Approximating the Autochrome : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Okay, I'm spending the holidays in the Great White North where my parents live rather the much more enjoyable southwest desert and have been burning with the following question: Does anyone have a technique they would like to share to expose transparency film to approximate the color range and saturation of the old autochrome or agfacolor process? This is what happens when 36" of snow on the ground has you reading every old photography book on the shelves.

Thanks and Happy 2001

-- Kevin Kemner (, December 31, 2000


For the muted colors, try duplicating film directly in the camera. I don't know how you're gonna get that beautiful grainy effect, though. The DF is very slow, so you'll have to work out your own EI. Start with ISO 8.

-- Bill Mitchell (, January 01, 2001.

Thanks Bill,

I'm more interested in the tonal range than the grain although it might be possible to sandwich a layer of b&w negative film and a layer of duplicating film. This would be pretty close to how an autochrome was constructed. If I recall correctly the autochrome process reversed the negative so I would have to do the same to the b&w negative. This all be held together in a glass sandwich for viewing.

-- Kevin Kemner (, January 02, 2001.

Sandwiching two sheets of film is a non-starter. Unexposed film is practically opaque, and the underlying film would get hardly any exposure. What light did get through would be diffused and give a very soft image.
I think the way to go would be to experiment with E6 processing, perhaps reducing the time in both the first and second developer, and increasing the exposure to compensate. Starting, of course, with one of the gentler films like Ektachrome
You could always add the grain mask with a separately exposed piece of B&W film.

Unfortunately, the trend in colour film today is for saturation, saturation, and yet more saturation. (Fuji, you and badly adjusted television sets are entirely to blame).

-- Pete Andrews (, January 03, 2001.

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