Why B&W Forum is 4x More Active than the Color Forum?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by RedSun, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    B&W is so easy, compared with color processing and printing. I'll be interested in figuring out what people are discussing :smile:
     
  2. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    Because black and white film is better than color. *Everyone* knows that.

    :cool:
     
  3. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    No, there is no such thing of one technology better than the other one.
    I was thinking at this stage of film photography, BW is more accessible and attracts more audience. It is harder to set up darkroom for color photo work. It costs about $200 to set up a BW darkroom. But it costs much more for color, from chemical to processor.

    So the popularity.
     
  4. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    They need to make a way for sarcasm to be better transmitted through the intertubes... :D
     
  5. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    More photographers do black & white processing and printing than color processing and printing.
     
  6. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    Actually I get bored with BW and want to move on to tackle color. It is harder and requires more resource.
    No flame, I still like BW. But I feel that I'm missing a lot of things just with BW. Not much can compare to color slides.
     
  7. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    I actually prefer black and white and sometimes find color images distracting. But, as with everything, to each his/her own.
     
  8. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Room temp colour printing is dead easy, yes the outlay form chems is more, the paper is about half the cost, and colour enlargers are dirt cheap. :smile:

    Now if you have a problem judging the colour balance of a print, then yes it would be a royal pain.
     
  9. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    You almost never do color printing in open trays. You need to invest a film/print processor. Also, by not doing in the open tray, it takes some of the enjoyment away from printing photos. You can't see the images coming up.

    As to the enlarger, all enlargers can do B&W, but only the color head can do color printing. You can argue that any BW enlargers can do color printing with proper filters, but clearly that is a pain to do that.
     
  10. litody

    litody Member

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    I hate to state the obvious but has it occured to you that there is 4 times as much interest in B+W on this forum than colour? If it were the other way round colour would be 4 times more active than B+W. It's that simple. It isn't something that needs to be ANALaysed.
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Many of the colour printers here do use open trays and room temperature - including a certain Photo Engineer.

    And there are lots of used colour heads around (many of which are being used with B & W variable contrast paper).

    There is more discussion here about B & W because there are more people who come here who want to discuss B & W than almost all other internet resources.

    And individual colour filters are surprisingly easy to use, although I don't really want to go back to them.
     
  12. MDR

    MDR Member

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    Making a superb color photo, that is more than just color and effect is in my opinion more difficult than making a decent B/W photo. All in all they are equally hard to do. In reality there are about 20 times more color photographers than B/W photographers and this might be the reason why the B/W Forum is more active. Color = everyone does it. B/W less used therefore better. I personally prefer B/W but there are quiet a few color photos I'd love to own none by the Düsseldorfer or Finnish School though.

    Dominik
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It's really because there's far more controls and variables with B&W film processing and printing as a consequence thre's actually far more to learn and discuss..

    I used to do a lot of colour processing mostly E6 (E3/4 before that) and some Cibachrome/Ilfochrome printing, and also some C41 negs and RA-4 prints. Howevever once mastered there's few variables.

    Ian
     
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  15. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    I agreed with some of it. I would not say that there is not much to learn the color photography. But the mechanics of it just took the control out of your hands, into the processor. If you do not follow the right temperature and chemical mix, the results are ugly.

    But for BW, the latitude is huge. Even some badly processed negatives or positives can yield some interesting results. There is little hurdle to get in and it costs very little. And the experience is rewarding. All the above are just opposite with color photography.

    But one thing I know that: I printed some BW photos of my young daughter. I showed her my BW prints and she does not show any interest at all. She said she likes colored better. I was disappointed with one night's BW printing work, but I understood.
     
  16. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I have never tried color. I do a bit of colour though!


    Steve.
     
  17. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    +1 as they say here. I'd just add based to your quote above based on my extensive reading of APUG posts ...." and debate, occasionally disagree about and very occasionally have a serious altercation about things B&W:D

    pentaxuser
     
  18. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Color film and printing is a fairly standardized process.

    Black and white is open to literally any number of altercations with developers that you can either buy or mix yourself, toners, film developing techniques with all sorts of varied dilution and agitation, tons of different films and papers, as well as alternative printing techniques such as platinum/palladium, kallitypes, lith printing, bromoil, or even photogravure. If you're so inclined you could also get into wet plate photography, or even emulsion making and coating your own plates and paper. With color you have C41 film and RA-4 paper, if you wish to do things in purely analog fashion, and E6. There are other techniques such as gum printing with many colors (which require separation negatives, best done digitally), color carbro printing, and gumoil. In a word I think you can sum it up in the word 'choices'. There simply isn't nearly as much to discuss about color film and printing.

    Contrary to popular opinion, I think that black and white, as a concept, is infinitely more difficult because of all those variables mentioned above.
     
  19. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    And, if I dare say, many color printing processes these days fall into a hybrid category, so it's not entirely on topic for APUG, which may also explain why there are far fewer discussing color printing than b/w here.
     
  20. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Well the processing part of colour printing is fairly mechanical, you can alter contrast with additives, but you can do alot when exposing the paper, inc changing filtration for dodging and burning. Good for late nights in the darkroom and using up lots of paper. :sad:
     
  21. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    I think color paper is even cheaper than the BW paper, at least for me :tongue:

    I do both BW and color. And I'd like to spend more time with photography, less time with all the mechanics. To me, I do not have time to experiment with all the BW chemicals and processes. I tried a couple and stick with one that I'm very happy with. Then for the printing, I know how to control the density and contrast and get the effect I want. Then it is time to move on. It is never ending to try new stuff.

    The other thing comes to mind is that, BW photography is considered ART and color photography is mainstream and less of an ART. This has nothing to do with photography, but just with the concept of their popularity.

    If today I shoot with a TLR, others would think I'm an artist since I use an old and strange camera. But TLR cameras were so popular in the old days and they are hardly considered artists' tools.

    Actually by now almost all film photography should be considered ART since the mainstream has already moved on to digital....
     
  22. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Nope. As others said, you may WANT a processor, but you don't NEED one. I used to print color in the late 90s and even though I had a Jobo I used trays. I hate the time consumption of drying and changing drums. It really slows things down.

    Color enlargers may be cheap - the bigger obstacle is finding one since no one wants to ship enlargers. But you don't need one even more so than you don't need a processor. I made a lot of color prints in the 80s and again when I took it back up in the 90s. I never owned a color enlarger. Filters work fine. As far as hardware outlay the only thing you really need that you won't already have for black and white is a set of color printing filters.


    It is NOT a pain. Changing filtration with a colorhead takes a couple of seconds, with filters maybe 15-30 seconds. Far from a pain. Color heads are nice but more for the diffusion (I'll scarf up the first one ready to go I find locally for my D2 to use for black and white for that reason) than the filter changes.

    This is, I think, a fiction promoted in the photo press of the 70s when color printing started to take off. It's just not true.

    Same for the processor as I said.

    And this I think hits closer to the truth. You have some variables - you can dodge and burn as in black and white but the dynamic range of C41 makes this less needed. You can even burn with a different filter pack (and in that case the colorhead will become a lot handier than swapping filters, though I've done it with filters - but then I have an RA4 safe safelight which helps that a lot) but doing that is often tricky to get right and easy to overdo. In my experience it's more of an emergency measure to rescue very mixed lighting than a routine process.

    You used to have some contrast control, perhaps equal to about a half grade of B&W paper numbers, with different papers with Kodak's Portra/Supra/Ultra triad, but that's long gone. You an reportedly manipulate contrast a bit with developer additives (search site for details, I've not tried it) but at the reported expense of developer life and again, it's said to be not much range.

    It is, when it comes down to it, just not as much fun for many of us, nor do the results vary so much from a hybrid product squirted out of an ink jet as a beautiful silver print varies from that in black and white. I shoot color but I currently project it, scan it, or get commercial prints made. I may venture back into color in the darkroom, but considering my lack of time I'd rather devote what little darkroom time I have to black and white which I find more fun.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 7, 2012
  23. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Stereotypes are senseless. You can spend a lifetime learning to print either color or black and white,
    or learn the basics of either in half an hour. But for some reason the average high school tuba player
    is not welcome in a coat n' tails symphony orchestra, regardless of whether the performace is broadcast in color TV or black and white. Maybe if some of you were exposed to really high quality
    serious color prints more often instead of moth-on-windshield web smudges you'd understand the
    difference. But this does not mean color printing needs to be intimidating to a beginner. You can do
    basic RA4 in an inexpensive drum, and regular RA4 paper is more economical than those blank pieces
    of paper that get sold to the inkjet users. Just remember to be cautious with the chemicals, have
    good ventilation, and know how to properly control temperature. Printing from chromes (slides) is
    getting tougher in the darkroom, and has always been more complicated if you wanted good results.
    So it's easier to learn color printing by shooting color negative film.
     
  24. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

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    what a-r-e y-o-u talking about?

    Cant anything mainstream be art? and in any case what does this have to do with anything? Gombrich dident think photography was art, but luckily for us steichen did.

    Perhaps you are confusing the word art with craft. Is there anything that is not art?
     
  25. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    The other thing that makes BW somehow popular is that, all the intro photography classes teach BW photography with some go some depth. Often time color photography is not really taught. For example, my local high school recently closed down its color darkroom and sold all the equipment, including the darkroom furniture. But they kept the BW darkroom since they still teach BW photography as part of the class. I just do not know how long they are going to keep up the BW darkroom.
     
  26. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Suzanne is right isn't she? Most who shoot colour scan and we don't talk about that. I wonder how many colour printers there are here. 50?