Color enlarging

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Tom, Aug 24, 2003.

  1. Tom

    Tom Guest

    Can someone give me a link to a site where I can read up on how to enlarge
    color prints. I would like to know what equipment I would need as well as
    what skills.


    Tom, Aug 24, 2003
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  2. Very open ended question/answer.

    Kodak probably has some good starter books available
    Also try Amphoto Books

    One book I highly recomend is "The Color Primer" by Zakia & Todd
    it gives basic color theory of color balancing, will get you far ahead
    of hit or miss.

    Basic Equipt:

    Enlarger (better with colorhead)
    Enlarger lens & negative carriers for the film sizes you print
    Kodak Color Print viewing filters
    RA4 chemistry for Color print from color negatives
    Color table top processor, like a Jobo Cpp2 or any
    Roller transport processer like Fujimoto, Kreonite, etc.

    And the list can go on and on.
    Gregory W. Blank, Aug 24, 2003
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  3. While the list can go on and on, it need not. In my opinion, someone
    starting out in color processing doers not need to invest thousands of
    dollars in a Jobo color processor and/or a roller transport processor. A
    simple processing drum and roller is more cost effective. If Tom learns how
    to process his own color, keeps with it, and does enough work to justify
    the cost of such automation, then such upgrades might be warranted.

    Addit to list: a high quality thermometer.
    Randy Stewart, Aug 24, 2003
  4. Tom

    Jtown2354 Guest

    Tom - I agree with the last message - you do not need a Jobo processor or other
    gadjets - a simple motor base (Beseler or similar) and processing tubes is MUCH
    more cost effective and easier to use.

    A good accurate thermometer is also required - good color processing is
    dependent on time AND temperature.

    The dichro color head on the enlarger is almost a necessity - filters can be
    used - but are a pain in the butt.

    You will also need timers. I use two - a digital Gralab for the enlarger and
    safelights and an analog (dial) for the motor base and also used for film
    procesing. ----- Jerry/Idaho
    Jtown2354, Aug 24, 2003
  5. Hi Tom,

    You can do it with your enlarger and color compensating filters in the
    drawer. Each roll has to be approximately balanced and shots made in
    different lighting have to be further balanced. I develop prints in
    trays in the dark. I use homemade RA-4 developer and blix, and do a
    water rinse in between. With Kodak paper, I find a cold 30 second
    rinse beforehand is required to eliminate the bluing. It is fairly simple.

    Francis A. Miniter
    Francis A. Miniter, Aug 24, 2003
  6. Tom

    Jtown2354 Guest

    Francis - I don't have a blueing problem - but your 30 second cold water rinse
    "beforehand" - is before what? - I assume the development.

    I use tubes - and rinse, or in my mind, prewet the print, with warm water for
    30 seconds before pouring in the developer. ----- Jerry/Idaho
    Jtown2354, Aug 25, 2003
  7. Tom

    Jtown2354 Guest

    Francis - I use Kodak paper and normally I am processing with hard water as
    well - but I am not sure as to the hardness of the water. We have a water
    softner - but I often do not have salt in it. My wife and grandkids don't
    complain so it can't be all that hard.

    Years ago I had a stain problem but can't remember if it was blue, cyan or
    magenta - anyway it was a bleach-fix contamination of the tubes problem. Very
    difficult to eliminate and that is the reason that I rinse my tubes out with
    hot water after each and every use. Haven't had that problem for perhaps 10

    And regarding the last message - indeed the safe lights for color are darker
    than for b&w - but your eyes get accustomed to it. Certainly temperature must
    be controlled - but I have tabulated the results of a detailed heat transfer
    analyses which lets me process with any developer temperature between 94 and 80
    and any darkroom temperature between 80 and 66. In use - I simply look at the
    temperature of the water bath in the cooler holding the developer and at the
    temperature of the darkroom and read the processing time. Works great.
    Anyone wanting to use this technique - e-mail me. One thing though, it was
    developed for Beseler tubes and I have not tried it with other manufacturer's
    tubes - but it could work.

    In short, processing color is not diffcult.

    One of the best investments I have made is the color analyzer (I bought the
    Beseler PM3L - a digital unit) which, when properly calibrated lets me make
    prints that are good (no color cast and properly exposed) at least 95% of the
    time on the first print. Any color anlayzer worth anything is going to cost
    some money - but again, it is one of the best investments I have made.

    The Kodak "viewing" filters are also nearly a requisite. Tweaking prints by
    trial and error - as we had to do many years ago - gets old pretty damned fast.
    ---- Jerry/Idaho
    Jtown2354, Aug 25, 2003
  8. Tom

    Jim Phelps Guest


    It's obvious that Mr. Scarpitti is not a color printer, so please
    disregard his posting, like so many of us do.

    Color printing is not much more difficult than B&W. The major increase
    in responsibility is temperature control. After that, consistency, but you
    should be doing that in B&W as well. I think Frances Miniter said he does
    his in trays. You can, and several manufacturers provide chemistry in 'room
    temp' variety. That is, if your room is always the same temp, mine is not.
    Water baths can help.

    I started print color with a Beseler 23C and a stack of filters. One
    thing I did see in another list is a set of the Kodak Color Printing Viewing
    Filters. Publication R-25 IIRC. These filters are used to judge a print to
    see not only what color of correction you'll need to apply, but
    approximately how much. If you have a B&W darkroom right now, what you'll
    need to get started and make your first print will be a stack of Color
    Compensation filters, the chemistry, and the Viewing Filters. I recommend
    you get ahold of the Kodak Color Dataguide as well. You can slowly grow out
    from there as you can afford and expand you knowledge and potential.

    I won't lie to you. Color Printing can be very frustrating. It can be
    very rewarding and fun, once you climb the learning curve.

    Have fun, and let us know how you made out.


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    Jim Phelps, Aug 25, 2003
  9. Once you get the basics down of color correction, you realize that printing
    from the same film emulsion under similar lighting conditions enables you
    to for go the need to change the filter pack every single time, that coupled
    with the use if my digital color analyzer makes printing color a joy instead of
    a drudge. Having better tools will make you light years more productive.
    Gregory W. Blank, Aug 25, 2003
  10. I was simply pointing out what you say here. It's not easy, especially
    for someone who has NO darkroom experience. I suggest that the OP get
    into B%W first.
    Michael Scarpitti, Aug 25, 2003
  11. Tom

    Bujor Guest

    Look mike: when you'll grow up a little bit, you'll realize that if you don't
    have anything good to say to somebody, you should better keep your mouth shut.
    Life will inevitalby teach you this. I came to this group recently, and I
    watched your comments everywhere. With your infantile (or stupid) behavior your
    pissed off everybody, and, if for the first adjective you have to wait for
    years to pass, for the one in parantheses, it is not much you can do. People
    try to keep this group as interesting as possible. Why don't you move to
    another chatroom and leave us all alone. Here, you are useless. I'm sure that
    by this time, you were told this already several times in your life.
    Finally, I have an advice for you, seriously: don't try to harm any of us in
    any way: you have a tail now!

    the rookie
    Bujor, Aug 25, 2003
  12. Tom

    Jim Phelps Guest


    Sorry Mikey, you ain't even close.

    Now you defend yourself saying what you never said. Where did you say
    it? I only saw you state it isn't a cake walk, cost you hundreds of
    dollars, and it's not worth the bother. No where did the OP ever say they
    do not have darkroom experience as you assumed. For all you know, he's an
    expert B&W printer with many fine examples of monochrome prints that even
    you would be humbled by (and from the links I saw to your 'older' work, it
    wouldn't be hard...).

    Hey, if you aren't going to help people, then why do you bother. I've
    been reading your post for weeks now. Filled with your opinionated,
    self-inflating nonsense. You don't like the Zone System, so you challenge
    and berate all who it works for. And? What's your point? What works for
    someone else and doesn't for you is not wrong. Just different.

    Now here's a guy that wants to continue his growth in the hobby/passion
    of photography. Clue Aquisition Time for Mike Scarpitti: We need every
    'member' of this hobby we can get! Why? Well more 'members' means more
    sales of materials and therefore more manufacturers that will keep producing
    the products we need. If you think this statement is wrong, ask a Ham
    operator. There's enough of them around this forum to answer. Hell, I even
    used to be a Ham (KA1VGP)!

    Here's clue number two for the day (I feel benevolent). Offer coaching
    and advise to people. Here's someone asking for just that, and you try to
    slam the door in their face. You don't even know if he's a Jehova's Witness
    (isn't religion OnT in this group:~)! Present the facts and the reality in
    a concise manner that most people can understand. I, for one, was not born
    with the ability to read your mind (and just may not want to either). If
    you do just this, then maybe, just maybe, that person will make an informed
    and intellegent decision based upon their circimstances.

    Mike, you need to be a member of this forum and not the antagonist you're
    working so hard at being. We got enough of them, and one more isn't going
    to make the world any better.

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    Jim Phelps, Aug 25, 2003
  13. Tom

    Jim Phelps Guest


    You have my backing on the viewing filters as a cheap and effective way
    to close in on a perfect filter pack. I learned with them and I won't ever
    go without them.

    The analyzer is a great tool as well. I moved beyond the rather unrefined
    Beselers to the Jobo ColorLine (7000). I loved my old PM2L, but I'm 'in
    love' with the ColorLine. If you could ever try one, I know you'd be saving
    every nickel you could get your hands on. Let me know if you want


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  14. Tom

    Mike King Guest

    The "easiest" way to calibrate your printing is:

    Buy a bigger garbage can. You'll use a lot of paper when starting out. You
    will always use a lot of paper if you are picky about your results (and if
    you are not picky, why bother? go to Walmart, the new Fuji Frontier printers
    make better first prints than you ever will!!).

    Stick with one type of paper from one manufacturer. That's one grade, one
    surface, one company. Buy what your local camera store stocks, but only if
    they have it refrigerated--if you're lucky you can keep buying from one
    emulsion number for several months.)

    Stick with one brand of color chemicals, Francis Mintier's home-brew for
    example, or a room temp. brew. (Eliminates that developer temp. variable.)

    Stick with one brand/speed/type of color film when starting out. Might I
    suggest 400 speed to start with?

    TEST YOUR SAFELIGHT!!! A Kodak number 13 is brighter than a number 10,
    either will work.

    Make a CALIBRATED contact sheet for each roll you shoot. Include a shot of
    a gray card on each roll each time your lighting changes. (Or a Wallace
    Expo disc--if you can find one!!)

    An analyzer is not necessary either if you use calibrated contact sheets,
    (do a Google on Bob Mitchell, check out past issues of darkroom magazines).
    If you plan on learning to use an analyzer, get it early on and learn to use
    it, but analyze your gray card negs, not your scenes (until you are really
    comfortable using this beast). You can also make your best print by Mk.1
    eyeball and then analyze your scene and make another using your analyzer's

    A dichroic head is not necessary but makes life easier and I prefer a
    diffused light source to print black and white as well, so, for me, no
    downside--I use a Durst M-601 I bought new in 1976 (good stuff doesn't wear
    out) to print both black and white and the occasional color job. And some
    day, I may buy either a RCP-20/ACP-200 or a Nova slot processors but trays
    work fine for the volume I currently produce.
    Mike King, Aug 25, 2003
  15. And I agree with you as well, print viewing filters are the best tool intially,
    after 20 years of printing I seldom " next to never" use them. I'll hang on to them though
    in case my vision goes ;-)

    There's is one trick that is go for density adjustment first then correct color
    the printer will find the color change from emulsion to emulsion is lessened
    this way "in my experience".

    I also buy all my film in bulk "same emulsion" using this methodology most outdoor
    lighting can be balanced based on nuetral grey....but sometimes its tricky.

    One of the things that really makes printing consistant is a table top
    roller transport paper processor....I know some use drums
    and I have. The processor I have now has really made me aware of this.
    Gregory W. Blank, Aug 25, 2003
  16. This I have to question, in using an analyzer and a roller table top
    processor its rare for me to use more than two sheets to get the print
    in balance and density correct. Since the date I purchased these items I have on
    average reduced my paper consumption by a factor of 35 to 50%.
    Safelight? I actually think one is better off without the so called color
    compateable one, since I stopped using one for color printing
    it has been "alot" easier to color balance color paper.

    No manufacture makes color paper to my knowledge (could be wrong)
    that factors in the color correction needed when using a "color safelight"
    The most noticeable area I found a difference it the "white" areas of the

    Trays & the Nova may be ok for some but I never have liked trays, too many fumes
    for constant use, A little chemistry cross over back to the developer is all
    it takes to spoil the batch.
    Gregory W. Blank, Aug 25, 2003
  17. It didn't sound like it, since he asked 'what skills would I need'.
    Sometimes the way to help people is to tell them up front what they're
    in for. Starting out in color enlarging is not the easiest thing in
    the world. You forget I used to work in photo retailing, and I set
    many people up with darkrooms, both color and B&W.
    Your opinion. I know aht I'm talking about. I have worked in
    professinal photography as a journalist and industrial photographer,
    and in photo retailing. My cumulative experience is considerable. I
    may be wrong on details of minor importance, but not seriously and not

    It's not that way at all. ZS is a disease, a cultural pox that must be
    eliminated so that people can begin to see again.

    He quite easily could be so put off by the difficulties that he leaves
    film-based photography altogether. I would not want to do color
    darkroom work, for any money. To do it right(!) you need a good
    enlarger with a color head ($600?) lens ($200?) color analyser ($300?)
    and processing equipment (drums etc). That means at least $1000, I
    should think, just to get started. And then there;'s that matter of
    'skills'. How much paper and time will it take to acquire those?

    I'd much rather see him get into monochrome first, and get his 'hands
    Thank you for you ill-placed concern. I'm a pro at this. You're not.
    Michael Scarpitti, Aug 25, 2003
  18. Tom

    Nick Zentena Guest

    I've been following this often and on. I've done some reading of
    the kodak docs on thier chemicals. I think I've learned enough to get into

    1) You don't need a colour analyser. A set of viewing filters will work.

    2) It seems the process will work over a range of temps. If you adjust the
    times. This means temp control isn't the problem it might seem.

    Okay my questions.

    Other then the chemicals and paper it seems all I need to buy is:

    a) a set of colour printing filters. I'm assuming unlike B&W contrast
    filters these are all alike.

    b) A set of viewing filters to judge colour.

    c) A print drum to use on my motorbase.

    d) an exposure meter would be nice. From checking the archives it seems
    even the basic Ilford em10 would work.

    Obviously the normal darkroom stuff would be over and above this.

    How long would cold stored colour paper keep? The kodak docs mention some
    pretty good shelf lives for working chemicals. I'm assuming concentrate will
    keep for reasonable lenghts of time.

    Nick Zentena, Aug 25, 2003
  19. Several people have commented that one of the significant factors is
    temperature control. To a large degree, they are wrong. It was true
    before the advent of RA-4 paper. When RA-4 was first introduced, I had
    been using the Photocolour kits. The attraction was that the chemicals
    were valid for both C41 development and paper processing; it's been some
    years, but my recollection was that after using the kit for film, you
    added one more component and used it for paper. When RA-4 appeared,
    they provided a new kit for that, again also usable for C-41. But the
    interesting difference that caught my eye was that as rolls of C-41 were
    develped, the required time constantly increased. This is normal; as
    the developer exhausts, the time must be increased. But, it called for
    no increase as successive prints were processed. The kit for the
    earlier paper type did call for such an increase. My thought was: "The
    paper must have a thin emulsion and develop essentially to completion."

    This was confirmed when I switched to the Beseler and later to the
    Tetenal room temperature kits. The instructions said that 50%
    over-development was harmless. Since there is a time/temperature
    equivalence, this meant that temperature control was also not critical
    as long as one gave at least the development time called for at the

    I have processed hundreds of RA-4 prints in the Tetenal room-temperature
    kit imported by JOBO. I do this in trays. I keep a thermometer in the
    developer tray and make sure that I develop for at least the indicated
    time. On a number of occasions, I have had to make a second print of a
    negative that had been printed for the first time months previously and
    had no problem getting an exact color match.

    So, don't sweat the temperature control. Just pay attention to what you
    are doing.

    Herbert Kanner, Aug 25, 2003
  20. I agree fully. Until people get a feel for when a big filtration change
    is needed and when a small one is needed, they can get discouraged right
    at the start. When you add to that familiarization with the equipment
    and the problem of working in total darkness, I would definitely advise
    people to do black and white work until they have a feeling of
    confidence before tackling color.

    Having said that, and having gone through the learning process of
    adjusting the filtration, I find color printing to be easier than black
    and white, perhaps because it is faster, and perhaps because it's harder
    to produce an exciting monochrome image.

    Herbert Kanner, Aug 25, 2003
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