My first RA-4 print...

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Lopaka, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    I've been printing Ilfochromes for a few years, bet never RA-4. I have quite a few color negatives on file form the years when I had no darkroom access and I thought at least some would be worth printing so I decided to take some time to play with it.

    I chose one at random, specifically for average density and colors at about the opposite end of the spectrum to get something to play with. I had no clue as to exposure range or filter range. I started with the first rule of color printing - nail exposure first, then deal the color management. I got something out of the tests in the exposure range, but OMG, it's nothing but different shades of dark red! (no filtration at all used). I started searching the threads here for clues and found some good info to use to go back and play with filtration. A nearly filled trashbin later, I got a print in which the trees look like trees, the sky looks like sky, the water looks like water (for the conditions in which it was shot) and the rock looks pretty much like the actual color of the rock. I'd call that pretty successful for the first try.

    Thanks to all who share their experience here - it is most helpful.

    Bob
     

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  2. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I've been doing color printing for close to a year now. I'm far from an expert, but I've found that the most valuable tool for me is a shot of a gray card. It's relatively easy to get good color balance on a gray card because it's gray and because I can compre it directly to the print. If other subjects on the same roll are shot in similar light, their color balance and exposure won't vary by much, so even if they're horrifically difficult to balance (like autumn leaves -- I had a terrible time with such a shot a few days ago!), the task becomes much easier by using the gray card frame to get the color balance.

    In theory, if you consistently use the same film, film developer, paper, paper developer, and developing conditions (particularly temperature), color balance shouldn't change much from one roll to another. I've got quite a wide variety of films, though, so my filtration's all over the map. (I'm starting to narrow my film selection to help simplify printing, but there's all the stuff I've already shot.)
     
  3. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Loooks pretty good. Depending on the paper used there are starting filtrations which would have got you in the ballpark and may have saved some paper.

    This may be superfluous advice to someone who has done cibachrome a dn knows a lot about colour but if you intend doing more than just the occasional RA4 ,a colour analyser may be sensible. It needn't be the rolls royce of analysers such as the Colourstar. I had a Paterson one and it was OK. My experience is that unless the negs are all taken under similar conditions etc then relying on the filtration for the first perfect print won't necessarily get you to the ideal filtration for the other negs and it's then back to test strips for each negs which is consuming in terms of time and paper.

    pentaxuser
     
  4. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    Beautiful, but a question, how can you control contrast with color papers?
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Contrast control can be done, but generally it is a non-trivial matter.

    PE
     
  6. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    Most contrast control in color work is done at the shooting level - film choice for conditions and subject matter, etc.

    FWIW, my box of Fuji Crystal Archive has no 'starting point' for filtration, unlike Ilfochrome. It takes a little work to find the start point for the specific enlarger, chemistry, etc. but seems to get there a lot quicker once that is established.

    Bob
     
  7. davetravis

    davetravis Member

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    That looks pretty good!
    Are you using the same equipment that you use for Ciba?
    Is this Fuji Crystal Archive?
    DT
     
  8. Stew

    Stew Member

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    The colors in your photo look good!

    Something I find useful to get the color balance right is a set of Lee color print viewing filters. They save a bit of wasted paper. You can get them at B&H Photo and Freestyle,or any other well stocked photo store.

    Rob.
     
  9. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    The two ways I know of to control contrast in RA-4 printing is to use different grade of paper. Kodak makes 3 grades of Endura and Fuji makes at least two (haven't really used much Fuji). If that isn't enough you need to resort to making a contrast reducing mask. Or I guess a contrast increasing mask, but I have never shot a neg in color that would have needed one of these. It looks like the image above could benefit from a bit of contrast reduction, either a mask or a lower grade of paper.

    Contrast reducing masks are covered very well in Ctein's book Post Exposure. In fact most things are covered in that book.
     
  10. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    Dave, I run it on the same JOBO CPP-2. It's Fuji Crystal Archive Super Type C. I used Kodak Ektacolor RT at 35 C. Film is Fuji NPC 160.

    Bob
     
  11. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I have had *great* success in reducing color print contrast by "pre-flashing". By that, I mean replacing *some* of the light forming the image with neutral grey-card light: If the exposure for a print "analyzes out" to be 20 seconds, I will modify that to a "pre-flash" of 5 second of a grey-card image "balanced out" and 15 seconds of the original exposure - also balanced out.

    This sounds a lot more confusing than it actually is in practice. The idea is that an overly contrasty image is both TOO white and TOO black ... so the grey image will LESSEN the "white" AND the "black".

    This is one of those things that I thought about and reasoned out - it made perfect sense THEN - but I'm having trouble duplicating the thought process NOW. I know that it DOES WORK to lessen contrast - I haven't really needed to increase contrast with color film.