Dull Color Prints - need more contrast

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by sattler123, May 8, 2006.

  1. sattler123

    sattler123 Member

    Mar 11, 2004
    Hi, here is my problem: I shoot Kodak 160VC, develop it in standard C41 in a Jobo processor and the negs look very good. I then use my LPL 4500II enlarger with a Dichroic head using Kodak Supra Endura Glossy paper souped in standard fresh RA4 . To check the filtration settings I am using a gretagmacbeth Color Checker and the colors are very good, BUT they look very dull - there just doesn't seem to be enough contrast in the print. What am I missing here - how can I boost the saturation/contrast of my prints? Thanks in advance for your help!
  2. glennfromwy

    glennfromwy Member

    Nov 3, 2004
    Multi Format
    For what it's worth, though I don't process and print my own color work, my imression is that 160VC has rather flat looking color, by it's nature. Not that I don't like the colors, it just that they're not real "snappy". Maybe you should try another film?
  3. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

    Dec 3, 2004
    Chicago, Wes
    Multi Format
    Dear sattler123,

    Your note raises many questions in my mind. Is this something that has been happening for a long time and to every roll? Does it happen under all lighting conditions? Have you compared printing negatives processed at commercial labs to those you've processed yourself? (Similar lighting conditions and all that.) My only experience with 160VC is one box of 10 sheets and processed by a professional lab. The colors were plenty bright and the prints did not look flat.

    Neal Wydra
  4. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

    Jan 17, 2005
    Downers Grov
    Have a few negs comercially processed to see if you are more happy with the contrast/color.

    Be aware commercial people do not normally use Profesional Portrait Paper with is low in contrast.

    If you are using commercial paper, not portrait, and are getting different results from the commercial lab, something is wrong with your process.
    Old developer although it is freshly mixed
    Fog inside enlarger lens
    Contaminated developer
    Safelight fog
    Out of date paper or paper not kept cold even before you got it

    my results always match my favorite Kodak Q lab which has exacting quality standards. I use 160VC and pro portrait paper the same as they do.

    You might scan a neg and send it to a lab outside your area that is known for good work.

    Elevator imaging
    West Coast Image

    If you get back equally bad results, the problem is in the negative development.

    If all is well and you want more contrast/color saturation, then you need commercial paper and perhaps a film that gives more contrast/color. These are easy to find, but I am not recommending any as I never use them. Wait correction, I found some cheap FUJI for a dollar a roll in a five pack at Target. You will get all the color/contrast you want.
  5. langedp

    langedp Member

    Nov 5, 2005
    Large Format
    You may also want to try Ultra Endura instead of Supra. It has a bit more contrast. I made this switch after using Supra and not really being satisfied with the contrast. Also make sure the paper is fresh.