Resources for I guess colour printing for dummies

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Uncle Bill, Jun 28, 2008.

  1. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    I have been printing black and white for a while now and I am contemplating getting a second enlarger with a colour head and print C-41. I know the chemical tempretures have to be spot on tempreture wise. Aside from the enlarger with colour head, a second set of trays, what else should I look into getting and are there online resources I can read about traditional colour printing?

    My current enlarger is for 4x5 and has a condenser head with lenses for 35mm and 4x5, so if I get a second enlarger it will be for 120 format too but that's another story.
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Kodak still publishes a Kodak Color Dataguide which has charts for reference and lots of photos in order to help you make good color prints. In fact, they just released a new, updated version within the last 5 years or so IIRC. It was at least since 2000. It lists cancelled products and replacements (if any) among other things.

    PE
     
  3. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Due to the high temps, and the fact that they need to be a consistent as possible, color printing is done in processors, not trays. I am sure people have done it in trays, but it is not the standard way, and is difficult. I would look for a used Ilford or Fujimoto. Kreonites sell for next to nothing, but are expensive to run. You have to print a lot and print large to make it worth using them. You also have to run them a little bit every day, full of water if you won't be printing. Most people (myself inculded) use rotary tubes. Mine is a Dev Tec that was given to me by an instructor. A Jobo would be the easiest option, probably, as they handle the temp automatically. I had arranged to purchase an Ilford 16x20 processor and drying unit for $200, was ready to send the money, then seller disappeared. But this shows they are out there if you look hard and are patient.
     
  4. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Endura paper can be processed at 68F (20C). See the many posts about doing this in trays.

    PE
     
  6. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I also process my color prints in trays at room temperature. The "room temperature" part necessitates either using longer development times or modifying the developer to work more quickly (the mix-it-yourself formula I use specifies adding potassium hydroxide for room temperature use, for instance). In fact, I don't think I've ever done it at anything but room temperature, and my results are (to my eye) as good as anything I've gotten from commercial photofinishers -- or at least, my results can be that good, if I put the effort into getting the right filter settings.

    FWIW, I use trays because I find that using drums slows me down. They require thorough drying between prints; a drop of water that falls on the print prematurely causes a greenish streak on the print, and drying thoroughly enough to prevent that just takes too long. With trays, the moment a print is in the print washer I can begin the process of doing another print. I can also develop oddball print sizes in trays, whereas drums are much less flexible than that.

    Getting back to temperature control, that's more critical for C-41 film development than for RA-4 print development. I use water baths and manual tanks for this task and get acceptable results. Of course, a dedicated processing machine would be better -- and I'm sure this would be true for prints, too -- but those things are pricey!
     
  7. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Tetenal make room-temperature RA4 kits (Colortec RA-4) that are excellent for tray processing as they have almost no odour.

    You can not use a normal safelight intended for b&w printing so I use an amber LED heavily shielded - just enough to see the dishes in the sink.

    Bob.
     
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  8. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'd get a roller base and a tubes that can handle 8x10, 11x14, etc... As PE states temp is tied to time and room temp processing is very possible.
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Bob;

    Why pay extra for that Tetenal kit when the RA-RT developer replensiher from Kodak or the Fuji-Hunt kit does as well down to 68 deg F? And, at 68F the Kodak product is just about odor free as well.

    PE
     
  10. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Well, it was more convenient as I've not done a lot of colour printing and wasn't 100% sure about what I was doing so a kit seemed safer!

    I have since read your posts about using Kodak chems at room temp and when I finish the Tetenal kit I am using at the moment I will certainly give them a try. I prefer the Kodak paper to Fuji too so that should make an ideal partnership (plus the Endura paper I bought was made about 10 miles down the road from where I live!).

    One slight thing that I need to check is its keeping qualities as I do not do colour very often (the Tetenal chems keep very well with argon replacing the air in the bottles). Good to hear it is low in odour too as that was another worry. Anyway, I'll try it and see...

    Cheers, Bob.
     
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  11. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

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    First off, of you can get color filters for a black and white enlarger. Not as convenient as a color enlarger, but much cheaper.

    Also, color printing requires patience. Your always inching your way closer and closer to the correct color balance, and it requires experiance to make a good guess at the correct direction to go in You will also need viewing filter.
     
  12. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I certainly agree that patience is required, particularly when starting. Concerning viewing filters, though, IMHO "need" is too strong a word. They can be useful at times, but personally I have a hard time using them; my brain just doesn't interpret the colors correctly under a viewing filter, so I find that I usually do better making adjustments by using other methods, such as printing a color ringaround and using the different prints to judge where to move in the color space.

    For Uncle Bill's benefit, let me elaborate:

    • The filters under discussion are for use in viewing prints after they've been made. They come in several colors and densities, and the idea is that if your print's color is off, you can view it using these filters until you find one that makes the print look right, then read the color adjustment value off the filter and make the equivalent correction to your enlarger's filter pack and get the color right. As I said above, though, I personally find this hard to do.
    • A color ringaround, in this context, is a series of prints that vary the color settings. I do a series of eight mini-prints on a single sheet of paper using a multi-print easel: I vary exposure on two and then vary the cyan, magenta, and yellow filtration values up and down on the remaining six. If my initial settings are close to correct, this gives me a good idea of how to adjust them to get better results.
     
  13. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

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    Starting out, all of the color casts you run into all seem strange. The color filters can help you find out what kind of color cast your dealing with. They're indispensable when printing color. They're like a preview of the changes that your going to make.
     
  14. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Not these days. Just finding the filters is a pain. Colour enlargers are almost free in todays market.

    Jobo tubes and a unicolor or Beseler base will work very well. The advantage over open trays is volume.
     
  15. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    I guess the Kodak color print viewing filter kit is discontinued. Quick tips on using it if you find and try using it.

    Don't judge necessary adjustments from the darker or lighter portions of the print. Judge from the middle densities to slightly lighter than mid-densities. Darker portions of the print aren't affected as much as is needed and brighter areas are affected too much by the filtration, so they'll throw you off.

    Also, hold the filter right in front of your eye, or at least don't let the light falling on the print pass through the filter on the way to the print and again on the way back to your eye. If you put the filter right down on the print to judge, you'll be adding double the filter's correction and double its density.

    I find it easier to judge from a more neutral tone. Strong, saturated colors in the print are harder to judge corrections by.

    These tips are in the instructions for the filters, but bear repeating, and will certainly make you more effective when using them.

    Lee
     
  16. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    We'll have to agree to disagree, at least on the extreme words you're using ("need" and "indispensable"). I'll grant that some (perhaps even most) people find color viewing filters very useful, but this isn't true for everybody. As is common in photography, absolute statements on this issue go too far.
     
  17. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Viewing filters are really useful when learning to print colour. They will help you overcome such anguish as "Cyan or Green?" "Magenta or Red?" "5CC or 10CC?".

    It's really worth your time to work with a limited number of films at the start, preferably fresh ones. The good news is that there are not that many to choose from in the first place, which is also the bad news on the artistic side.

    Nailing down a proper filter pack takes effort and attention. But once you know that a given film require +10CC of Yellow and +5CC of Magenta, it will always be like that (as long as your processing is consistent).

    I can't overemphasize the importance of proof sheets. We know that in B&W they're really useful, but with colour they will also save you from becoming nuts. A properly exposed proof will allow you to see slight variation in exposure, and potential colour corrections.

    But once you have your proof sheet, the filter pack for a given film+paper combination, and your starting time/f-stop for a given enlargement size, I swear you'll be able to print an entire roll of film faster than the 1H machines.
     
  18. tim elder

    tim elder Member

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    Lee filters make a set of viewing filters. I still use them. Maybe it's because I only print about once a month, but I find them useful to get me to a starting point.

    Tim
     
  19. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Bob. I am sure the keeping properties of Kodak may be every bit as good as Tetenal and given the smaller quantities it may be possible to buy Developer and Bleach/Fix(Blix) in N America the advice from PE to the OP who is in N America makes absolute sense.

    My worry in the U.K. is the quantities of Kodak materials you have to buy and its keeping qualities vis a vis the time it might take to use such quantities.

    The only supplier in the U.K. seems to be MORCO who have thrown their hat largely in the Kodak ring and presumably offer good prices for Kodak material. Certainly they are very competitive on Kodak RA4 paper. On a chems cost per print basis I think that MORCO prices for Kodak probably cannot be beat. However the minimum quantities are very large.

    Maybe I or somebody should quote the MORCO quantities on this thread and ask PE to comment.

    If you go down the Kodak route let us all know your chosen source and how you get on.

    pentaxuser
     
  20. Stew

    Stew Member

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    I second the Lee viewing filters. B&H has them. I think they are the company that originally made them for Kodak.
     
  21. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Kodak manufactured their own filters in the plant in Rochester. The Wratten trade mark is a Kodak property and the filters were dyes coated with a gelatin coating machine. The supports were on glass or 'plastic' film support. They were made in two grades, one for use sandwiched with negatives and one for use between the lens and the paper in the case of printing. IIRC, they were also made in the plant at Harrow outside of London.

    PE
     
  22. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

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    Right now I am doing research because I am looking for a new challenge. The reason why I am going to look for a second enlarger with a colour head is I want to be able to print up to 6x7(120). My Devere 504 enlarger aside having a condenser head, I only have the lenses and negative masks for 35mm and 4x5. Of course Devere sold way more colour heads than condenser heads. So having a second enlarger with a colour head and that can print up to medium format will kill a few birds with one stone.

    Now before everyone sends PM's offering surplus enlargers, I am nowhere ready to pull the trigger yet, I'm just researching.