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Thread: Which labs still make traditional optical enlargements from 4x5 color negatives?

  1. #1
    Maris Rusis's Avatar
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    Which labs still make traditional optical enlargements from 4x5 color negatives?

    A colleague of mine wants to shoot 4x5 colour negative film, develop it himself in C-41, and sent the negatives to some one who put those negatives in an enlarger and turn out 16" x 20" prints. The end point is a body of work unified by an exclusively analog work flow; no pixel dust at any stage. I'm told the project is well funded.

    So, who can offer this service anywhere in the world? Or is the era of colour optical enlargement well and truly finished?
    Photography:first utterance. Sir John Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society. "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..".

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    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Color Enlargements from 4x5 negatives.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post
    So, who can offer this service anywhere in the world? Or is the era of colour optical enlargement well and truly finished?
    A call to here might be worthwhile.

  3. #3
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    Re: Which labs still make traditional optical enlargements from 4x5 color negatives?

    Maris, I've reworded the subject line to more directly draw attention to what you're looking for. Good luck!

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    Re: Which labs still make traditional optical enlargements from 4x5 color negatives?

    Also, FWIW, Blue Moon Camera & Machine in Portland, Oregon, offers darkroom color printing. I don't know that they've catered to the large-print, fine-art market. But can't hurt to ask:

    https://bluemooncamera.com/

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    Re: Which labs still make traditional optical enlargements from 4x5 color negatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maris Rusis View Post
    Or is the era of colour optical enlargement well and truly finished?
    Still alive. IMHO it's soon to say that this is experimenting a revival, but we see that now Adox sells Fuji RA-4 color paper cut in sheets and price is affordable, around 1€ per 30x40cm Crystal sheet.

    A big RA-4 optic enlargement from 4x5 it's something impressive... if the negative is good...


    Let me make a recommendation, if you are to order that job far from you then you scan and make small digital RA-4 prints adjusting only the dominats, exposure, etc... what it can be adjusted in the enlargement, so you can show the printer what you want, you may simple send the edited digital images for reference but a RA-4 "prototype" print is a better reference. You may also show burning/dodging in the print or file.

    What you do in the digital file may not be easy/possible in the optic print, but if the printer has a reference image then he has a good guide.

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Which labs still make traditional optical enlargements from 4x5 color negatives?

    If he can get c41 chem there, why not RA4? Printing optically onto RA4 paper like Fuji Crystal Archive is rather easy if one has an enlarger with a colorhead, and a basic 16X20 drum. No need to go through the headache of a scan or redundant digi manipulation. There are indeed fewer big commercial labs doing this kind of service, but they're hardly extinct. Optical printing is quite alive and well; but it's straightforward enough that some of the momentum commercial labs once had has simply transferred over to personal darkrooms. But I don't know the state of supplies distribution down under.

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    Re: Which labs still make traditional optical enlargements from 4x5 color negatives?

    I agree. RA-4 printing is relatively a straight forward process with the required equipment and a used enlarger equipped with a color head is inexpensive these days. This image is a scan of an 11x14 RA-4 print made with a Beseler 45MXT enlarger equipped with a Besler 45S color head: https://www.spiritsofsilver.com/gall...gallery_page_3 Anyone familiar with this location will recognize the improvement, while being faithful to the subject, that is possible by judicious manipulation of the filter pack.

    Thomas

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    Re: Which labs still make traditional optical enlargements from 4x5 color negatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by tgtaylor View Post
    I agree. RA-4 printing is relatively a straight forward process with the required equipment and a used enlarger equipped with a color head is inexpensive these days.
    I agree, today equipment is no problem. It's easy in theory, but a sound RA-4 print requires an skilled color printer to make a sound job that would be superior, if not better to print with a lightjet/etc.

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    Re: Which labs still make traditional optical enlargements from 4x5 color negatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    There are indeed fewer big commercial labs doing this kind of service, but they're hardly extinct.
    So which ones are they? I took a few minutes on the web to track down my own short list of high-end color labs that I'd either done business with in the past or was otherwise familiar with, and they've all either switched to digital files, abandoned printing or gone out of business.

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    Re: Which labs still make traditional optical enlargements from 4x5 color negatives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    So which ones are they? I took a few minutes on the web to track down my own short list of high-end color labs that I'd either done business with in the past or was otherwise familiar with, and they've all either switched to digital files, abandoned printing or gone out of business.
    Long time ago I shot 4x5 transparencies (E6) and had made Cibachrome prints. Later (10 years ago?) the only option was printing on Fuji print material that was almost as good as Cibachrome. Are there any labs doing this anymore. A 30x40 print can be a pleasure to see on the wall.

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