Best books on developing and printing RA-4 and color slides?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Puma, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. Puma

    Puma Member

    Jan 26, 2011
    35mm RF
    The title sums it up thusly, I want to learn how to develop, manipulate and print these two films to perfection and want to know what books are best on these subjects.

    Thank you,

  2. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

    Feb 4, 2004
    8x10 Format
    I have three books, all are good, but some are more in depth than others.

    Color Photography by Henry Horenstein
    Basic Developing, Printing, and Enlarging in Color by Kodak
    Exploring Color Photography: From the Darkroom to the Digital Studio by Robert Hirsch
  3. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

    Aug 10, 2006
    Multi Format
    Kodak Color Darkroom data guides from the mid 80's are useful. They include a good ring around poster for printing from negatives or slides.

    Kodak Print viewing filters are also invaluable. They include 5, 10 and 20 CC colour strengths in all 6 colours involved in balancing in positive and negative printing processes.

    The Kodak Z manuals availbale online for C-41, RA-4 and E-6 all have chapters on small tank developing proceedures and information on chemical mixing, storage, capacity and mixed concentrate life. They are not a leisurely read, but the information is certainly in there.

    The Basic Developing Printing and Enlarging book has a small ring around printed in it to get you started in judging print denisity and filtration. My copy, bought circa 1984 is what started me out back in the EP/2 days.

    I have a mid 80's Kodak booklet, the exact name I cannot recall, the 'Ektacolor Printing Guide', or something like that.
    It includes a 8x10 grey card that you photograph on the film you are using, in the light you are mostly using, and a 4x5 slide that you contact print on the paper while the grey card part of the image negative shines on the slide material.

    The slide has an array of different filtration hues on it in a matrix with labled axes. You read the print with a density comparitor tool to figure how over/under exposed you are, and then pick out the most grey square from the printed matrix. You do math with tables to figure the new filtration and time adjustment for density change and filter change. The template for the math is printed on the print as a part of the matrix slide image. It is quite useful, if you do not have a calibrated analyser.

    Unicolour and Bessalar made siimilar products that I have examples of as well, but without the grey card. They worked on totally diffusing a negatives image, which in theory summs to like 12-18% grey if there are no strong single colour parts in the image.

    There is much less variable process technique in colour than b&w darkroom work as to film development and print development variations.

    I would recommend an electronic enlarging printing timer that is repeatable in the tenths of a second range between 4 and 12 seconds. This is not an application where the good old Gralab 300 is really going to cut it.

    Mostly it is a just do it per the product guides kind of thing.

    The development of your colour seeing and judging capability is what takes the time, and it is a doing, not reading kind of skill to acquire.

    Good luck in acquiring your new skill.