Printing Kodak Portra?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by nyoung, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    I've only recently began playing with the new Kodak PortraVC in 160 and 400 speed versions and am noticing blown highlights some prints when I expose as I always have for color neg - +1/3.

    When I shoot neg, I use my Walgreen's one hour to develop and print for proof and then take/send any negs for enlargement to a "pro" lab so my questions are two:

    Are the blown highlights a result of limitations in the scanning in the Fuji one hour processor?

    Can the operator of a Fuji minilab go back to an individual negative and "print down" to render highlights - I know the analogue one hour operators could do this?

    Posting this knowing I risk being told it's more appropriate for the Hybrid Forum but this forum has more action and more expertise - particularly in the area of film exposure latitude.
     
  2. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Blown highlights on a scan you have no control over is not a valid guide for negative density. What does the negative look like? Does it look overly dense in the highlights?
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Instead of machine proofs from Walgreens, you could ask your pro lab for a real contact sheet, so you can see where your exposures really are, without having them adjusted frame by frame, as they might be by a minilab processor.
     
  4. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    Granted optical contact sheets would be better but I'm two hours drive (one way) - or a two week turnaround from a "real lab."

    Phototone, that's what I'm trying to determine, I'm primarily a B&W printer and the negs look good to my eye- but its color so my judgment may not be valid.

    I was hoping to hear about other's experiences with the mini labs as I try to figure out if its my problem or the lab operator.
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The latitude of the Portra films is so wide that I have gotten good prints from ISO 50 - 400 with the 160 film. I usually expose 160 at 100 and 400 at 320 just to give that extra richness to the negative. I've posted examples here and on PN of this.

    You should have no problem.

    The biggest problem in my experience is that Fuji paper is not designed to work well with all color films, but when I worked on color papers and films at Kodak, we attempted to make sure that the Kodak papers worked well with all films.

    So, it might be a scanning problem, a process problem or a printing problem or a paper problem. IDK, as it is too hard to tell without looking at the negatives.

    We used to judge color negatives by looking at them with an R/G/B filter set on a light table. After years of that, I can now pretty much judge a color negative by eye. Basically, under any of the individual filters, the tone should look pretty much like B&W with a blue, green or red cast. They will also appear slightly darker.

    PE
     
  6. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    thanks for the input

    PE, Thanks for the reply. Sounds like its more likely a lab/operator problem.
    Think I'll take one of the problem negs around to the other two local mini-labs and see what kind of results I get then send a fresh roll into San Antonio to the real lab for process and contact.
     
  7. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    The predominant color paper used by popular minilabs is a Fuji product. Therefore you are more than likely to get prints on Fuji paper. I don't know if the scanning station can compensate for the differences when printing Kodak film onto Fuji paper, but I suspect it can, if the operator knows how to adjust the settings. The large part of a minilabs film business is printing from disposable cameras. These have simple, plastic lenses that benefit from a contrasty punchy print. The operator may just leave the scanning station set for this, which would product too much "punch" from negatives shot with a "real" camera, creating the "blown" highlight look you describe.
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Fuji films use dyes with a different response to light, and their papers are centered on their dyes.

    Kodak papers have broader sensitization to accept images from multiple dye sets, therefore Kodak papers will respond to most films in the same way as to Kodak films, but Fuji papers will respond with different contrasts and can even introduce crossover if the same image is made on a variety of films.

    In particular, the Fuji red sensitization is shorter in wavelength and narrower in band width to center it on the Fuji film cyan dye. This is one of the items that I recall.

    PE
     
  9. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I'm sure this is relevant for printing in an analog way; however, much of the discussion in this thread has been on flaws in prints from a minilab. Since most minilabs (at least in my experience) are now digital, I don't know if this would be relevant at all. I'd expect that the spectral response of the scanner would be important in determining what gets into the digital files, and then the match of the output lasers to the paper would be important in determining what gets onto the paper. I can't say I know much about either of these factors, or whether there are important film-to-scanner or laser-to-paper differences akin to the film-to-paper matching you describe.
     
  10. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Of course, but if the slope is not set correctly, the digital printer would interpret the film curves incorrectly. This would have the effect of appearing to shift the light emission of the laser or diode (not really but essentially similar) to match the wrong dye.

    This is done in the setup and requires that each film for each type of printer match a slope adjustment. For current Kodak papers, AFAIK, there is only one adjustment to make and you can print all films. At least I have done it that way. For Fuji, there should be a set for every film.

    This can be seen if you make a wedge spectrogram of Fuji CA II paper and Kodak Endura paper. They don't look similar, nor do the film dye curves when run through a spectrophotometer.

    Kodak uses a broad sensitization that compensates regardless of printing method or dye set.

    PE
     
  11. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I don't understand where this thread is going.

    Assuming the film was developed properly, despite the paper used by the pro lab, the highlights would not be blown.

    Whether Fuji or Kodak paper - we're talking blown out highlights (not color tone etc.)

    The OP asked if the blown highlights were a result of the Fuji Frontier processor?

    I don't think so. I do think for the extra dollar or two, he should have asked Walgreen's to run some prints. That way, when he found the highlights blown on the "pro lab" prints he would know where the problem lay.
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    George, there is a possibility that a Fuji Frontier operated poorly with Kodak film (especially a new one) might do what was observed. A scan without the right profile might make the problem worse. IDK.

    I do think that the post here have merit and one of the suggestions here was to do as you say. That might narrow down the possible errors here.

    PE
     
  13. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I've had some scans from Frontiers and the like that had blown highlights. Of course, the prints did too, but looking back at the lousy jpg's, I would say that's where the fault lay.

    These were scans of kodak film by the way.
     
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  15. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Read the OP.

    He was NOT talking about blown highlights from scans.

    He was talking about blown highlights from a "pro" labs print of negs.

    As far as I am concerned, the LAST thing this site needs to get into is a F v. K free-for-all!

    For cryin' out loud - why does this site keep shooting itself in the foot?

    We NEED F and K and I and whomever.

    Congrats again folks. You've 'dissed another film company. You want to know why folks from F or K don't show up here? Take a read of the thread.

    You sometimes have to wonder if APUG isn't really a conspiracy to advance digi photography since it seems to regularly piss on its own shoes!
     
  16. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    How's yer blood pressure doing, George? Bad day at work? You seem a bit excitable at the moment. Take a deep breath!
     
  17. Dinesh

    Dinesh Subscriber

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    LMAO
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The OP specifically states "scans". I have to take that at face value, as well as the comment on "Fuji".

    So, knowing the differences in the equipment and papers, I made reasonable comments. Knowing the capacity for over and under exposure, I can make the comments I did with some degree of being correct.

    I was involved in the selection of the sensitization of Kodak color paper, and have a good friend who worked on the laser and diode printing capabilities as well.

    So, where is the problem?

    PE
     
  19. dslater

    dslater Subscriber

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    Sorry George,
    I think it is you who needs to re-read the OP. He is talking about scans. The prints he's talking about come from a walgreens - not a pro lab.

    Also, this thread doesn't strike me as a F vs. K thread - PE was just pointing out the differences between the papers.

    Dan
     
  20. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Dan;

    Thanks.

    PE
     
  21. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Dan,

    I do stand corrected!

    The OP ...

    "When I shoot neg, I use my Walgreen's one hour to develop and print for proof and then take/send any negs for enlargement to a "pro" lab so my questions are two:

    Are the blown highlights a result of limitations in the scanning in the Fuji one hour processor?
    "

    He thus seems to be confusing the "developing" process of the Frontier with scanning!

    AFAIK, the Frontier "develops" the film negs using chem process. It does produce prints via a scan of those negs but he is talking about his "pro lab" results.

    As he states, he is taking his Walgreen negs to a "pro lab". So - the problem is NOT the film development - it is the pro lab's processing of the negs.

    So, if that is the case, how can one "blame" the Fuji one-hour processor?
     
  22. dslater

    dslater Subscriber

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    George,
    That's not quite the way I read the OP. The way I read the OP, is he's talking about the prints that came from walgreens as part of his order - he hasn't yet sent the negs out to the pro lab yet because he's seeing blown highlights in the machine proofs.

    Dan
     
  23. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    He said (emphasis added)...

    I repeat, there is no scanning involved in processing the negative - so how could anyone go back and "fix" it at that stage?

    Maybe, just maybe, he blew the friggin' film!

    Now, if he had his own scanner (a good one) and scanned the neg he could go into PS and see if.... but I digress.
     
  24. dslater

    dslater Subscriber

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    George,
    those proof prints are made be scanning the film and printing with a digital printer. That's where the scans come from. If he takes the film back to walgreens for more prints, they'll scan the negs again and digitally print them.

    Dan
     
  25. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Dan,

    I give up. You win.

    I'm just a tiresome old lawyer who is used to parsing language and come to a different conclusion.

    How can it be that you then take the negs to the pro lab and then report problems with blown highlights?

    Why would it matter what the Walgreen proofs showed - isn't the "proof of the pudding" what the pro lab prints from the neg?

    Anyway, you win, because you need to - I salute you on your victory.

    Meanwhile, once again, an APUG thread has dissed a film company. Tonight was Fuji's turn and it accursed Frontier processor.

    But, I am pleased to report, the new, just opened today, CVS 24/7 at 42nd St. & 3rd Ave. here has a Frontier and I can still get my film developed in Midtown.
     
  26. dslater

    dslater Subscriber

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    George,
    What is it with you - this is the second time we have disagreed and you hav accused me of having some kind of need to "win" - frankly, I think it's you who has the problem. Your last three posts here simply haven't made a lot of sense - you go on and on about film processing and the pro lab when the 3rd sentence down in the OP asks:

    "Are the blown highlights a result of limitations in the scanning in the Fuji one hour processor?"

    Why would he ask a question like this if he were looking at prints from a pro lab?