Color enlarging

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

  1. Yeah, but it's not that easy. The beginner will waste lots of
    expensive paper.
    That's really not practical. A color head is repeatable and accurate.
    Gel filters fade with exposure to the light source.

    To do this right you should budget at least $1000, and a first-class
    color darkroom can easily go much higher.
    Michael Scarpitti, Aug 26, 2003
    1. Advertisements

  2. Tom

    Jim Phelps Guest

    Color paper is cheaper by half than B&W. I thought you were in Photo
    Fading of new filters will take years. Also, I recently saw a Beseler 23C
    with a color head go on EBay for $75. A PM2L color analyzer for $25, and
    your can always pick up a drum and roller for $30. So we have a complete
    setup will cost you about $150. A few post below this string, someone is
    asking how to GIVE AWAY an enlarger and colorhead.
    Jim Phelps, Aug 26, 2003
    1. Advertisements

  3. Tom

    Nick Zentena Guest

    Even that wouldn't be that hard. Keeping the chemicals at 34C for 120
    seconds shouldn't be too hard.

    I'm not sure Beseler even makes a new head for my enlarger anymore. The
    one that might fit runs close to $2k and the only reference I can find to it
    is a plea that it's too small for an enlarger like mine. Makes those $40
    filters seem like a good deal. I don't really want yet one more enlarger but
    if it goes well with the filters I can always keep my eyes out for a used colour
    head or enlarger.

    Nick Zentena, Aug 26, 2003
  4. It's not easy to zero in, even with these.
    It's still expensive any way you cut it....The chemistry is more
    expensive than B&W anyway...
    Not true. Keeping them in a bright hot lamphouse will fade them enoug
    to matter within a few months.
    I was speaking about new equipment. Used is always a crapshoot, and a
    newbie won't know what to look for. The thing could be way out of
    alignment, etc, and he would not know.
    That tells you something, then, doesn't it? Color enlarging is
    primarily for pros who have the volume and need for precise control.
    Michael Scarpitti, Aug 26, 2003
  5. Hallo Michael Scarpitti, Du schriebst am 26.08.2003:
    Nonsense. In fact, color enlarging is much easier then producing a
    decent b/w print. Everyone who is not colour-blind can do it.
    Perhaps you need more test strips without an analyzer, but with
    some experience, the results are quite convincing. I (far from
    being a "pro" and not having a large volume) use Amaloco Diluprint
    in open trays at 20°C, and I think the results are quite


    [email protected]
    Thomas Rauers, Aug 26, 2003
  6. Not that hard, either. And once you have one print for a roll of film
    or series of sheet films taken under the same conditions, it is easy to
    make further prints. Besides, I find that some prints with unrealistic
    colors are actually more interesting than those that are perfectly
    representational. There is a lot of scope for art in the realm of color
    Not if you homebrew. And not if you refrigerate your developer to
    retard oxidation.
    No. I peacefully process my color prints in trays floating in a hot
    water bath. I keep it hot - over 98 degrees F - and processing times
    are short. Since color prints develop to completion, the only concern
    is minimum time.


    Francis A. Miniter
    Francis A. Miniter, Aug 26, 2003
  7. Tom

    Nick Zentena Guest

    I'm leaning towards drums. I've already got the motorbase so it's just the
    drum. What I'll likely do is put the chemicals in an insulated box holding
    the waterbath. Preheat the drum also. Plus if I go with the Jobo drums then
    I can just stick them on a processor when/if I get one of those.

    Other then the lack of built in colour filters I'm happy with my current
    enlarger but if it goes well I can see keeping an eye out for a colour head.

    Nick Zentena, Aug 26, 2003
  8. Tom

    Budwich Guest

    Actually, even a "color blind" person can do it. Its that "easy". I am
    "color defective" and only have done color printing using tubes. It was
    easy. You don't need a safe light. At least I didn't use one as you are
    only in the dark for a small amount of time. Perhaps, I used a bit more
    paper (I haven't got started doing it again because of finances) but in
    general, I found that once you set down your adjustments for paper and such,
    things stay pretty close to "constant". When "help" was needed, I would get
    "opinion" from my wife using Kodak viewing filters.

    I also have a relative that was totally color blind (greys only). He also
    did color with "relative success" in a similar manner. In addition, its an
    "art form" so sometimes "off colors" can be a "form of expression"...
    sometimes people have to work hard to achieve it using digital manipulation
    and such... for "color changed", it comes natural...:)

    Budwich, Aug 27, 2003
  9. I am sure there's people who would like to see you divorce yourself
    from the usenet ;-)
    Gregory W. Blank, Aug 27, 2003
  10. They have nothing to lose but their ignorance...

    I was just looking at 'The Edge of Darkness' by Thorntonat Borders. He
    has a lot of useful information about B&W small-format work, and he
    states, unequivocably, the same things I do about film development,
    the importance of lens quality, and condenser enlargers. His
    statements are backed up by photographs that will knock your eyes out.
    Read it at your peril. Most the things he brings up were known to me

    If you don't want to read my posts, buy the book. You have nothing to
    lose but your ignorance.
    Michael Scarpitti, Aug 28, 2003

  11. I dislike being simply contradicted out of lack of knowledge, rather
    than sound argument. Just saying 'No' or laughing is no argument. If
    you can prove that film sharpness is not sensitive to development
    time, I'll be glsd to listen.
    Michael Scarpitti, Aug 28, 2003
  12. Ok, I would likewise be interested to hear how you have surmised that
    I feel sharpness is not affected by development, from any of my posts.

    I actually would state:

    That you can not change the basic grain structure, however using development
    you can clump the grains in such a way that the grain is more pronounced
    but you really have to try to do it especially with LF negatives where the grain is
    less apparent (by the lessing effect of lessened enlarging) than with 35mm negatives.
    Gregory W. Blank, Aug 29, 2003
  13. OK, I'll condense it down to this:

    I've helped a lot of people set up home/pro darkrooms, both B&W and
    color. A lot of those who set up color darkrooms quit after a short
    time. They sometimes start out as cheap as possible, and then find
    that before long they get tired of changing the acetate filters, so
    Isell tem a color head. Then they get tired of trying to match the
    color from one scene to the next, so I sell them an analyser. Then
    they realise how much time they're putting in to this just to get
    something that they can pay $2 for, and they quit. Thy find better
    uses for their time, and shooting color slides makes better sense for
    many of them.

    On the other hand, those who start out with an interest primarily in
    B&W seldom quit. That has been my experience, and it has been the same
    over many years.
    Michael Scarpitti, Sep 1, 2003
  14. Greetings Tom, et al;

    I am not normally a regular poster to Usenet groups, but I do read a
    certain selection quite a lot - such as* .

    The latest bickering both here and in
    however gets me annoyed. It wouldn't be as bad if it wasn't in danger of
    either alienating or confusing folks who ask for honest advice.

    Firstly, the original topic: Tom, you asked about a possible link to a
    Web site with information about how to enlarge colour prints and what is
    needed to make them. A couple of sites that would appear to have
    potential in this respect are:
    <> on the Home Colour
    Darkroom, and some constructive comments can be found on

    I have been processing my own colour work for many years now, since I
    went over to medium-format in fact. It is not as easy as monochrome in
    the beginning but it certainly is not beyond the scope of an amatuer or
    hobby photographer: RA-4 chemistry for producing prints from colour
    negatives is available for use at room temperature with quite a wide
    latitude and can be used in trays as one does with monochrome. The
    greatest differences are (a) the work has to be carried out in the dark,
    although a couple of judiciously-placed spots of luminous paint can help
    with orientation and prevent knocking ones' head, and (b) judging the
    colour in a print requires quite a lot of practice to get acquainted
    with. Good ventilation in the darkroom is required, but in my opinion
    that is also the case for monochrome work, especially using toners, etc.

    It is not necessary to spend a fortune on a colour enlarger; start off
    by buying a reasonable one on e-bay or better still your local
    photographic dealer - once you master some of the techniques, if you
    decide to go on it's always possible to upgrade to an enlarger with
    greater flexibility and/or more features. The important thing is to
    learn the fundamentals, such as filtering techniques and how they work
    (even if you use an electronic colour head and 'program' the filter

    Likewise an expensive analyser is not required, especially when
    starting; what helps is to stay with one brand/type of film for awhile
    so that one doesn't get confused by the different filtering required by
    differing emulsions.

    I would encourage you to continue, it really is a rewarding part of the
    photographic exercise.

    Starting out in monochrome enlarging is not the easiest thing in the
    world either. The above commentary would put me off already as a
    newcomer, and I really do not think that this is in the spirit of this
    Some folks work with the zone system, some find it useful just some of
    the time (like me), and still others work without conscious reference to
    it at all. That neither makes it compulsory, nor a disease; however
    commentary in the form of the rude and biassed statements above forms
    yet another kick in the head rather than constructive advice or
    criticism for a newcomer or beginner joining this newsgroup - quite
    apart from being off-topic in the context of the original posters'

    For the first part, as I have already indicated, the costs do not have
    to be so prohibitive. The second part, learning the skills, will of
    course demand a lot of paper and time. How else is anyone going to be
    able to learn about printing - either monochrome or colour? Examining
    the response curves from Kodak and the chemical formulae from whatever
    RA-4 solution is used won't give anyone that skill set. An actress once
    asked a famous producer on the street "How do I get to the Albert Hall?"
    His answer: "Practice, lady; practice!". So what is so wrong in using
    all that time and paper to the good effect of learning those skills?

    I can think of many responses to that line... however perhaps we could
    all benefit by remaining "pro's" at whatever we are professional at,
    whilst positively contributing advice and commentary rather than
    derogatory remarks aimed as personal attacks.
    F.C. Trevor Gale, Sep 1, 2003
  15. Interesting. I started out shooting slide films as that was what Professionals
    supposedly did. Since I wanted to become a professional I shot over 3,000
    slides by the time I was twenty ,...I started at 18. Now I only shoot slide film
    if I get paid or on a whim more or less sometimes along side
    Color negative so I have a visual record. I print & shoot BW alot, and I print Color negative films alot
    I guess if I was less lazy I would develop my own slide film and shoot more slides.
    Many because slides are quick and you can chuck the bad exposures immediately.
    Gregory W. Blank, Sep 1, 2003
  16. It was my job, when I worked in retail photo sales, to have my
    customers' best interest at heart. I took it seriously. This meant
    being honest with people, and this usually also meant asking probing
    questions, to qualify the buyer. (It is easy to do this when you're
    face to face, when you can read their body language and facial
    expressions. This is impossible to do in a newsgroup.) Anyway, one of
    the things that customers would frequently ask about and then end up
    not buying was the colour darkroom. Although I was always eager to
    sell people darkroom equipment and quite good at selling it, there was
    a lot of backing-out at the last minute when it came time to write the
    cheque. They just did not have the same enthusiasm to pay the tab that
    there was for that nice camera, lens, or binocular. So, because of
    this, I became quite good at learning to weed out the customer with
    just some time to burn asking casually about color darkroom from those
    who were serious. After all, it is a business. So, if I answer in a
    somewhat negative way to this poster, it's based on professional
    experience in a retail situation. I sold tons of darkroom products in
    my day, and amateurs were not all that committed to colour once they
    find out the reality of it. It's the 'morning-after' effect. More than
    once I took back colour darkrooms after the customer decided it just
    wasn't what he expected it to be.

    Being honest and asking probing questions is not 'discouraging'
    people. Colour darkroom is one of the highest 'drop-out' rate
    activities in photography.
    I must separate photo-cultural commentary from technical advice more
    clearly, but the cultural commentary still stands. The widespread use
    of ZS has done more damage to photo aesthetics, and caused more
    misguided souls to produce more crap, than anything in the history of
    photography. It's a disaster, a cultural disease that turns
    photographers into Roman-numeral spouting zombies who (proudly!)
    exhibit pictures of doors and rocks and trees as if the content were
    of no importance. The photos of people's heads they display cannot be
    called portraits, because there's not a hint of any connection to the
    person in the photograph. They might as well be mannequins. Calling it
    'fine art' photography does not make it artistic or fine. It's crap,
    and that's what I call it.
    The worker (other than the pro) who has the interest and financial
    resources is often a professional person (doctor, lawyer, etc) with
    limited time, who will not put up with gel filters and half-assed
    equipment. I know this from experience. It's hard enough to work in
    colour, but to do so without a colour head and analyzer is just a
    stupid waste of time. It's masochism. (Time is valuable: it's what
    makes up our lives. Do you want to spend your valuable time remaking a
    print that is CC10M off when you don't have to? I sure don't!) They
    don't add that much to the price of an enlarger and a good lens, and
    if you can't afford them now it's better to wait until you can afford
    the whole she-bang. It would be misleading - and unfair - to anyone
    interested in color darkroom to say otherwise.

    For pros, there is never any doubt about how to go, and that's with
    pro-grade equipment all the way.
    I just know that lots of people won't put in the time, or get bored,
    or get fed up with the dust spots and waste of paper and chemicals and
    time, compared to the cost of having a good commercial lab do it for
    As I said, I have many years of experience at the retail level selling
    just about every kind of optical and photographic product, from
    darkrooms to cameras to binoculars. I was the chain-wide #2 salesman
    for a Midwest camera chain in the early and mid-90's, and I had worked
    in another store in the late 60's and 70's. I know from experience,
    not from armchair guesswork, what people are like and what they want
    to do with their time and money.
    Michael Scarpitti, Sep 1, 2003

  17. That great, Trevor, and I wish you well. My comments were based on my
    experiences in my neck of the woods.
    Michael Scarpitti, Sep 1, 2003
  18. Tom

    Hemi4268 Guest

    Selling gear is not the same as
    Actually this is a two way street. The gear sellers more or less know about
    many product lines. They know what the buttons do on a varity of equipment.
    The people that creat work more or less creat those works with a limited
    variety of equipment.

    I get this all the time. Someone will ask me how a Super Nukey camera works
    and I will srug my sholders. I usually get, what kind of photographer are you?

    To bad the photo profession isn't like a medical profession. That is, a bone
    doctor who sets your leg is no less of a doctor because he is not sure how to
    do a bypass on your heart.

    Hemi4268, Sep 2, 2003
  19. Greetings;

    I have many years of experience at the retail level *buying* just about
    every kind of optical and photographic products that I need, from
    darkrrom equipment to camera gear and even the occasional binoculars.
    According to my photographic supplier here, I am the #1 customer in his
    chain and have been a very discerning customer for many years. I know
    from experience (and not from any guesswork) exactly what I want to do
    with my hard-earned money and my time. Selling gear is not the same as
    creating works using that gear.

    My main aim is to be creative and communicative through my photography
    and other activities; the newspaper critique I have received so far
    tells me that I am at least in some measure succeeding, through
    exhibitions of my work, etc. We all start as beginners; we then
    (hopefully) advance ourselves through learning. Learning costs effort,
    time, and materials. It is a very rewarding process. The day we stop
    learning is the day we stop evolving, and die.

    My thoughts, and regards - Trevor Gale.
    F.C. Trevor Gale, Sep 2, 2003
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.