Color printing with "digital" paper
I'm starting to print color optically in the next weeks. As Kodak discontinued Supra Endura, (link: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum172/...ra-endura.html ), we've been abandoned with Ultra Endura or their "digital" papers (Supra Endura VC digital). Have you tried to print with an enlarger on these products? What can I expect from it?
KODAK website says:
Can I use SUPRA ENDURA VC Digital Paper for optical printing?
Yes. When exposed optically the image will be high in contrast. If balanced on flesh tones, the neutrals will appear cyan.
This sounds like almost unusable to me, or a cross-process look. But who knows, maybe this paper works better for reversal processing ;D. (Or worse.)
My main worry is this high contrast. When I first printed Supra Endura, I wondered that this should be the lower contrast of the two (Supra and Ultra). IMO it was way too high in contrast. I looked at the curves and saw that the Portra Endura had somewhat lower contrast. It was discontinued just a few months before that and I was wondering why a "normal-look" paper is discontinued.
My contrast issues have gone better now as I use KODAK RA-4 chemicals that give better highlights and shadows than Tetenal crap, but still the contrast is quite high -- well, ok for most cases -- but there is hardly any situations where I would want even more contrast by using Ultra Endura.
Any Ultra Endura users here? What's the point with it? Is it really much higher in contrast? Does it clip in highlights&shadows or is it more about curve shape? Should I try it out?
And, of course, there should be some ways to decrease contrast in developer. In reversal RA-4-processing, I've tried adding sodium sulphite (thanks for a tip, Photo Engineer!) to reduce Dmax and contrast, 0,8 g/l seemed to be a good value and it works well. I have not tried it yet in normal RA-4 but it could give you a lower contrast.
And we can't really know when they will discontinue Ultra Endura. But digital RA-4 material will stay with us quite long now because it has large markets. And, basically, of course it can be printed optically but the problem is in quality. I'm interested if problematic color casts or too high contrast could be corrected by modifying the developer.
I made a quick comparison between ULTRA ENDURA and SUPRA ENDURA datasheets and came up with this:
I matched the midtones. Highlights (low density at left) look exactly the same, and at shadows it seems that this digi paper could in fact give you a LOWER contrast and more definition in shadows. I really can't see any problem here. Spectral sensitivity curves are exactly the same. When I run out of Supra Endura, maybe I'll have to try this digi paper.
What about Fuji Crystal Archive? It's aimed at lightjets (like Fuji Frontier processors) but I believe (dim recall of someone here using it) it works fine in an enlarger.
All "laser" papers are aimed at having short exposures and being "scanned" by the travelling light beams. Therefore, they also tolerate some degree of "re-exposure" by overlapping light beams that are wider than the scan and also they tolerate R/G/B sequential exposures well.
Other that what amounts to a different latent image keeping and reciprocity a given white light (optical) and laser paper should have no real difference. In fact, if you look at the curves given by hrst, you see that in one paper the magenta curve is higher and in the other the cyan curve is higher in the shoulder. This gives more cyan shadows. This means that there is a difference in reciprocity. Also note that the exposure is 0.5 seconds. Laser printers are usually faster than that and optical printers are slower.
So, we cannot make too much of the plots.
As for CA, that has its problems too with white light vs laser printing.
You might consider the fact that the paper that is still on the market from both companies is the paper that sells well. Also, you might consider the fact that you can alter contrast with any color paper using the right methods.
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What are the right methods for changing contrast of colour paper? I've done only B&W in the darkroom myself and the green/blue thing is clearly not appropriate for colour.
Well, overexpose and underdevelop comes to mind! That is the same as B&W systems.
Adding contrast reducing materials to the developer is another. Add Sulfite to the developer (about 0.25 - 0.5 g/L) will lower dmax and/or contrast. Citrazinic acid in Kodak literature will reduce contrast in color materials.
Going up is another thing. Add peroxide to the developer, about 10 ml/L or underexpose and overdevelop.
Changing the pH is always useful. Up in pH raises contrast, but down in pH lowers it.
Just beware that all of these change color balance.
Be creative, try some things. That is the way to learn.
I have been using kodak edge paper, which is advertised as being compatible with digital and optical exposure. The results are great. About a three second exposure time.
"I'm still developing"
Is this one? link: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/busin...85/12087/12081
I haven't seen it before, as it's under another section of Kodak's site!
It can really be an alternative to Supra Endura... do you use it in rolls or sheets?