Disappointed with color printing results
I'm just about through my first (and last?) batch of chemicals for developing color prints. I'm using the Arista 2-bath kit sold by Freestyle, and Kodak Endura paper. I must say, I hate it. I'm having enormous trouble getting the colors to look anywhere close to right. Even a color filter viewing kit doesn't help much. One extremely yellow print looks extremely yellow under the filters too.
Is it the chemistry? Is in my eyes? Lack of experience? All the above?
In life you only get one great dog, one great car, and one great woman. Pet the dog. Drive the car. Make love to the woman. Don't mix them up.
If your print is severly off, viewing filters will correct the print to a neutral print, but the saturation will be completely off because the colors are clipping. Make sure your chemistry is not bad (I use the kodak stuff which works wonders) and start with a filter pack of about 75M 75Y for supra endura (in kodak chemistry using a beseler digital dichro.) Try making ginormous corrections, and make sure you're going in the correct direction. The first time I printed I corrected backwards and due to the adjustment of times it looked at first like I was going in the right direction. Adding Yellow filtration makes the print look LESS yellow, and more blue. Adding magenta filtration makes the print look less magenta, more green. Cyan less cyan more red. etc.
If your print is way too yellow, crank the yellow filtration up all the way to see if you can make a print that's too blue. It will then be somewhat easier to say, "well, neutral looks more towards the yellow print than the blue one, so I'll use a value more towards the first one." or something to that effect. Remember your print will get lighter with increase of filtration.
Feel free to PM me with any questions. Don't give up: it takes patience but is very rewarding.
I would say use the Kodak chemicals, purely out of scientific doubt. I have no idea who does the Arista kits, and how chemically stable/accurate/pure they are.
The hard thing about colour printing is that mistakes look really bad. A smudge of a finger will grow into a rainbow fingerprint once the print has dried; a speck of dust will take a Vermeer's eye to spot with the correct tone, etc.
Also: get a good book on colour printing, whether it's a typical intro-to-darkroom book with a colour section, or the drier but excellent Kodak Color Dataguides. Keep your temperatures constant (+/- 1 degree), make sure you always use fresh developer (never use mixed RA4 dev that spent more than a few days in bottles), use a stop bath if you must, time yourself precisely, get a processing drum kit (Unicolor are cheap and plentiful; a JOBO if you're really dedicated!). Make sure you have good viewing lights (tungsten or halogen, not fluorescent!).
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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A quick tip to anyone who wants to make RA-4 prints with a Meopta Magnifax 4a Color enlarger:
- try starting off your filter pack as follows: cyan 0, magenta 100, yellow 100.
Last time I dug out some prints I made 20 years ago with Arista and Kodak chemicals there were no difference between the prints done bu both chemicals, except (a very big one) that colors on the ones done with Arista are completely faded to a point that the prints have to be tossed. On the other hand the colors on the prints done with Kodak chemicals are only slightly faded.
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This is probably due to the use of CD4 instead of CD3 in the color developer, but I cannot really tell as there can be other reasons.
Originally Posted by mtjade2007
Since you cannot tell, its the lack of experience. You can rule out the eyes unless the everything you look at is yellow. As far as the chemistry, even if it causes a color shift, you should be able to adjust the filters to compensate, at least to some degree. Sounds like you lack the knowledge in the area of adjusting the filter pack.
The posted example shows multiple problems.
I've posted some suggestions with the photo.
Don't give up just yet..
Since you're printing negs, filter packs are totally counter intuitive. Also, you only use the yellow and magenta filters. I think APUGers are awesome folks so posting some examples will go a long way in getting help. After you get a hang of it, it's really a blast.
Originally Posted by Wolfeye
I'm sorry, but this is so full of misinformation that I'm surprised. Those tips will probably lead to a completely wrong direction, not helping with the actual problem at all.
Originally Posted by Michel Hardy-Vallée
Firstoff, RA-4 is very tolerant to temperature and time variations, at least with Supra Endura. People have used it from 20C to 40C. I develop always 2 minutes at room temperature, which is from 23C to 25C. I've tried 1.5 and 3 minutes and that doesn't make a big difference at all. This all can be easily verified from many sources. Of course, it's best to be as consistent as possible, but this is not the source of the problems.
Then, mixed RA-4 developer keeps very well. The official instruction is probably something like a month (definitely not days! Check this if you don't believe me), but I've used almost one year old developer without any problems, as have many. (Mono-concentrated blixes, however, may be dead if the product has been on the shelf for a year or so.)
And finally, I think many if not most find drums tedious compared to simple trays. This is a matter of taste, but the fact is that using a drum will NOT solve the problems in question; in fact, drum can be even more difficult if there is a problem with excessive chemical carryover. So, if OP likes to work with trays, as many of us like, there's absolutely no need to adopt any new workflow.
Does the Arista kit have a single concentrate for blix? If so, it's probably the same kind of crap as Tetenal. I had yellowish/brownish staining problem with the Tetenal blix. It just has a shelf life of 6 months or so, as an UNOPENED concentrate! Buy the Kodak.
The example picture seems to have a bit of cyanish fog -- are you sure all the lights are completely blocked? Any red light might cause cyanish fog. Then, check the date of your paper. And, finally, that browniness might partially be caused by a faulty blix.