Printing and Developing Color

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Justin F. Knotzke, Jun 9, 2004.

  1. I have a pretty decent colour enlarger. I've been printing and developing
    B&W for about a year. Far from being great at it, I've got a "handle" shall we

    Lately I have been thinking about maybe trying colour. From what I have
    read and googled, developing colour is tricky and expensive and many say I am
    better off doing it at the lab.

    Does anyone print colour? What about having the negs done at a lab and the
    prints done at home? How tricky/expensive is colour printing compared to B&W?


    Justin F. Knotzke, Jun 9, 2004
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  2. Justin F. Knotzke

    Nick Zentena Guest

    Colour paper is about the same price RC B&W paper. Give or take a
    couple of pennies a sheet. Kodak Pro 8x10 paper is I think around $38 for
    100 sheets. Sounds about right. Chemicals depend on your choice of
    chemicals. I buy the RA-4 kit from Fotochem. Including shipping I'm guessing
    an 8x10 costs less then 20 cents for chemicals. If you buy the 6.5 litre
    kit. Smaller kits cost more per sheet. Bigger ones less. Room temperture
    kits are more. Those prices are C$.

    How hard? You've got a few issues. You need good temp control. My temp
    control is a picnic cooler with a fish heater in the bottom. It works well.
    Total cost [new cooler and new heater] was around $60. Colour filtration
    isn't that hard if you stick to a relatively small number of films. You'll
    find in normal lighting that the filtration will be about the same for
    everything. The process is basically 100% in the dark. I use drums on a
    rollerbase. Drums aren't that expensive. Use very little chemicals. They
    also hold temps pretty well. Other issues are colour chemicals don't last
    forever. Once mixed the working life can be short. I've been very pleased
    with the life of the fotochem kits.

    Personally I think good B&W printing is harder then good colour printing.
    I can usually get a print better then the average lab print very quickly
    with colour. With B&W I'm much more likely to want to try every possible
    variation. With colour green grass should be green. With B&W maybe I want
    the sky natural maybe I wanted it darker. If that makes any sense.

    With colour you can buy all the toys in the world if you want to spend
    the money. Everything from a anaylzer that will get the filters right. Set
    the exposure timer. The newer ones even program themselves. You could added
    a dry to dry processor. Put a dry exposed sheet in one end pull out a dry
    print from the other. All the toys cost money and some need volume to justify.

    You can also do things to save money. Mix your own RA-4 chemicals. Buy
    roll paper.

    If you have a colour enlarger buy a small kit of chemicals and a box
    of 5x7 paper. By the end of it you should know if it's for you.

    I'm still waiting on a scale so I can mix up some C-41 chemicals. I don't
    expect any serious problems.

    One more thing go to the Kodak website and grab the manuals for C-41
    and RA-4. They'll give you a feel of what's involved.

    Nick Zentena, Jun 9, 2004
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  3. Justin F. Knotzke

    Mike Guest

    It is easy and you don't need to buy much to make color prints. Get your
    negatives processed at Walgreens (or elsewhere), and forget about
    temperature control. You don't need it.

    All you need is the Tetenal Mono RA-4 kit. No temperature control needed,
    the chemicals last a long time (very slow to oxidize), minimal fumes, and
    easy to use. The downside is that a $30 kit is good for only 100 8x10s.

    Then just find a Kodak Color Printing Kit on eBay. I got mine for $6. You
    are set for tray processing. However I don't like working in complete
    darkness so I also bought a motor base and a couple 8x10 processing drums
    (less than $30).

    Color filtration was surprisingly a piece of cake for me. I got a perfect
    8x10 on my 2nd print. The same filtration settings seemed to mostly work
    across numerous film types ranging from Fuji to Kodak.

    Temperature control allows you to use cheaper RA-4 chemicals. I can't
    comment on the quality differences, but my 8x10s are stunning.

    Now that I talked it up, I will say that B&W is more enjoyable because there
    is more control and creativity. With RA-4, the only nobs you have are
    filtration and exposure. I haven't dodged and burned anything. However in
    some ways, RA-4 is actually easier than B&W...

    Mike, Jun 9, 2004
  4. Once again Nick, thanks so much for the info. It doesn't seem as bad as I
    orginally thought. I might actually take a stab at it.

    Thanks again,

    Justin F. Knotzke, Jun 9, 2004
  5. It's not all that bad. Nick Z I think did a good job of explaining it.
    Joseph Meehan, Jun 9, 2004
  6. Justin F. Knotzke

    Mike Guest

    except you don't need temperature control with the room temperature RA-4
    chemicals ;)
    Mike, Jun 9, 2004
  7. Justin F. Knotzke

    Nick Zentena Guest

    You'll likely want some normal household stuff in addition to the stuff
    sold by photo shops. A small hair dryer to dry test prints. A digital
    kitchen thermometer to keep an eye on your water bath. Things like kids
    medcine droppers for measuring small amounts. It's funny how you start
    looking at everything wondering what use it can be put to-)

    Nick Zentena, Jun 9, 2004
  8. Justin F. Knotzke

    David Starr Guest

    Color printing is a lot easier than you may think. I use Tetenal's
    RA-4 MONO room temperature chemicals and get very consistent color
    balance between rolls. At least at first, stick to one film "family".
    I use Portra films, but I'm sure Fuji has a similar "family". This
    will give you the color balance consistency. What surprised me was
    the lack of color correction needed for different lighting situations;
    flash, sunny outdoors & cloudy outdoors printed fine with pracitcally
    no filtration changes.

    One tip - get a set of color print viewing filters. It really makes
    getting the correct color balance easy.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Professional Shop Rat: 14,359 days in a GM plant.
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    David Starr, Jun 9, 2004
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