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Thread: Color correction filters for transparency film?

  1. #1

    Question Color correction filters for transparency film?

    Hello,

    Do large format landscape photographers, shooting mostly slide film stocks, use spectrometers and color correction filters? If yes, then under what scenarios?

    I am specifically asking about correcting color casts and not the typical warming/cooling scenarios when using (for example) tungsten film in daylight or vice versa.

    Thanks
    Last edited by shutterboy; 11-Aug-2020 at 14:53.

  2. #2
    Joe O'Hara's Avatar
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    Re: Color correction filters

    I don't know of anyone who uses a spectrophotometer but some landscape photographers who do color work in the woods use a .05 magenta filter to take out
    the green tinge that the light picks up from passing through the trees.
    Where are we going?
    And why are we in this handbasket?


    www.josephoharaphotography.com

  3. #3

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    Re: Color correction filters for transparency film?

    OP, I think you mean color meter, not spectrophotometer.

    I've never met or known anyone who admitted to owning a color meter, let alone using one. But there are quite few on offer on eBay.

    I've hit situations out-of-doors where one and a good set of CC filters might have been useful.

    For one, I once took a picture of an alligator in the Big Cypress. Fairly early morning, deep shade, ISO 100 Ektachrome, I forget which one. 35 mm, not LF, not that it matters. In that situation roses may be red but 'gators are blue. Bright blue on the Ektachrome I used.

    For two, I was once doing acceptance tests on several old uncoated lenses. Out of doors, ISO 100 Ektachrome, 2x3 on 120 film, not LF, not that it matters. Same subject for all shots. One lens' shots were all very blue. I retested, got the right colors as expected. The blue wasn't due to the lens, an f/6.3 B&L Tessar. I'd shot its several test shots (f/11, f/16, f/22, the apertures I most often use) with the sun behind a cloud. The other shots in the first series were taken with the sun not behind a cloud.

    Shadows are blue. Early morning and late afternoon sunlight is very yellow. I've never felt the need to get a color meter and filters to fit my lenses to detect and correct the conditions. But that's me. You have to decide what will and won't work for you.

  4. #4

    Re: Color correction filters for transparency film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    OP, I think you mean color meter, not spectrophotometer.
    You are right. I meant to type spectrometer. I am a physicist and deal with a lot of spectrophotometry. So I guess it was more of muscle memory. I have fixed it in the original post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    I've never met or known anyone who admitted to owning a color meter, let alone using one. But there are quite few on offer on eBay.
    I made an amazing decision of marrying a terrific girl about 10 years ago. She happened to approve a good amount (in my opinion) of money for my birthday on account of not pulling strange stunts in the past year. Therefore here I am to ask.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    Shadows are blue. Early morning and late afternoon sunlight is very yellow. I've never felt the need to get a color meter and filters to fit my lenses to detect and correct the conditions. But that's me. You have to decide what will and won't work for you.
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It is very nice of you.

  5. #5

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    Re: Color correction filters for transparency film?

    Quote Originally Posted by shutterboy View Post
    You are right. I meant to type spectrometer. I am a physicist and deal with a lot of spectrophotometry. So I guess it was more of muscle memory. I have fixed it in the original post.



    I made an amazing decision of marrying a terrific girl about 10 years ago. She happened to approve a good amount (in my opinion) of money for my birthday on account of not pulling strange stunts in the past year. Therefore here I am to ask.



    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It is very nice of you.
    If you are going to get a color meter make sure that you get a 3 color one, not a 2 color meter.

  6. #6

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    Re: Color correction filters for transparency film?

    Twenty-plus years ago, commercial photographers made their living by delivering perfectly-exposed, perfectly-colored transparencies to the client. This required careful and regular emulsion testing, as well as an accurate and consistent E-6 process. The results of which might result in adding a 5Y + 2E (say) to the camera lens to ensure correct color. And a good deal of angst along with a fair amount of "sturm-und-drang" at the lab; been there, seen it.
    That level of lighting consistency isn't really possible in the field; I suppose a color meter and a set of color-correction gels might help- but will it be worth the extra expense and effort? Perhaps, if your end product is chromes viewed on a 5000K light box. If you plan to make prints, then today the workflow requires scanning and an image-editing program, which is a much more flexible way of dealing with color inconsistencies. Getting it right in the camera is a noble goal, I admit...

  7. #7

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    Re: Color correction filters for transparency film?

    If you can get hold of a July/August 2005 copy of View Camera magazine, Charles Cramer wrote an excellent how-to article on this subject. He recommended a Gossen ColorPro 3F color meter and a set of warming filters (he used an 81A, 81C, 81EF, 85C, and 84) for use when photographing under open blue skies in complete shade or prior to sunrise or after sunset. Back in the day I went in whole hog and picked up a used 3F meter and a set of filters (I settled upon an 81A, 81B, 81C, 81EF and 85C) which used singly or in combination covered all the lighting scenarios I expected to encounter. But unless you have your heart set on viewing fully color corrected chromes on a light table, in our current Lightroom/Photoshop scanning/printing era in-camera color correction is largely superfluous, as you can warm up your images to taste on your computer monitor. Color correction can be more accurate if you actually measure color temperature at the time of exposure, but for field landscape work no one really needs this level of accuracy.

    Since I still carry a set of color filters for B&W photography, I've kept my warming filters which once in a rare while I still use. If anything I find them most useful with color neg film, since it is already challenging to get the colors right when scanning and inverting color neg images, even with modern software tools such as Color Lab Pro. But for most folks lugging along a full set of warming filters addresses an extremely limited use case. They are useful only in full shade under open blue sky (they cause more harm than good in mixed lighting, and are unnecessary under overcast), and getting a reasonable color temperature reading with a color meter in the field takes practice. Light is typically reflected from a wide variety of nearby objects, and subtle changes in the orientation of the meter can produce significantly different readings. I usually take several readings in the general direction of an open sky light source, then generally go with the least measured correction, as I'd rather err on the side of too little correction than too much (e.g. yellow vegetation is not a fetching look). If you are in a deep canyon, for example, a warming filter may not be needed at all since the canyon walls will reflect warm light on your shaded subject even if you are under open blue sky.

  8. #8

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    Re: Color correction filters for transparency film?

    Go to post# 20 on this link:
    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...ght=elinchrome

    IMO, trying to achieve this degree of color balance on color transparency film today is not possible. Trying to achieve this outdoors is going to be near not possible at all due to the vast changes and differences in color temperature of sunlight over the course of the day. Sunlight's color temperature varies by time of day (sun rise-noon-sun set), altitude, direct sun, shade and a long list of other factors.

    Best of the color temperature meters from that era was the Minolta flash color meter III , owned and used one back in the day. It is accurate, easy to use and reliable. If you're really curious about shift in lighting color temperatures, get one that is in good accurate condition, then check sunlight color temperature over the course of a passing day.

    Second item needed, a GOOD set of "Color Correction" or cc filters. These are used to achieve color balance after the color transparency or other color film has been tested for color balance at a specific lab's processing chemistry and system.

    The entire business of achieving color balance to this degree was very common for commercial ad marketing work as that market demanded high quality images back then. In comparison to outdoor land scape color images where Fuji Velvia has become quite popular.. Fuji Velvia is NOT a color accurate film, it has stylized color rendition. Fuji Astia IMO was one of the best color transparency films for accurate color rendition and moderate contrast was one of the best made. Astia was quite un-popular with many image makers even back then.


    Bernice

  9. #9

    Re: Color correction filters for transparency film?

    Very insightful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sampson View Post
    Perhaps, if your end product is chromes viewed on a 5000K light box. If you plan to make prints, then today the workflow requires scanning and an image-editing program, which is a much more flexible way of dealing with color inconsistencies. Getting it right in the camera is a noble goal, I admit...
    My end product is definitely prints. But I have seen that it is very hard to correct the colors after the fact. I have had some help with using something like a Xrite passport checker, but still sometimes it seems something is amiss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Leppanen View Post
    If you can get hold of a July/August 2005 copy of View Camera magazine, Charles Cramer wrote an excellent how-to article on this subject. He recommended a Gossen ColorPro 3F color meter and a set of warming filters (he used an 81A, 81C, 81EF, 85C, and 84) for use when photographing under open blue skies in complete shade or prior to sunrise or after sunset. Back in the day I went in whole hog and picked up a used 3F meter and a set of filters (I settled upon an 81A, 81B, 81C, 81EF and 85C) which used singly or in combination covered all the lighting scenarios I expected to encounter. But unless you have your heart set on viewing fully color corrected chromes on a light table, in our current Lightroom/Photoshop scanning/printing era in-camera color correction is largely superfluous, as you can warm up your images to taste on your computer monitor.
    Oh my goodness. How could you possibly refer to something that was published 15 years ago. I have trouble with remembering things that happened 15 days ago. I was thinking of gradually buying the entire CC set from Lee. But after listening to other folks here, I will probably not go that route. You mention

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Leppanen View Post
    Color correction can be more accurate if you actually measure color temperature at the time of exposure.
    So, let's say, I make a measurement right before the exposure and the meter tells me I am at 3300K. I am using something like Provia 100 (say) or Ektar (negative, I know). These are daylight balanced, so 5500K. How should I compensate in post processing armed with this information?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    Second item needed, a GOOD set of "Color Correction" or cc filters. These are used to achieve color balance after the color transparency or other color film has been tested for color balance at a specific lab's processing chemistry and system.
    I process my own E6 using Fuji Hunt 5L kits in a Jobo rotary tube processor. I pay close attention to pH and Sp Gr of the chemicals and run a tight (in my opinion) process control. I understand that you mentioned Velvia 50 is NOT a color correct film. Knowing that, do you think that as per Dan Fromm's blue alligator experience (third post from top), such things might throw off exposures due to light with color cast?

  10. #10

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    Re: Color correction filters for transparency film?

    Home processing, not even close. The New Lab had a full time Chemist to assure the E6 chemistry was consistent and reliable day after day, week after week, month after month. They used a Refema dip-dunk system that can push-pull in 0.1 f-stop increments if needed. To get that level of consistency and reliability in E6 processing is no small matter and seriously questionable for home E6 processing using E6 chemistry kits.

    Color cast out doors is often due to differing color temperatures, reflected colors and a very long list of variables. This is why back in the day, consistent and accurate color was achieved by high quality strobe light, tested then tweaked as needed. Notable is how the cinema or big budget film folks deal with the color shift problem out doors, they do color temperature meter the light and add cc filters as needed based on testing done on film, for some scenes they will bring in BIG lighting to gain control of the lighting. These folks mostly know precisely the visual presentation they are after and how to achieve it.

    As preciously mentioned, if you're serious about this, get a Minolta Flash III color temperature meter, learn how to use it and apply the tools (cc filters film testing, color densitometer and all related) as needed.

    All that said, it does depend on your specific image goals and needs... which is complex and only you can decided how far to go to achieve this.


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by shutterboy View Post
    I process my own E6 using Fuji Hunt 5L kits in a Jobo rotary tube processor. I pay close attention to pH and Sp Gr of the chemicals and run a tight (in my opinion) process control. I understand that you mentioned Velvia 50 is NOT a color correct film. Knowing that, do you think that as per Dan Fromm's blue alligator experience (third post from top), such things might throw off exposures due to light with color cast?

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