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  1. #1
    Nikkorray's Avatar
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    Color Printing at Home

    I've done exclusively b&w printing at home & was thinking about the feasibility of printing color on my Durst CLS450. I have absolutely no experience with color printing so I'm looking for some advice. Here are just a few questions that I have to start with:

    1) Is there a good website or book where I can get a primer on color printing?
    2) Is it way more expensive/complicated than printing b&w and are the supplies readily available?
    3) What are the basic chemicals do I need to get started?

    I'm not looking to developing film at home right now... just trying to get a handle on how to make prints.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    Yes, you can print at home. I would recommend the monobath formulas that allow room temperature processing. Kodak formulas require much hotter chemistry than B&W. A good book would be Exploring Color Photography which I have used as a textbook during color courses. It is comprehensive. You will need a set of Lee Color Print viewing filters and a color corrected light source in order to judge the color of the prints. While large machines are usually used commercially, you can process the prints in trays or in a drum using a motor base or just the counter top. It takes some practice, but good prints can be made at home.
    www.gregorytdavis.com

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  3. #3

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    Yes You Can!

    Less than six months ago I found myself in exactly the position you describe. I can tell you that it is neither as hard or expensive as I feared. I am now making color prints (from negatives) that I am very happy with.

    For guidance, I would suggest Kodak's website—there is a wealth of helpful information there—and archived posts on this forum.

    I develop my prints in tubes and use a motor base, all acquired via auction for less than $50. I use Kodak's Supra Endura paper and the 10 liter RA/RT Developer/Replenisher (without starter) ($23) and 5 liter RA Bleach/Replenisher ($15), all ordered from Calumet.

    I temper all of the chemicals in a bucket with an aquarium heater, but you'll read here that you can also do it at room temperature.

    So if you're eager to give it a try, I'd say go ahead and take the plunge.

    --Ben

  4. #4

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    Dear Ray,

    Search the forum using the keywords RA-4 and trays. Obtain a Kodak Color Darkroom DATGUIDE (they are out of print but you can find them on amazon.com).

    Neal Wydra

  5. #5

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    I did the same thing in May of this year. If you don't already have one, a dichro head for your enlarger would make things a lot easier. I use the chems at room temp and get great results. I probably burned up around a box of paper getting used to the idea of subtractive colour balance. Good advice to buy a motor base and processing tubes. They are cheap on ebay now. Way easier than I thought it would be! Some of my early results are posted in my gallery.
    Rick Jason.
    "I'm still developing"

  6. #6
    Domin's Avatar
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    It can be done at room temperature but I found that half C degree difference in color developer temperature makes a perceptible change in color balance. I guesstimate its a few CC. I tested it using tetenal amateur kit and tetenal minilab chemistry both behave similarly in this respect.

  7. #7
    rossawilson1's Avatar
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    Like most people here I found it all surprisingly easy.

    1) Is there a good website or book where I can get a primer on color printing?
    This website, photo.net.. but really all the instruction you need comes with the chemicals. Here and photo.net will just give you some insights to experiences but everyone's set up and more importantly method varies so don't take it as gospel. I recommend a book, The Darkroom handbook.. useful but equipment wise somewhat dated.

    2) Is it way more expensive/complicated than printing b&w and are the supplies readily available?
    I rarely pay attention to the cost, about the same maybe.. as for complicated.. identifying colour casts and removing them without bringing in another can be a challenge (but fun too) however once you've done this for one neg, all other photos on that neg type will be within a small variation of those original settings.. so easier than B&W in someways. In the UK I know of at least 3 places that will supply me with everything for my colour darkroom within three days to my door. I imagine there are even more in the US.. ignore those strange types who can't seem to find anything.. maybe they don't like buying online.. in which case you could be screwed.

    3) What are the basic chemicals do I need to get started?
    I'd try a room temperature kit, I use Tetenal, I've tried a 35 degree kit but didn't notice a difference, in fact the saturation in the room temp kit was better I found. It'll be a lot easier and less frustrating whilst starting for the first time. If you become convinced you want 35 degree kits, fine, but do that later, don't kill off your enthusiasm waiting for the temperature to come up and trying to keep it there.

    Other than that you need a roller drum or trays or a nova slot or a machine of some kind. I recommend Nova slot processors, get one with three slots, the chemicals keep for ages unlike trays, the consistency is great, and there is no cleaning or drying like a drum.. machines maybe better, but only because they're automated.

    Soon as you get the first print out all your concerns will melt and you'll realise you just need to twiddle a few knobs to get a massively satisfying experience and amazing prints.

  8. #8
    rossawilson1's Avatar
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    If you do try and need a hand working out which colours to add and subtract to make/remove other colours then let me know and I'll write them out for you.

    I'll second the notion to get Lee Color Print viewing filters, and the colour correct light source for viewing.. a daylight lamp or something.

  9. #9
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    Ross, how do you dispose of your chemicals?

    I had read ages ago, that they were very corosive to pipes. And also, I remember somewhat that color chemicals were "neutralized" at the communal darkroom before being discarded.

    Dee

  10. #10
    Nikkorray's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for your responses and answers. Nice to hear the experiences you have with color printing. I'll research the supplies listed above & see if I can get started on it after the holidays are over. Thanks again.

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