rth. | photography https://thebalanceoflight.com the balance of light Tue, 17 May 2022 20:19:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://thebalanceoflight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/cropped-rth_circle_border.svg_600x600-32x32.png rth. | photography https://thebalanceoflight.com 32 32 160799839 some b&w prints https://thebalanceoflight.com/memo/2022/05/17/some-bw-prints/ https://thebalanceoflight.com/memo/2022/05/17/some-bw-prints/#respond Tue, 17 May 2022 20:18:42 +0000 https://thebalanceoflight.com/?p=12175
photo of a photo

is printing black&white photos the high class of prints? i really like looking at b&w photos on the computer but i want to print them as well. i’m fine today to print them to maximum size of A4 – just for interest how they look like. later i could imagine to do larger prints. so, let’s have a lock how good the epson ET-4700 prints black&white.

say it in advanced, … today i’m not quite convinced that i’m able to print high quality black&white after judging the results! 😞

what do we have? i printed on different types of paper with different variants of color profiles. the print on the hahnemühle smooth (which is actually hahnemühle fineart photo rag bright white 310g paper) has a really nice contrast but unfortunately it has a greenish tint. i used here the included color profile, which might be a reason why it looks like as it is. the paper itself feels nice and soft but it should not be given into too many hands. i guess the moisture from hands seeps easily into it. this might in long term would ruin the print.

next paper is the hahnemühle photo luster. the paper seems to be more capable for handing around. it is not a high glossy paper but also not matte too. i would use this mostly for prints. for this test print i could use a color profile which is measured especially for b&w photos. the contrast here comes very close to the photo rag paper, but here as well … i can see a reddish tint. very close to the original, but in my opinion a bit far away from high quality b&w.

i’m using turboprint on linux for printing and the company behind the software offers a color profiling service. it is possible to measure for different types of profiles. with the hp advanced photo glossy paper i wanted to know the difference between a universal and a studio color profile, when it comes to b&w prints. comparing the two prints i would say that the universal color profile is more suitable for b&w photos. it feels not as high quality as i whish to have, but the print with the studio profile has a color tint – it’s worse. however, the paper is glossy and i don’t like this.

last paper is plane paper. … have a look by your own! … … … nope!!

conclusion, … not done with testing yet! i like the hahnemühle photo rag paper. should i try it again but this time with an accurate b&w color profile? 🤔

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a print in color https://thebalanceoflight.com/memo/2022/05/08/a-print-in-color/ https://thebalanceoflight.com/memo/2022/05/08/a-print-in-color/#respond Sun, 08 May 2022 09:37:40 +0000 https://thebalanceoflight.com/?p=12130 with the new epson ET4700 printer my spirit of research and curiosity was awakened! from time to time i like to print photos just for own pleasure to see them hanging on the walls. from my old printer a couple of HP photo papers are left and i gave it a try and printed some photos. i’m using turboprint with linux which is able to apply color corrections on paper types. each paper type has its own color profile which might be already included in the turboprint driver. the HP paper profile was not included. so i had to create a new profile for this paper type type. and with this all begun …

color chart example

without having a dedicated color profile for the HP advanced photo glossy paper the color of the prints came out really awful. that’s way i wanted to create a dedicated profile for that paper. turboprint offers to create different types of paper profiles: a universal profile, a studio profile and a black and white one. i’d like to see the difference between universal and studio profile. and of course, when i already create profiles why not even to look at different types of paper as well. so i wanted to see the famous hahnemühle papers. luckily they sell a sample pack with 5 types of their paper which is nice for some try outs. in addition, i stumbled on the hahnemühle luster paper, which is as a classic photo paper. this should be included for testing as well.

except for the fineart smooth paper in the sample pack, i had to order paper profiles first. the color charts needed to be printed with turboprint and sent them to the color profiling service. i got the profiles by email only one or two days later and installation was done in a second. the test prints for comparison can be printed now …

compare the prints

difference between universal and studio profile

the hp advanced glossy photo paper was the choice to look closer on the difference between a universal paper profile and a studio profile – and i think 🤔 i’m able to see the difference here. in general the studio profile seems to have the overall more accurate colors. for the colored parts in the sample i would say that these are more vibrant when using the universal profile but accurate enough. but it is different for the black&white parts. you can see it when using the universal profile. the black&white sample image is a little bit more red-/greenish. it does not really look like a black&white. same is visible if comparing the gray patches.

summarizing, i would say if accurate colors are needed and especially if a black and white image should be printed, i would go for the studio profile. nevertheless, i do not really like the hp paper so much because of it’s surface. it feels a bit sticky to the fingers if they are sweaty. means, not useful if photos should be handed around.

hahnemühle paper

i printed the hahnemühle photo rag ultra smooth paper with the in turboprint included profile. from all test prints, i like this sample most. the color contrast is high and colors are nice and vibrant – and black is black. in my opinion this print comes very close to the original source file. a down side here is again the black&white sample images. there is a greenish tint which i do not like at all. i guess this is related to the color of the paper itself. this might can be corrected if using a dedicated studio profile. there is also the option to measure directly for a black and white profile by the way. the paper is not glossy and feels really soft, nice and valuable. as nice this paper feels in the hands i wouldn’t give it into too many hands.

if i would need prints for giving it to a lot of people i would now choose the hahnemühle luster paper. the paper surface and structure doesn’t feel sticky at all. even if humidity is a bit higher or hands are sweaty. for this paper i got measured a studio profile. the colors are not as vibrant as seen in the hp using a universal profile or in hahnemühle fineart smooth paper. but comparing now both hahnemühle prints together, the black&white sample looks far better on the luster paper using the studio profile.

… and last but not least – plane paper

should plane paper be used for photo prints at all? 😅 as you can see, the image very faint, colors are not vibrant at all. because it is most times thinner than photo paper, it became already somehow wavy. however, for a quick print – why not, but it is far away from photo quality.

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turbo in print https://thebalanceoflight.com/memo/2022/05/01/turbo-in-print/ https://thebalanceoflight.com/memo/2022/05/01/turbo-in-print/#respond Sun, 01 May 2022 10:53:28 +0000 https://thebalanceoflight.com/?p=12033
a photo to compare the prints

a printer broke and needed to be replaced. so it’s time to do a bit of color profiling for the new one.
… and bit of color comparison! 🙂

i’ve used turboprint for linux quite a while. it is able to use custom color profiles for prints. many printers are supported by turboprint. most of these printer drivers already support different types of papers and contain their print profiles. the amount of profiles and paper types varies by the printers. however, my new printer is an Epson EcoTank ET4700. why this one? first i think Epson is well supported by turboprint and second the printer has a scanner unit. vuescan is by the way a good choice as well. i needed a multifunctional printer. and … price-performance blah-blah-blah!

so let’s see, the printer is supported by turboprint since version 2.49 and includes already many paper profiles: plain paper, epson inkjet paper, archival matte, epson matte heavy, epson photo glossy, epson premium glossy, epson premium satin, epson ultra glossy, transparency, hahnemuehle smooth fineart, ilford omnijet.

let’s print some samples

what makes sense to print? since it is an Epson printer and the driver includes already a profile for the epson premium glossy photo paper, … so i think it make sense to compare prints on this paper. i like to see how color and black & white images looks like – printed with different profiles!

so what do we have …

  • a mobile – using the epson printer app
  • tuboprint – using the included epson paper profile
  • tuboprint – measuring an extra calibrated paper printer profile

as source file i’ve found a color calibration sample image at FinerWorks. it already contains different types of images: a black and white one, colorful saturated images, a graphical image and certain color patches as well. think this sample should be great for comparison. at the end the prints of course needed to be digitized to compare them here. i made a photo and used the ColorChecker chart and darktable to make sure to show the prints on paper with the correct colors here. for taking the photo i have used a flash to light up the images. it introduced an uneven illumination and due to, the paper type is glossy it reflected light a bit differently depending on the place. but with the reflections the paper texture might be become visible, too.

let’s compare the results …

print from mobile

even the epson printer app knows about the paper types and the correct paper can be selected in the settings. the print itself turned out darker in comparison to the other ones. i my opinion it is already far to dark. the app provides an auto correction mode, it might be related to this. anyhow – in addition to this, the image is a bit to blueish as well. especially i do not like how the black & white part turned out. it’s the same for the green parts of this sample.

print with the included color profile

the print with turboprint on linux using the included paper profile seems to have the same blueish cast as the print from mobile. it has to be said, it is not as dark as the other one but in general i do not like the color cast here, too. might it be that both are the some profiles provided by epson? i need check some when, how it looks like if it would be printed on windows and its print drivers.

print with individual calibrated color profile

the company ZEDOnet GmbH behind turboprint offers a color profiling service for printers to measure individual color profiles for every available paper. i have used this service already for my old printer and here i’m happy as well. the image is now printed more correctly. the bluish cast disappeared and the brightness over all areas of the image is handled much better. i think the contrast of the print got a bit lost due to its lit by the flash in a not that optimal direction.


with this experiment, i think from now on i want to print only images with a individual measured paper profile. if you would never have seen the difference between “unmeasured/included” profiles and the measured one, you might be ok with the printed – if you just look for color prints. but i think here we already can see that the black & white part of the sample really is improved a lot.

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the days were still calm https://thebalanceoflight.com/memo/2022/04/03/the-days-were-still-calm/ Sun, 03 Apr 2022 18:58:56 +0000 https://thebalanceoflight.com/?p=12011 there was still a roll of kodak t-max laying around from vacation of last year – it’s time to develop it …

how a year begun https://thebalanceoflight.com/memo/2022/02/12/how-a-year-begun/ Sat, 12 Feb 2022 11:44:54 +0000 https://thebalanceoflight.com/?p=11926 the year 2022 started in gray – walking through the city, taking photos day or night is really a relaxing activity. using here fore a mobile phone is a really fast way having quickly results i like. taking the picture, applying a pre-developed snapseed look and done!

these days in summer https://thebalanceoflight.com/memo/2022/01/27/these-days-in-summer/ Thu, 27 Jan 2022 22:17:47 +0000 https://thebalanceoflight.com/?p=11775
there were some nice sunny days in the last year, when i took the chance for a walk in the city. of course, having a camera with me. sun shines into the city and defines shadows. it’s autumn and leaves reveal their beauty.
hard fact, … the film kodak portra 400 has been developed in the cinestill cs41 powder kit.

… from the last year https://thebalanceoflight.com/memo/2022/01/22/from-the-last-year/ Sat, 22 Jan 2022 10:05:18 +0000 https://thebalanceoflight.com/?p=11378 it took a while, but finally i’m happy that i finished developing and editing of some images which have been developed in cinestill cs41 powder kit. the development itself felt actually quite easy but i struggled again later with the colors. i haven’t shot that time a color target so there is no color reference available. 💡 note to myself: “always have a color target with you!” 😆

anyhow, color calibration couldn’t be used this time in darktable, so i made use of the color grading features of the color balance rgb module. it took a while to fiddle out on each image but i think they are good enough to show.

do the colors matches the colors the film type should actually has? … i don’t know. they are from two different film rolls: kodak portra 400 and fujifilm superia 200.

there is just a point i do not like. each roll have been in the same developer and later edited in darktable. worked on one photo first and applied the settings to the others. the colors differed from image to image. after color grading they are still not consistent enough for me.

old c41 developer still good for use? https://thebalanceoflight.com/memo/2021/12/30/old-c41-developer-still-good-for-use/ Thu, 30 Dec 2021 17:10:38 +0000 https://thebalanceoflight.com/?p=11099

… or the actual question is: “cinestill cs41 powder kit developer, which already sits and waits since 5 months underneath my kitchen sink, … is it still good for use?” and “how could i test and proof whether it can be used again?”

these were the questions i asked myself a while ago, as i wanted to develop a next bunch of color negatives. still there was the cinestill cs41 powder kit developer under my sink. i knew that the speck says 24 films in total should be ok to be developed. on top, it was the first c41 chemicals ever that i mixed together. no experience with it. i already developed some films in this dilution. a few additional more should be ok. but the developer was stored already five months under the sink. indeed, stored in complete darkness, but … for how long might these developer be stored? … and how to test?

an idea of testing

every time when i develop black and white films, i generally check before whether the chemical is good for use. only once, maybe twice 🙂 i made the mistake not to test and my heart was bleeding a lot about the loss! just to say in short: for testing bw developer, i cut off a small piece from the film and drop a drip on it. let the developer sit on it as long as the receipt requires. after rinsing i put the snippet into the fixer. with that, i also know how the fixer behaves. if the film stripe shows then a deep dark spot on it, i know the developer is fine. since with color negatives it’s all about “colors”, just a fine contrasty spot might not be good enough judging the quality of a c41 developer. however, it wouldn’t tell anything about color shifts!

the idea now is to shot a complete roll of film with exactly the same scene. each time i’m not sure whether the chemicals are still good for use or might be expired, i would cut off one single frame from this test stripe and develop it first. throughout the complete process: from film development to digital processing with a computer. hopefully this allows to judge first the developer quality without destroying the actually film or getting unexpected results.

the test stripe for c41 developer

as the test stripe should be for color film, it makes totally sense to have colors on the frames. so, what else then a color target would be better to shot? a color target would also enable the control of colors throughout the complete process. means, from scanning the negative, to image editing on the computer, up to printing if needed. color management and color conversion is hereby controllable.

shooting the test stripe, i used a dark background and placed a colorchecker passport and spyder checkr target on it. actually one would be sufficient, but i put two targets, just to be able to play around with my editing software of choice: darktable. just to get used to it, how darktable handles these both targets. since the c41 process is able to develop a huge bunch of different film types, i just decided to shot the test stripes on a kodak ultramax 400 film roll. well and correctly exposed film roll full of 24 frames, which i can cut off if needed. but just a second before i did the first cut, i immediately knew, that it would be very hard if not impossible to cut on the exact frame edge. so there are some losses. 😀

processing and judging

after a while, i had two negatives from the test roll, developed in cinestill cs41 powder kit. the picture below shows on the left side a negative which was developed in the mentioned 5 months old mixture. on the right side shows a negative developed within a freshly mixed dilution. at both times, i stuck to the same process given in the cinestill instruction. means 3,5 minutes in the developer and 8 minutes for bleaching and fixing – both with a temperature of 39°C.

already this image shows to me, that the contrast on the right negative seems to be better than on the left. since i have even just started with color negative processing, i do not feel ready to judge here whether the colors are accurate or eventually shifted. nonetheless, “colors” are visible – so far so good!

left: 5 months old developer || right: freshly mixed

usually my negatives are scanned with the same settings and always in color (tiff, 16-bit, lossless). it even doesn’t matter if it’s a black and white film. colors still can be removed later. the images underneath are showing the scanned negatives, … same settings. it becomes even more visible than in the image above, that there is a noticeable difference in contrast. comparing the color of the target fields, i think that they seem to be very similar. the colors on the left are a kind of faded, … i would says.

[2.1a] negative 5 months old developer
[3.1a] negative fresh developer

the digital processing

when the images are scanned i process them usually with darktable. this time i tried to be as accurate as i could be. therefore, i only inverted the negative and used the color calibration module to get the colors as natural as possible displayed. i’m not quite sure whether this module will work well with shrubby negatives, … together with tiff files the scanner returns. however, this is the module order i applied to them (bottom to top).

  • output color profile
  • color calibration
  • exposure
  • negadoctor [ module name is a bit weird, am i right? ]
  • input color profile
  • crop
  • orientation

additional to the film negatives, i shot the same scene with a DSLR. just to compare the “digital” colors against the analogue world. actually, first i did a shot with the DSLR and took over the camera settings to the film camera. film speed ISO 400 is given by the choice of film, which is kodak ultramax. exposure time is set to 1/20 of a second.

all the three images (left: DSLR; middle: 5 months old dilution; right: fresh mixed dilutions) are processed in darktable in the same module order as shown above. the film negative is inverted with the negadoctor module, … o.k. this is not done for the DSLR image. 😉

  • 1st row are the “negatives” shown again, without further processing in darktable
  • 2nd row after inversion. i only applied the color calibration module and set the exposure values to the suggested values
  • 3rd row shows optimized images. for the DSLR image i added the filmic rgb module. for the film negatives i reduced the exposure value. the gray fields of the target helped here.

the DSLR images in the left column show quite a good result in respect to colors. the top image in this column shows how the raw file is interpreted without any additional settings in darktable. both others are clean and already good to use. the interesting part begins when we compare the negatives and how their colors behave.

we can see what’s the effect of a 5 months old cinestill dilution seems to have. in addition, how the color calibration module handles the film negatives. means, that the images [2.2a] and [3.2a] are first a kind of overexposed. this happened due to, that the calibration module provides an estimated exposure value which can be directly set in the exposure module. the estimation seems to be a bit to high. therefore, i optimized/reduced the exposure value in relation to the gray fields of the target. the images [2.3a] and [3.3a] are more equalized in respect of exposure. compared to the digital image as well.

… but what about the colors? let’s have look further down.

[1.1a] DSLR, uncalibrated color
[1.2a] DSLR, color calibrated
[1.3a] DSLR, calibrated & filmic rgb
[2.1a] negative, 5 months old developer
[2.2a] negative, color calibrated
[2.3a] negative, calibrated & optimized
[3.1a] negative, fresh developer
[3.2a] negative, color calibrated
[3.3a] negative, calibrated & optimized

judging colors

this is now the “moment of truth”. below is shown a comparison between both developed negatives. left side the image developed in 5 months old chemicals and right side in freshly mixed dilution. both images are color calibrated and exposure is adjusted. let’s see …

the image on the left side has a little less contrast than the one on the right side. this we recognized already when we compared the negatives on the light table. in addition, the green tint on the left image is clearly visible. therefore, it is confirmed that the 5 months old c41 dilution definitely has bad influence to the development process! nevertheless, the negative developed in the fresh mixed dilution shows up bright, contrasty with a little higher luminosity. that’s how it should be.

but i wouldn’t say that the left image is unusable. overall the color fields of the target seem to be still very similar on both images. is it maybe just the tint? within the digital processing it should be kind of easy to improve the result further. getting rid off that greenish tint and increasing the contrast and the luminosity of faded film negative.

… but then there is just another question: “how to get rid of those many scratches and sprinkles!?” 😀

darktable settings

last but not least and if it’s for interest i add nine screenshots from each processing step in darktable. you could see here, that the calculated color profile for the film negatives are actually evaluated as “bad”. it is due to their calculated average values. at least, for me the result for the negative image, which is developed in a fresh dilution is totally usable. still i would do color calibration on negatives.
… for now!

[1.1b] DSLR, uncalibrated color
[1.2b] DSLR, calibrated color
[1.3b] DSLR, calibrated & filmic
[2.1b] 5 months old developer
[2.2b] color calibrated
[2.3b] optimized
[3.1b] fresh developer
[3.2b] color calibrated
[3.3b] optimized
miss travel https://thebalanceoflight.com/memo/2021/12/26/miss-travel/ Sun, 26 Dec 2021 18:09:11 +0000 https://thebalanceoflight.com/?p=11171 so happy that there’s been a chance for a short leave and fast return. if all around is so much gray, than the sun starts really missing. hop-on, welcome on board and enjoy the days …

there is still travel https://thebalanceoflight.com/memo/2021/09/09/there-is-still-travel/ Thu, 09 Sep 2021 20:56:29 +0000 https://thebalanceoflight.com/?p=10882