Lab printing straight color negatives

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by jglass, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

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    I want beautiful RA-4/chemical prints from my color negs. I am having problems with my local lab printing straight from the negs. They are a very good pro lab (Holland Photo Imaging) and may even advertise here. However, in getting what I want, I'm finding it easier to scan and print from my pigment printer.

    I want true RA-4 prints, however, to sell. (And, no, I'm not going to do this in my garage -- b&w is enough in there). Just sold my first color print and I was not really keen on supplying inkjet.

    My questions are:

    1. How do you get prints made if you do it through a lab? Do you look at small test prints and then tell the lab what you want? Do you look at scans and then manipulate them to what you want and then have the lab print RA-4 or Chromira or Lightjet from the scan? Do you just settle for digital machine prints from your negs?

    2. Do you have any really great labs you work with *(US) that I could ftp or send negs to for printing? What is your experience with this?

    I know this raises a lot of questions. Basically, I want custom RA-4/chemical prints (which, I believe, is what Chromira is although it uses an LED for the exposure) from my negatives to my specifications. Probably I just need to work with Holland a little harder to get what I want.

    JG
     
  2. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    That would be my starting place. You're in Austin. They're in Austin. :wink:
     
  3. Hikari

    Hikari Member

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    Print a proof from your inkjet and ask them to match it as close as possible. But there is not much more than exposure and color balance that they can do--possibly a little dodging or burning. You also need to understand that the inkjet is only an approximation, a chemical print will look different. (From a someone than prints RA4 at home).
     
  4. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    A and I in California and Dale Labs in Florida will do Lightjet prints that you have corrected yourself. There are a few labs that will make optical prints for you if you search hard enough.
     
  5. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The biggest thing is a lab that will listen.
     
  6. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

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    Thanks for the suggestions; it makes the most sense to start with a prototype of what I like (inkjet print based on my editing) BUT I always am interested to see how they print straight. I think I'll just start getting 4x6 straight prints and go from there.
     
  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The first prints from any negative done in any manner might be better considered as "proofs".

    Proofs, in a traditional sense, are not really meant to be used as a final product even though they often are.

    Straight printing by contrast may have a lot of work done to it; proper enlarger exposure may have been found, in B&W the paper contrast may have been defined, 10 proofs/working prints may already be in the trash trying to define the "finished" straight proof.

    What straight printing does lack are things like burning and dodging.
     
  8. brianmquinn

    brianmquinn Member

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  9. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

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    Thanks, Brian, I'll give that lab a try. I love to support these guys who still do optical printing.