For those not directly engaging in color printmaking ...

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by 5th, Jan 12, 2004.

  1. 5th

    5th TPF Noob!

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    I'm curious as to how many of you are conducting your color positive activities if you are not making the prints yourself.

    I know the typical consumer is exposing a roll and having someone else develop it and make a set of prints, fewer having just the megatives developed and a per-print activity is then conducted, while others are not even engaging in chemical photography.

    Do many of you use a professional lab, neighborhood photoshop, a chain store with photocenter, or something else?
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I shoot mostly BW, but I do shoot some color. I do all my own BW film developing and printing, and I have a lab do my C41 and E6 developing and printing.

    I took a color photography class in college. We were taught how to develop C41 and E6 and how to print from negatives and positives. While we were required to do all the printing by hand, most of the students had the film developed by a commercial lab.

    Later I worked in a pro photo lab/camera store. There I learned that very few pros were doing their own lab work, even with the BW (at least in my town). I met very few pros who had ever hand printed color. This sort of surprised me.

    One of my best photog buddies (check out pics of him the the "photography" photo theme thread) shoots 4x5 E6. He had a full home color lab set up for doing Ilfochrome prints. Even he usually sent his film out for processing, and often had prints made by professional labs. Now days he still shoots the 4x5 E6, but he scans it and uses an Epson to make his prints. I have to say I was skeptical at first. I knew several other photogs who had made this switch, and I felt that the image quality loss was very evident. But his inkjet prints are indistinguishable from the Ilfochromes (at least to my semi(?) trained eye).

    It seems to me that there isn't as much variation involved with color developing and printing (traditional darkroom methods) as there is with BW lab work. While there is much expense; color equipment and chems are more expensive, the chems are more dangerous and expire quickly. My buddy said that to justify the expense of the materials he would have to fill up his auto-processor and print non-stop for a week until the chems were exhausted. And that's just to get down close to pro lab prices.

    For my color photography, my experiences in the class and working in the lab make me feel that a good lab will do what I need and do just as good of job as I could do or better, and do it a lot cheaper. On the other hand, I think that the digital color lab is going to open up a lot of opportunity for photographers to do their own work at home. I'm sure that as I aquire the tools necessary, I'll begin shooting more color.
     
  3. 5th

    5th TPF Noob!

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    While I have experience in custom color printmaking, this was at a time I worked for a professional photo finishing lab making larger prints. No automated printing in that shop for what I was doing. I have plenty of experience in BW printmaking, but I'm shooting near-candid color print film and just wondered what the majority of you were doing if not doing it yourself.
     
  4. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    After seeing what is involved in color printing, I gave up any notion that I would ever do my own traditional color prints. I may do it if I take a color printing class at a college, but that's it.

    I bring everything into my digital darkroom for color printing needs. I bought a scanner with a high enough resolution to reach the limits of 35mm. I'm going to stick with "traditional" prints done at the lab for any other format.
     
  5. 5th

    5th TPF Noob!

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    But what kind of 'lab' are you having your prints done at? Is this a professional lab, photoshop lab, chain store photocenter (Target, Wal-Mart, etc.), etc.?
     
  6. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    Not sure if that question was directed at my statement that I use the lab for any other format... but I haven't found a wal-mart that processes 120 film ;) I actually take my film to a pro lab in Tempe.
     

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