Negative or Positive - Enlarged Prints from Postcards

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Hiernst, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. Hiernst

    Hiernst Member

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    I've searched through the old posts and the only helpful answers seem to be from years and years ago - and now many of the films are no longer available - so I thought I'd post a new question.

    I'm planning on photographing old B&W and Color Postcards and then printing some enlargements. My question is, with the negative and/or positive film that is currently available, what would be a good film choice for accurate color rendition without too much heightened contrast in the final prints?

    I usually shoot B&W, so my past experiences with color are limited, therefore I thought I'd open this question up to people more knowledgeable than myself.

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    A film with modest contrast such as Kodak Portra 160 or Fuji Pro 160 S are most suitable.

    Kodak used to make special low-contrast copy films in both black-and white and color, but not now.

    But even back in the 1980s Kodak recommended the following procedure for amateurs for occasional copying with amateur color negative films.

    You’d give the film a low-dose fogging exposure of totally unfocused white light, either before or after the main exposure, to reduce the overall contrast.

    You needed a camera that allows double exposure on the same frame of film. The recommended starting point for flashing exposure was from -3f to -4f. You were advised to test various fogging exposures to determine which gave the best results.

    I did the flashing exposure by setting the lens to infinity focus, using the aperture wide open or nearly so, and shooting a piece of flash-illuminated white foamcore or white paper from within a few inches from the lens. The source flash was set to the lowest power setting and moved back to achieve -4f to -3f at the white reflecting surface as determined with my flash meter.
     
  3. Hiernst

    Hiernst Member

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    Thanks, Ian.

    So, you'd recommend just using print film and not bothering with slides? I had always thought that slides gave more accurate color rendition - even with printing. But maybe negative films have finally surpassed this old prejudice?
     
  4. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    It’s entirely up to you which film to use. Pre or post flashing can reduce contrast with any film, black-and-white too. Kodak recommended flashing with amateur slide and negative films when used for copying to control the contrast of the copy. You might want to experiment with both types to see the results.

    The best copies were always had with the special copy films designed to alter the contrast in just the right way for the best results. Now that these are gone, standard films are all that’s left. We can at least tame harsh contrast to acceptable levels by flashing. This isn’t needed for everything, but it’s useful when the natural contrast increase we get by copying is too much.
     
  5. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I've done this years ago. My experience is that type of film used makes very little difference but lighting does... It was fairly difficult to get uniform lighting and without a hot spot. (I didn't have any sophisticated lighting)

    Also, most post cards are not real photographs. So you have two limitations. Contrast range itself is very limited and so is the resolution. If you look closely, you may find the image is made up of a bunch of dots in varying density. That will limit how large you can really go.

    You might want to give it a try with what you have on hand and decide if its even worth pursuing.