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How To Print Colour Negatives On A Black And White Enlarger

Can i use a color enlarger to make black and white prints?

Yes, it's completely fine. Just dial the lamp color in to something that aproximates white light, or light from a tungsten bulb.

If you know what you're doing(which I don't, and won't advise on how to do it here), you can even use the color head to dial in your desired filter pack for use with multigrade paper.

Darkrooms: Has anyone tried converting a black & white enlarger to a color one using color changing LED's, and what success has been had?

I'm not sure that's practical considering the natures of the color balance in LEDs versus the color balancing needs of printing.  You could probably design an LED with such capabilities but I don't see a commercial need for such a thing.You seem to think enlargers were dedicated to color versus B&W.  The enlargers themselves weren't.  Their "heads" were.  The head of an enlarger is the light source.  B&W heads simply needed to produce a very, very evenly distributed light across the area of the largest negative the enlarger could handle.  Color heads had to do that AND be able to produce light with very exact color qualities, also precisely even across the area of the negative, a much more exacting and so expensive requirement.But photography draws enthusiasts from all economic levels and it wasn't unusual for people of limited means to want to try processing their own color images.  The least expensive way to do that was by using color slide film.  The expense/challenge there was to maintain consistent temperature in the processing chemical baths.  Imprecision there could alter colors.  Precision could be achieved cheaply by large water baths, some warm and cold water.But color balance in prints requires all the temperature controls plus an enlarger with a variable light source.  The expensive way to do that was an enlarger head with dial-in variable filters.  The least expensive way was a simple B&W head with a color-balanced bulb and a set of below-the-lens filters that could be used to tune the color.  Such filters were one more potential source for image degradation, they required lots of clumsy fiddling and some really cumbersome juggling between effects of adding/subtracting filters and their effect on exposure times. Halfway between the dial-in and under-the-lens filters were the heads that were fitted with filter drawers between the light source and the negative stage.  Impact on the image quality was reduced (but not eliminated due to potential scratching of the filters and the never-ending risk of dust contamination.)

Cheapest 35mm/120 enlarger? black and white/ color capable enlarger? What to buy?

I would like to develop 35 mm and 120 format film in both black and white and color.

However if there is a major difference in cost would like to know for each what is cheaper.

What is the cheapest Black and White only enlarger that does both formats of film?

What is the cheapest that does both black and white and color and both formats of film?

What is the cheapest 35 mm enlarger?

What is the cheapest 120 enlarger?

Is it safe to take old black and white negatives to CVS to have them developed?

Black and white negs on color paper look funny to me. If you look at C41 black and white negs and compare them to standard BW negs, you will see that the C41 has a reddish hue to it. The standard ones don't and that might cause a problem.

There are two ways that you have to do what you want to do.

Since you did not say what film size the negs are shot on, you would have to have a scanner that would do what you need to do. They make scanners that only scan 35mm and then they make them that will do medium format and 35mm. Get the right one, scan them, put the scans on disk, and either print them on your printer or take them to a place that will print them for you. Again, if you are using a regular color scanner, the prints will not really be black and white. There will be some, noticeable, hue to them.

Or you can take them ot a place that can scan them and print them in real BW.

The difference between slide, colour and negative film?

slide or transparency film is where processing the film produces a positive image on the film itself which can be viewed in a handheld viewer or by projecting onto a screen. Processing is E6 or if Kodachrome then a special "secret" kodak process.
To make prints from slide film is more expensive as it uses a different type of paper (cibachrome for instance).
The latitude of the film is less (meaning that you need to get the exposures right in camera).

Colour or black and white negative film is film that when processed produces a negative image and then requires processing onto paper through an enlarger to produce a print.
This is more "normal" film.
There is more latitude in the film and the processing can be amended to account for over or under exposure if this is known at the time.

Colour negative film uses a process called c-41 for processing and is done in most high st labs
Black and white film is easier to process and a variety of chemicals are available. Most high st labs will have to send it away for processing.

If you are new to photography then use either colour or b&w negative film as you will have more room to experiment with exposure etc.

Do a search on B&W film processing as it is pretty simple to process this at home which would be cheaper than sending everything to a lab.


p.s. a lot of high st. labs are not set up to process 120 film and you may need to find a pro lab or have it sent away for processing.

How to develop pictures from negatives?

Basically, there are 2 ways to develop pictures from negatives. You can either scan the negatives directly with a film scanner...or you can develop the pictures the traditional way with an enlarger and chemicals in a darkroom.

If you use the traditional method to develop pictures, then it's much easier to do with black and white film. Color pictures are a LOT harder to do, because you need more chemicals and you have to be a lot more careful with the temperature and development time. Black and white film and pictures are super easy to develop though.

With traditional photography, you would use an enlarger. Photo paper (REAL photographic paper, not computer paper!) is light sensitive, kind of like film. You put your negatives on a tray on the enlarger, called the "negative carrier." The enlarger has a lamp and a lens to project the image from your negative onto the paper. Since the paper is light sensitive, it will capture an image. You will expose the paper for a certain amount of time...usually 10 seconds or so. Then you develop the paper by putting it in trays with chemicals

The first chemical is the "developer" which makes the image visible. You will develop the paper for about 1 minute, 30 seconds. Then you put it in another tray with a stop bath or just plain water. (I just use water). The next chemical is the "fixer" which makes the image permanent so that it's not light sensitive anymore. I usually leave the paper in the fixer for 4 minutes. Then put it in one last tray with water. When you get a chance, you have to wash the paper thoroughly with running water. Then put the paper somewhere safe to dry.

Once the paper is dry, that's it! You have a finished picture.

How much does an enlarger for film cost?

Hello Alex:

Are you asking about black-and-white or color? This is important, because trying to develop color at home without the right setup and equipment can produce some dissatisfying results, and is not very cost-effective from the getgo. I'll go by the assumption you're asking about B&W...

A pre-owned B&W enlarger can go for as little as $200-250 (and I've seen some for a little less). New ones can go up from there to the thousands. After switching to digital, I gave away my 35mm Durst enlarger with a Nikkor lens... so keep your eyes and ears open.

As for the enlarger and other "stuff" to develop film...

Here's a link that explains how to set-up a basic black and white darkroom (for printing):

Processing your own black-and-white film is a different animal, with equipment all it's own. Here's a link that explains that process:

Prices of this equipment vary, so shop around.

If you live in a metropolitan area, you can find the equipment at an reputable photo supply store or you can try ordering from the following vendors:

Other places to try to find pre-owned or good buys on enlargers (and other equipment):

Finally--and getting back to major metropolitan areas... Many major cities have flea markets and even photography "swap meets" where you may be able to find the equipment you're looking for. You should also check the bulletin boards at community colleges and universities that have photo departments for used darkroom supplies...that's where I got many of mine when I was a photography student.

The most expensive piece of equipment would be the enlarger. If you shop around carefully for bargains, I'm guessing to develop film AND enlarge photos, you may be looking at anywhere from $400-500 (including chemicals, trays, tongs, etc. at the least.

I suggest enrolling in a community art photography class or community college photography class and use their darkroom. It would probably be most cost-effective for you.

Hope this helps, and good luck!

I have a 35mm negative I would like to print as a 12x16" photo. Should I scan it digitally or use an old-school enlarger?

Which method do you have available? If you can do both well, The film type will tell you the answer.Darkroom printing takes significant skill and forethought. I am assuming you have these. If the negative is black and white, you have a huge advantage over digital methods by using a diffused head enlarger (color head or cold head for example.) The diffused light can move around the grain clusters and give you many stops of extra detail beyond 100 percent grain coverage, which would be no detail white with a condenser or digital scanner. In a color negative this advantage does not exist because there is no grain. Only dye clouds remain where the silver grain clusters have been bleached away. All that is left is your ability to get this detail out.On the digital side, you have an opportunity to post process a scanned image to perfectly match your printing method, and can print to traditional RA4 chemical process excellently, or print inkjet to a wide array of materials. Twelve color inkjet printers are making very good prints now. The question with digital printing is the scanner. Negative scanning is like printing through a traditional “condenser” enlarger, which not only limits high light range like I mentioned earlier, it makes minute scratches and dust a huge problem. Decent digital scanners have a fourth infrared channel that can subtract out this problem nicely, but they can only work with color negatives as the silver clusters of black and white are not invisible in infrared. On top of that, the noisiness of your particular scanner will limit the range on the other end. For years, scanner companies have vastly exaggerated the usable dynamic range and abilities of scanners. The best example is flatbed scanners, which are not optimized for negatives, and especially at a weak point with small negatives.If you are going to scan a color neg on a drum scanner or flextight, you will probably have an easier route to a good print than a darkroom in most cases, especially with color. If you are an expert darkroom printer using cold head or at least dichro head, it will be easier to get what you want in a darkroom, particularly in black and white film.

Where can I donate a darkroom enlarger?

The Ohio State University photo lab (Haskett Hall) gratefully accepts virtually all donations. I know they've at least two enlargers in their darkroom that kicked the bucket this past quarter; really caused some problems for the undergrad students. If you'd like, you could contact

The Ohio State University, College of the Arts, Art Department
(614) 292 - 5072

Mention that you've an enlarger that you'd like to donate, and ask if you could be connected with The Cage at Haskett Hall.

Of course, you're more than welcome to do whatever you'd like with your enlarger, just a suggestion! Regardless, your philanthropy is greatly appreciated no matter where the enlarger goes =)

Where can I get old photo negatives developed?

You can scan your negatives with any scanner you have at home.  Take the image of the scanned negative to Photoshop or any image editing software which has 'invert colours' option. Invert it.  You have your negative converted into a digital image.  Depending on the pixels,  you can print it.  PS: any normal picture editing software will have 'invert colour' option.  You can even do it in phone.