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  1. #1

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    Developed some colour (C41) but in need of guidence.

    Hi folks, it's my first time here - so be gentle with me!

    I've recently returned with gusto to 35mm photography having bagged myself a fabulous Contax G1.

    Having studied B&W photography as part of my design course at college (about 15 years ago) I had no problems developing my own black and white negs.

    However I just can't get to grips with C41 colour. My results are consistent but consistently poor.

    The negs seem a little dense and lacking in colour - especially blues.
    The results through my neg scanner (don't have room for a darkroom at the mo') are very pale.

    As I said the results are consistent - this is my 3rd roll developed (but I've used two different filmstocks so far).
    Each time I have strived for more temperature and timing accuracy than the last but with little improvement.

    I'm currently using:
    Fotospeed C41 Press Kit Dev and Blix
    In a standard Paterson tub
    And have used two different thermometers (went digital for more accuracy) and monitored the temp at all stages
    Timed on my swiss railway watch.

    Am I doing something fundamentally wrong?

    All help and advice gratefully received!

    Bob.

  2. #2
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Bob, high density but lacking in color implies to me silver retention.

    This would mean that the problem is with the blix. Film blixes are notoriously hard to formulate and this is why neither Agfa, Fuji nor Kodak recommend them.

    You can try reblixing or you can get a 1 gal bleach and fix kit of any other brand and redo the tail end. Don't forget the stabilzer. If that does not help, then there is something else quite subtle going on.

    BTW, have you scanned in color negs processed by a lab with your scanner? Some scanners do not do a very good job handeling color negs from any source. You may want to make a reference scan for future use.

    PE

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobfrance
    Hi folks, it's my first time here - so be gentle with me!

    I've recently returned with gusto to 35mm photography having bagged myself a fabulous Contax G1.

    Having studied B&W photography as part of my design course at college (about 15 years ago) I had no problems developing my own black and white negs.

    However I just can't get to grips with C41 colour. My results are consistent but consistently poor.

    The negs seem a little dense and lacking in colour - especially blues.
    The results through my neg scanner (don't have room for a darkroom at the mo') are very pale.




    As I said the results are consistent - this is my 3rd roll developed (but I've used two different filmstocks so far).
    Each time I have strived for more temperature and timing accuracy than the last but with little improvement.

    I'm currently using:
    Fotospeed C41 Press Kit Dev and Blix
    In a standard Paterson tub
    And have used two different thermometers (went digital for more accuracy) and monitored the temp at all stages
    Timed on my swiss railway watch.

    Am I doing something fundamentally wrong?

    All help and advice gratefully received!

    Bob.
    Short of being there with you, it's so difficult to advise without seeming to be trite or complacent. I expected big problems with C41, having developed B&W negs but in fact found the process much simpler as it is so mechanical with no ability to use discretion or judgement.

    I used a Tetenal kit but Fotospeed has a good reputation. Provided the film wasn't old stock or poorly stored and you used the right temperature and time and assuming the Fotospeed kit was OK then I suspect the problem lies elsewhere. It is unlikely to be the processing. In my experience a few seconds more development doesn't make a difference and the leeway with blix is measured in minutes,provided you make sure you use the minimum time.

    I have never found the blix to be a problem.

    Unfortunately I have never scanned a C41 neg. All I can say is that looking at negs tells me very little. The colours are complementary anyway and the mask makes things very difficult.

    Is it possible to get somebody with a wet darkroom and enlarger to process a print from your suspect negs? If the print turns out OK then your C41 processing has been OK. This would lead me to think that your scanning was the problem.

    I live in the U.K. I don't know where you are but I suspect the U.S. Otherwise I'd have a go at print processing from one of your negs. If you are U.K. based then let me know and I would have a go.I am hoping to have my DUKA safelight up and running again in the next few days.

    The quickest way but at a price would be to find a professional lab to do a print.

    I sympathise with your problem. When I have one that has no obvious answer I feel like the loneliest person on earth.

    Good luck

    Pentaxuser

  4. #4

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    Many thanks for your insightful replies guys - it's much appreciated!

    Photo Engineer - Good tip about re-bleaching, I'd be delighted if I could rescue any of the dark films.
    As for my scanner; I have tested it on commercially processed negs of which I have the prints and the results have been acceptable.
    Although on the current crop of dark negs I find it picks up very little information, unlike the scanner I use at work which has much better sensitivity and has managed to generate a (albeit oddly coloured) better image from them.
    You'll probably see my current scanner on ebay soon - a Primefilm 3600u.
    If you do - don't buy it!

    Pentaxuser - I'm actually in the UK. Lancashire to be precise.
    You're right about the difficulties of having no-one to talk to when you have these kind of problems - none of my friends really get why I don't go digital.
    The truth is, I was using digital cameras through my work long before they tried them and in all honesty digital bores the pants off me.

    I prefer the challange of film. That's why even three batches of poorly processed negs haven't got me down. :rolleyes:

    I think, since my starter kit has now run out, my next step should be to switch to some different chemicals. Hopefully solving the problem or at least ruling another factor out.

    I have read before that some people prefer to use seperate bleach and fix. Any reccommendations?

    I have looked on the Nova and Jessops websites and neither have much available (or in stock anyway!). Could somebody point me in the right direction of a good UK based supplier?


    Pentaxuser - Thanks for your kind offer of print processing. If this saga continues I may well take you up on it.

    Thanks again.

    Bob.

  5. #5
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    Just as an extra to the possible blix problem. I found out that I eliminate alot of oddball problems (odd densities and colour shift of film base) by making sure the blix is well aerated. Just shaking the bottle for a few minutes can/will help blix problems.

  6. #6

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    Thanks Canuk - I'll give it a try.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobfrance
    However I just can't get to grips with C41 colour. My results are consistent but consistently poor.
    The negs seem a little dense and lacking in colour - especially blues.
    The only valid "test" for the quality of a color negative is the final print. If you are examining the negative itself, they SHOULD look "dense" (somewhat - in comparison to a black and white negative). ALL C-41 color negative films produced today have a decided "orange" (actually dark yellow) bias, to minimize the need for cyan filtration in printing (negative yellow = positive cyan) - therefore visual inspection of the negative will seem to show "weak blues" (actually - too strong yellows).

    I would suggest that you take some of these negative to an upper-level lab, and request a contact sheet.
    I'd be surprised if you see "poor color balance".

    Wait --- you are using the proper film for the light source - "Daylight" film in Daylight - ???

    The results through my neg scanner (don't have room for a darkroom at the mo') are very pale.
    I really cannot comment here. If the contact sheet looks OK ... that would be a scanner issue... I have *zero* - nada! experience in scanning negatives.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Sukach
    The only valid "test" for the quality of a color negative is the final print. If you are examining the negative itself, they SHOULD look "dense" (somewhat - in comparison to a black and white negative). ALL C-41 color negative films produced today have a decided "orange" (actually dark yellow) bias, to minimize the need for cyan filtration in printing (negative yellow = positive cyan) - therefore visual inspection of the negative will seem to show "weak blues" (actually - too strong yellows).

    I would suggest that you take some of these negative to an upper-level lab, and request a contact sheet.
    I'd be surprised if you see "poor color balance".

    Wait --- you are using the proper film for the light source - "Daylight" film in Daylight - ???


    I really cannot comment here. If the contact sheet looks OK ... that would be a scanner issue... I have *zero* - nada! experience in scanning negatives.

    Ed, the yellow color to the negative is due to color masking, not an intent to offset color balance to eliminate cyan filtration (although it has that side effect).

    This mask corrects color and eliminates the impurities introduced by the organic dyes used. That mask is tailored specifically for each film and therefore the yellowish orange cast will vary as will the relative speeds of the 3 color layers to balance the film.

    The cyan, magenta, and yellow dye densities over and above that mask should be 'normal' and balanced in a neutral and therefore looking at a neutral image you should see a neutral spot, not a colored spot. So by examining a negative you would be able to judge whether a given dye is lacking.

    You are correct in that a tungsten film under the wrong illuminant would do as you say, but there are few tungsten balance negative films available today. Of course that is not ruled out until it is checked.

    PE

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
    Ed, the yellow color to the negative is due to color masking, not an intent to offset color balance to eliminate cyan filtration (although it has that side effect).

    This mask corrects color and eliminates the impurities introduced by the organic dyes used. That mask is tailored specifically for each film and therefore the yellowish orange cast will vary as will the relative speeds of the 3 color layers to balance the film.

    The cyan, magenta, and yellow dye densities over and above that mask should be 'normal' and balanced in a neutral and therefore looking at a neutral image you should see a neutral spot, not a colored spot. So by examining a negative you would be able to judge whether a given dye is lacking.

    You are correct in that a tungsten film under the wrong illuminant would do as you say, but there are few tungsten balance negative films available today. Of course that is not ruled out until it is checked.

    PE
    Looking throught the posts again the only other thing not mentioned is inaccurate exposure but a fabulous Contax would seem to rule that one out. As a last resort it may be worth checking with another camera or meter. I realise this sounds as if it may be insulting Bob's intelligence. I know nothing about Contax cameras but would assume that if it shows exposure readings Bob's knowledge would have ruled out not spotting exposures that were way out.

    I am out of ideas except to endorse Ed's comment that a wet darkroom print is the key. If that's fine then the C41 problem is solved as it doesn't exist.

    If you can find a mini-lab in your area then speaking nicely to the manager who hopefully is a photgraphic buff will get you a print for a reasonable price and quickly.

    Pentaxuser

  10. #10
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
    Ed, the yellow color to the negative is due to color masking, not an intent to offset color balance to eliminate cyan filtration (although it has that side effect).
    This mask corrects color and eliminates the impurities introduced by the organic dyes used. That mask is tailored specifically for each film and therefore the yellowish orange cast will vary as will the relative speeds of the 3 color layers to balance the film.
    Interesting. I did not choose to "grind very fine" in my post. The end result is that color negatives will appear to be "too yellow" when inspected visually. I remember the "old" AgfaColor, without whatever masking, that did not exhibit the "yellow cast". For a long time, that was my most favorite film.

    It is only in "special circumstances" as - now, where I will produce prints of a model illuminated by the color transparency images of flowers, trees, stone walls, etc,, projected through a Hasselblad PCP80 Projector, that any cyan filtration will be necessary. That is a technical challenge: 5500K daylight film used to capture an image illuminated by a 3800K (??? - something like that --) lamp - all bets would be off anyway, after the light passes through the transparency.

    BTW - I've found the Camera and Darkroom issue describing the Kodak K-14 process - January, 1989; and I'll post it here or as an Article (nostalgic) when I find time. Hopefully, I will find some time.
    Shades of Seattle Film works - the first step was "Rem-Jet" removal -- 5-10 seconds @ 85 deg. F. Sixteen steps total, including the last: "Dry 4 min. @ 105F.

    My interest in Camera and Darkroom (oops - named Darkroom Photography then...) has not waned - I MISS that magazine.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

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