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  1. #1
    ben-s's Avatar
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    Colour printing help?

    I was browsing round the Calumet site earlier, and I noticed a 100 sheet box of kodak colour paper for just over £16. This got me thinking, and I believe I already have all the kit I need to make real colour prints;
    I have an enlarger with a dichroic colour head and a Jobo CPE-2 with one of the big 2840 print drums - Am I right in thinking this is all I need on the equipment front?

    What would you recommend as regards paper and chemistry? - I would be printing from a mixture of Fuji and Kodak film.

    I'll link to the stuff I've found (by the simple expedient of sorting the appropriate sections of the Calumet site by price ), and I'd appreciate it if someone could say yea or nay to my ideas;
    Paper: "Kodak Ultra 8X10 100 Sheets F"
    Soup: "Tetenal Limited COLORTEC RA4 5L PRO PRINT KIT"

    I'm not really bothered whether the chemistry comes in kit form or individual concentrates.

    As I understand it, the process is very similar to the C-41 process - Dev, Blix, Wash - Is this correct?

    Thanks
    Lens caps and cable releases can become invisible at will. :D

  2. #2

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    I always have to check what Kodak is calling what this week. I think that's what used to be Portra Endura instead of Supra Endura. I like it. But then I liked the Supra III to -) The Kodak papers are likely your best choice. Stick to the pro lines. The consumer paper is IIRC higher contrast and not any cheaper.

    I don't know the Tetenal kit.

    I stick a stop between the Dev and Blix. May not be needed but hasn't hurt yet. I don't think it's supposed to be an indicator stop so if you go with the stop just get a plain one.

  3. #3
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Just don't use any color paper developer from anyone that uses CD4 in the kit. Your colors and your image stability will suffer.

    And, use a 30" stop with 2% acetic acid after the developer. You can use Kodak indicator stop bath.

    PE

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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Just don't use any color paper developer from anyone that uses CD4 in the kit. Your colors and your image stability will suffer.

    And, use a 30" stop with 2% acetic acid after the developer. You can use Kodak indicator stop bath.

    PE
    OK it now raises the $64,000 question. Which RA4 kits use CD4 and how do we find out?

    PE. Clearly we can rule out Kodak as being an offender. Trouble is there are a few Kodak kit stockists in the UK but they are very big kits with the usual attendant shelf life problem unless you have 100s of prints to do and in a relatively short time.

    Tetenal and Fotospeed cater for the small user quite well but my experience is that getting to the bottom of what ingredients they contain isn't always possible.

    Why do some companies use CD4 if there is a longevity problem? Was it once thought to be OK and subsequent research proved otherwise so big companies like Kodak switched?

    On what timescale are problems likely to manifest themselves?

    Thanks

    pentaxuser

  5. #5
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    CD4 develops more rapidly than CD3. This allows the developer to work at lower temperatures in the 'normal' 45 second development time for a 100 F process.

    I've found that the CD3 vs CD4 yields worse dyes with CD4 with lower stability with the couplers in color papers.

    Also, you can use Kodak RA-RT developer replenisher at 68 deg F for 2 minutes and get excellent images with no problem in the hue of the dyes or their stability.

    So, you usually find CD4 in kits that advertize use at low temperature. I can't say which companies use it at this time. I can say that they sometimes give this information clearly on the bottle or in the MSDS.

    PE

  6. #6
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ben-s View Post
    I was browsing round the Calumet site earlier, and I noticed a 100 sheet box of kodak colour paper for just over £16. This got me thinking, and I believe I already have all the kit I need to make real colour prints;
    I have an enlarger with a dichroic colour head and a Jobo CPE-2 with one of the big 2840 print drums - Am I right in thinking this is all I need on the equipment front?

    What would you recommend as regards paper and chemistry? - I would be printing from a mixture of Fuji and Kodak film.

    I'll link to the stuff I've found (by the simple expedient of sorting the appropriate sections of the Calumet site by price ), and I'd appreciate it if someone could say yea or nay to my ideas;
    Paper: "Kodak Ultra 8X10 100 Sheets F"
    Soup: "Tetenal Limited COLORTEC RA4 5L PRO PRINT KIT"

    I'm not really bothered whether the chemistry comes in kit form or individual concentrates.

    As I understand it, the process is very similar to the C-41 process - Dev, Blix, Wash - Is this correct?

    Thanks
    Ben,

    I had the exact same reasoning as you a few weeks ago. I had bought a colour enlarger with the intent of using it for B&W and for having just a better enlarger than I had already. But then the enlarger came with a drum and a motor base, plus other sundry items.

    So yep, if you have the dichro head and a drum processing unit, you're in very, very good shape to start developing. Your Jobo has everything you need for temperature control and timing; you must already have plenty of other darkroom items like measuring cups and mixing jugs.

    Here are a few things to consider:

    * First, read everything in this Kodak publication:
    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe.../j39/j39.jhtml

    It applies mostly to the Kodak chemicals, but the principles remain.

    * Ultra Endura is the high contrast Kodak paper. You might want to start with Supra Endura instead, which is the normal contrast paper.

    * If you can afford it, buy a box of Endura and a box of Crystal Archive. Using Fuji with Fuji and Kodak with Kodak might help in certain cases. I have a certain photograph that prints nicely on Kodak, but the colours do not match at all what I can see on CA. At any rate, that will give you an idea. Colour paper is cheaper than B&W paper (!!!) so it's worth doing a few tests.

    * To process RA-4, the steps are:
    - Prewet
    - Developer
    - Stop bath
    - Wash
    - Blix
    - Final wash

    In a hurry, you can omit the stop bath and subsequent wash, but you have a greater chance of processing errors. I ditch the stop bath for quick exposure checks (1-stop ballpark figure), never for colour balance proper.

    Developer temperature is the most critical: you should be spot on, no variation. On the other hand, there is a bracket of temps for the other steps, so you don't have to agonize over temp. But then, you have a Jobo so you're a happy man.

    * In terms of chemicals, the only ones I've used so far are the Kodak ones. I could find developer for 1-Gallon and Blix for 10L. 1 gal is not a huge lot of solution, and it keeps for a while in properly stoppered bottles (read Kodak's publication for duration). So I mixed everything, and stored in amber bottles. Blix can last pretty well in concentrated form, so I just mix 1L at a time. Kodak provides instruction in the pub linked above concerning proportions for partial mixes.

    * Get yourself a set of Kodak Color Print Viewing Filters on eBay or elsewhere (it may be a discontinued item). These will help you a lot figuring out which directions to correct for your colour balance. Also, picking up a colour darkroom book (almost any book) may help to understand colour balance. Kodak's publications are good and cheap: Colour Dataguide, Basic Developing & Enlarging in Color, etc.

    * If you use Kodak chemistry, beware that there is a one-shot process (RA-4) and a replenished process (RA-RT). I would stick with the one-shot process in your case.

    * Finally, keep a blow dryer around because you should judge a print only when it's completely dry. Wet RA prints have a bluish cast that may or may not be apparent, but which would distort colour balance judgements.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by pentaxuser View Post
    PE. Clearly we can rule out Kodak as being an offender. Trouble is there are a few Kodak kit stockists in the UK but they are very big kits with the usual attendant shelf life problem unless you have 100s of prints to do and in a relatively short time.
    Hi,
    I recently started color printing myself. I didn't get a kit. Instead, I bought separate components. I got:

    Kodak Ektacolor RA Paper Developer, 1 Gallon.
    Here it is it adorama: http://www.adorama.com/KKRADG.html

    and I got:

    Kodak Ektacolor RA2 Bleach/Fix SM Tank, 6.3L
    http://www.adorama.com/KKRABFG.html

    for my Blix.

    It's quite easy to mix up partial amounts of developer and Blix from these components. If you put the remaining concentrates into smaller glass bottles, they should keep quite well.

    Also, you will go through more paper printing color than you will printing B&W. This is because you need to determine both exposure and color balance.
    On that note, I would recommend you get yourself a Jobo 2820 Test print drum. You can use this drum to process 4x5 sheets of paper using only 40ml of chemistry at a time. This should save you a lot in paper and chemistry while you're getting the color balance right. You also will probably want to get a set of print viewing filters to help determine color balance.

    You should definitely give it a try - it's great fun.

  8. #8

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    One more thing - get your self a good color thermometer and use it to monitor the temperature of the water bath in the Jobo and the temp of your chemistry.

  9. #9
    ben-s's Avatar
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    Thanks Everyone!
    Michael & dslater, It's nice to hear from people who have gone down the same route as I'm considering.

    I was very surprised at the price of colour paper - as far as I am aware, it is devilishly complicated stuff to make, with many layers. I guess it all comes down to the quantity they make - at the speed they apparently run their coaters, a 100 sheet box would probably consume about a second or two of production!


    PE; I'm afraid I don't really know anything about the CD4 business - I take it Kodak made a new dev and called it CD4, then after it had been on the market a while, pulled the plug because it's couplers were short lived?

    How would I find out if a particular chemistry used CD4? - Is the giveaway the processing themerature?

    Tetenal make several kits, a few of which are "suitable for tray processing" - would these be the ones to be wary of?
    The kit I linked says it's for machine processing.
    I can't find any reference to CD4 in the tetenal info pages - any suggestions where I might find out definitely?
    Lens caps and cable releases can become invisible at will. :D

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhv View Post

    * Ultra Endura is the high contrast Kodak paper. You might want to start with Supra Endura instead, which is the normal contrast paper.
    .

    I always considered Portra Endura more the normal. Supra a bit higher. I think the stuff he's looking at is Portra but I can't keep up with Kodak Also for all I know the stuff may have different names in the UK.

    For a therometer a baby digital works fairly well. It's accurate in the colour zone. Down side is they tend to be kind of slow.

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