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  1. #1

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    Methods to Lower Contrast and Saturation in C-41 and RA-4

    I'm trying to wrap my head around the different (100% analog) techniques for reducing contrast and saturation with color neg films, without resorting to something special-effecty like bleach bypass. It's been a few years since I've printed RA-4, and back then i was always going for more color and contrast. My tastes are pretty much opposite now. Which of the below do you think is the most effective and least problematic? Any tips would be much appreciated.

    - Pull-processing the film (how much is safe before weird color effects happen, and does the overexposure increase the saturation the same or more/less than the underdevelopment reduces it?)

    - Use a C41 kit with blix instead of separate components to reduce saturation, possibly combined with slight underdevelopment for the contrast.

    - Adding sodium sulfite to the RA-4 developer (how much?)

    - Preflashing the paper (seems messier with color than with b/w)

    Any other methods? On the taking end, I'm already using old Leica lenses, some uncoated, and I'll be breaking my habit of default overexposure of neg films.

  2. #2
    georgegrosu's Avatar
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    I understand that you want to get color images with low contrast and low saturation in process C-41 and RA-4.
    • Change the parameters of development in C-41 and RA-4 I not think are good solutions.
    • Preflashing is a good way when you have a debalans negative image with color. The results are notable. I think it may help if the reduction in image contrast.
    • The process "Grafis color” (color print + argentic image – partial eliminate). This procedure applies to color positive film. I used to Orwo PC 7. Use a color positive developer more diluted and it was a partial bleaching.
    • I would try mixing the color image and b&w image. Exposure color negative and after expose dupe negative make after dupe positive in your print.
    Is a mixture of color image and b&w image.
    • Before dedicated C-41 process, develop with a negative developer b&w diluted for 2-3 min. Then washed in water five minutes after coming C-41 normal process. In b/w developer a part of the latent image, resulting a silver metallic. Oxidized form of b&w developer trainer will not pair with color component. Follow C-41 process, when you remove the silver metal result in b&w developer.
    George

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by georgegrosu View Post
    • Before dedicated C-41 process, develop with a negative developer b&w diluted for 2-3 min. Then washed in water five minutes after coming C-41 normal process. In b/w developer a part of the latent image, resulting a silver metallic. Oxidized form of b&w developer trainer will not pair with color component. Follow C-41 process, when you remove the silver metal result in b&w developer.
    George
    Thank you! This one looks interesting - can you point me to any examples of the look this gives? Would something like Rodinal 1:50 be ok?

  4. #4
    georgegrosu's Avatar
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    I can not give you ideas with Rodinal, but D 23 I think is more appropriate. Diluted 1 / 2 - 3 is better.
    I have not done tests to reduce the negative contrast in color. I make many tests to reduce the contrast when I realized patent for processing color reversible with color print.
    Developing b/w before color developer I heard when I came in laboratory Mogosoaia and old people there told me about a NC 1(ORWO color negative). NC 1 is a non mask film and is contrast.
    George

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    I have tried several different colour neg films and while the colour palette is different with each I have only seen contrasty prints with one method which involved exposing at box speed or one third stop less and developing for 30 secs extra. It sounds as if it has been several years since you did colour negs and thing may have changed.

    I'd try a film like Kodak Portra NC and sticking to the 3 mins 15 secs dev time. I'd be surprised if you get overly contrasty negs. Have a look at the gallery. There are plenty of examples of muted colours with normal contrast and often involving Portra NC.

    pentaxuser

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by georgegrosu View Post
    I can not give you ideas with Rodinal, but D 23 I think is more appropriate. Diluted 1 / 2 - 3 is better.
    I have not done tests to reduce the negative contrast in color. I make many tests to reduce the contrast when I realized patent for processing color reversible with color print.
    Developing b/w before color developer I heard when I came in laboratory Mogosoaia and old people there told me about a NC 1(ORWO color negative). NC 1 is a non mask film and is contrast.
    George
    Thank you. I'd like to try this one of these days.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by pentaxuser View Post
    I have tried several different colour neg films and while the colour palette is different with each I have only seen contrasty prints with one method which involved exposing at box speed or one third stop less and developing for 30 secs extra. It sounds as if it has been several years since you did colour negs and thing may have changed.

    I'd try a film like Kodak Portra NC and sticking to the 3 mins 15 secs dev time. I'd be surprised if you get overly contrasty negs. Have a look at the gallery. There are plenty of examples of muted colours with normal contrast and often involving Portra NC.

    pentaxuser
    It's not really a matter of avoiding overly contrasty negs, but rather getting really low contrast negs. I like the effect for certain things.

  8. #8
    Domin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbphoto View Post
    - Use a C41 kit with blix instead of separate components to reduce saturation, possibly combined with slight underdevelopment for the contrast.
    - Adding sodium sulfite to the RA-4 developer (how much?)
    Bleach bypass does reduce saturation but increases contrast, grain and Dmin considerably. I've found that with negs I've tested underexposure and BB doesn't give good results.

    IIRC adding sulphite to RA developer was mentioned on this forum by reputable expert. Search for posts by Photo Engineer. You can probably get the amount of sulfite right in less then hour of testing.

  9. #9
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    A C41 pull process with bleach bypass will both lower contrast and reduce color saturation.

    Bleach bypass with paper can do the same, but contrast does go up.

    Sulfite at between 0.5 and 2 g/l in either color developer (C-41 or RA) will reduce contrast as will addition of a competing coupler such as Citrazinic Acid.

    PE

  10. #10

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    I'm planning to try the sulfite (since I already have a bunch of it) as soon as I can find a decent, cheap scale (recommendations?).

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