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  1. #1

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    Color photography with black and white film

    So I was reading about Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky, the father of color photography. He traveled all over Russia from 1909-1915 using a very early color photo process. He took three identical black and white photos, each with a red, green or blue filter. Then he would combine all three shots using red, green and blue light to produce a complete color photograph.

    Upon reading this I realized the same could be done with modern black and white film using three filters and Photoshop. Below is my first attempt. I took three shots on TMX film (35mm, sorry!) using 25A, 58 and 47B filters, then aligned and merged them in Photoshop.

    I figure this could come in handy. For one thing, it's a way to develop "color" film at home without using color chemicals or needing to send it to a lab. It might even be cheaper, although I haven't calculated it. It's also great if you're out in the field with only black and white film and you realize your shot would look better in color.

    So does anybody have any experience with this? Is this more trouble than it's worth? Am I crazy?

  2. #2

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    Re: Color photography with black and white film

    You did a nice job!

    If I had the filters I would be tempted to give it a try, just for fun if nothing more. Great if nothing is moving in the shot, although with the right subject one might get interesting effects with some movement.

  3. #3
    Eirik Berger's Avatar
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    Re: Color photography with black and white film

    That was really cool!
    Are the 25A, 58 and 47B-filters the optimal combination?
    Best regards,
    Eirik Berger

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    Re: Color photography with black and white film

    Quote Originally Posted by Eirik Berger View Post
    That was really cool!
    Are the 25A, 58 and 47B-filters the optimal combination?
    These three filters are used for color separation so I knew they would work best. At first I tried 25A, X1 and 80A filters but my yellows were very washed out. The 80A doesn't filter enough red and green. I haven't tried the 25A, X1 and 47B but it might work well enough.

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    Eirik Berger's Avatar
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    Re: Color photography with black and white film

    Looking in my filtercase (Hitech), I see that I have a red 25, green 58 and a blue 47 (not 47B). But after some quick googleing I think the plain 47 will work well too. I have never used the blue and green filters before, they just came along with I bought the filters a few years ago.

    If just the snow could melt away so I can find some color to separate…

    Quote Originally Posted by Incoherent Fool View Post
    These three filters are used for color separation so I knew they would work best. At first I tried 25A, X1 and 80A filters but my yellows were very washed out. The 80A doesn't filter enough red and green. I haven't tried the 25A, X1 and 47B but it might work well enough.
    Best regards,
    Eirik Berger

  6. #6

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    Re: Color photography with black and white film

    Have you tried the stronger tricolor filters: 29-61-47?

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    Re: Color photography with black and white film

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Marshall View Post
    Have you tried the stronger tricolor filters: 29-61-47?
    No, but they would probably work. Maybe even better than the ones I've used.

  8. #8
    Joanna Carter's Avatar
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    Re: Color photography with black and white film

    Quote Originally Posted by Eirik Berger View Post
    ... I see that I have a red 25, green 58 and a blue 47 (not 47B).
    Those are certainly the colours that Henri Gaud uses.

    To translate another part of his article on tests that he did, he recommends allowing the following ISO ratings for the three exposures, assuming you are using 100 ISO film

    Red : 32 ISO
    Green : 20 ISO
    Blue : 20 ISO

    Henri was kind enough to send me a set of Lee filters for trichromie and I have just got around to mounting them in holders and have started to play with a digital camera before burning some proper B&W film.

  9. #9
    Joanna Carter's Avatar
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    Re: Color photography with black and white film

    Quote Originally Posted by Joanna Carter View Post
    To translate another part of his article on tests that he did, he recommends allowing the following ISO ratings for the three exposures, assuming you are using 100 ISO film

    Red : 32 ISO
    Green : 20 ISO
    Blue : 20 ISO
    I've just read more of the "Test" article; Henri appears to go on to say that he finally settles on :

    Red : 10 ISO
    Green : 10 ISO
    Blue : 16 ISO

  10. #10

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    Re: Color photography with black and white film

    Assuming you are using TRIX 320

    Originally Posted by Joanna Carter View Post
    To translate another part of his article on tests that he did, he recommends allowing the following ISO ratings for the three exposures, assuming you are using 100 ISO film

    Red : 32 ISO
    Green : 20 ISO
    Blue : 20 ISO
    I've just read more of the "Test" article; Henri appears to go on to say that he finally settles on :

    Red : 10 ISO
    Green : 10 ISO
    Blue : 16 ISO

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