Methods to Lower Contrast and Saturation in C-41 and RA-4

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by cbphoto, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    I'm trying to wrap my head around the different (100% analog) techniques for reducing contrast and saturation with color neg films, without resorting to something special-effecty like bleach bypass. It's been a few years since I've printed RA-4, and back then i was always going for more color and contrast. My tastes are pretty much opposite now. Which of the below do you think is the most effective and least problematic? Any tips would be much appreciated.

    - Pull-processing the film (how much is safe before weird color effects happen, and does the overexposure increase the saturation the same or more/less than the underdevelopment reduces it?)

    - Use a C41 kit with blix instead of separate components to reduce saturation, possibly combined with slight underdevelopment for the contrast.

    - Adding sodium sulfite to the RA-4 developer (how much?)

    - Preflashing the paper (seems messier with color than with b/w)

    Any other methods? On the taking end, I'm already using old Leica lenses, some uncoated, and I'll be breaking my habit of default overexposure of neg films.
     
  2. georgegrosu

    georgegrosu Member

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    I understand that you want to get color images with low contrast and low saturation in process C-41 and RA-4.
    • Change the parameters of development in C-41 and RA-4 I not think are good solutions.
    • Preflashing is a good way when you have a debalans negative image with color. The results are notable. I think it may help if the reduction in image contrast.
    • The process "Grafis color” (color print + argentic image – partial eliminate). This procedure applies to color positive film. I used to Orwo PC 7. Use a color positive developer more diluted and it was a partial bleaching.
    • I would try mixing the color image and b&w image. Exposure color negative and after expose dupe negative make after dupe positive in your print.
    Is a mixture of color image and b&w image.
    • Before dedicated C-41 process, develop with a negative developer b&w diluted for 2-3 min. Then washed in water five minutes after coming C-41 normal process. In b/w developer a part of the latent image, resulting a silver metallic. Oxidized form of b&w developer trainer will not pair with color component. Follow C-41 process, when you remove the silver metal result in b&w developer.
    George
     
  3. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    Thank you! This one looks interesting - can you point me to any examples of the look this gives? Would something like Rodinal 1:50 be ok?
     
  4. georgegrosu

    georgegrosu Member

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    I can not give you ideas with Rodinal, but D 23 I think is more appropriate. Diluted 1 / 2 - 3 is better.
    I have not done tests to reduce the negative contrast in color. I make many tests to reduce the contrast when I realized patent for processing color reversible with color print.
    Developing b/w before color developer I heard when I came in laboratory Mogosoaia and old people there told me about a NC 1(ORWO color negative). NC 1 is a non mask film and is contrast.
    George
     
  5. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I have tried several different colour neg films and while the colour palette is different with each I have only seen contrasty prints with one method which involved exposing at box speed or one third stop less and developing for 30 secs extra. It sounds as if it has been several years since you did colour negs and thing may have changed.

    I'd try a film like Kodak Portra NC and sticking to the 3 mins 15 secs dev time. I'd be surprised if you get overly contrasty negs. Have a look at the gallery. There are plenty of examples of muted colours with normal contrast and often involving Portra NC.

    pentaxuser
     
  6. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    Thank you. I'd like to try this one of these days.
     
  7. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    It's not really a matter of avoiding overly contrasty negs, but rather getting really low contrast negs. I like the effect for certain things.
     
  8. Domin

    Domin Member

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    Bleach bypass does reduce saturation but increases contrast, grain and Dmin considerably. I've found that with negs I've tested underexposure and BB doesn't give good results.

    IIRC adding sulphite to RA developer was mentioned on this forum by reputable expert. Search for posts by Photo Engineer. You can probably get the amount of sulfite right in less then hour of testing.
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    A C41 pull process with bleach bypass will both lower contrast and reduce color saturation.

    Bleach bypass with paper can do the same, but contrast does go up.

    Sulfite at between 0.5 and 2 g/l in either color developer (C-41 or RA) will reduce contrast as will addition of a competing coupler such as Citrazinic Acid.

    PE
     
  10. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    I'm planning to try the sulfite (since I already have a bunch of it) as soon as I can find a decent, cheap scale (recommendations?).
     
  11. Domin

    Domin Member

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    It's hard to recommend if you do not reveal your location.
     
  12. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    NYC. I see kitchen scales locally that claim .1g resolution for about $30 Are these accurate?
     
  13. Domin

    Domin Member

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    Some people use sulphite by pinches while printing B&W. Unless you are into accuracy and consistency you might be happy with pinches.

    If you worry about accuracy you can make a solution from larger quantity of sulphite and measure volume rather then weight. A syringe might be of help.
     
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  15. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    PE's recommended quantities are rather small, so I would think that accuracy would be required to avoiding killing off the dmax.

    Can anyone who has tried this tell me how dramatic the effect is?
     
  16. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Over the range of 0.5 - 2 g / L the effect on paper is very dramatic. You go from a near normal print to one with very washed out colors and low contrast. Dmax of all dyes is reduced and cyan dye is much less. So, I suggest accuracy and caution!

    This is a competer for dye formation (discussed on the Kodachrome retirement thread :wink: ). It decreases the amount of dye formed by competing for coupler with oxidized color developer.

    Be cautious with it.

    PE
     
  17. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    I will, and it sounds like fun! To be safe, I'll try it just in the printing stage for now. Thanks for all of your help on this.
     
  18. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    IME, you can develop at 3:00 (as opposed to the normal 3:15 time) in C-41 and get completely acceptably-accurate color reproduction, and you can go down to about 2:45 or 2:50 and get color that is a little wonky, but that may be acceptable when less-than-critical color is not a drawback to the pix in question.

    You can also use a SLIMT technique, though I have never tried it personally. This sounds like the ticket to me, in theory, though all the examples I have seen - admittedly not many - have not done the theory justice IMO. This is a pre-development latent image bleaching bath that works mostly on the most exposed areas of the emulsion. It is supposedly similar to pulling b/w film by reducing development, but it does not have the drawback of losing a notable amount of density in the mildly exposed areas. A highly dilute potassium ferricyanide bath is used, and testing must be done to determine the best solution and time for the bleach bath.

    The SLIMT thingy can be used on b/w film, color negative film, and both color and b/w paper. It is certainly something that I must try for color work. I am not sure I would find it as useful for b/w, but for color, with the skimpy selection of papers available, and the limits on variation of the proper processes, it would be invaluable.
     
  19. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    Can you point me to some examples?
     
  20. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    One last question: I want to do tray development for the RA-4/sulfite experimentation, rather than filling up the Nova. I can easily heat up one tray. Is it ok to have the developer at full temperature, but the blix at room temp? I'm using Fuji paper and Kodak chems. Is the temperature problem that prevents compatibility at room temp specific to both chems, or just the developer?
     
  21. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    If you run at 38 deg C in the developer, you may reticulate the paper or cause other problems if the blix is below about 30 deg C or thereabouts. I run at 20 deg C throughout or 38 deg C throughout, so I cannot give you exact figures. Sorry.

    PE
     
  22. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    Thanks. I'll think I'll just run the Nova with normal mixtures, and then have the experimental dev in a tray so I can play with both.
     
  23. hrst

    hrst Member

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    I have two of these: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.15004 . Free world-wide shipping. Seems to give consistent results at +/- 0.02 g or even better. Starts operating at 0.06 g. Buy also a calibration weight; http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.15761 . I calibrated mine a year ago, then bought that calibration weight and re-checked, it showed 100.00 g. Only things I can complain about are too quick power-save mode and blue LCD backlight.
     
  24. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    I ordered something similar off Amazon, and purchased a calibration weight as well. It was well-reviewed, so I should be ok.
     
  25. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I want to lower the contrast by adding sulfite to the RA-4 developer. I use a roller transport ICP-42 that holds 2 liters and I replenish the developer as I work. Does adding the sulfite have any effect on the life of the developer? Can I add it to the replenisher and then follow the same replenishment schedule to keep things consistent? When mixing up the first tankful would it be better to add, for example, 1g to the 2l final solution (dev-replenisher, water and starter), or would it be better to add .5g to each liter of replenisher and then mix as normal? I'm looking to keep the contrast from drifting as I replenish.

    I would like to reduce the contrast for all prints since the current papers are too contrasty, so a simple addition to the developer seems most appropriate (if it works).
     
  26. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I don't ever fool with the chemistry, and I hate the effect of flashing. So I just resort to registered unsharp masks to either decrease or
    increase contrast. I've used such technique for many years of chrome printing. But it would be interesting to see how RA4 developer tweaks work out. Glad this thread has been revived.