NY? The database server MUST be screwed up, or the queries. I'm in Indiana??? Ok...(them Yonkers are always screwing with us Hoosiers... ) Anyways, Time & Temp:
Jill, It really depends on what process you are working on. If it's E-6, I'd say that time and temperature is somewhat critical. Why? Because the film IS the final product. No post-processing correction, etc. For C-41, time, temp, hell, even chemical life isn't as critical (I just got done developing 10 rolls of C-41 with chemical I mixed over 6 weeks ago from a C-41 kit made in 1992) and guess what? These negs print with the same tonality, density, and color filtration as the ones I processed with fresh chemical. Hmmm.
With C-41 (like B&W), you can have a few degrees + or -, or up to 15 seconds off either way. You can correct for any "oddities" in printing. The primary key is to be consistent. If you start the timer after pouring in the chemicals, always do the same, if you always start pouring after the timer hits 0:00, always do it.
The best thing to control temperature is to use a Jobo (used CPE-2's w/ lift go for about $150.00 these days) or get a nice Autolab. The three bath, room temperature kits are ok, but the don't always produce the best or most consistent results. I used one in a hotel room on vacation and the negs weren't bad, but when I tried printing the negs once I got home, there were about 5-10 C or 5-10 M variations between films.
For E-6, I always use the 6 bath. It lasts longer, produces more contrast, and is definitely more consistent. If you use an temperature controlled processor, the best starting temperature is 101-101.8F on the water bath. This allows for temperature changes, removals and lid openings, etc.
For RA-4 and P3000/30, I use a modified Ilford Cibachrome CAP-40 processor. Guess what? You "not supposed to" run RA-4 at 83F, but 83F @ 2 minutes (which is what the process does and only does) works great. I've done a ton of production AND competition prints off this machine and I paid...uh, nothing, for the machine.
Now, as far as testing go, I don't read charts, I hate other peoples tests (I'm a firm scientist/scientific believer that "I don't believe until *I* do/see") and I keep deeply detailed notes. So, when I test, I use real-world tests (not "ideal condition" testing). Again, the only point to really maintain is to be consistent throughout the testing process.
What it really boils down to is: the notes about consistency that you read in all the chem packaging is to make people paranoid (X-files?) but, the paranoia keeps people on their toes and makes beginners with that chem pay attention.
Also, the numbers for time and temp you read are the numbers that were established by the manufacturer in their testing. So, they are more like "suggested, starting point" type numbers. If there were no "starting" numbers, there'd be a lot of people pissed off because they'd waste a whole 100 pack of paper trying to establish their first print!
Oh, and I usually exceed the recommended roll count per batch of chemicals too. (usually is 5-6 rolls of 120 ISO400 per 500ml, I do about 10 rolls) and never noticed a problem. The first roll printed at the same color settings as the last roll. They were all shot in studio without the lighting or camera settings changing and on the same stock. Hmmm. Again, manufacturer's don't want to post high numbers like 10 rolls and then get a flood of calls from people who screwed up their 10th roll because of improper mixing (like using those inaccurate-as-hell plastic "beakers" and "graduates" and those people who don't understand the concept in chemistry of "use the smallest measuring device possible for the desired quantity". You know, the people that try to measure 10ml in a 500ml beaker...)
The MOST sensitve & destructive thing to do to your C-41 & RA-4 chemistry is to drip a drop (yes, 1 drop) of blix or bleach into dev! This can be common with some of the Jobo boxes because of the close proximity of the measuring tubes. A lift cures this problem, but some people insist on doing it without a lift and when careless, it'll happen.
</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (lee @ May 4 2003, 02:08 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> Jill,
BTW, is 133 lpi enough screen for your artists? Are they doing their own printing? Are these negs used for plate making and then the plates are hung on your offset presses? Inquiring minds want to know.
lee\c </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
I made a phone call and struck out with the former company. However, I did a quick search on Google and found this address.
I have used their screens before and found them good. You can contact them directly.
</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Ed Sukach @ May 4 2003, 04:34 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>>>>> the manufacturers of film, paper, and chemicals used in "small lab" work use "strict tempertaure control" as a sort of safety valve, so that *any* unexplained results can be attributed to "improper temperatue control".<<<<<<
Uh...hate to disagree here, but time & temp (outside of pH, sp. gravity etc) are probably the most important controls in any processing. Any result--good or bad--comes from time & temp in processing. Personally I wouldn't take my film to any lab not running control strips or concerned with temp control. Just about every bad thing that has ever happened on our E6 machine has come from a water temp problem....same is true for the b&w deeptank and the Ilford paper processor...so I just don't get it here? You're gonna set up a lab--but you're not going to run control strips or try to meet the manufacturer's specs? If something happens to your film, you'll have nowhere to look for help, if you don't attempt to run a process as close to the manfacturer's standards....the "safety valve" is the range either side of the aims for the control strips. When you move beyond those limits, you start running into problems whether you immediately see it with your eyeballs or not. You might never even notice them in a small set-up--you probably never would have to even worry, but the minute you start trying to trouble shoot or get help from the tech support--they're gonna ask you about your process control, and you won't get but so far without them....if you're only running your own film, then maybe it's good enough for you? If you're setting up a commercial lab, you better make sure you figure all this out before running your customer's film, though, because they're not likely to be as forgiving if & when something goes wrong. Even if it's not your fault, everyone blames the lab.
Sorry for asking and then not finding the time to respond. My weekend didn't go well. Okay,...
Lee thank you for that clarification about the densitometer reading being in the "margins" I would have gone for a median using darkest/lightest. And thank you all for letting me know how to get started complying with the expectations you would each have of a lab. Also, Lee, the 133 line screen is the standard screen for lith printing. If lith prints generally meet your standards then so will these line screens. Usually linescreens are for printing as you say, but they can also be used easily for contact printing regular photographic material.
I agree films of all kinds including line films need more care than paper and I have been "winging" it fairly well with the same ideas and testing proceedures that you have mentioned. Not only do I generally develop more than the usual (depending on the job, some jobs scream for fresh developer, so I give it) but I also keep a few gallons of nearly expired developer because for some situations which call for excessive contrast reduction (ie a way too contrasty negative of artwork brought in by a customer who refuses to let me re-shoot the neg). I know I'm wicked but if it works. . . I use it.
Ed, Uhm I too have experienced the "oops, I got distracted and it processed too long routine." With film, I normally toss it, but paper is very forgiving. I always now on RA4 when it really over developed because it gets a goldeny orange cast all over it, yuck. If it is too short, I see too much majenta or even lavender.
David, I will try to find and read as suggested. Thank you.
KT- I am not setting up a standard commercial lab. Only large format. Secondly I am not "setting up" at all this company has been in business over 20 years, it is just that the services are now offered to professional photographers and artists directly rather than through other sources, like your local photo lab or printer.
I see and accept that to "prove" my work to my new clientelle I will need to incorporate certain tools in my editting procedures as well and I wll hop right on it, I really will. HOWEVER, you are wrong about technical assistance at Kodak and Agfa. My company is a long standing customer and I have direct contact with both salesman and techs. I call often and NEVER have I been asked to discuss a control strip. They are fully aware of all of the "unusual" things I do, like using flourescents for color printing and the unexpected results of over exposure with 36 in bellows, and they have always been delightful to brainstorm with. But my contacts are with the reprographic and aerial arena and they are a different breed.
Okay. I think I am all caught up here. Thank you again all of you for your considered input. PS. I didn't proofread this too well, cuz I getta get back to work, please forgive any oops's!
Embrace **it! **it. . .just another name for fertilizer. . . Grow baby Grow!
</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (DKT @ May 6 2003, 06:57 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'></span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Ed Sukach @ May 4 2003, 04:34 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>>>>> the manufacturers of film, paper, and chemicals used in "small lab" work use "strict tempertaure control" as a sort of safety valve, so that *any* unexplained results can be attributed to "improper temperatue control".<<<<<<
Uh...hate to disagree here, but time & temp (outside of pH, sp. gravity etc) are probably the most important controls in any processing. Any result--good or bad--comes from time & temp in processing. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
Wow! I could quote you entire reply. Let me try to simplify somewhat.
1. Time and temperature certaily are important. What I said was that there is a greater latitude - more "forgiveness of errors" in color processing that commonly thought. I have been *meticulous* in following manufacturers specifications, and there are - inevetiably - amounts of variation in the results that apear to be random and beyond control - but, in any case not *significant* enough to deter me from continuing.
2. "Any result -- good or bad -- comes from time and temperature in processing." It is easy to disagree here. Very *bad* results can be attributed to chemical contamination, improper sequencing (try pouring in the fixer *before* the developer), dropping the loaded tank on the floor and having it pop open ... someone opening the door to the lab while you are loading the film...
3. Where did I say that I did not do control strips? True, I only rarely do "clip tests" on film - I haven't found them to be worth the effort ... but I *always* do "test strips" when I print color. *NOT* doing test strips would not be worth the additional effort.
4. "If I move beyond those limits..." ?? I don't .. not intentionally.
5. "Whether I see it with my own eyeballs or not..." I use a color densitometer all the time. The **final** judgement DOES come from my "eyeballs". See also "aesthetics."
6. "Everyone blames the lab." Not from my experience in teaching. Usually the emerging photographer will blame themselves, the film, the camera... the phase of the moon. I spend a lot of time trying to teach students to identify lousy processing.
I hope this clarifies my last post.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
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Well--I guess I misread your post then, I thought you were asking about running color in your shop...I run E6 where I work, and we deal with both Kodak and Fuji tech support--yes, they do want to know about your plots. It will be one of the first things they ask you, and some of your customers might be interested in them as well. There's just so far you can get with E6, and I would assume C41/RA4 -but my work experience in labs has been that you standardize with process control--via control strips. I run a b&w deeptank line, an E6 machine and a roller transport b&w processor as part of my job now.
FWIW--there are a couple of ways to offer these services as you say--(but still, when I read what you're saying about the RA4 and such, it just makes me nuts almost--from a lab standpoint.) But for b&w, you can either set up a custom line, where you hand-tailor your process to each film. Or, you set up a line where you run it all the same, or in batch times where you break the film out for a couple of different times. You can use Kodak control strips for the b&w. The strip is based off TMY stock. They have a manual called "Monitoring and Troubleshooting Black and White Film Processes"--Z133E. The E6 manual is Z119, and is a big binder-with the control charts etc. B&W is pretty easy compared to E6--I quit running control strips for b&w years ago, but run them for E6. You'll need the right densitometers of course for each process, and the control strips will need to be kept within date, and in a freezer just prior to your run. You'll need to either run them first thing, or at set periods through the day--or as needed. It's very important that you do things the same every time. If you run the strips by themselves--always run them alone. If you do it with a run of film--always have them in the same location in the tank, rack or tube. There is no "winging it" to this sort of processing--you need to be like a robot....it's a job, it's not exactly fun, but it's not rocket science either...it can be fun, but it needs to be repeatable to the point of where you can do it with your eyes closed on autopilot... all the above for chem mixing & maintenance as well.These are the standards most pros want their film to be processed against--and believe it or not--Kodak and Fuji do care about your control strips. They have no way of helping you otherwise.
Good luck with your business though. Hope this helps....
p.s.-- if you're interested---Aristo makes an additive color head for printing color. it's a coldlight with red, green and blue tubes.
sorry, KT, I don't want to drive you crazy. Really I will find out about what you suggest. Control strips will be a grand way to be sure.
When I first tried to shoot a slide of an oil painting and obviously my first time at E-6, I follow the directions like crazy. But since my cameras do not work on the same exposure scales as the littler ones, after about 7 or 8 tests, I was not sure if the problem was the exposure or the processing. So I sent one to be processed by the local guy whom the photographers used to use *wink*, it came out all cyany. I complained but he said, my control strips were perfect. . .I called around and found out that all of the local photographers who send E-6 to his lab for processing have had to go to using red filters to compensate for his developing. Well, I was also getting a very cyany slide so I read and called and found out that the problem was the acidity of the developer. He has been in business over 20 years and I guess he never figured this out, but his control strips were perfect. That was my last experience with control strips and since his customers beginning to come to me and slapping down his work with a "can you do any better than this." I am almost afraid to get tooooooo control strip crazy. Even so, I only develop in house film. You shoot it, you send it to be developed whereever you normally go. I only develop film that I have shot for someone, usually for reproduction, internegs, print negs. I print other's negatives and slides onto paper or film, but only develop in house neg and slides. I do not have nor do I want to have the routine of sticking things in one end of a machine and waiting for it to poop out the other end, too boring for me. I love the challenge of printing and reproduction.
Embrace **it! **it. . .just another name for fertilizer. . . Grow baby Grow!
I just noticed your PS thank you for that idea. Since I have to be able to cover 20 x 24 inch negative vacuum glass, none of the usual lighting will work and any equipment with the word aerial in it is VERY expensive, although our products and papers seem considerable less expensive. I will look into it though. Right now I use the existing 20x24 inch flourescent light deck and have found a very unique solution to the obvious problems, but as yet I have not shared it with anyone, trade secret no one will ever use because they will have the right lighting.
Embrace **it! **it. . .just another name for fertilizer. . . Grow baby Grow!
Well, E6 is a PIA to run, and the problem with control strips is that they aren't the same as the film you run. The strip reflects the process--so you need to use a little of both. A one-shot E6 will almost never be as good as a replenished line. What's good for one film is not always good for another. Fuji and Kodak have slightly different tastes for E6, so keep this in mind--like I was saying above--everyone blames the lab in the end, right or wrong. I'm not so quick to judge....) To be in-control, is to be within a certain amount of fudge room either side of the aim. It's usually about 10 pts CC and up to a half stop for speed. Not every film type is going to run exactly the same, if you only run a couple of types, you're better off than running a gazillion different emulsions. Then you have the whole other side of color that deals with film emulsions, viewing conditions etc. Everything needs to be calibrated or else looked at in context. If you run enough film, you'll eventually see this, even with b&w....the control strips eventually help you avert some sort of disaster or help you troubleshoot your way by process of elimination. They're the only diagnostic tool that the manufacturers can help you with. They assume that you're trying to meet their specs--in reality not many labs actually can do this. It's like a daily struggle....
Then with paintings and artwork--this stuff is hard to reproduce accurately anyways because of the way emulsions see color and the way pigments reflect & absorb light as well. There are colors that you'll almost never be able to accurately reproduce on film.
Oh yeah--think about this though. You say it's "too boring"--well, this is process control. The purpose is to save you the time and headaches in trying to get accurate reproduction and quality control. It's the same thing as shooting with color bars & grayscales and then correcting back to them. I'm not working in a fine-art or commercial photo studio either--we do studio/technical documentation of objects--artifacts. They need to be accurate and on a stable medium because we're basically an archive and our mission is to use this material as a historical record. So, yeah it may sound boring, but it needs to be right. The perfect neg or print to me is the one that comes off effortlessly because of good technique...I kinda take pride in the fact that we can pull out negs or chromes from our files from years ago, and they will print with the same times etc as the ones we shot yesterday. Our system is in-tune and it helps with the workflow....I was taught that this was what being a professional was all about, and it's what is expected of me on the job.
Good luck, KT