May I print color with a black and white enlarger?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by william_varcas, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. May I print color with a black and white enlarger. I heard all I need is to get the color correction gel under the light if needed
  2. And color chemicals and color paper RA4 is the paper now used..... Also you must do it in complete dark no safe light. The filters you are looking for would fit in a drawer that is built into the enlarger or if there is no place for them then you need a place to put them under the lens.
  3. Buy a color enlarging head - then you can print color with the right chemistry.
  4. If you have a filter drawer in your condenser head, then it is no problem to do color printing. You can use normal RA4 chemicals. If you don't have a filter drawer, then you need to put the filters under the lens. This will work as long as you are careful to keep the filters clean and use as few filters as possible. Otherwise, you can get significant lens flare.
    It has been so long since I've done this, I'm not sure what filters are still available. There used to be CP filters for printing. These were acetate filters that were reasonably durable. CC filters are made of gelatin. They are a better choice for using in front of a lens (camera or enlarger), but they are far more fragile.
  5. I don't know if you know it, but RA4 chemistry has to be kept to with a degree of correct temperature or your colors will come out wrong. Please also note that it is impossible to evaluate a color print for proper color when it is wet - it has to be dry.
    The whole she-bang is a lot more work than black & white printing. That's why I rent lab space for color printing.
  6. If I read it right Tetenal made these color paper chemicals that can be used in room temperature. Check it out =]
    Does anyone have experience with the Tetenal RA4 chemical kit?
    Is it possible to get the CC filters in a bundle with a reasonable price? Because I see photographic stores are selling them individually and they cost significantly high, for example, a number 5 magenta might cost roughly 20 dollars. Help me forum, my budget is tight =]
  7. I print colour with my old meopta a lot and it works just fine ,it is a bit more tricky than B&W for sure but not realy that hard ,
    you will need a set of colour corection filters and a print viewing kit would is a big help and I do see these items on ebay from time to time
    I use the Tetenal RA4 chemicals and they are just great to work with at room temp and I also use them in trays but still it has to be in total darkness .
    Have fun as colour printing is great
  8. Besides the color filters, the other difference in color enlargers is a consistent light source with a constant color. Some diffuse light B&W enlargers use fluorescent light that is notably inconsistent with color temperature and shifts as it warms up. I wouldn't even think of printing color with a fluorescent light. Color enlargers with incandescent light sources usually include a voltage regulator so that a voltage change in the buildings wiring do not change the brightness and also the color of the light from the bulb. If the voltage in your house/building is consistent 24/7 then this is not a concern.
    I would suggest, if your enlarger is rock solid, that using red/ blue / green filters in an additive way is less expensive than a subtractive filter set but requires three separate timed exposures with each print instead of one. If you get used to that work flow it can be quite easy although it precludes dodging. Much was written on this in the seventies and I used it just before I obtained a subtractive set. I almost preferred the additive method (I had the three filters on one long sliding filter holder so sliding from one to the next was quick.) but I wanted to try all the methods.
    Later I got a new enlarger with a color head. They are now inexpensive on ebay. I strongly advocate a color analyzer for use with the enlarger. Some include built in timers for the additive method, but most only provide suggested subtractive filter set recommendations.
  9. The voltage regulator part sounds tricky. I have to gamble my budget to see if my enlarger can stand up with consistent exposure without a regulator.
  10. Get a cheap digital voltmeter connected to an extension cord (probes covered in electricians tape for safety) and check your AC line voltage at the times of day you plan to do prints. Check it many times over that period of time. If it is within two volts of staying the same then its probably stable enough as it is. It doesn't really matter what it is as you will be correcting for it - it just has to be consistent.
  11. William, as long as you have a filter drawer in your enlarger you may print color. I used to print color prints of B/W negs this way-the results can be startling, particularly when you change filters after exposing just part of the image on paper. Think "blue sky, (then) sand beach, (then) red umbrella," etc. Beyond surreal~superreal. Need a visually simple image though. One you can mask effectively. It's not hard at all.

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