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Thread: Colour printing

  1. #1

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    Colour printing

    I shoot mainly black and white in 4x5, 120, and 8x10, but I also shoot colour negative in those formats and want to take a whack at colour printing. I am especially interested in contact printing from 8x10 negatives. I am not interested in developing colour film at this time.

    When I do shoot colour, it is mostly Portra 160 NC. I have a DeVere 504 with Dichroic head and a Jobo CPE-2 with lift.

    I know nothing about colour printing so I am looking for recommendations of websites or books that that can walk me through it.

  2. #2
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    I'll just link to a previous long answer I gave to a similar question:
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum40/4...tml#post519255

    I'm printing at home using a Unicolor, and found out that the whole process really isn't hard when you have some kind of drum system. I would hate to do it in trays!
    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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    This is perfect. Thanks a lot!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhv View Post
    I'm printing at home using a Unicolor, and found out that the whole process really isn't hard when you have some kind of drum system. I would hate to do it in trays!
    The drum vs. tray issue is definitely one of personal preference. Drums seem to be the way that it's usually described in beginners' articles, but I found that I hated drums. They slow down the process, particularly since the drums have got to be very thoroughly dried -- I found out the hard way that a single drip can cause a green streak on paper. Although working in complete darkness can be a little eerie at times, I prefer that to dealing with the problems drums have caused me. Others (probably a majority) certainly disagree with me, and I certainly don't mean to imply that they're wrong in any objective way -- as I said, it's an issue of personal preference. I therefore recommend that somebody starting with color printing try both methods, if possible.

    Of course, an automated print-processing machine would probably be better still, but I don't own such a thing and therefore can't comment on them....

  5. #5
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Yeah, drums are kind of slow, but they are ideal when you don't have a safe space to keep trays in a tempered bath. I can print B&W in my makeshift darkroom without problem, but I don't want to work in total darkness in that crappy hole. Should I ever move to a place where a wet side in darkness is impossible, drums would be my lifeline, for both B&W and colour.

    My drum setup is in my bathroom, and I can produce a print in about 5 mins, dry to dry (if I skip the stop+rinse before the blix). I worry about water drops only when I'm ready to make the final print. Otherwise, a quick wipe with a towel does the trick.

    Plus, chemistry only lasts about 4h in a tray, whereas it is used single-shot in a drum, so the unused volume does not degrade if properly stored.

    Drums also allow you to print large prints without the need to spend vast amounts of solutions as well.

    I would absolutely give trays a go if I had some decent means of keeping their temperature constant, though.
    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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  6. #6

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    One drum is slow. Three or four isn't. In todays market you can almost buy print drums for less then 8x10 trays and even new they are cheaper then 16x20 trays.

    The other thing is if I'm in a rush I can run multiple prints into a big drum. It's easy if you're making a few copies of a print to just expose. Load drum. Expose. Load repeat until the drum/drums are full then process. Or if you have an analyzer you trust you can do the same with single prints.

    I wash the drum out after the run. Then leave it drip drying in the sink. Once I've run out of dry drums I grab the one in the sink and give it a quick wipe with a paper towel. Done.

    I guess a roller easel and a print processor would be a quicker setup but drums don't slow me down enough to matter. Now if you're in a commerical enviroment creating print after print every minute of the day then it's a different issue.

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    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    Anything technically wrong with room-temperature RA4 chemicals? I've only printed colour a few times (and those were cross-processed E6 in C41 so colour balance was not an issue). Using Fotospeed room-temp chemicals in trays was dead easy. No detectable odour and good keeping capabilities.

    Cheers, Bob.

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    I know PE often mentions using room temp so I'd think nothing wrong.

    Personally I just feel more comfortable with using RA-4 temps. It's one less variable.

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    Anything technically wrong with room-temperature RA4 chemicals?
    No, the process is just a bit slower than the higher temperature variant, although also room-temp RA-4 can be done on 27 degrees C in 2x30S.
    Most disadvantage is the high fall out of deposit. Fotospeed RA-4 is Amaloco RA-4 (K43) compatible.

    A Nova is nice or a semi-automatic developing machine (Thermaphot, Durst) is pretty handy when doing some more RA-4 prints. Cleaning drums and drying them is pretty boring soon.

  10. #10
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    Don, I have a similar enlarger set-up to yours and have done 8x10 colour contact prints.

    I would suggest you look at working out how to print colour using a 4x5 neg and projection printing first, then move to contact printing with 8x10.

    The reason I'm suggesting this way, is speed. One can quickly do a multiple set of exposures and/or filter variations, on one 8x10" piece of paper.

    Once you understand and grasp a basic knowledge of practical colour printing then I would suggest you can slow down and do your 8x10 contacts.

    Colour contact printing has one slight difference over projection printing, the orange mask is different between films and manufacturers. Using normal colour enlarging techniques you will by trial and error, eventually arrive at correct colour, or what you call correct colour, for a given type of film and light.

    Usually you have two methods to maintain this correct colour balance. Fastidious record keeping, or learn how to use a colour analyser.

    The analyser is not going to be workable for contact printing, therefore meticulous recording is the way to go.

    Once you are up and running, you will be pleasantly surprised at just how easy colour printing is. You may even go further and start developing colour film, then you'll see results that are so consistent, you'll wonder why you didn't start sooner.

    Mick.

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