a good reference book for colour printing

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Greetings to everyone! Until now I've been a committed black and white user, but, shock...horror...I'm actually considering getting into a bit of colour! My darkroom is set up with a LPL 7451 colour enlarger and a nova quad processor. Can anyone recommend a good reference book for a beginner in colour printing and what sort of original would give me best final print quality, negs or transparencies? Any advice or comments would be greatly received. KInd regards Paul

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), September 23, 2001


Hi Paul

I would start with transparencies and Ilfochrome thats the only thing I do in my lab in color, for thad you don`t need a colormeter and I do it with very good results for my portfolio and for exibitions. You only need a special labor lamp for color paper, the rest is up to you. Sorry I only know some german books about it, but in english you should have even more. But there only a few about the Ilfochrome process in german. And in some of the books is stated it has to be total dark for Ilfochrome thats just bul.. I do it in my quad processor with always lab light on. Good start!

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), September 23, 2001.

Paul, regarding ilfochrome, i too decided to give it a try and received some free literature from ilford, n.j., after an email request, on ilfochrome printing, and also contrast masking. it took a week to arrive, and is printed off a color printer, but is nice material nevertheless.

I'll be trying my first ilfochromes later this week, so stay tuned for stupid questions on color printing. Andre noble

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@yahoo.com), September 23, 2001.

I started printing color at the beginning of the year, so consider that as you read this. The community college I was taking an LF class at had a color processor and color darkroom in addition to B&W, so the LF instructor gave me a few pointers and I was off. I also read a book he recommended, if I remember right, it was Exploring Color Photography by Hirsch. It was very good because it not only contained info about printing, but also about color theory and application. I know some people who have read Color Photography by Horenstein and thought it wasn't bad. I looked at it and it seemed to give the basic info.

I've never done Ilfochrome, though one day I'll give it a shot. Don't be afraid to try RA-4, though. Granted, I had it pretty easy with a 20 inch processor, but you could probably get reasonably good results at home, especially with the Nova Quad. I like Fuji Crystal Archive Type P, but that's just my personal preference. I have also found the Kodak color print viewing filters very helpful in getting the color balance right.


-- Dave Willis (willisd@medicine.wustl.edu), September 24, 2001.

Hi all

I forgett to state wich lamp I use for my Ilfochrome printing. It is a JOBO Maxilux color directed against the ceiling setting on color paper. She is not very bright but is very safe. Has 3 different settings 1 for B/W, 2 for color papers. Good prints!

-- Armin Seeholzer (armin.seeholzer@smile.ch), September 24, 2001.

Having been printing for the past 20 years, I will have to agree with the top posters about getting started with Cibas (if you have slides)! It is alot easier to get started because you have a reference... the slide. Printing from negatives, start off by making a ring around to see the differences in small to large changes. Use the same negative ALL the time to remove one issue! Kodak had/has a good starting book on color printing that even has a color ring around also. My advise, is to start off making contacts and choose from there. Print 8x10 prints and realize that there is a good learning curve. I have a chart (for negative printing) that I can send you that states if you have to much of one color and what you should do if that is an interest to you. I can easily make a PDF and email it to you if you want. Cheers, Scott

-- Scott Walton (scotlynn@shore.net), September 24, 2001.

Paul, Post Exposure by Ctein is pretty good on colour, but you may actually get your best results from a digital setup, using transparencies as the original source to be scanned.

-- fw (finneganswake@altavista.net), September 24, 2001.

My favorite book for color photography is the phone book, which lists color labs you can send your stuff to. I developed and printed color at work for 8 years, in addition to zillions of rolls of E-6 film. There is no way I would want to do it at home or in a small studio. It is expensive to do on a small basis and very time consuming.


-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alaweb.com), September 24, 2001.

Paul I can highly recommend the Kokak publication entitled "printing color negatives". it is what is used to learn to print color many years ago when I worked at a color lab. If you can't find one, give me a holler and I will let you borrow mine for a week or two.


-- Kevin Kolosky (kjkolosky@kjkolosky.com), September 24, 2001.

Doug, I don't have nearly the experience you do with color processing. But, a good reason one might decided to try making one's own color prints at home is that the "pro labs" often don't make your work a "labour of love" and therefore they seem to take one or two shots at the correct color balance, and then give you a nice fat bill, and disappointing prints.

I took a few color semesters with some very skilled instructors at Los Angeles City College, and am CONVINCED that one can surpass the pro lab quality on prints with the right amount of training, practice and dedication. That's reason enough for me personally to want to master it in my darkroom.

However, I would agree with you on E-6 processing, but I'm going to try that eventually too. Andre

-- Andre Noble (andrenoble@yahoo.com), September 25, 2001.

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