L of working tank solution. From personal experience using the replinisher without diluting it to a tank solution you will have to stop down to f32 to get a 10 second exposure.

    BTW, nothing wrong with the Fuji CA paper. It processes at the same time and temperature as Kodak's: 45 seconds for the developer, 30 second stop, 30 second rinse, 45 seconds for the Blix, and 1:30 (3x30 seconds each) for the final rinse - all at 95F.
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,446
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Tom, try the Fuji at room temperature! :D And have fun.

    As for the starter, if you want to work at RT then leave the starter out and use the replenisher.

    PE
     
  9. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Tufts Univer
    Shooter:
    35mm
    My advice: do what we say; be happy. It's much better than ignoring the advice and coming back in 2 months wondering why all your images are pink in the highlights. It took me a year and a half to figure all of this out. Gain from other people's mistakes, you don't have to make them yourself.
     
  10. AlexG

    AlexG Member

    Messages:
    97
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/31633-Arista-Color-Filters-3x3-in.-22

    I think the filter method is just fine. Sure you have to go through a box of filters and put a filter pack together (it takes me about 7~8 minutes to get a roughly accurate color correction in), but once you get a good color balance, the variation of color on the same roll of film shouldn't be that different and the rest of the printing session should be somewhat simple.


    Good luck!

    PS: This is a nice article that has helped me in the past.
     
  11. Tom Taylor

    Tom Taylor Member

    Messages:
    269
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for the reply PE but it begs the question: What purpose does the starter serve?

    I process with a Jobo at the Kodak and Jobo recommended temperature and Kodak recommended time.

    Thomas
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,446
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Tom;

    You asked "why leave the starter out" and the answer is that the developer then reacts better at room temp.

    Your second question in post #11 is "what purpose does the starter serve" and the answer has been posted here many times. Namely, the starter makes the developer look "seasoned" as if it was used in a continuous process. It adds ingredients leached out of the paper during processing.

    PE
     
  13. Tom Taylor

    Tom Taylor Member

    Messages:
    269
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks again PE. Good information to keep in mind in case the Jobo goes out and I have to process by hand at room temperature.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,140
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    35mm
    One other question - what exactly is a "color analyzer" and what does it do? I'm totally guessing - do you project the negative onto this device and it tells you what it thinks the color settings should be?
     
  16. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,446
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You have to make a good print first. Then you read a point on that negative with the analyzer and set that to a standard. When you print a new negative, you pick a point close to the same color and use those settings to adjust the filter pack. That is one type. Another type looks at the entire print and integrates the color and assumes it to be overall neutral gray. If that makes a good print, then the assumption is continued and if a negative integrates as other than gray, the analyzer suggests a change.

    I don't use one. It is too cumbersome and expensive. It is also error prone to novice users. Color negative films give me the same results for the last 60 years for filter pack with modern papers.

    PE
     
  17. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,005
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A good beginning book for color pix is Henry Horenstein's, with the Mapplethorpe pic on the cover (purple/yellow). I think it is simply called "Color Photography". It would be much better for all concerned than putting together/handing out the pieces bit by bit online if people would read a basic text before diving into a very technically involved practice. Your questions, all of the basic color printing concerns, and many less-than-basic ones are covered in this text, which is quite thin, and easy to read.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2010
  18. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Tufts Univer
    Shooter:
    35mm
    In addition to a black and white darkroom, for RA4 you need: Chemistry, paper, and filters or a dichro head for your enlarger
     
  19. 3Dfan

    3Dfan Member

    Messages:
    218
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Can you use a flatbed scanner as a color analyzer?
     
  20. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Tufts Univer
    Shooter:
    35mm
    No. You can use your eyes though.

    If the print is cyan, subtract magenta and yellow. print will darken
    If the print is magenta, add magenta. print will lighten
    If the print is yellow, add yellow. print will lighten
    If the print is red, add magenta and yellow. print will lighten
    If the print is green, subtract magenta. print will darken
    If the print is blue, subtract yellow. print will darken
    If the print is dark, shorten the exposure or close the lens aperture
    If the print is light, increase the time or open the lens aperture

    Generally a color analyzer looks at the color of the light emitted from the enlarger and compares it to a calibrated reference value (that you establish!) and tells you when it matches. For example, you can photograph a grey card. When you make your first print look neutral, you calibrate the analyzer. The next time you have a negative of a different film with a grey card, you can compare the two and set it equal. The alternative is remembering your number for each film and being able to adapt them when necessary. Remember that either way you're on your own making the first print.

    You could use a scanner if you scanned and had the computer look at the print but why do that when YOU can look at the print.
     
  21. 3Dfan

    3Dfan Member

    Messages:
    218
    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I wouldn't want the scanner to look at the print. I would want it to look at the negative. Why waste paper?
     
  22. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

    Messages:
    2,258
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Location:
    Warwickshire
    Shooter:
    35mm
    When I first started printing I wondered if this could help me. But I struggled to work out exactly how I could interpret a scan in a way that could be translated into filter pack values. In practice, though, I found my eye was the best gauge I could hope for and very soon I was able to spot the error in the print and have an idea of the remedy before I even used my Kodak viewing filters.
     
  23. Tom Taylor

    Tom Taylor Member

    Messages:
    269
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  24. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Tufts Univer
    Shooter:
    35mm
    You could try that but it would involve making multiple test prints with multiple different films to calibrate it...which seems like you're doing work for work.

    I purchased a daylight balanced fluorescent light bulb online for viewing. Also, if you display in galleries lit by tungsten lights you would want to balance for tungsten.
     
  25. Tom Taylor

    Tom Taylor Member

    Messages:
    269
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I haven't seen the need to calibrate the station. Instead it is the station that is used to identify a color cast on the print and, if one exists, then a quick flick of a viewing filter will indicate the filtration to remove that cast. Once a cast is removed will it reappear under tungsten?

    Except for the brightness range of various lighting sources making it easier or harder to see a print, I haven't noticed any difference is prints balanced by a balanced fluorescent bulb regardless of where it was hung.
     
  26. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,064
    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Location:
    Daventry, No
    Shooter:
    35mm
    It's been awhile since I did RA4 but with Fuji paper it was noticeable that as little as 2 units of red on a Dichro head made a considerable difference to the cast. I have never used filters but if 5CC is the equivalent of more than 2 units on a Dichro head then you might have difficulty getting to a neutral look with Fuji paper. Some people might not have noticed the cast but I did. It depends on what you want to settle for.

    Fuji paper did seem to be less forgiving than Kodak. No problem probably with a minilab's instrumentation but for a home user with filters only it might prove problematical, based on my experience.

    pentaxuser