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  1. #1
    tim_walls's Avatar
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    Ilfochrome printing - filters?

    I'd like to try my hand at some Ilfochrome printing sometime, but having never done any colour printing at all have some probably stupid questions about filters; apologies if this sounds stupid, but any advice would be gratefully received!


    Anyway, at the moment I have a B&W condenser enlarger head. I sort of assume that unlike colour neg printing, I could stick an Ilfochrome directly under it (or with only a UV filter) and actually get some kind of passable image; but, to do anything seriously I'm assuming I'd still need to make adjustments for colour casts.

    I have no interest whatsoever in colour negative printing; and from what I've read, with Ilfochrome once you've got yourself a 'standard' colour balance you don't need to make adjustments slide-to-slide or print-to-print. Which means the inconvenience of using colour printing filters rather than a dichroic head may not be that great.

    Soooo... My dilemma is, I can buy a dichroic head for my enlarger, but obviously it will cost. Or, I can buy a set of colour printing filters from someone like Lee and do it 'by hand', on the assumption that it'll be a pain at first but once I've got a basic handle on things no more trouble than changing multigrade filters is for B&W.

    Any advice/experience on which is a better path?

  2. #2

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    You don't say which enlarger you have.

    Why not look for a used colour enlarger? They tend to be even cheaper then condensor enlargers. Some people get the idea you can't use the head for B&W. When in reality the colour filters make using VC B&W paper that much easier.

  3. #3
    tim_walls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Zentena View Post
    You don't say which enlarger you have.

    Why not look for a used colour enlarger? They tend to be even cheaper then condensor enlargers. Some people get the idea you can't use the head for B&W. When in reality the colour filters make using VC B&W paper that much easier.
    Sorry, didn't think it was relevant. A Meopta Magnifax; it has a filter tray for above the lens filters, and it's also easy enough to get hold of a dichroic head - the question is, do I really *need* one or not for just Ilfochromes.

    (The cost isn't necessarily the main barrier - if I need one, I'll worry about what's the most cost-effective way of doing it then - the hassle factor is just as important. I live in a very small flat, the wife has just about come to terms with the Magnifax, having two is right out so buying another one means the hassle of selling the other - in short, it's just a pain I'd rather not have if using colour filters instead is practical.)

  4. #4
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    Using filters in the filter drawer above the lens will work just fine. But you are mistaken about not having to check each image for proper color balance. I have found some variances printing slides from the same roll. There is usually some variance in the light that may not be noticeable on the light table but shows in the print. It's not particularly difficult though, Ilfochrome is a slow paper with a wide exposure lattitude and takes twice as much filter change to have the same effect as color neg printing.

    Just remember that it's backwards from printing from negs - burning will lighten an area and dodging will darken it. Since it's pos to pos, filter adj means adding yellow to the filter pack will add yellow to the print. If there is too much green, you need to add magenta, etc.

    Good luck,

    Bob
    "I always take a camera, That way I never have to say 'Gee, look at that - I wish I had a camera'" -Joe Clark, H.B.S.S.

  5. #5
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    Tim
    As Bob said your approach will work, what will be a bit of a pain will be finding your initial filter pack, once you do the balance will stay consistant within 10pts colour. I found that like Bob each image will need/ some adjustment.
    I would look for a used dichroic head for the future , as they should be cheap and your life will be much easier with the dial in filters.

  6. #6
    tim_walls's Avatar
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    Bob/Bob,

    Thanks for that, much appreciated.

    I think I'll put a used dichroic head on the list for the future then, I think, but see if I can get hold of some acetate filters now, then. If I like the results I'm getting then a new head will be easier to justify!

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    Tim
    go for it for sure, the filter pack for cibachrome is quite a bit different than that of RA4, you may need a cyan series as well as the Yellow/ Magenta series.The last filter pack that I used with dichroic head. was 10cyan,0 yellow/4-15magenta for a nuetral balance, I do not have any idea how this may help you by using acetate filters.. PE is very good at this sort of thing and he may chip in some ideas.

    Quote Originally Posted by tim_walls View Post
    Bob/Bob,

    Thanks for that, much appreciated.

    I think I'll put a used dichroic head on the list for the future then, I think, but see if I can get hold of some acetate filters now, then. If I like the results I'm getting then a new head will be easier to justify!

  8. #8
    tim_walls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    Tim
    go for it for sure, the filter pack for cibachrome is quite a bit different than that of RA4, you may need a cyan series as well as the Yellow/ Magenta series.The last filter pack that I used with dichroic head. was 10cyan,0 yellow/4-15magenta for a nuetral balance, I do not have any idea how this may help you by using acetate filters.. PE is very good at this sort of thing and he may chip in some ideas.
    Thanks Bob! I've been in touch with Lee Filters here in the UK and they offer CP filters at a pretty reasonable price. I was looking at a set of 05/10/20/40 in yellow, magenta & cyan.

    I've seen use of a blue 020 or 025 filter mentioned as well, although with no explanation why - I assume that's to correct the tungsten light source? Is that needed for Ilfochromes (I think I read somewhere that Ilfochrome was balanced for tungsten anyway, but I could have dreamt that!)?

  9. #9
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    I don't think you will need the blue filter, but see if you can tighten the range a bit, from 1 .2.5 . 5 and so on
    I am a bit worried about your starting pack as I stated earlier , it may be quite heavy*ie strong filters* to get you in the ball park. I cannot help you here as I don't know. I would suggest only buying one filter *10* of each colour to see if you are anywhere near. Use only two filters as mixing three filters CMY will only introduce Nuetral Density which will mean longer exposures.
    The cibachrome product is very slow as compared to RA4 and you will be into long exposures which will introduce other problems, specifically condensor light is hot which will buckle your transparancies, 120 film is very thin and fragile as compared to 35mm .
    This could mean glass carrier which opens another whole can of whoopass, which is trying to keep your image clean.
    Have I scared you off yet, hope not but welcome to Ciba. when everything works you will piss your pants with glee, but be prepared for some technical crap to sort out.

    Quote Originally Posted by tim_walls View Post
    Thanks Bob! I've been in touch with Lee Filters here in the UK and they offer CP filters at a pretty reasonable price. I was looking at a set of 05/10/20/40 in yellow, magenta & cyan.

    I've seen use of a blue 020 or 025 filter mentioned as well, although with no explanation why - I assume that's to correct the tungsten light source? Is that needed for Ilfochromes (I think I read somewhere that Ilfochrome was balanced for tungsten anyway, but I could have dreamt that!)?

  10. #10

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    Dear Tim,

    Make your life easier and cheaper by starting your color printing experience with negative film. It is a bit easier to color balance when using slides as you have something to compare your print to, but the cost and ease of RA-4 make up for it. Search the forum for RA-4 tray processing.

    BTW: A nice color head is great for b&w printing on variable contrast paper as well as for color.

    Neal Wydra

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