Early Agfa colour materials - researched by Michael Talbert

Index to this web page:
I am indebted to Michael Talbert for the following information relating to early Agfa colour print processes.
Also, see his research on early Gevaert colour materials.
Also, see his research on early Kodak colour print materials.
  1. AGFACOLOR FILM
  2. AGFACOLOR Ultra (additive) and Neu (subtractive) Reversal Films
  3. AGFACOLOR Motion Picture Negative Films, Types B2 and G2, 1939 to 1945
  4. AGFACOLOR Positive Film
  5. Processing AGFACOLOR Motion Picture Negative Film
  6. Processing AGFACOLOR Motion Picture Positive Film
  7. Printing AGFACOLOR Negative Motion Picture Film onto Motion Picture Positive Film
    AGFACOLOR Printing Filters for Colour Correction
  8. AGFACOLOR Negative Films for Still Photography, Types T and K
    Early UK Advertisements for Agfacolor film and printing services
    AGFACOLOR Negative Film Type T
    AGFACOLOR Negative Film Type K
    Film Sizes
  9. AGFACOLOR Negative Film Processing Type T and K
  10. Agfacolor CN-17 Universal Colour Negative Film
    Agfacolor CN-17M
    Agfacolor CN17 Special Colour Negative Film

    Agfacolor CNS film
  11. Amateur Processing of AGFACOLOR Films, from 1958
  12. AGFA GEVAERT ~ Duplichrome D 13
    Processing Procedure for Duplichrome D 13
  1. AGFACOLOR PAPER
    Agfa processing in the U.K
  2. Printing AGFACOLOR Negatives onto Agfacolor Paper Type CN III
    AGFACOLOR Enlarger Heads
    Compensation for exposure times when using Agfacolor glass colour printing filters
  3. Early Methods of Calculating the Correct Colour Balance of an AGFACOLOR Print
    The AGFACOLOR Mosaic Filters
    Procedure for using the AGFACOLOR Mosaic Filters
    Agfacolor Comparator
    The 'Colorax' and other devices
  4. Notes on Early Filtrations used with the Agfacolor Heads
    Grundzahl Figures
  5. Agfacolor Paper Processing, 1947
  6. Agfacolor Paper Process from 1950
  7. Agfacolor Paper Process from 1954
  8. Amateur Processing of Agfacolor Print Materials, from 1958
    Colour Negative Printing
    Voltage Fluctuations
    The "Agfacolor Manual"
    Processing Sequence for Agfacolor Papers CN111 and CH111
    Layer Changes in Agfacolor Papers CN 111 and CH 111
  9. Agfacolor Paper CH 111
    Agfacolor Paper MCN 111
  10. Agfacolor Print Processing 1960-1961
    Processing Agfacolor Paper with an additional Stop–Fix Solution
  11. The Agfacolor Pa Process for CN111 and CH111 papers
    Agfacolor Pa 68°F process ~1961
    Agfacolor “Warm Process" ~ 1966
    Agfacolor “Warm” process at 25°C for dish processing ~ 1968
    Agfacolor Pa 77°F process ~ 1970

    Comments on “Dish Processing” Agfacolor Paper using Pa Chemicals
  12. Agfa-Gevaert Agfacolor MCN III Type 7 Paper
  13. Agfa Process 85, for Agfa 310/Type 4 Colour paper
  14. Summary Table ~ Agfacolor Colour Negative Printing Papers, 1949 to 1981
  15. FOOTNOTES
    Michael Talbert
    UFA, Universum Film AG, (originally Universum Film Aktiengesellschaft)
    Wolfen and ORWO
    Agfachrome CT18

Some early Agfa black & white films in their original cartons. To view, click here.
Pictures provided by Charlie Kamerman; see his website at http://www.KodakCollector.com



AGFACOLOR Film

AGFACOLOR Ultra (additive) and Neu (subtractive) Reversal Films

Prior to the launch of the 'subtractive' Agfacolor Neu colour reversal (transparency) film (see following paragraphs), Agfa had marketed (since 1932) 'additive' colour film. This was similar to Dufaycolor film, producing a positive transparency. The film was processed in black and white reversal chemicals and had a 'reseau' type colour screen within its construction in order to provide the image colour when viewed by transmitted light. According to an Agfa price list of May 1934, it was available in roll film, flat film, and film packs.

There were two types of Agfacolor additive 'reseau' films. One, Agfa Color film, dates from 1932, and the other, Agfacolor Ultra, a faster film, dates from 1934. Both these films were derived from Agfa Color glass plates, which were sold in Germany as long ago as 1916.

Agfa did manufacture a 35mm film in 1933, but this was a Lenticular film, specifically for Leica cameras. The film had minute lenses incorporated into the film base, and transparencies were viewed with a Leitz projector fitted with a three band colour filter. The process was mainly used for cinematography and saw little use in still photography. It was similar to the earliest 'Kodacolor', a 16mm version for home movies made by Kodak in 1928.

When “Agfacolor Neu” reversal film first made it’s appearance in 1936, it proved that a multi-layer colour film could be manufactured with the colour couplers incorporated into three separate emulsion layers coated onto a single 'support' and that this arrangement could be processed in a single colour developer. It was processed with a first developer and then the colour developer. It was available in Germany as 35mm 36 exposure film and by late in the 1930s it also became available in the U.K. The British Journal Almanac of 1938 gives a short review on Agfacolor Neu film and suggested it should best be exposed at 14 Scheiner in daylight (about 2ASA / ISO !), although Agfa quoted a speed of 17 Scheiner (4ASA). It cost 6 shillings (30p) for a cassette of 36 exposures including processing (1937 price). Processing was done by Agfa. In the 1930s Agfa had an address in Lawrence St, St. Giles High St, London, WC2, but its uncertain whether 'Neu' films were processed there.

Agfacolor Neu film could be purchased in Germany as from 1936, and it was likely that Agfa had a processing laboratory in Berlin. As far as Michael Talbert has been able to ascertain, the film price included the cost of processing. There is an address for Agfa in Berlin in the 1930s:
I.G. FarbenIndustrie Aktiengesellschaft / Agfa, Berlin SO36

At the present time (2012) there is a Night Club named “Club SO36”, which is situated on “Oranienstrasse, near Heinrichplatz, in the district of Kreuzberg, South East Berlin”., but there appears to be no connection between the old Agfa address and the present Night Club, SO36.

It is possible that the price of the film was subsidized by the Nazi government in the late 1930s, paid for by wage freezes and higher taxes, thus making the film an affordable purchase for the average German worker. The film was also known as “Agfacolor 111”.

Agfacolor Neu film was sold in the U.K. before World War 2. The price of a 36 exposure cassette of Agfacolor Neu 35mm film in 1937 was 6shillings (0.30p), and this cost included the processing. Kodachrome film was much more expensive. The price of an 18 exposure cassette of Kodachrome 35mm film, including processing, in 1937, was 12shillings and sixpence (about 0.62p). Kodachrome film at that time was available in Regular (Daylight type) and Type A (for Photoflood lighting.) Agfacolor Neu film was only available in Daylight type only.

When the Agfa processing plant in the U.K. shut down in 1939, there was still a considerable amount of unexposed unsold Agfacolor Neu film in the camera shops and photographic dealers stocks. Some enterprising amateur photographers, who also had some knowledge of photographic chemistry, made up their own processing solutions for processing Agfacolor Neu film, gaining information from Agfa patents. Sometimes the processing formulae were published in various U.K. photographic magazines.

Below is a genuine Agfa processing sequence for Agfacolor Neu film, dating from 1945:

  1. Black and White Development.
  2. Washing.
  3. Intermediate Bath.
  4. Re–Exposure to light.
  5. Washing.
  6. Colour Development.
  7. Washing.
  8. Bleaching.
  9. Washing.
  10. Fixing.
  11. Washing.
  12. Possible Wetting Agent Rinse.
  13. Drying.

It was likely that the processing temperature was about 64°F, 18°C.

The Intermediate bath (step 3) was a rinse in Wetting Agent to ensure that water flowed off the film evenly leaving no “tear” marks. Marks left on the film during the Re-Exposure (step 4) sometimes caused stains when the film was colour developed. As far as the author knows, there was no “Stabilizer”, or “Anti-Fade" bath before final drying (step 13).

Wilhelm Lange, an archivist at the National Archives of Norway, department of private archives, was recentley (February 2012) given a collection of pre-war photographs. He says "94 of these are colour slides, many taken in Berlin on May 1 1937, the rest mainly summer holiday photos from Norway from the same year. These are the oldest colour photographs that the National Archives own. The Agfacolor Neu colour slide pictures are in the Thomas Neumann archive: http://www.flickr.com/photos/national_archives_of_norway/sets/72157629888217042/ with English text. Some of the texts may be inaccurate.

"A selection of the photographs was printed out in large format and displayed in our vestibule. For the opening we had a historian to comment on facts behind the photos for a small crowd of invited people and others who dropped by. Among them were Neumann’s daughter who was born after the war and knew very little about her father’s early political exploits. Also a son and daughter of J.B. Hjort came – the man who was really in the centre of developing the Norwegian National-Socialist party from 1933, but was kicked out with Neumann in 1937. Like many children, the Hjort children were in opposition to their father’s politics – she to the point that she was later given a knighthood for her war-time activities."

AGFACOLOR Motion Picture Negative Films, Types B2 and G2, 1939 to 1945

A multi-layer colour coupler type negative film (type B2 balanced for daylight and type G2 balanced for artificial light), was announced by Agfa (probably to the German film industry, U.F.A; for a Wikipedia definition: see below) in 1937. It was a 35mm film, designed for motion picture use, as the German Film industry already had much experience in, and the necessary equipment for, processing and printing large quantities of 35mm black and white film to a high standard. The first colour prints to be made from a multi-layer colour development negative film were printed onto an equivalent positive film, not paper. This positive (print) film was announced at the same time as the negative film stock. These negative & positive films were not manufactured in any quantity until 1939. The negative and positive films were certainly not on sale to the German public.

At the beginning of WW.2, U.F.A. and other film studios in Germany were instructed by the German Propaganda Ministry, (Joseph Goebbels), to make several full length feature films using the new Agfacolor negative / positive films. At that time U.F.A. did not consider the new Agfacolor films were sufficiently technically advanced to do this, but they went ahead and made about 13 films, (some unfinished) during the war to 1945. Two types of negative film were available, Type B for daylight, type G for artificial light. The films were processed and printed using modified black and white equipment but owing to wartime conditions, some of the release prints were inferior. It was generally agreed that “Die Fledermous” showed the best colour quality. The processing procedure for Agfacolor negative film changed little over the next 30 years.

After 1940, all research and development was done under the approval of the German Government. Some work was carried out on a special soft gradation reversal film for the production of duplicate negatives (negatives from negatives), but the film was only used for the duplication of short sections, spliced in with the original colour negative.

In all cases, the original colour negative film which had been exposed in the camera and suitably edited, was used to make the release prints, and no duplicate negatives were ever made for the printing of a complete film. A number of the feature films made were never released to German audiences, either because the films were never completed by 1945, or were considered unsuitable for showing to the German public.

The Agfacolor Motion Picture Negative films were panchromatic films coated with three emulsion layers, one sensitive to red light, one to green light, and one to blue light. Originally, when the negative films were first manufactured in 1939, the film speed was 10/10 degrees DIN, corresponding to about 6 ASA (ISO). A year later, one source claims this speed had increased to 16/10 degrees DIN, or roughly 25 ASA (ISO). As far as Michael has been able to find out, this claimed high speed applied to both types of film. However, another source states that, in 1945, the film speed was 14/10 degrees DIN, around 12 to 16 ASA (ISO). This is much more likely to be true, as this corresponds to the speed of the Agfacolor Negative films for still photography, CNT and CNK, introduced in 1949.

The Agfacolor Motion Picture Negative films were similar in structure to the very early Kodacolor films, but Agfacolor film employed a different type of colour coupler.

The Red sensitive emulsion layer was coated on top of the Nitrate base of the film. This layer contained the Cyan dye coupler which, on development, produced a negative cyan dye image in the exposed areas. A Green sensitive emulsion layer was coated on top of the red layer, incorporating a Magenta dye coupler, producing a negative magenta dye image on development.

Because both the red and green emulsions were also sensitive to blue light, a yellow filter layer was coated on top of the green layer, preventing any blue light from reaching the bottom two emulsions. The final emulsion to be coated on the film was the Blue sensitive layer on top of the yellow filter. This contained a Yellow coupler, which on development, produced a negative yellow dye image.

An anti-halation backing was applied to the base of the film containing a blue-green dye. The backing dissolved in the development step.

The Nitrate film base, which was not “Safety Film”, was the same base as used for black and white motion picture films.

The yellow filter layer consisted of colloidal silver in gelatin, which was removed from the film in the Bleach bath in the processing sequence.

The red and green sensitive layers each consisted of a similar emulsion to the Agfa black and white film, Isopan F. The Isopan F film was a black and white panchromatic negative film with a speed of 40 ASA (ISO). The blue sensitive layer was a positive film emulsion, sensitized for blue light only, not panchromatic.

No masking layers were incorporated in the negative films, nor did the colour couplers generate a coloured mask. No form of masking for contrast correction was ever used in the printing of the negative film.

As far as Michael Talbert has been able to ascertain, the exposure latitude of the Agfacolor Negative Motion Picture film was about one stop, although this is very likely to mean one stop over-exposure. Over-exposed negatives would require increased printing time. Under exposed negatives caused thin shadows with no detail, low contrast, and poor blacks in the positive release prints.

AGFACOLOR Positive Film

The Agfacolor Positive Film was a colour sensitive 35mm film used for making release prints from both types of Agfacolor Negative Motion Picture films. It was sensitized for 3,000°K tungsten lamps and had a slightly higher printing speed than the equivalent black and white positive printing material. On processing, it produced a colour transparency, but was not a reversal material, and the processing of it was similar to the Agfacolor negative film. It was not suitable for camera use.

The structure of the film was similar to the Agfacolor negative film, having the same layer order. The bottom two layers were each made up of an ”Isopan F” film emulsion plus a Process film emulsion. (At that time, Process film was a slow speed blue sensitive film of fairly high contrast, mainly for use in Graphic Arts or for copying.) The top layer was a black and white Process film type of emulsion, sensitive to blue light, i.e. not panchromatic.

More variation in manufacture was allowed for the Agfacolor positive film and batch variations of up to one stop in speed were permissible. The different colour characteristics of each batch could be filtered to a neutral balance when printing.

All Agfacolor film, negative and positive, was manufactured at the Agfa Wolfen factory.

Processing AGFACOLOR Motion Picture Negative Film

Processing of the film was done in sprocket driven continuous machines, the film being processed at 9 to 15 feet a minute. Modified processing machines were used, originally intended for black and white films. They used stainless steel or glass tanks for the solutions. The processing room temperature was kept at around 20°C/68°F, as the processing solutions were used at 18°C/64°F.

Approximate Processing Procedure for Agfacolor Motion Picture Negative Film.

First three steps in total darkness, or under a Green safelight (possibly Agfa Safelight filter No.170, very dark green.)
1. Colour Developer 6 minutes
The film was then wiped with rubber squeegees, before going into the following wash. The film was spray washed after the development step, but a fast circulating wash was also effective.
It is possible that a certain amount of “after development” took place in this first wash from traces of active developer remaining in the film.
2. Wash. 15 Minutes
3. Bleach. 3 - 5 minutes
The rest of the processing could take place in “White light”.
4. Wash. This was spray washing or fast circulating water. 5 minutes.
5. Fixer 5 minutes.
6. Spray wash 20 minutes.
7. Dry It is possible that the films were rinsed in a Wetting Agent, maybe “Agfa Agepon”, before drying.

Processing AGFACOLOR Motion Picture Positive Film

As far as Michael Talbert has been able to ascertain, the processing of Agfacolor Positive Motion Picture Film was carried out in the same machines as for the Negative Film. The temperature for processing was 64°F/18°C.

Two processing procedures were necessary, one for Motion Picture Film with no sound track and the other for Motion Picture Film with an optical sound track. Magnetic sound tracks were not invented until 1953.

Processing Procedure for Motion Picture Positive Film with no sound track.
Processing solutions used at 64°F/18°C. Total Darkness or Safelight.
1. Colour Developer 10 to 11 minutes
2. Short Stop Bath (10% solution of mono potassium phosphate) 2 Minutes
3. Spray Wash 15 minutes
The rest of the processing could take place in “White light”.
4. Bleach (ordinary) also removes yellow filter layer.  3 to 5 minutes
5. Wash. 3 to 5 minutes.
6. Fixer 5 minutes.
7. Final Spray wash 20 minutes.
8. Dry. It is possible that the films were rinsed in a Wetting Agent, maybe “Agfa Agepon”, before drying.

Processing Procedure for Motion Picture Positive Film with an optical sound track.
Processing solutions used at 64°F/18°C. Total Darkness or Safelight.
1. Colour Developer 10 to 11 minutes
2. Short Stop Bath (10% solution of mono potassium phosphate) 2 Minutes
3. Spray Wash 15 minutes
The rest of the processing could take place in “White light”.
4. Highly viscous Bleaching Solution. This solution was sprayed onto the film. 3 to 5 minutes
5. Sulphite Bath 1 to 2 minutes.
6. Wash 5 minutes
7. Fixer 5 minutes.
8. Final Spray wash 20 minutes.
9. Dry. It is possible that the films were rinsed in a Wetting Agent, maybe “Agfa Agepon”, before drying.

Notes on both Motion Picture Positive Film processing procedures.

  1. Both processes used a Stop Bath, (step 2), to prevent any “after development” taking place in the following wash. Any development in the wash may have caused a slight veiling or fog in the highlights of the print so development had to be stopped abruptly. With regards to the Negative film process, an increase in density in the shadow areas due to developer carry-over, was not unfavourable.
  2. As far as is known, the “ordinary” Bleach bath was used for films without an optical sound track. The optical sound track was printed onto the Colour Positive Film from a Black and White Sound Negative, exposed through a blue filter. The film was bleached in the “Highly Viscous Bleaching solution” for 3 to 5 minutes, the bleaching solution sprayed onto the picture area of the film only, leaving the sound track unaffected. All silver halide from the picture area was then removed in the fixing bath, leaving the exposed silver halide in the black and white sound track area.
  3. The Sulphite Bath destroyed the Bleach action, preventing any bleach remaining in the film acting on the film in the following wash.
  4. A Safelight was permissible for the first three steps of processing. The Positive film could be handled and processed under a safelight fitted with an Agfa No.166 filter, Olive-Green, for as long as 30 minutes. In the mid-1960's this filter became known as No.09.
  5. As with the Negative film, it was likely that the Positive film was rinsed in a wetting agent before drying. As far as is known, no Stabilizer, Anti-fade, or any type of Hardening bath was applied to the film before drying.

During 1944/45 Agfacolor Motion Picture film was being processed at the UFA laboratories at Kopenick, South Eastern Berlin. After 1945, it was included in the Soviet sector of East Berlin. Processing and printing was also carried out at the UFA studios at Neu Babelsberg, then the capital city of the German state of Brandenberg. Most of the feature films using Agfacolor materials during WWII were produced at the UFA Neu Babelsberg studios.

Printing AGFACOLOR Negative Motion Picture Film onto Motion Picture Positive Film

Printing was done by tungsten illumination on De Brie printing machines which were, as far as Michael Talbert can ascertain, were originally used for black and white release prints. It seems the intensity of the printing light was altered by means of a paper ribbon over the light source in which round holes were punched at different apertures. It was also necessary to change the colour of the printing light to correct for:

  • Differences in colour balance in the original scene being photographed.
  • Batch manufacturing differences of the positive material
  • The colour of the printing light
  • Irregular processing of the negative film

AGFACOLOR Printing Filters for Colour Correction

The printing filters used on the De Brie machines were made in the three subtractive colours, yellow, magenta, and blue-green. (Blue-green was later termed as Cyan. it was actually known as Blue-Green to begin with, possibly because it was translated from the German – Blaugrun).

The purpose of the coloured filters was to change the colour of the printing light to correct for any tints or colour casts in the positive print, this being a transparent print on 35mm positive film. The filters were made in different depths or densities of colour. The highest density filter in each colour was numbered 100 strength, and the other filters were numbered in densities of 10, decreasing from 100, the lowest density being 10. Therefore a “set” of colour filters would consist of 10,20, 30, 40, etc Yellow in increasing strength up to 100, 10 Magenta in the same values, and 10 Blue-Green, in the same values. The whole set comprised of 30 filters.

The value of the filters could be added together, 160 Magenta would be made up as, 100, 50 and 10.

Obviously, when printing on a large scale, it was very important to keep records of the filtrations used when printing each batch of negative film. A simple system of designation was used to indicate the filter combination of any print. All filter combinations, using numbered values, were written in the order of Yellow, Magenta, Blue-green (Cyan). This sequence was chosen as it related to the same sequence as the order of the layers coated on Agfacolor negative film. A filter correction of a 70 strength Yellow filter and a 40 strength Magenta filter with no Blue-Green filters was written as 70 40 00.

A filter correction of a 30 strength Magenta filter and a 60 strength Blue-Green filter and no Yellow filters was written 00 30 60. One filter could be used on it’s own, so e.g. a 50 strength Magenta filter would be written 00 50 00.

There was no need for all three filters to be used as a correction because three filters superimposed on top of one another would make a neutral density or grey. In other words, if all three colour filters were of the same strength, they would cancel each other out and would not alter the colour of the print.

A filter combination of 20 Yellow, 50 Magenta and 70 Blue-Green, would contain 20 “neutral density”. Therefore, if a value of 20 was subtracted from each filter the Yellow value would become 00 and this would cancel out the neutral density, or “grey” value, leaving a filter combination of 00 30 50.

The colour correction filters were stapled over the paper ribbon aperture holes to adjust the colour balance and produce a neutral print.

Residual colour casts in the printed, positive, film were removed by using a filter over the projection light source. In this case, the filter would be the same colour as the colour cast. If a print appeared too Yellow, or Magenta, or Blue-Green, it was corrected by placing a Yellow filter, or a Magenta filter, or a Blue-Green filter in the light source. A strong colour cast, one which could be seen very easily, was corrected by an equally strong filter value, such as an 80 filter. A very slight tint which might not be noticed was filtered out by a weak coloured filter, such as a 10 value. Red, Green and Blue casts were dealt with by combining Yellow plus Magenta to make a Red filter, Yellow and Blue-Green to make a Green filter and Magenta and Blue-Green to make a Blue filter.

When printing the Colour Negative Motion Picture film onto the corresponding Positive film several test prints were made to find out the correct combination of printing filters which give the best colour rendering. Usually, “coarse” test prints were made with exposure variations and filter values of 30 units apart. A “coarse” test print would take into account any estimated casts of almost any colour. The strength of the filters used were from 30 to 90 in Yellow, Magenta, Blue-Green, Red, Green, and Blue; Red, Green and Blue being a combination of filters, as explained above.

From this wide range of test printing a fairly good indication of the correct colour balance could be estimated. If the best colour in the “coarse“ test prints was estimated to be a print with the filters 00 60 60, (no Yellow filters, 60 Magenta filters, 60 Blue-Green filters), and this test print had a Magenta colour cast of, say, 20 units, another test print was exposed with the filter combination 00 80 60; i.e the Magenta value was increased to 80 to correct for the magenta colour cast in the 'coarse' print. Other test prints were also exposed at the same time varying the filtrations by say, 10 or 20 units around 00 80 60 (00 80 80, 00 80 70, 00 70 50, and so on). This series of test prints would “fine tune” the colour to hopefully arrive at an optimum colour balance and, with it, an optimum filtration value which could be used to make numerous release film prints.

AGFACOLOR Negative Films for Still Photography, Types T and K

In the early years of World War II, much experimental work was done by Agfa on a process for making colour prints on paper. By 1942, Agfacolor Paper was available for making prints from Agfacolor negative motion picture film.

It was originally decided by Agfa to release the negative/positive process to the general public as soon as World War II was over in Europe. But in 1945, production of film and paper had ceased at the Wolfen plant because of lack of basic raw materials and the collapse of Germany. Also, by then, the patents for the Agfacolor process became available to other photographic material manufacturers, such as Gevaert and Ferrania. Later on, both companies marketed colour negative/positive processes very similar to Agfacolor. The experimental paper, and some quantities of it, were originally made at Wolfen, but by 1949, both film and paper production had moved to Agfa’s Leverkusen plant, although Wolfen continued to make colour film, later known as Orwo.

In January 1949, Agfacolor film was made available to the general public, and the first colour processing laboratories for processing and printing Agfacolor negative film were set up in Germany. As far as Michael Talbert is aware, Agfacolor negative film was first sold in the U.K. in July 1951.

By June 1951, four processing laboratories had been established in the U.K. At that time, Kodacolor film was not sold in the U.K; the only Kodak film obtainable to the amateur photographer was the transparency slide and movie film called Kodachrome. Ektachrome film was accessible to the professional photographer in limited quantities. Colour prints could be made by the “assembly” processes, such as Kodak Dye Transfer, Trichrome Carbro, or Duxochrome. Prints from these processes were very costly and were used mainly by professional advertising photographers, not by amateur photographers.

AGFACOLOR Negative Film Type T
This film was for taking photographs in daylight. It was balanced for a colour temperature of 5500°K, with an average exposure of 1/50th sec. at f5.6 in hazy conditions, or cloudy bright weather.

It’s speed was 10 to 12 ASA(ISO) and it was recommended to find the correct exposure with an exposure meter; in 1951, the Agfa meter was the Lucimeter. The instruction sheet for Agfacolor Type T film suggests making three exposures of the same subject, one at the exposure setting given by the meter, then one exposure at one stop less than the meter reading, and another at one stop more than the meter reading. The best exposure was then selected and with it the correct film speed for that particular camera/exposure meter combination.

AGFACOLOR Negative Film Type K
This film was for taking photographs in artificial light, it’s colour sensitivity adjusted to 3200°K. It was mainly for studio photography using tungsten, photoflood, clear flashbulbs, or even flashpowder. The colour temperature of these light sources would vary, but were close enough for colour corrections to be made in the printing procedure.

Film speed was 10 to 12 ASA(ISO). With two lamps 4 feet away from the subject, exposures were around 1 second at f5.6. Pictures could also be taken under ordinary room lights, at exposure times of about 3 seconds at f4.

It was not possible to achieve a neutral balanced print with daylight and tungsten lighting illuminating the same subject, and prints made from negatives made in this way showed varying blue to yellow colour casts on the same print.

Colour filters were not recommended when exposing either type of negative film with the exception of an almost colourless Ultra Violet (UV) filter, Agfa No.K29C.

Colour casts due to varying colour temperatures of the lighting were corrected by printing filters and no colour compensating filters, such as the Kodak range of Light Balancing filters, or other makes, were advised.

Film Sizes
Best that Michael can ascertain, Agfacolor Daylight Negative film, Type T, was for sale in June 1951 in the following sizes:

  • B 2/8 Roll Films, this was 120 size;
  • 35mm film in 36 exposures for Contax, Ried, and Leica cameras plus others;
  • “Karat” 12 exposure film (this film system was an Agfa patented arrangement which used a cassette similar to that used for 35mm film, but the film was wound from one cassette into another cassette after exposure. No rewinding of the film was necessary).
  • Flat (sheet) film was available in various formats, possibly 3½ x 2½ins to ½ plate (6½ x 4¾ins). But note that 5 x 4ins sheet film does not seem to have been available, even though this format was very common in the U.K. at that time, and was also made in glass plates. Its possible the reason this size was omitted maybe because it was not a “continental” size. According to early advertisements, the flat film appears to have been packed in boxes of 10 sheets.

Flat film was also made in Type K artificial light film, but its unknown whether Type K film was marketed in any other format.
Flat film was “notched”, one notch for Type T, and two notches for Type K.

AGFACOLOR Negative Film Processing Type T and K

Agfacolor negative film for still photography was processed in much the same way as the Motion Picture film equivalent (see above). The first solution, a colour developer, formed the complementary colours in each of the three colour sensitive layers of the film. Unlike the Kodacolor film of that time, there was no orange colour correcting mask formed in the development step. Processed negatives, when viewed, took on a magenta cast. The yellow dyes and the blue-green dyes in the negative could not be seen easily because they were formed in the Ultra Violet (yellow) and the Infra Red (blue-green) regions of the negative film. As the human eye is insensitive to ultra violet and infra red light, the negatives looked magenta. Shifting the absorption of the yellow and blue-green dyes away from the magenta dye improves the saturation of the colours in the printing paper as it ensures the three colour dyes in the negative film do not overlap.

Only three solutions were used to process Agfacolor negative film – Colour developer, Bleach, and Fixer. When freshly mixed, the colour developer could not be used for 12 hours, as the chemicals were possibly too active and would produce negatives with too much contrast if used immediately.

The three processing solutions were sold in packages to make either 1 litre or 35 litres of solution when made up.

Solution

Time

Temperature
Colour Developer 6 Minutes 64°F (17.8°C)
Wash 15 Minutes see below
Bleach 5 Minutes 60 – 68°F (15-20°C)
Wash 5 Minutes see below
Fixer 5 Minutes 60 – 68°F (15-20°C)
Wash 20 – 30 Minutes see below

Notes

  1. The processing times in the table are the minimum times except for the colour developer, which had to be kept to 6 minutes. Other solutions and wash times could be increased slightly without detrimental effect.
  2. A safe light could be used, such as an Agfa No.170 (very dark green). It was possible to work in “White Light “ after the Bleach step.
  3. Where tap water was termed “soft”, the change in temperature as the film was transferred from the colour developer to the first wash could cause reticulation of the emulsion layers, or in worse cases, the gelatin dissolving into the wash water. To prevent this from happening, the films were bathed in a 2% Magnesium Sulphate solution for two to three minutes before the long wash.
  4. It was advisable to treat the films in a solution of Wetting Agent for 1 minute after the final wash before drying e.g Agfa Agepon wetting agent. Drying temperature was about 86°F (30°C)
  5. Development Times. Longer development times were suggested if the subject matter consisted of paintings or advertising subjects, when development times of up to 9 minutes could be given. In 1952, a “Hard” grade Agfacolor printing paper became available, thus extending the contrast range of Agfacolor prints.
  6. Processed negative films could be treated with Agfa Film Lacquer to prevent scratches to the film's bare or emulsion sides.
  7. A certain amount of “after development “ took place in the first wash, mainly in the shadow areas of the negative.
  8. Wash water temperature was 13°C to 21°C (57°F to 70°F)
  9. The Colour Developer temperature had to be kept within the limits of ½degree F or ¼degree C throughout development.

Agfacolor CN-17 Universal Colour Negative Film

A box of 10 sheets of CN-17 film, 4"x5", dating from 1968. Expiry date is November 1969.

A new Agfacolor Negative film was introduced in 1956. This film replaced the earlier Agfacolor types T and K films (see previous, above).
Agfacolor CN-17 universal film was balanced for use in daylight and artificial light, corresponding to colour temperatures of about 2500°K to 6500°K, as long as the lighting was not of a mixed colour temperature. Therefore it was possible to expose the film by the light of blue or clear flashbulbs, daylight, photoflood, or tungsten light. The different colour balances in negatives, caused by the different types of lighting, was corrected in the printing operation.

CN-17 film had a speed rating of 40 ASA, (ISO), or 17 DIN (German Speed rating). In 1956, it was one of the fastest colour negative films available, a distinction it shared with Pakolor PK-24 film, also rated at 40 ASA. The average exposure in daylight was approximately 1/125 at f5.6.

As the film had no orange colour correcting mask, it was easy to make good black and white prints from the negatives.

Processing followed the same procedure as with the previous Agfacolor negative films, but the development time was slightly longer with the new film.

Agfacolor CN-17 Universal film was first sold in rollfilm sizes 120, 620, and 127, “Karat” cassettes of 12 exposures, and 35mm cassettes of 20 exposures. Later, 35mm cassettes of 12 and 36 exposures were available. Many sizes of sheet film were obtainable, including a 4inch by 5inch format (see picture).

Despite new films being introduced during the 1960s (see below), the original Agfacolor CN-17 Universal film remained on the market until the end of the 1960s. By then the printing paper for unmasked negatives was no longed being manufactured (Agfacolor CN 111), but good prints could be made on Agfacolor paper MCN 111, and later versions of it, by incorporating an unexposed but processed piece of Kodak Ektacolor sheet film or Kodacolor rollfilm with the printing filters, or even with the negative itself, when making prints on Agfacolor MCN paper. This alleviated the very high yellow and magenta filtration values necessary when printing an unmasked negative onto a paper intended for use with masked colour negatives.

On a personal note, the author first used CN-17 Universal film in 1968, and was processing the film and making prints from it in 1969. In 1970, he remembers taking pictures on several out-dated rolls of 120 CN-17 Universal film, as by then in-date film was a unobtainable, CN-17 Universal having been replaced by Agfacolor CNS (see below).

Agfacolor CN-17M
In 1963, an orange masked version of CN-17 film was produced in sheet film format only, known as CN-17M, but it was short lived and was withdrawn from the market a year later. It had a film speed of 40 ASA (ISO).

Agfacolor CN-17 Special Colour Negative Film

An improved type of masked film was introduced in 1966, called “Agfacolor CN17S" (S for Special), with a film speed of 40 ASA (ISO). This film was available in roll film sizes, 35mm cassettes of 12 and 20 exposures, and Agfa “Rapid” cassettes. Amateur Photographer magazine for 3rd April 1966 carried an Agfa-Gevaert double page colour spread advertisement for Agfacolor CN17 Special Film. It contained pictures taken by Kevin McDonnell "well-known photographer, journalist and broadcaster". Click here to see that advertisment. "Agfacolor CN17 Special is a brilliant new double masked colour negative film specially made for today's most creative and critical amateur photographers. even if you're a reversal film addict, you'll be amazed at the superior quality of colour enlargements you get from Agfacolor CN17 Special. Buy a roll now, from your Agfa-Geveart dealer (from 8s/6d = 43p). Double masked for purer, brighter colours. Speed 17DIN/40ASA. Extra fine grain and high definition. Better colour separation and reproduction. Very wide exposure latitude." Note that Agfa advertised "Welcome News for Darkroom Devotees - New Agfacolor CN17 Special can be home processed...."

CN-17S film is listed in the British Journal of Photography Annual (BJPA) for 1968 under “Colour Materials for Still Photography”. In the column “Sizes Available”, the “BJ” gives a sheet film format for CN-17S. However, Michael thinks this maybe a mistake, as he can find no other reference to a CN-17S sheet film in any other of his historical Agfa or Agfa-Gevaert records.

Agfacolor CNS film was introduced about May 1968 as a replacement for CN17S. CNS was obtainable in the usual roll film sizes, 35mm in 20 and 36 exposure cassettes, “Rapid” cassettes of 16 exposures, and “PAK” film cassettes of 12 and 20 exposures. “Pak” film was equivalent to 126 size cartridges, suitable for the Kodak range of “Instamatic” cameras, plus other cameras designed to take 126 size film. Agfacolor CNS film had a speed of 80 ASA (ISO), which at that time matched the speed of Kodacolor X film. As far as Michael has been able to find out, Agfacolor CNS film was never made in any sheet film formats.

Agfacolor CNS film gave a better colour reproduction than CN–17 Universal because it had an integral orange colour mask.

(Left) An Agfacolor Processing Manual specially written for the American market.

This manual incorporates the processing sequences written above as well as information on how to process Agfacolor films. Over half the book is taken up with instructions on how to make prints on Agfacolor paper, and, interestingly, lists the American size of 11x14inches in Agfacolor paper in 10 and 50 sheet quantities, plus a 5x7inch size of Agfacolor CN-17 sheet film

Amateur Processing of AGFACOLOR Films, from 1958

Official Agfacolor chemicals and printing materials had been available in the UK since 1952, but were not sold to Amateur photographers unless they had attended a course of instruction at the Agfacolor School (see above, International School of Colour Photography).

In 1958, the processing and printing of Agfacolor materials had become straightforward and reliable enough for Agfa to release the chemicals for processing the negative and positive materials plus Agfacolor paper for sale to the general public without the need for attendance at an approved Agfacolor School. Packs of 1 litre chemicals for processing Agfacolor negative material and Agfacolor paper, plus various sizes and quantities of Agfacolor paper became available for sale to the Amateur photographer.

For processing negative films, the Colour developer, Bleaching bath, and Fixing bath were made up from powders to be mixed with water. A liquid colour developer, especially suitable for processing Agfacolor CN-17 films in the Agfa Rodinex developing tanks was marketed as an alternative to the usual 1 litre powder developer pack. The liquid developer could be diluted to suit the capacity of the Rodinax developing tank being used, and the developing time varied according to the dilution. CN-17 film was developed for 7 minutes at a 300ccs total dilution (stock solution of developer plus water), extending to 13 minutes at a total dilution of 700 ccs.

A fourth solution, the Magnesium Sulphate bath, was necessary for the processing of Agfacolor negative film. This was “user make-up”, and consisted of 3% Magnesium Sulphate, or 30 grams per litre. It was also advised by Agfa to add 30ccs of freshly prepared developer to each litre of Magnesium Sulphate bath.

Agfacolor Negative Film Processing

Bath

Code

Time (Mins)

Tempratuure °C
Total darkness
Either:
1. Agfacolor Film Developer S

NPS1/A

7

20
or
1a. Agfacolor Film Developer F

NPF1/A

7 – 13
to suit dilution for capacity of tank
(300cc to 700cc, see above)

20
2. Magnesium Sulphate Bath

----

2

18 – 20
3. Wash

---

15

14 – 20
4. Bleach

NP11/A

5

18 – 20
In white light
5. Wash

---

5

14 – 20
6. Fixer

NP111/A

5

18 – 20
7. Wash

---

20

14 – 20
8. “Agepon” bath
(Wetting Agent Rinse)

---

½

14 – 20
Drying

This negative process differs little from the 1950 negative processing sequence apart from the fact that the Magnesium Sulphate bath was now considered an essential part of the processing procedure.

Notes.

  1. The development temperature latitude was + or – ¼ a degree C, or ½ a degree F throughout the time of development. This applied to both powder and liquid developers.
  2. The development time could be increased by up to 25% to increase the contrast if the subject matter had been exposed by electronic flash.
  3. Maximum drying temperature for the films was 30°C or 86°F.
  4. Total darkness was recommended for loading roll films into spirals and sheet films into hangers but, if necessary, an Agfa safelight filter No. 170 could be used to provide darkroom illumination. Darkroom safelight filters for panchromatic black and white materials, such as Kodak Wratten Series 3, or Ilford safelight filters Nos. 907 or 908 were not suitable.
  5. When the films had been in the Bleach bath for about 2 minutes, white lights could be turned on.
  6. Apart from the development time, the times given in the table are the minimum times. Films could be left in the solutions and wash water slightly longer without coming to any harm. The wash after the Magnesium Sulphate bath could be increased to 20 minutes without any detrimental effect on the films.

AGFA-GEVAERT ~ Duplichrome D 13

In 1969, Agfa-Gevaert introduced “Duplichrome D 13”, a sheet film designed for making large duplicate colour transparencies. It was intended for making duplicates from original Agfa-Gevaert reversal films, such as Agfachrome 50S and 50L Professional films but successful duplicates could also be made from Kodak Ektachrome and Kodachrome original transparencies.

Duplichrome D 13 was available in sheet film sizes from 4 x 5 inches to 20 x 24 inches. The film had a speed of approximately 10 ASA (ISO) and was designed for exposures in enlargers with colour heads with a recommended exposure time of 1 second to 10 seconds. Original transparencies could be printed directly onto the duplicating film without the need for contrast masking or the use of the “flashing” technique.

At this time, Agfa-Gevaert also manufactured “Agfacolor Reversal Duplicating Film”. As far as Michael Talbert is able to ascertain, this film was for making 35mm duplicate transparencies from 35 mm originals and was only available in 35mm format. The film was originally known as “Agfacolor Reversal Copying Film” and had been used by authorized Agfa processing laboratories for the production of 35 mm duplicate transparencies since the early 1950s.

Processing Procedure for Duplichrome D 13
Duplichrome D 13 was processed in” Agfachrome 41 Process” at 75°F.

Either of two processing sequences could be used, a normal sequence taking 64 minutes wet time, and a rapid sequence taking 45 minutes wet time.

The rapid sequence was mainly for use in processing machines such as “Colenta” and the processed transparencies had limited keeping properties due to the shorter processing times. It was suggested by Agfa to start the processing sequence in rotary machines with a “Pre Wet” bath before the First Development step.

Processing Step Solution Code Time at 75°F
(Normal Process)
Time at 75°F
(Rapid Process)
Temperature (°F)
First Developer 41 FD 8 minutes 8 minutes 75° +/– ½°F
Wash   15 seconds omit 68° – 75°F
Stop Bath 41 ST 3 minutes 2 minutes 71° – 75°F
White light. Turn on room lights.
Wash   7 minutes 4 minutes 68° – 75°F
Reversal Exposure. 1 minute each side of film to 500 watt lamp at 40 inches (1m) distance.
Colour Developer 41 CD 11 minutes 10 minutes 75° +/– ½°F
Wash   14 minutes 11 minutes 68°F – 75°F
Bleach 41 BL 4 minutes 2 minutes 71° – 75°F
Wash   4 minutes ½ minute 68° – 75°F
Fixer 41 FX 4 minutes 2 minutes 71° – 75°F
Wash   7 minutes 3 minutes 68° – 75°F
Final Rinse Agfa Agepon wetting agent 1 minute 1 minute 71° – 75°F
Dry

Notes:

  1. The First Developer time would have to be increased pro rata with the First Developer exhaustion rate if the processing solutions were not replenished.
  2. The First Developer time could be adjusted slightly with regard to the contrast of the duplicates and the agitation rate.
  3. 15 ml. Formalin (30%) per litre could be added to the Final Rinse bath to improve the keeping qualities of the processed transparencies.
  4. When made-up from the three part chemical packs, both the First Developer and the Colour Developer had to stand for 12 hours before use. The other solutions could be used immediately after making up.
  5. This processing sequence was also used for Agfachrome 50S and 50L Professional films with longer first and colour development times.

Duplichrome D 13 film remained on the market for many years. A new duplicating sheet film was introduced by Agfa-Gevaert in 1993 as “Agfachrome Duplicating Film”. It was available as 4 x 5 inches, 10 x 8 inches, and in 35mm. An Agfa-Gevaert catalogue for March 1993 states that “Other sizes of duplicating film available shortly”. It was designed for processing in Agfa AP–44, which was the equivalent of the Kodak E6 process.

Agfachrome Duplicating Film was most likely the replacement product for Duplichrome D 13.



AGFACOLOR Paper

Agfacolor paper was first demonstrated at a meeting of the German Cinetechnical Society (Deutsche Kinotechnische Gesellschaft) in 1942 at Dresden, but due to wartime conditions, and lack of basic materials, Agfa did not release the Agfacolor negative / positive process until January 1949, and then only to a few laboratories in East/West Germany and later to Switzerland and Russia. Agfacolor film was made at Wolfen, and the printing paper was made at Leverkusen. The negative film, like the early cine film, was available in daylight, Type T, and artificial light, Type K. In the original instruction sheet for the daylight type, the film is rated at 12 to 16 ASA. (Ref: Michael Talbert's own copy).

The Agfacolor negative /positive process was introduced into the U.K. in July 1951. Click here to see some magazine adverts that date from that time.

Until mid-1951, very few people had set eyes on an Agfacolor negative, let alone printed one. Agfa were concerned that if they marketed the process on the basis that everyone was able to purchase the special Agfacolor chemicals, colour paper and equipment to make their own colour prints, great difficulties would arise for the amateur printer from handling, processing, and especially the colour printing of an unknown negative material onto an unknown printing paper. This would have had a detrimental commercial effect on the Agfacolor negative/positive process as a whole.

Agfa processing in the U.K
To provide technically satisfactory processing, Agfa set up four laboratories in the U.K. with specifically designed equipment to process and print Agfacolor negative film to a high standard. Staff at the laboratories were trained by Agfa in the various aspects of processing, printing and enlarging Agfacolor negatives.

In July 1951, the first four companies to handle Agfacolor materials were (according to Mr.Napthine of Agfa)

  1. A.E. Coe and Sons’ Ltd, of 32 London Road, Norwich. This laboratory later became Barrett & Coe Ltd; Information from Andrew Coe is that they did processing & printing of Agfacolor negatives in 1951 but stopped in 1954 because they could not make a profit from it.
  2. Turners Ltd, of 7-11, Pink Lane, Newcastle–upon-Tyne.
  3. Tempo Laboratories Ltd, of 80-82, St. John’s Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
  4. Jones and Bailey Ltd, of 72, Brewery Road, London N7

Fencolor laboratories Ltd. of 11a, Newmarket Road, Cambridge, are first mentioned as Agfacolor processors in the BJPA of 1953, so its likely they started Agfacolor processsing in 1952. It appears that “University Cameras” of Cambridge sold Agfacolor negative film very early on and maybe took processing and printing orders for Fencolor.

The Agfacolor process was capable of giving very good results, provided the film was exposed precisely in the right lighting conditions and the print was made with the correct printing filters in the enlarger. However, in the early days of Agfacolor printing, few people were able to filter an Agfacolor print successfully, so paper wastage was very high, - and expensive! It is quite possible that those who had some experience in making Carbro or Dye Transfer prints in the 1930s or 1940s, or maybe “Ansco Printon” prints, were the most qualified to judge colour casts on the new Agfacolor paper. Those who had made “assembly” prints would have had to learn an entirely new method of changing the colour balance of an Agfacolor print, using glass Agfacolor filters on a black and white enlarger with a filter draw, or working with a “Varioskop F” enlarger with an Agfacolor head.

To instruct photographers in the use of Agfacolor negative film, “The International School of Colour Photography” was started at Heath House, Crockham Hill, Edenbridge, Kent. Only photographers who had attended a course at an approved Agfacolor School, such as this, could obtain the genuine Agfacolor chemicals, equipment, and Agfacolor printing paper to process their films and make their own colour prints in their own darkrooms. Students acquired knowledge in using both types of Agfacolor film, plus the processing and printing of Agfacolor negatives. However, upon returning to their studios to put into practice what they had learnt, and finding a general lack of processing and printing facilities in the U.K. at that time, the Colour School also established a colour processing laboratory, namely ”Colour Processing Laboratories”, or C.P.L. for short (1952).

At that time, early 1950s, Agfacolor paper was balanced for their unmasked film, and was designated “CN111”. It was a thick, double weight paper with a glossy surface. C-colour, N-normal, 1-double weight, 1-white, 1-gloss. A Hard grade was available from 1952, (CH111). There was also a colour positive film, for making large display transparencies, later known as “Positive Film S”

Agfacolor negative film CN17, (40 ASA) was introduced in 1956, and CN14, (20ASA) in 1958. A masked film was put on the market in 1963, Agfacolor CN17M, with a new printing paper for masked colour negatives, coded “CN111M” or later “MCN111”.

Michael has access to the processing procedures for most, if not all, of the Agfacolor materials made in the 1950s and 1960s.

Printing AGFACOLOR Negatives onto Agfacolor Paper Type CN III

A service for the processing and printing of the first Agfacolor negative films began in Germany in January 1949. By July 1951, four colour processing laboratories in the UK were handling Agfacolor negative film and making contact prints and enlargements from customers negatives. (see above)

Although the Eastman Kodak Company had been making Kodacolor prints with semi-automatic printing machines, using a method of Tri-color printing, since 1942 (see: Early Kodacolor Print Materials), the Agfa company preferred a different approach. Agfacolor prints were made by a method known as “White Light” printing, in which the colour cast on a test print was removed by inserting coloured filters into the light beam of the printer or enlarger.

Although this web page has already described the colour printing filters used in Motion picture printing (see above), the Agfacolor printing filters for use in printers and enlargers were slightly different.

In 1951, Agfacolor Printing filters for use in printers and enlargers were manufactured as square glass sheets, in 6 sizes, from 2¾inch square for enlargers taking 35mm negatives, up to 11¾inch square for vertical or horizontal enlargers designed to print large sheet film negatives.

All sizes of printing filters were available in the three subtractive colours i.e yellow, magenta and blue-green (cyan) in a range of varying densities. The lowest colour density was nominated as a “5” unit filter and then the filter densities progressed in 10 unit densities up to and including 100, the highest colour density. Thus a set of filters would consist of 11 in each colour, making 33 separate filters (in 1958, a set of 24 gelatine Agfacolor printing filters was manufactured specifically for amateur colour printers, 8 filters in each colour). The “100” density filter was marked as “99”, so a six figure code could be used when writing the filtrations used in colour printing. The filtrations used for each colour print or test print were written in the strict order of “Yellow, Magenta, Cyan”, the colour Blue-Green was (by then) known as “Cyan”.

The filtration 00 99 45 would consist of: no yellow filters, a 99 magenta filter, a 40 cyan filter, and a 5 cyan filter.

A simpler way of writing filtrations was to abbreviate the designation for the filter not being used by using a line. 00 99 45 became – 99 45. This is said: "Stroke, ninety-nine, forty-five".

     

For Agfacolor printing, an enlarger with a filter draw was an essential requirement, though it was possible to modify a black and white enlarger for colour printing by fitting some kind of filter draw between the light source and the condensers.

The sets of 33 colour printing filters were supplied in a wooden case. The one shown alongside is believed to date from the mid to late 1950s.

There are 11 filters in each colour, from 5 to 99 (effectively 100) in colour density, plus three Mosaic filters. The first three filters at the left hand end are the Mosaic filters, see here (below) for an explanation of their use.

The size of each filter is 4¾inches (12cm) square. Glass filters of this size were still being used in De Vere Mark X Horizontal enlargers for making mural colour prints on Agfacolor paper and on Cibachrome Print material CCP – D 182 in the 1970s.

On each filter is printed a black/white edge; the denser the filter, the longer was the printed white section compared with the black section. It was then easy to tell if the filters were not in order of density when they were put back in their case or before the start of a printing session.

There are 11 Yellow filters, 11 Magenta filters, and 11 Cyan filters. The densities of each of the filters are given above on the white strip below the hinge of the lid. At the left hand end of this top white strip, above 9and serving to identify) the mosaic filters, is marked:-
"GP", which stands for (in German) Gelb – Purpur, meaning Yellow - Magenta.
"GB", which stands for Gelb – Blau-Grün, meaning Yellow – Cyan.
"PB", which stands for Purpur – Blau-Grün, meaning Magenta – Cyan.

The square “window” at the left hand end of the box, which could be covered by the flap, is a safelight (safe for Agfacolor paper types CN111 and CH111) to help select the correct printing filter in the dark without risk of fogging the Agfacolor paper and without having to turn on the main room light. The “Safelight” was operated by the small white switch, visible at the right hand side of the flap. The left hand end of the filter box opens and folds back as there is a hinge at the back of the box. Inside the box there is a voltage transformer connected to the small bulb for illuminating the safelight filter under the flap. The input voltage is 240volts on the model illustrated. The safelight was an available extra when purchasing the box of filters from Agfa.
     


Two Mosaic filters.
Notice that these Mosaic filters differ from the ones illustrated below, by using a 5x5 grid, with 25 colour unit variations to each filter in the grid, rather than a 6x6 grid varying by 20 units of colour. The 5x5 grid has the advantage of showing a slightly larger area of each filtration on the test print.
Left hand Mosaic: Filtrations range from no filtration, top left, to 99 00 99, bottom right. This Mosaic is suitable for Yellow to Green to Cyan colour casts in the test print. 50 00 50 (50 green), is in the middle of the Mosaic.
Right hand Mosaic: Filtrations range from no filtration, top left, to 00 99 99, bottom right. This Mosaic is suitable for Magenta to Blue to Cyan casts in the test print. 00 50 50 (50 blue) is in the middle of the Mosaic.


Two Individual Filters.
A 99 Yellow filter and a 90 Magenta filter. The filters are each marked with their appropriate filtrations in their top left hand corners (see above), L 99 00 00 on the Yellow filter and L 00 90 00 on the Magenta filter. Its possible that the 'L' stands for (in German) Licht, meaning light.

All filters were marked with their densities in this way.

     

Enlargements from colour negatives were made in exactly the same manner as enlarging from black and white negatives, apart from the use of the colour printing filters. The colour printing filters were used to correct any colour cast by inserting a filter of the same colour and density of the cast.

Colour cast of test print: Removed by:
Yellow Yellow filter
Magenta Magenta filter
Cyan Cyan filter
Red, Green and Blue colour casts were removed by combining colour filters
Red Yellow and Magenta filters
Green Yellow and Cyan filters
Blue Magenta and Cyan filters

  1. Examples:
    A test print has a slight RED cast but is overall much too YELLOW. No filters were used in making the test print, filtration was:
    00 00 00 or _ _ _ The person printing speculates, by experience, that the filtration required to correct the cast might be 70 30 --
    This consists of 30 RED, to correct the red cast, and an additional 40 YELLOW, to correct the yellow cast. The 30 RED consists of a 30 YELLOW filter plus a 30 MAGENTA filter, then a further 40 YELLOW filter to correct for the Yellow element of the colour cast. This filtration makes the print more CYAN due to the red filter, and more BLUE due to the yellow filter, thus neutralizing the cast.
    Adding a filter changes the print colour opposite to the colour of the added filter. Removing a filter from the filters already in the enlarger adds to the print the same colour as the filter removed.
  2. A test print has a heavy CYAN cast and has been exposed using the filtration of 70 80 -- in the enlarger. We know from the table above that Yellow and Magenta filters make the print Cyan, so to correct this colour cast it is necessary to reduce the filtration figures by the density of the cast. Suppose the density of the Cyan cast is judged to be about 40 CYAN, the next filtration to try would be 30 40 --
    i.e. remove 40 CYAN = 40 YELLOW and 40 MAGENTA
    This would make the print appear REDDER and, hopefully, eliminate the original CYAN cast.
    If the new test print resulting from this filtration was judged to have a slight MAGENTA cast, the Magenta filter might be increased by 10 units to effect a correction, making the (hopefully foinal) filtration 30 50 --. Removing MAGENTA from the colour of the print, by adding magenta to the enlarger filtration, makes the print GREENER.

It is never necessary to print with all three colours of filter within the enlarger since yellow, magenta and cyan filters, if all used together, simply cancel each other out.

     

Agfacolor Enlarger Heads
Changing the filtration when making numerous test-strips and final prints was a laborious task, prone to error and took time, especially as the glass filters had to be carefully handled. (The author knows this only too well having had experience of making colour prints with 9inch square glass colour printing filters). Hence, an entirely different method for adjusting the filtration in enlargers was devised by Agfa in the late 1940s.

Instead of a whole array of individual glass colour printing filters of varying densities, a special printing enlarger “Colour Head” was equipped with one “99” (100) density glass filter in each of the subtractive colours which could be gradually introduced into the light beam of the enlarger. Three knobs on the outside of the colour head were provided for moving the “99” filters more or less into the light beam. Above the knobs was a graduated scale from 0 to 99. When half the filter was across the light beam the scale registered “50”, and so on.

The filtration of any colour print could now be corrected to any degree down to a unit of “1”, whereas the smallest change when using glass filters was a unit of “5”, the smallest density glass filter made.

If the colour cast on the test print was so strong that a higher filtration than “99” was needed to eliminate the cast, a fourth knob, situated in the centre of the colour head was pulled out to introduce a further “99” filter in any one of the three subtractive colours. The first Agfacolor Heads to be manufactured were provided with one “99” supplementary filter but later, in the early 1950s, the Heads were modified to incorporate one pull-out knob for each colour. The maximum filtration which could then be utilized was 210 units in each colour. The rotary knobs were able to be turned past the “99” mark giving another 10 filtration in each colour. This was to allow for a certain amount of fading of the filters. The pull-out knobs were known as “stops”, and the rotary knobs were known as “dials”.


This Agfacolor Head dates from around 1957. It has two pull out “Stops”, set to “99” each in Yellow and Magenta. Hence, the filtration is set to 160 132 -- (you can just read “32” on the Magenta dial).
The “stops” from left to right were Yellow, Magenta, Cyan.
The Head measured: 7¼inch width, 10¼inch deep, 10inch height.

 
This Agfacolor Head dates from around 1965. It worked in exactly the same way as the older head (left) and took the same size bulb. An auxiliary fan could be fitted to the back of the head to cool the lamp during long exposures.
The filtration showing is 143 60 – with the Yellow “stop” pulled out.
The Head measured: 8inch width, 10¾inch deep, 8½inch height.

The lamp used in the Agfacolor Head was a 250 watt tungsten bulb. This bulb also illuminated the scales above the rotary knobs so that the filtration could be adjusted in the dark-room. The light was thoroughly mixed before reaching the condensers of the enlarger.

The “Agfa Varioskop” was the first enlarger to be fitted with an Agfacolor Head, although the Head was modified to fit other makes of enlargers. One of the first companies to fit an Agfacolor Head to their enlargers was De Vere, who had started making enlargers for black and white printing in 1947.

The author has had considerable experience of making prints using Agfacolor Heads and can add the following comments.

  1. The filters in the Agfacolor Head faded fairly rapidly when in every day use, and supplementary filters, such as coloured gelatine filters of the kind used in photographic studios over spotlights to change the colour of the lighting, were placed in the filter draw of the enlarger. These filters had no numerical value and were left in the filter draw permanently, or until the faded filter in the head was changed.
  2. The dial filter when at “99” was supposed to match the density of the “99” stop filter in each colour. The was rarely the case as one or other of the filters would fade more rapidly than the other. It was also necessary to differentiate between a filtration from the “99” mark on the dial to the end of the dial at “110” units, (as far as the dial would turn), and the use of the “99” stop, plus the dial up to 10 units.
  3. A 105 unit filtration in any colour using only the dial turned to 105, 5 past the “99” mark, was written: 105d
  4. The same 105 unit filtration in any colour using the “99” stop plus the dial turned to 5 was written: 105s
  5. On most colour heads 105d and 105s produced different results i.e. the results did not match in colour. The dials were calibrated with marks at 105 and 110 but were not numbered as such. 99 was the last number shown on the dial and the dial on each colour head was numbered up to 99 in increments of 10 with intermediate marks at each 5, (5, 15, 25 up to 105). Oddly enough, the figure “100” was never used, at least not in the laboratory where I worked. Filtrations went from 99 to 101 !
  6. In use, the bulbs gradually turned yellow over time. When an old bulb “blew” and a new one was fitted, all previous test strips exposed with the old bulb would need re-testing with less yellow filtration and less exposure.
  7. The strength of the Agfacolor filters used in the colour head were approximately two thirds the strength of the Kodak “Colour Compensating” or the later “Colour Printing “ filters.

Compensation for exposure times when using Agfacolor glass colour printing filters
When any glass filter was used for printing in the filter draw, or any filtration was dialed into an Agfacolor Head, the exposure of the print had to be increased by a certain amount to allow for the fact that the printing filters were “holding back” some of the light used for the print exposure. Each colour printing filter cut down the exposing light to a certain extent.

Agfa produced tables of exposure factors for calculating exposures for all possible variations in filtrations.
Example:

A print exposure made with no filters in the filter draw (zero print) is judged to have a Blue/Magenta cast and glass filters of 120 Magenta and 90 Cyan are placed in the enlarger filter draw to correct the colour cast. ( -- 120 90)

The original 'correct' exposure with no filters was 8 seconds at f/11. The exposure factor given for those particular Magenta and Cyan filters is 7.4. Therefore the print exposure has to be increased by 7.4 times the original exposure. Thus, 7.4 x 8 = 59.2. The print would have been exposed at 60 seconds at f/11. The length of time could, of course, be reduced to 30 seconds at f/8

When using the Agfacolor head the exposure factors were sometimes less. In this case, the exposure factor for 120 magenta and 90Cyan is 6.6. Glass filters generally required more compensation in print exposure than the colour heads because of a small amount of light reflection between the filter surfaces in a stack of glass filters placed in a filter draw.

Exposure factors for the glass filters ranged from:
10 unit Yellow filter plus a 10 unit Magenta filter, (10 10 --), exposure factor, 1.4, to
200 unit Magenta filter plus a 200 unit Cyan filter (-- 200 200), exposure factor 40

When adding glass filters, or dialing up filters on the Enlarger Colour Head, the exposure time was multiplied by the appropriate exposure factor. When removing glass filters, or dialing down, the exposure time was divided by the appropriate exposure factor.

Early Methods of Calculating the Correct Colour Balance of an AGFACOLOR Print
The Agfacolor Mosaic Filters

In the early 1950s, the most difficult aspect of making any successful colour print, was deciding on which printing filters to place in the filter draw to eliminate the colour cast. Two decisions had to be made.

  1. The choice of colour printing filter(s),
  2. The density of those printing filter(s).

Of course it was quite possible to expose many test strips with different filtrations and exposure times on a trial and error basis in the hope that one or other of the tests might show the correct colour balance. This takes much time and uses up a lot of colour printing paper. hence, Agfa invented a faster method of arriving at the correct filtration while exposing only the minimum of test strips.

The Mosaic filters were obtainable in three separate colour groups. The chart above shows the 36 different filtrations in each of the three mosaic filters. In the top left corner, the zero filtration, there is a distinguishing shape for each mosaic. As this shape was printed onto every mosaic test print, it was possible to tell after processing which particular mosaic filter had been used in making the print.
The group of 36 squares were reproduced eight times over each mosaic test print, so that the 'correct' filtration would appear eight times on the same print.

A similar system appeared in the 1970s as the Mitchell Unicube, though the Unicube relied upon integration to find the correct balance. One exposure was made through a diffuser and the user had to decide the greyest square. Kodak had their 'Kodak Ektacolor Filterfinder Kit' which worked on the same principle.

The Agfa Mosaic filters consisted of different filter combinations, available as three different filter groups. Each mosaic filter contained 36 different filter combinations in a chequer board fashion. One mosaic filter was of Yellow – Magenta filtrations, from no filtration to 99 99 –. Another mosaic was of Yellow – Cyan filtrations, from no filtration to 99 – 99. The third mosaic was of Magenta – Cyan filtrations, from no filtration to – 99 99.

Each mosaic filter was available as a glass filter for placing on top of a piece of Agfacolor paper. A Mosaic print was made by “printing” the Mosaic filter onto the paper with the negative in the negative carrier.

 Procedure for using the Agfacolor Mosaic filters
A test print was exposed to find the correct exposure for the final print but the test was exposed with no filters in the filter draw. The test would also tell which of the Mosaic filters was to be used according to the colour cast of the test print. This “zero” print would have been a “Stepped Test”, a print made with different exposure times on the same piece of paper.

The principle of colour balancing a print from a colour negative using subtractive filtration, is as follows:

If a test print is too:

Subtract:    OR

OR    Add:

Yellow

Magenta + Cyan

Yellow

Magenta

Yellow + Cyan

Magenta

Cyan

Yellow + Magenta

Cyan

Blue

Yellow

Magenta + Cyan

Green

Magenta

Yellow + Cyan

Red

Cyan

Yellow + Magenta

Hence, if the "zero" test print had a Green cast, then another test was exposed, this time with the Yellow – Cyan mosaic filter placed on top of the printing paper (i.e. adding Yellow - Cyan filtration) and exposing for twice the time as assessed by the “zero” stepped exposure test print. The Yellow – Cyan Mosaic was graduated in 36 Yellow and Cyan filtration combinations at 20 unit intervals, for filtering out colour casts from Yellow to Green to Cyan (see diagram). The exposure time was doubled to compensate in general for the density of the different filtrations in the mosaic filter.

Each mosaic filter repeated the same group of 36 different filtrations eight times, so that a single exposure using the mosaic would show the effect of the mosaic over 8 different parts of the print. Each filter measured 4¾ inches by 2½ inches.

After processing, the Mosaic print would show a range of colours from Blue to Magenta to Red. A filtration for exposing the final print could be assessed by choosing the most neutral coloured square, repeated eight times over the Mosaic test print. A special mask was available, which isolated the “assessed” filtration in the eight sections. It was perforated with eight square holes, and when placed on the Mosaic print and one square hole lined up with a selected filtration, the other seven holes would show the result from the same filtration in the other seven sections.

Having found the filtration for that particular square, (see diagram), those filters could be placed in the filter draw, the exposure time calculated from the exposure factor table, based on the “zero” print exposure, and the final print exposed. In practice, it is likely that another test print would be exposed, as the Mosaic filters were made at 20 unit intervals and so an estimated 'in between' filtration might have to be made.

If the colour cast on the “zero” print was so strong that the Mosaic print (as in the example) was still Yellow, or Cyan, or Green in the 99 – – square, or the – – 99 square, or the 99 – 99 square, then another trial Mosaic print was exposed, but this time with a 99 unit filter of the same colour of the cast placed in the filter draw. When the Mosaic print was assessed, it was remembered that each, say, yellow filtration had been increased by 99 units. For example, the 40 – – square would now be 140 – –.

The disadvantages of the mosaic filter system were:

  1. The area covered by each individual filter combination was minute in a large print. This could have possibly been alleviated by making small test prints the same size as the mosaic filters, 4 ¾ x 2 ½ inches. Then when the correct filtration was decided upon, another test print was made at the desired enlargement,( using the filter combination estimated,) to find out the correct exposure for the final print. But then this uses more printing paper.
  2. There was absolutely no way of knowing if the correct filter combination for a particular negative would coincide with a grey area, if there was one, or a flesh tone, or an area representative of the subject as a whole, and which could be filtered to the best colour. So another mosaic print would have to be made, and this wastes paper.

It should be noted that a saturated area of any colour is extremely difficult to filter to correct balance because that area of the print may look acceptable at a number of differing filtrations that would not be representative of the picture as a whole.

Because of these disadvantages, the mosaic system was almost obsolete by the end of the 1950s. A far better method was to make one test strip from a new negative at a filtration based on previously printed negatives and then, according to the colour of this test strip, make three or four more tests with different estimated filter values. It was quite possible that one of the tests would be close to a neutral colour balance. Another two estimated test strips would likely bring the correct filtration to within 10 filter units and a final, correctly balanced, print could then be made. In the long run, this method probably wasted less paper on test prints than the mosaic system.

Agfacolor Comparator
In the early 1950s, a special machine was marketed by Agfa for judging colour casts in colour negatives by matching the colour of a negative to be printed with a negative which had previously been printed and was known to print to a correct balance.

The Comparator was equipped with a set of Agfacolor printing filters which could be set at the filtration for the “known” Agfacolor negative (one that printed to a neutral balance), and another set of printing filters which were adjustable to match the colour of the two negatives. Both negatives were viewed at the same time, and the filters were changed under the “unknown” negative, (the negative that was to be printed), until the colour of both negatives looked the same. The value of the printing filters used to match the colour of the negatives was then used to make the final print.

Example:-The “known” Agfacolor negative had been printed at a filtration of -- 40 40 and this had produced a satisfactory print. When the “unknown” negative was matched in colour to the “known” negative, the matching filters were -- 85 90, then this filtration was the correct one for the final print.

By adding blue filters, almost 50 blue, this meant that the “unknown” negative was yellower than the “known” negative. If the “unknown” negative had been printed at a filtration of – 40 40, then the resulting print would have printed bluer, the amount of extra yellow in the negative producing a blue cast. By adding a blue filter, approximately 50 blue, or in colour printing filter terms, 45 Magenta, 50 Cyan, ( -- 85 90) , this filtered out the blue cast.
If, instead, the “unknown” negative had been bluer than the “known” negative, the yellow filter over the “unknown” negative would have to be adjusted until a match was found. Assuming that the filters under the “unknown” negative were -- 40 40, and a yellow filter was added of value of 60 -- --, the resulting filtration would be 60 40 40. Subtracting the neutral density value of 40, leaves a filtration of 20 -- -- . This filtration would be used for printing the “unknown” negative.
The Comparator was also able to match the densities of the two negatives, in the case of the “unknown” negative being under exposed or over exposed. For all of this to work, both negatives would have had to have been printed on the same batch of paper.

The 'Colorax' and other devices
There were other methods of finding the correct filtration for a colour print, such as the “Colorax” device. The Colorax had the printing filters built into it, and a test print showed 12 or 36 sector shapes with different filtrations. On the later Colorax devices, the filtration figures were recorded onto the test prints. Unlike the Mosaic filters, the same area of the negative was recorded on the test print.

Other gadgets, or devices were the “E.K. Strip printer” and the “Colormeister”.

By the early 1960s, most of these gadgets were rendered obsolete. More sophisticated methods evaluating colour negatives were appearing on the market such as electronic densitometers which, if correctly calibrated, could give a fairly accurate filtration from an unknown negative in seconds. One of the best densitometers made was the “Macbeth Quantalog”, made by the Macbeth Corporation, Newburgh, New York, U.S.A. Another was the “Welch Densichron”. These newly marketed densitometers drastically reduced the amount of tests prints made in hand enlarging. 'Hand enlarging' is a term in the photofinishing industry referring to enlargements made manually with an enlarger, as opposed to small prints made on an automatic machine, as is usually the case with amateurs’ negative films.

Notes on Early Filtrations used with the AGFACOLOR Heads

When the Agfacolor negative/positive process was first marketed, it is believed that the filter corrections for Agfacolor negatives were aimed, for best correction, at a zero filtration. That is to say, when a printer made a first test print he would have exposed that test print with no filters. He then may have made another test using a Mosaic filter, chosen according to the colour bias of the first test. Filtrations higher than 100 (99) were deemed unlikely.

By the mid-1950s, it was noticeable to Michael Talbert that filtrations for Agfacolor prints were generally moving in a Magenta/Cyan direction, the yellow filter hardly ever being used. Agfacolor CN111 and CH111 papers would have been in use at this time. John Vickers, author of the book, “Making and Printing Colour Negatives” published in 1959, gives filtrations mainly in Magenta and Cyan. In the late 1950s, Kodak Colour Print paper Type C and the later Ektacolor paper, (see early Kodacolor web page), were balanced for use with Yellow and Magenta filters, possibly due to the fact that Kodacolor and Ektacolor negative films were of the “orange mask” variety.

Agfa introduced their first “orange” masked negative film in 1963, being CN17M, and with it a new printing paper, CN 111M, the latter balanced for use with masked negatives using, like the equivalent Kodak papers, Yellow and Magenta filters to correct the colour balance. By 1964, the paper became known as MCN 111.

Grundzahl Figures
When Agfacolor paper was manufactured, very slight differences in colour balance occurred between each batch of paper. As it was impossible to manufacture batches of Agfacolor paper with exactly the same colour balance characteristics, each packet or box of paper was stamped on the base side with a six number filtration figure which aided the user of the paper when changing the filtration from one batch of paper to another. These figures were known as “Grundzahl” figures.

Example:- If a satisfactory print was made on Agfacolor paper Batch A at a filtration of 00 70 60.
Paper Batch A runs out so paper Batch B comes into operation.

Lets assume the “Grundzahl” figures for paper Batch A were 00 20 30 and that the “Grundzahl” figures for paper Batch B were 00 50 50.
First the “Grundzahl” figures for paper Batch A are subtracted from the filtration 'correct' filtration, i.e. 00 70 60 minus 00 20 30 = 00 50 30.
Then the “Grundzahl” figures for paper Batch B are added to the result, i.e. 00 50 30 + 00 50 50 = 00 100 80 ( say 00 99 80).
The negative which made a good print at 00 70 60 on Batch A should now make a good print using a filtration of 00 99 80 on Batch B.

The “Grundzahl” figures were always printed with a “00” indicating the filter not required, i.e. 00 20 30 (Batch A) and 00 50 50 (Batch B) in the above example.

The figures were only a guide and a lot depended on the age of the colour paper and how it had been stored, so the figures were not always reliable. The speed of Agfacolor paper didn't vary significantly.

The “Grundzahl” figures in the worked example (above) are taken from CH 111 paper. The Agfacolor CH 111 paper box shown left has the Grundzahl figures 00 Yellow, 50 Magenta, 50 Cyan.

Packets and boxes of the later MCN 111 paper were stamped with Yellow and Magenta “Grundzahl” figures, with Cyan left as 00, i.e 70 50 00.

 

AGFACOLOR Paper Processing, 1947

Batches of experimental Agfacolor paper were used for making colour prints as early as 1942. The following is a very early paper process, dating from 1947.

  1. Colour Development.
  2. Washing.
  3. Stop Bath.
  4. Bleach.
  5. Washing.
  6. Hardening and Fixing Bath.
  7. Washing.

Notes.

  1. It is quite likely that the working temperature of the baths was around 18°C or 64°F.
  2. A separate Bleach and Fixer were used similar to the Kodak Process P-122 at that time. (see early Kodacolor web page)
  3. At this time, Spray Washing was used in the process for Agfacolor Positive film, but the printing paper was not spray washed.
  4. White light could be turned on after the Stop Bath. A safelight could be used up to the Stop Bath, likely to have been Agfa filter No. 166.
  5. The paper processed in this procedure was likely to have been very similar to Agfacolor CN 111 paper.

AGFACOLOR Paper Process from 1950

This process was for Agfacolor paper CN111, and for the later CH111.

Solution

Time

Temperature
Colour Developer 3 - 5 Minutes 18°C (64°F)
First Wash 10 Minutes
Stop Bath 5 Minutes 16 - 20°C (60-68°F)
Second Wash 3 Minutes
Bleacing Bath 3 Minutes 16 - 20°C
Third Wash 3 Minutes
Fixing Bath 3 Minutes 16 - 20°C
Final Wash 20 - 30 Minutes  
Wetting Agent Rinse (Agepon) ½ Minute  
Dry    

Notes on the above processing procedure.

  1. This procedure is very similar to the 1947 sequence but with an additional wash after the Stop Bath.
  2. The Developer temperature tolerance was + or – ¼ degree C or + or _ ½ degree F.
  3. White light could be turned on as soon as the prints were in the Bleaching Bath. Up to this point, a safelight with an Agfa No. 166 filter could be used. The 166 filter gave out an olive green light.
  4. The Wash water temperature was likely to have been from 14°C to 20°C. (57 – 68°F)
  5. The Development time for Agfacolor paper could be varied, 3 minutes giving a softer image. Test prints and their following final prints had to be given the same development time as altering the development time would almost certainly alter the colour of the test print or final print.
  6. Agfacolor Anti-Fading Solution.
    Although not essential, it was recommended by Agfa that all prints were treated in Agfacolor Anti-Fading solution before drying. As it’s name suggests, the solution improved the keeping properties of the Agfacolor prints and prevented, to some extent, the print dyes from fading. At first the solution was supplied in bottles of concentrate to be diluted one part of solution with ten parts cold water. The prints were bathed for 5 minutes in the diluted solution and then dried without further washing. The prints could not be dried by heat unless the Agfacolor Anti-Fading bath was used. The solution contained Formaldehyde, and in later years, was known as “Stabilizer”, and by the late 1970s, “Final Bath”.
    Despite it’s “Anti-Fading” properties, early Agfacolor prints would fade fairly rapidly if displayed in bright sunlight or strong artificial light. Agfacolor prints would keep best in a Photo album stored in a cool place.
  7. The Colour Developer had to stand for 12 hours after mixing.
  8. Some “after development” took place in the shadow areas of the print during the First Wash, (step 2, above).

As late as 1956, Jack H. Coote mentions the above Agfacolor print process in his book “Colour Prints”, first edition, published in April 1956. By then, Agfa were using a more simplified process for their Agfacolor paper.

Substitute formulae for processing Agfacolor paper have been given by R.J. Finn in the British Journal of Photography Almanac of 1954. The processes are not identical to the procedures given by Agfa. Finn’s colour process involves a “Stop-Fixing Bath” or a “Fixing Bath”, in place of an ordinary stop bath and some of the wash times are longer. Finn also warns prospective amateur colour printers about Red Fog, which can occur in (his formula) the Bleaching bath, hence a long wash up to 15 minutes, before the Bleach. The third step of his procedure he called a Stop-Bath, but the formula is one for a Fixing Bath !

     

AGFACOLOR Paper Process from 1954

By 1954, print processing had reached the stage where a combined Bleach and Fixer were being used in processing Agfacolor Paper. This reduced the number of chemical baths to four and washes to three, but only reduced the overall processing time compared to the 1950 sequence by four minutes.

!954 Processing Sequence for Agfacolor Paper CN111 and CH111

Solution

Time

Temperature

Total Darkness, or Agfa Safelight filter No. 166.
Agfacolor Paper Developer 3 - 6 Minutes 17.5 – 18.5°C
(63 – 65°F)
First Wash 5 Minutes  
Bleaching Fixing Bath 8 - 15 Minutes 16 - 20°C
(60 - 68°F)

Processing can continue in “White Light”.
Second Wash 20 Minutes 16 - 20°C
Hardening Bath 5 Minutes 16 - 20°C
Third Wash 5 Minutes 16 - 20°C
Anti-Fade Bath 5 Minutes 16 - 20°C
Dry    

Total time without drying: 57 Minutes.

Notes on the above processing procedure.

  1. The time in the Paper Developer could be varied , the longer time giving more contrast.
  2. The time of the Bleaching Fixing Bath was lengthened according to the age and throughput of the solution. When processing prints in large tanks, regeneration, or replenishment of the bath was recommended. Exhaustion of the Bleaching Fixing Bath could be checked by using indicator papers to measure acidity, a “testing rod” was provided to measure the specific gravity of the solution. Bleaching Fixing Bath Regenerator was used to adjust the degree of acidity, and standard Bleaching Fixing Bath chemicals were used to replenish the tank to compensate for chemicals used up in processing.
  3. Wash water temperatures were 57 – 68°F, or 14 – 20°C.
  4. The purpose of the Hardening Bath was to make the emulsion layers of the paper sufficiently hard to withstand heat drying on rotary glazing machines where drying temperatures could be as high as 75°C, 170°F. For extra hardening or for very high drying temperatures Formalin could be added to the Anti-Fading Bath. Prints were transferred from the Anti-Fading Bath to the drying drums without further washing.
  5. Wet test prints could be assessed in the second wash, after most of the Bleaching Fixing Bath had been washed off the surface of the print. This took about 2-3minutes. Therefore a test-strip could be viewed to assess its filtration after about 20minutes processing time. Agfacolor paper could be filtered fairly accurately whilst wet, the author has had experience of doing this. The paper appeared slightly red when wet, possibly about 10 to 20 Agfa filter units.
  6. A 3% Magnesium Sulphate Bath was recommended where tap water was very soft or processing had to be carried out at abnormally high or low temperatures. This bath followed the Paper Developer. Treatment time was about 3minutes.
     

Amateur Processing of AGFACOLOR Print Materials, from 1958

Official Agfacolor chemicals and printing materials had been available in the UK since 1952, but were not sold to Amateur photographers unless they had attended a course of instruction at the Agfacolor School (see above, International School of Colour Photography).

In 1958, the processing and printing of Agfacolor materials had become straightforward and reliable enough for Agfa to release the chemicals for processing the negative and positive materials plus Agfacolor paper for sale to the general public without the need for attendance at an approved Agfacolor School. Packs of 1 litre chemicals for processing Agfacolor negative material and Agfacolor paper, plus various sizes and quantities of Agfacolor paper became available for sale to the Amateur photographer.

Colour Negative Printing
A set of 24 gelatine colour printing filters were available to the amateur photographer who wished to enable his black and white enlarger to be used for making colour prints. As the filters were made of thick plastic, they were not recommended for use below the enlarger lens. The complete set of filters were known as :- Ac.Fi. Fo Satz. (Agfacolor Filter Foils Set) The filters were also sold individually.

A set of filters consisted of Yellow, Magenta and Cyan in seven densities from 5 to 99 (100) in each colour. There were two “99” filters of each colour, ensuring that heavy colour casts could be corrected in the printing operation.

Later sets of filters were supplied with a small Agfacolor print and the negative of this print. The negative was printed onto Agfacolor paper and the print was filtered to match, as near as possible, to the print enclosed with the filter set. In this way it was possible to ensure that processing was satisfactory with regards to colour balance and contrast. Any errors in exposing and processing, which might have gone un-noticed, would show and could be corrected.

The set of 24 filters, size 7 cms. square, were intended to be used in a filter draw below the condensers of a black and white enlarger. If the enlarger had no filter draw, it was possible, ialbeit somewhat inconvenient, to make a mask out of black cardboard, balance the mask on top of the condensers, and then place the filters on top of the mask. This method could be used for the occasional printing session, but it was far better in the long run to obtain an enlarger with a filter draw.

Voltage Fluctuations
Because it was known that the mains voltage could fluctuate enough to upset the colour balance of consecutively exposed test strips and prints, an automatic voltage stabilizer was considered an essential piece of equipment. At the very least, a hand operated voltage resistance regulator with voltmeter, which could be set to the required voltage just before exposing a print, saved paper wastage and the frustration of not knowing why certain prints were “off balance” when all the other conditions of printing were deemed correct.

The “Agfacolor Manual”

The First (German) edition of the “Agfacolor Manual”

Agfa published an “Agfacolor Manual”, specifically aimed at amateur photographers or beginners in colour printing. Entitled:- “Agfacolor Fibel, Leitfaden zur Selbstverarbeitung von Agfacolor Negativ – Positiv”, meaning “Agfacolor Manual, Introduction to “do – it –yourself” processing of Agfacolor Negative/Positive Materials”.

The first edition was published in German, in 1958, but it was later published in English, and ran to two more editions before being completely re-written and up-dated and published as “Agfacolor User Processing”, in 1972.

The first 1958 German edition gave very comprehensive instructions on how to process Agfacolor negative film and how to make prints on Agfacolor paper. Included in the book were tables for negative and print processing sequences, and filter factor charts, as well as a colour balance comparison chart of one neutrally filtered print surrounded by six “off colour” prints, each varying by 50 units of cyan, magenta, yellow, red, green and blue.

At the back of the book there were five “tear-out” processing data and filter factor tables for mounting onto cardboard and hanging up in the darkroom for instant reference.

Printed on the last page of the manual were lists of Agfacolor films, Agfacolor papers, chemicals and filters which were available for sale to the amateur photographer.

A complete set of chemicals, suitable for making up 1 litre quantity of each of the four print processing solutions, was available for sale to amateur photographers. The collective name for the set was: Pa/Satz. The processing solutions were Developer, Stop-fix, Bleach-Fix and Anti-Fade bath. Each solution was made up from powders to be mixed with water, but the Anti-Fade bath required the addition of Formalin which had to be obtained separately. The chemicals were also sold as individual units.

Processing Sequence for Agfacolor Papers CN 111 and CH 111
This processing sequence is given in the first edition of the “Agfacolor Manual”, published in 1958, for the processsing set Pa/Satz

Bath

Code

Time (Mins)

Tempratuure °C
Total darkness or Agfa safelight Filter No.166
1. Agfacolor Paper Developer

Pa1/A

8

19.5 – 20.5
(67 - 69°F)
2. Quick Wash

---

10 – 20 Seconds

---
3. Stop-Fixing bath

Pa11/A

3

18 – 20
(64 – 68°F)
In white light
4. Wash

---

5

---
5. Bleach-Fix PPa111/A

8

18 – 20
(64 – 68°F)
6. Wash

PaV1/A

20

18 – 20
(64 – 68°F)
7. Anti-fade bath  

5

18 – 20
(64 – 68°F)
Alternatively, if prints were to be heat dried on a glazing machine, prints were immersed for 5mins in a Hardening bath (see notes below), followed by a further 5min wash and then treatment in the Anti-fade bath.
Prints went directly from the Anti–fade bath to the heated drying machine or to ambient air drying without further washing.
Drying

Total time without drying:- 49½ minutes.

Notes:

  1. Prints could be processed in “White Light” after only 11½ minutes of working under a safelight or in total darkness.
  2. The wash water temperature was: 14 – 20°C, 57 – 68°F
  3. For Heat drying on a glazing machine, or where drying difficulties were encountered due to ambient high temperatures, an extra Hardening bath was recommended. The processing set Pa/Satz did not include the Hardening bath chemicals, but these could be obtained separately, as PaV/A. The Hardening bath was used after the third wash, step 6 above, for 5 minutes, followed by a wash of 5 minutes. Prints were then treated in the Anti–fade bath before drying.
  4. The Agfa Hardening bath chemicals were trade named PaV/A. But a suitable hardening bath could be made up to the formula:-
    Start with 750ml of water; Add 15 grams of M23 (M23 was Agfa’s trade code for a water softening agent, like “Calgon”); Add 50 grams of Sodium Carbonate (anhydrous); Add 50 ml of 40% strength Formalim; Add water to make 1 Litre.
  5. Test strips could be assessed in the third wash whilst wet.
  6. After mixing, the paper developer Pa1/A, had to stand for 12 hours before use.
  7. An addition to this sequence was the Stop-Fixing bath. The purpose of this bath was to stop development and fix the print enough so that further processing could take place in “white light”. The bath also prevented staining and improved the white border areas of the print.
  8. This processing sequence could be used as an alternative to the 1954 print process (see above).

Layer Changes in Agfacolor Papers CN 111 and CH 111
During 1958, Agfa changed the layer coating order for their colour papers. The original order of the light sensitive layers was to coat the Red sensitive layer on the base of the paper followed by the Green sensitive, a Yellow filter, then the Blue sensitive layer on top of the “pack”. This was also the layer coating order with Agfacolor negative films.

The sharpest layer was always the top layer, and as the Cyan dye image generated by the Red sensitive layer carried the most tonal weight, or was the darkest dye, it was found an advantage to coat the Red sensitive layer on top, thus giving the print a slightly higher visual sharpness.

The Green sensitive layer remained in the middle, and the Blue sensitive yellow dye forming layer was coated next to the paper base. It was also possible to dispense with the yellow filter layer, as previously coated under the Blue sensitive layer, by making the Blue sensitive layer much faster in speed than the relative blue sensitivity of the other two layers.

Eastman Kodak had “reversed” the layer order in their Kodacolor papers some years before (believed to be Kodacolor III Type 1348, in 1954, see Kodak section).

This layer order in CN111 and CH111 papers remained until their demise, in about 1969. The subsequent Agfacolor MCN 111 paper was coated in the reverse order, with Red sensitive on the base and Blue sensitive on the surface.

AGFACOLOR Paper CH 111

This label dates from 1960, although the design of the larger label may date from the 1950s. Agfacolor paper CH 111 was first introduced in 1952.

CH111: Colour, Hard (contrast grade), Double Weight (1), White, (1), Glossy (1).

This paper was for use with soft contrast negatives, and gave good results with slightly under exposed negatives.

The little label above the main label reads: “Only Pa 1/60 Developer to be used”. Pa 1/60 was a colour developer introduced in 1960. It was non-irritating to the skin, less likely to cause dermatitis, and produced brighter and more brilliant colours.

AGFACOLOR Paper MCN 111

MCN 111 Masked, Colour, Normal (grade), Double Weight (1), White, (1), Glossy, (1).

MCN 111 paper was introduced in 1963 for making prints from the then new Agfacolor CN-17M sheet film, Agfa’s first masked negative colour film. This label dates from 1964. This paper was for use with Normal contrast negatives.

On later labels storage information was printed underneath the cyan panel. It was recommended that MCN 111 paper was stored at 10°C (50°F) or lower to extend the keeping properties of the paper. The later labels stated: “Cool Storage below +10°C” in four languages.

     

Agfacolor Print Processing 1960-1961

By 1960 an improved colour print developer was in use in a slightly longer processing sequence for Agfacolor papers compared with the previous procedure (see above). The new colour developer, code named Pa1/60, was said to be non-irritating to the skin, and gave sharper images and more brilliant colours than the old Pa1/A developer.

This is a processing sequence from 1961, incorporating the new developer, suitable for the Agfacolor papers CN 111 and CH 111.

Bath

Code

Time (Mins)

Tempratuure °C
Total darkness or Agfa safelight Filter No.166
1. Colour Developer

Pa1/60

5

68 +/- 1°F
2. Wash

---

5

68 +/- 1°F
3. Bleach-Fix

Ppa111

8

64 – 68°F
In white light
4. Wash

---

10

---
5. Hardening Bath

Pa111/60

5

64 – 68°F
6. Wash

---

5

---
7. Buffer Bath

 Pa1V

5

64 – 68°F
8. Wash  

 
9. Anti-Fade

PaV1

5

64 – 68°F
10. Dry, not higher than 212°F on rotary glazing machines

It may be noticed that this procedure is an extended version of the 1954 sequence of processing, with one additional bath.

Notes:-

  1. The additional bath, the Buffer Bath, increased the acidity of the paper print. The Hardening Bath was heavily alkaline, and the Buffer solution adjusted the pH value of the paper to a more normal level. The bath also increased the density of the Cyan dye image, which had been partially reduced in the Bleach-Fix solution, and improved the general keeping qualities of the print.
  2. As in the previous sequence, the Hardening Bath could be made up to the formula above.
  3. If necessary, formalin could be added to the last bath when heat-drying on a glazing machine if temperature of the machine exceeded 212°F. However, it was not recommended to exceed 212°F when drying prints.
  4. The second wash time was now halved.
  5. Wash water temperature was 57 – 68°F.
  6. Like the previous colour print developer, the new Pa1/60 developer had to stand for 12 hours after being mixed.
  7. It was possible to process Agfacolor paper by a slightly different procedure involving another processing solution.

Processing Agfacolor Paper with an additional Stop–Fix Solution
As the processing procedure stands, it demands that the first two operations necessitate a strict temperature control of +/-1°F. If difficulties were encountered with maintaining the temperature of the wash water within the +/-1°F limit, it was possible to process the prints using a Stop-Fix Bath within a Modified Processing Procedure including the additional Stop–Fix Solution.

Bath

Code

Time (Mins)

Tempratuure °C
Total darkness or Agfa safelight Filter No.166
1. Colour Developer

Pa1/60

7

68 +/- 1°F
2. Quick Rinse

---

10 seconds

---
3. Stop-Fix

Pp11

3

64 – 68°F
In white light
4. Wash

---

5

---
5. Bleach-Fix

Ppa111

8

64 – 68°F
6. Wash

---

10

---
7. Hardening Bath

 Pa111/60

5

64 – 68°F
8. Wash

---

5

---
9. Buffer Bath

Pa1V

5

64 – 68°F
10. Wash

---

5

---
11. Anti-Fade

PaV1

5

64 – 68°F
10. Dry, not higher than 212°F on rotary glazing machines

Notes:-

  1. The Stop–Fix terminated development immediately and partially fixed the print so that processing could be carried out in “White Light” after only 10 minutes.
  2. The “Quick Rinse” was carried out in a large dish of water with vigorous agitation for not longer than 10 seconds. This rinse removed most of the developer from the surfaces of the print. The rinse treatment was essential to prevent too much developer being carried forward into the Stop–Fix solution. The temperature of the rinse water was not important, but the water had to be changed frequently.
  3. Some processing procedures give 5 minutes development time when using a Stop–Fix solution, others give 7 minutes.
  4. As with previous procedures, wet viewing to assess print colour filtration was possible after the Hardening Bath.
  5. Wash Water & Quick Rinse temperature was 57-68°F
  6. The Stop–Fix solution was the same as used to process Agfacolor Positive Film S. It was also code named PPa11
     

The AGFACOLOR Pa Process for CN111 and CH111 papers ~ 1961

Further changes to the Agfacolor print process took place in 1961, when a shortened version of the six bath process was reduced to four baths. It was presumably based on the 1958 procedure with reduced processing times and one wash left out. The new procedure was variously known as:

Processing Sequence K, or Short Process or the Agfacolor Pa 68°F process (introduced in 1961)

Bath

Code

Time (Minutes)

Temperature

Capacity of 10x8inch prints per litre
Total Darkness, or Agfacolor Safelight Filter No. 166 (Olive Green)
1. Agfacolor Paper Developer

Pa1/60

5

68 +/- 1°F

10
2. Wash

-

57 – 68°F

-
3. Stop-Fix

PPaII/K
(see label, below)

5

64 – 68°F

29
Remaining steps can be done in normal room lighting
4. Bleach-Fix

PPaIII/K

5

64 – 68°F

29
5. Wash

-

10

57 – 68°F

-
6. Stabilizer

PaVI/S

64 – 68°F

29
Drying    

Not above 212°F
 

Notes

  1. The temperature of the Developer had to be kept at 67 – 69°F for the entire length of development for consistant results.
  2. The processing chemicals could be purchased separately or as a complete kit to make up 1 litre of each solution. The complete kit for 1 litre was known as Pa Kit / K. All were powder chemicals to be dissolved in water. The developer consisted of three separate powder components to be dissolved in water to make 1 litre. The Stop-Fix and Bleach-Fix consisted of two powder components each. The Stabilizer had one powder component plus it was necessary to add 80ccs per litre of Formalin (formaldehyde strength at 30%) once the powder component had dissolved. The Pa Kit / K was designed for sale to amateur photographers, who would “dish process” their colour prints. The processing chemicals were also available for sale to make up much larger volumes of working solutions. Agfa did not include any Formalin with the kit, nor did they supply it with the larger sizes of Stabilizer chemicals.
  3. The Pa1/60 developer, once made up, had to stand for 12 hours before use. The other solutions could be used immediately.
  4. Prints were dried directly after the Stabilizer step without further washing. Prints also went from the Stop-Fix to the Bleach-Fix without washing.
  5. When heat drying on glazing drums, or on flat-bed dryers, the dryers gave off unpleasant formaldehyde fumes due to the presence of the formalin which had soaked into the colour prints from the Stabilizer. In large colour printing laboratories, extraction fans were normally fitted above the dryers.
  6. Agfacolor CN111 and CH111 papers could also be processed uaing a longer processing sequence consisting of 5 (or 6) baths taking about 53 minutes total processing time. This was convenient if it was not possible to arrange extraction fans over the drying equipment. The Stabilizer used in the longer processing sequence did not contain any formaldehyde. For the amateur processing prints at home, the print dryer could be placed near an open window if the formalin fumes were objectionable.
  7. It was possible to leave out the first wash, (step 2), if there was no running water in the darkroom or, in a large colour processing laboratory, if there was no way of fitting a wash tank after the colour developer tank in the print processing machine. In the case of dish processing, the prints were drained thoroughly after the colour developer before placing them in the Stop-Fix. In the second case, some means of wiping the developer off the paper had to be arranged after leaving the developer tank before the prints entered the Stop-Fix tank to prevent too much developer from contaminating the Stop-Fix bath. With dish processing, the Stop-Fix had a much lower print processing capacity, and the bath had to be replaced more frequently. When dealing with larger volumes of solution, where all the baths were replenished, glacial acetic acid could be added to the Stop-Fix replenisher, (RPPa II/K) to compensate for the lower working capacity of the Stop-Fix.
  8. For consistant results of the highest quality, it was best to keep the temperature of the first wash water (Step 2) to within 1°F, within the range of 57 – 68°F.
  9. It has been noted that some publications, e.g. books on colour printing and various articles dealing with Agfacolor printing, that 2½ - 5minutes is sometimes stated for the time in the Stabilizer.

By 1975 the Agfacolor print processing chemistry had changed to a three/four bath arrangement for their new resin coated paper, much the same as Ektaprint 3.

     
   

A label from a box of Agfacolor Stop-Fixing Bath, PPa II/K

To make 2 x 25 litres of working solution. The box contained two powder components marked A and B. These were to be dissolved in 20 litres of water at about 104F. (A first, then B). When dissolved, enough water was added to make up to 25 litres of working solution. It was likely that this amount of solution would have been used in a continuous processing machine, and the chemical baths would have been replenished. This Stop-Fixing bath was intended for use with the Agfacolor Pa Process. The box dates from 1971.

     


Two Agfacolor Manuals

The left hand Manual is dated October 1968. This is the third edition, containing much the same information on processing and printing as the first German edition, but now printed in English. Mainly written for the amateur photographer who processed his prints in dishes using the Pa process, it contains a section on processing Agfacolor CN 17 and CNS films. The printing section includes information on printing and processing Agfacolor CNIII and MCNIII papers.

The second edition, printed in English, with a similar cover, is dated October 1963

On the right hand side is the then new “Agfacolor User Processing” book. This was an improved version of the “Agfacolor Manual” contained many color photographs, tables and diagrams, together with much more detailed information on filtering colour prints. There is also a complete section on processing and printing faults, for film and paper, with photographs and descriptions of defective negatives and prints, but also showing the corrected version. This is the first edition, published in 1972.

     

AGFACOLOR “Warm Process" for Agfacolor papers ~ 1966

A high temperature processing procedure for processing Agfacolor MCN III and CN III papers was introduced in 1966. The temperature of the developer was raised to 77°F, 25°C , giving a development time of 3½minutes. This procedure was known as the “warm” process.

Bath

Code

Time (Mins)

Temperature
Total Darkness, or Agfacolor Safelight Filter No. 166 or 08 (Olive Green)
1. Agfacolor Paper Developer

Pa1/60

24.7 – 25.3C; 76.5 – 77.5°F
2. Wash

-

14 – 20°C; 57 – 68°F
3. Stop-Fix

PPaII/K

18 – 25°C; 64 – 77°F
Remaining steps can be done in normal room lighting
4. Bleach-Fix

PPaIII/K

23 – 25°C; 73 – 77°F
5. Wash

-

14 – 20°C; 57 – 68°F
6. Stabilizer

PaVI/S

18 – 25°C; 64 – 77°F
Drying    

Not above 212°F

Total time: 17½ minutes.

Notes:

  1. The temperature of the washes varied according to the instruction sheets and other literature. The instruction sheets packed with Agfacolor MCN III Type 7 paper (from 1968, see below) give a processing table similar to the above but the wash temperature varied.
    In Step 2; Wash for 1¾ minutes at 20 +/– 5°C (57 – 77°F approx.)
    In Step 5; Wash for 5¼ minutes at 20 +/– 5°C (57 – 77°F approx.)
    The times given were more likely to apply to the higher end of the temperature range, If the temperature of the water in the first wash was at 25°C, 77°F, the wash time should be reduced to 45 seconds.
    The Stop Fix time of 1¾ minutes would have been more effective at a temperature range of 23 – 25°C; 73 – 77°F.
    The Stabilizer would work over a wide range of temperatures as the Formalin in the Stabilizer only took effect on the hot drying drums and not when the print was in the Stabilizer dish or tank.
  2. Some Agfacolor instruction sheets give 3 minutes for the development time at 25°C, 77°F, and state that if the first wash is omitted, the development time must be increased to 3½ minutes.
    MCN III Type 7 paper could be handled for no more than 2 minutes under direct safelighting using the safelight filters given at the top of the table
    As the older MCN III paper was slower in speed than the Type 7 paper, it could be handled for a slightly longer time under direct safelighting.
  3. For Agfacolor CN III paper a 166 or 09 safe light filter was recommended. By 1966 Agfacolor CH III paper had been withdrawn.
  4. By the early 1970s, the colour developer Pa 1/60 could be used immediately after mixing, instead of the previous 12 hour wait recommended in the mixing instructions.
  5. Apart from the developer and the first wash, all the processing times could be increased slightly without any detrimental effect on print quality.
  6. The above procedure was the fastest colour print processing time in the world for wide rolls of colour print paper until Kodak Ektaprint 3 made it’s appearance in 1971.
  7. The Stabilizer required 60ccs per litre of Formalin (40% strength solution) to be added to it. to make the working strength solution.
     

“Warm” process at 25°C for dish processing Agfacolor papers MCN III and CN III
From 3rd edition of the “Agfacolor Manual”, October 1968
By this time Agfacolor CH III paper had been withdrawn and the then, new, Agfacolor MCN III Type 7 paper was only available in rolls for photofinishers and so was not mentioned in the manual.
The Agfacolor Manuals for colour negative and print processing were mainly aimed at amateur photographers who processed their prints in dishes.

Bath

Code

Time (Mins)

Temperature
Total Darkness, or Agfacolor Safelight Filter No. 166 or 166M; 08 or 09 (Olive Green)
1. Agfacolor Paper Developer

Pa1/60

3

25 +/– 0.5°C; 76 – 78°F
2. Wash

-

2

17 +/– 3°C; 58.5 – 67.5°F
3. Stop-Fix

PPaII/K

23 +/– 2°C; 70 – 77°F
Remaining steps can be done in normal room lighting
4. Bleach-Fix

PPaIII/K

23 +/– 2°C; 70 – 77°F
5. Wash

-

6

17 +/– 3°C; 58.5 – 67.5°F
6. Stabilizer

PaVI/S

2

23 +/– 2°C; 70 – 77°F
Drying    

Not above 212°F

Total Time: 20 minutes

Notes.

  1. It is likely that the final wash is too short. The 6 minutes given would apply better to a temperature of at least 23°C, 73°F. The same would apply to the first wash, but this step is less critical.
  2. Like the previous (1966) 'warm' sequence, the Stop Fix, Bleach Fix, Wash, and Stabilizer times could be increased slightly without any detrimental effects on print quality.
     

Agfacolor Pa 77°F process ~ from “Photographic Lab. Handbook” by John S. Carroll, published in 1979; 5th edition
John Carroll's book was first published in 1970, but Mr. Carroll doesn't seem to have updated the contents for the 1979 edition. He doesn't mention Type 7 paper (see below), so its thought he wrote this sequence for the old MCN III paper, pre-1969.

Bath

Code

Time (Mins)

Temperature
Total Darkness, or Agfacolor Safelight Filter No. 166 or 08 (Olive Green)
1. Agfacolor Paper Developer

Pa1/60

3

77°F
2. Wash

-

¾

77°F
3. Stop-Fix

PPaII/K

77°F; 73 – 79°F
Remaining steps can be done in normal room lighting
4. Bleach-Fix

PPaIII/K

77°F; 73 – 79°F
5. Wash

-

77°F; 73 – 79°F
6. Stabilizer

PaVI/S

77°F; 73 – 79°F
Drying    

Not above 212°F

     

Some comments on “Dish Processing” Agfacolor Paper using Pa Chemicals
In 1973, the author was working as a studio assistant + black and white printer + colour printer for an industrial photographer. At that time, the author was making colour prints on Agfacolor paper MCN111 Type 7 and processing them through the Pa process in dishes. This gives a rough idea of how the author processed Agfacolor prints in those days.

The developer was used at a temperature of about 68°F. The dish was placed on a dish heater with a thermostat which usually kept the temperature within the +/-1°F range, although the actual working temperature might have been higher (in summer), or lower (in winter), than 68°F. All other solutions were used at room temperature. In winter the solution temperature could be as low as 57°F (apart from the developer heated by the dish heater).

The prints were processed in the darkroom up to the Stop-Fix stage, and then taken out of the darkroom where the Bleach-Fix and Stabilizer dishes were placed next to a 20x24inch washing dish. Test strips were processed up to the Bleach-Fix stage, rinsed in water for about a minute, wiped down to get as much water off them as possible, and then assessed for colour balance and density. Note that Agfacolor Paper MCN 111 Type 7 was not “Resin coated”, or “PE”, therefore the test strips were still wet when assessed.

The times in the processing solutions were kept as close as possible to the Agfacolor Pa sequence times, but the first wash was a quick rinse (about ½minute) in a large dish of water. The water was changed frequently as it rapidly turned brown with developer chemicals. The author also remembers that the Bleach-Fix time was increased to maybe 8 or 9minutes in winter because it took so long to act when its temperature was well below 68°F !

Despite this rather crude method of working, the author remembers turning out some very acceptable colour prints. This all goes to show that the Agfacolor paper and chemicals must have had an enormous processing latitude. In winter, the processing solutions were often far too cold, and the author is sure that the Stop-Fix was over worked on several occasions due to the primitive way of washing the prints after the colour developer. However………

The author does have one surviving 8x10inch print from those days, printed in 1973. Almost all prints he made were 8x10inch or smaller. He thinks he might have made a 10x12inch print on very rare occasions, but certainly no larger than that size.

The 8x10inch print still owned by the author has been dark stored for the past 39years. It is difficult to detect any sign of real fading as the picture is of a garden taken in evening sunlight. The print has a yellow colour cast but it is impossible to tell if the cast is due to fading or the print was that colour in the first place, though it does seem that the white borders of the print have turned very slightly yellow.

Another print, printed on Agfacolor paper MCN111 Type 7 in 1972, shows that all of the colours have faded, which has made the print look slightly softer in contrast. The borders have turned definitely yellow, and the print has a slight yellow cast. This print was made at a colour laboratory, not under the dish processing arrangements mentioned above, and was processed by the Pa procedure, and then dark stored for the past 40years.

     

Agfa-Gevaert AGFACOLOR MCN III Type 7 Paper

An improved Agfacolor paper was introduced in 1968, being Agfacolor MCN III Type 7 (successor to MCN III which first appeared in 1963).
It was first obtainable in roll form, suitable for D&P laboratories. By early 1969 packets and boxes of sheet paper were made available in sizes from 3½x5inches to 22x27inches in 10, 25, 50, and 100 sheet quantities. This new paper replaced Agfacolor MCN III paper.

Type 7 was designed for printing from masked colour negatives and was approximately twice the speed of the older paper (MCN III) and four times the speed of Agfacolor CN III paper. By this time manufacture of the Hard grade Agfacolor CH III paper had ceased.

In general, the new Type 7 paper required lower filter corrections to produce a correctly balanced print. The paper was designed to be processed in Agfacolor Pa chemicals (see above).

In appearance, Type 7 paper was identical to the older MCN III paper, with regard to surface and base thickness. In the early 1970s, the author made some prints on a silk surface Agfacolor paper designated MCN II7 Type 7. Code: I = Double Weight; I = White; 7 = Silk Texture. As far as Michael is able to remember, the paper was likely to have been purchased for one particular printing job. It had a lower contrast than the glossy surface Agfacolor paper, due to the Silk surface.

MCN III Type 7 paper was replaced by MCN III Type 4 paper in 1972. From then on, Agfa-Gevaert numbered their colour printing papers in sequence.

In 1983, Agfa-Gevaert introduced another paper, designated Type 7, being CN 310 Type 7 (see text section below). This paper was for use in Agfa CP-92 process chemistry, which was the equivalent of the Kodak EP-2 process. CN 310 Type 7 was an entirely different product to the older MCNIII Type 7 paper of the early 1970s.

The author remembers printing on MCN III Type 7 paper as late as 1977. The paper was packaged as 25 sheets in 20x24inch size. As far as Michael knows, MCN III Type 7 emulsion was only ever a fibre based (F.B) paper and was never coated on a resin (R.C.) or a P.E. (Polyethylene) base. It's possible that Agfa manufactured some batches of MCN III Type 7 concurrently with Type 4 as this would explain why Michael remembers using Type 7 as late as 1977.

     


This label (above) is on a 50sheets box of 8x10inch Agfacolor MCN III paper (pre-Type 7) and dates from 1966 to 1968.



A later label with “Typ 7” printed in blue dating from about 1970 with minor changes in the font size of the words “Agfa–Gevaert” and “MCN III”.

The label on the 10 sheet packet (below) is one of the first batches of sheet paper and dates from 1969.
The two labels (above & below) are identical except for the “Typ 7” stamp.
The letters
O.R. printed to the left hand side of the top of the label meant the paper was not “Back Marked”.
The trade mark “Agfa” was printed on the back of Agfacolor paper diagonally at about 2 inch intervals on “Back Marked “ paper and such packs were printed with the letters
M.R.

 
     

Agfa Process 85 for Agfa 310/Type 4 Colour Paper

The last reference Michael has managed to find to the chemicals used for Type 4 paper is the composition and procedure published within the British Journal Photographic Almanac (BJPA) of 1985. By that time Agfa were producing their Type 6 and Type 7 papers, which were compatible with the (by then) universal Kodak EP-2 (Ektaprint) process.

The Agfa formulae as printed in the BJPA for 1985, and also the processing sequence at 35°C, are given below.

Note, however, that the instructions that accompanied Agfa's own Process 85 processing kits, gave a range of processing temperatures, from 20°C, through 25°C and 30°C, to 42°C, with a warning that "At 42°C, high consisatency of temperature is vital and a pre-soak of 1minute is essential". Nonetheless, despite suggesting a 35°C processing temperature, the BJPA for 1985 says their formulae are as “specified by Agfa”.
In the “Agfa Processing Manual” for 1977, there are colour development times for 30°C (3minutes) and 42°C (1¾minutes). Hence, Michael suggests that the colour development time of 2minutes at 35°C would be close to the (nominally) correct time. Also it was best to give less processing time in a drum with continuous agitation, than with dishes with intermittent agitation.

These are the chemicals required to make 1 litre of Process 85 Colour Developer.

Calgon 1.4 grams
Hydroxylamine sulphate 2.7 grams
Sodium Sulphate 2.7 grams
Sodium Bromide 0.7 grams
Potassium Carbonate 67.0 grams
Water to 1,000.0 ml
The add, some hours before use:
Ac 60 (Agfa) or Colour Developer 60 (Merck)
OR
T32 or Droxychrome or S5
OR
Diethyl paraphenylenediamine sulphate

4.0 grams

3.3 grams

2.0 grams



Bleach – Fixer

EDTA Na Fe 50.0 grams
EDTA Na4 5.0 grams
Sodium Carbonate (anhydrous) 1.0 grams
Sodium Sulphite (anhydrous) 10.0 grams
Sodium Thiocyanate (20% solution) 50.0 ml
Potassium Iodide 2.0 grams
Ammonium Thiosulphate (crystalline) 120.0 grams
Water to 1,000.0 ml


Note that EDTA is ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetic acid.

Stabilizer

Brightening Agent 4.0 grams
Sodium Acetate (3H2) 3.0 grams
EDTA Na4 2.0 grams
Formaldehyde (30% solution) 80.0 ml
Water to 1,000.0 ml


Note that Possible Brightening Agents are:
Leucophore B.R (Sandoz)
Blancophore BBU, BUP, BP (Bayer)
Uvitex CF conc. PRS (Ciba)
Tinopal BV (Geigy)
PhotineC, B (Hickson & Welch)
Celumyl, B,R,S, (Bezons)

However, if you wash the paper for at least 3 minutes in running water you can omit the Stabilizer bath.

Stop-Bath
Use a 2% Acetic Acid solution.

Processing Sequence
Using a Small Rotary Drum processor at 35°C. The sequence should also work for dish processing.

1. Pre Heat 1 minute
2. Developer 2 minutes
3. Stop Bath ½ minute
4. Rinse ½ minute
5. Bleach–Fix 1½ minutes
6. Wash 1½ minutes or longer (see above)
7. Stabilizer (optional) ½ minute
8. Rapid Rinse (optional) 5 seconds
Dry at a temperature not exceeding 90°C


Keep the Developer temperature at + or – ½ degree C but the other solutions and washes can vary + or – 2 degree C either way without making any difference to the end result.

     

Summary Table ~ AGFACOLOR Colour Negative Printing Papers, 1949 to 1981

The following table is offered as a summary Guide to the various Agfacolor papers, between their earliest and 1981.

Paper Code

Date first introduced

Process name, or processes that the paper could be processed in
 CN III  1949. (Germany) 1951 (U.K.)  No name
 CH III  1952  No name, but same process as CN III
 MCN III (First coded as CN IIIM)  1963  Pa (introduced in 1961 - see above)
 MCN III Type 7, MCN II7 Type 7  1968 (roll) 1969 (Sheet)  Pa
 MCN III Type 4 ~ last Agfa fibre based (F.B) paper  1972  Pa
 MCN 310 Type 4 ~ first Agfa polyethylene (P.E) paper  1972  Pa or Process 85 or Process 86 (both from 1974).
 MCS 117 Type 4  1972  See note below.
 MCN 310 Type 5  1979  Process 87 (roll), 88, 90, P, (Sheet)
 CS 310 Type 6  1981  AP-92 (equivalent to Kodak EP-2)

Notes.

  1. CN = Colour Normal = a paper intended for printing from un-masked colour negatives and giving a Normal Contrast image
  2. CH = Colour Hard = a paper intended for printing from un-masked colour negatives and giving a Hard (higher contrast) image
  3. MCN = Masked Colour Normal = paper intended for printing from masked colour negatives and giving a Normal Contrast image
  4. Agfacolor paper CS 310 Type 6 paper was made by Konishiroku (Konica), for Agfa-Gevaert. It was most likely supplied in roll form and then packed by Agfa at Leverkausen. The packets are marked “Packed in Germany”.
  5. Type 6 paper was coded CS 310, where this code can be interpreted as Colour Special (grade), P.E. white, high gloss. Special grade was between Soft Contrast grade and Normal Contrast grade.
    It was likely there was also a Normal Contrast CN 310 Type 6 paper, plus other surfaces i.e. other than High Gloss (0) paper.
  6. Process 85 was packed as powder chemicals to be dissolved in water. Process 86 was made as liquid concentrates to be diluted with water.
  7. It was quite likely that Agfa-Gevaert produced other colour negative papers and would manufacture paper with a specific emulsion for a special purpose.
  8. MCS 117 Typ4 is believed to have been available from 1972, as this paper is mentioned in the 1972 Agfacolor User Processing manual (see cover picure, above) but gives no data about it. Strangely, however, it does say the paper can’t be processed in Pa chemicals at 20°C, which conflicts with Michael's experience of processing MCNIII Typ4 through Pa chemicals at 20°C when the lab., where he then worked, first starting using Type 4 paper. The MCS 117 Typ 4 paper was coded Special Grade and Silk surface.
  9. Further variations in Agfa papers and processing continued into the 1980s, with the 310 paper range eventually reaching Type 10.
    Michael Talbert has data sheets for Type 8 and Type 9 papers and there are many processsing variations, e.g. processes with separate bleach and fixing baths, processes with no wash water used in them, and Process 94, where an EP-2 type paper, such as Agfacolor Type 8, could be processed through chemicals which were RA-4 time compatible; 3minutes wet processing time. Type 8 paper was EP-2 process compatible while Type 9 was an RA-4 process paper, using Agfa Process 95.
  10. Agfacolor papers CN III and CH III were compatible with the “Pa” process until their demise, CH III around 1966, and CN III around 1971.

Surface Codes
III carries the following meaning:
I = Double Weight, Baryta coated paper; I = White; I = Glossy

II7 carries the following meaning:
I = Double Weight; I = White; 7 = Silk surface

Paper with the the first figure = “3” (as in 310), indicates that the paper base was polyethylene (P.E) coated paper, equivalent to Kodak Resin Coated base, R.C.
Apart from 310 = white glossy paper, P.E. coated paper was also made in three other surfaces, designated 312, 317 and 319.

310 = Medium weight, P.E. base, 1 = White, 0 = High Gloss
The final figure 2 in 312 = Semi Matt
The final figure 7 in 317 = Silk
The final figure 9 in 319 = Lustre (Filigran)

The 317 surface was replaced by the 319 surface in the late 1970s.

Baryta (Fibre Based) paper
Baryta is a barium sulphate coating that has been traditionally applied to fibre based photographic paper prior to coating with the emulsion layers. This paper, also described as ‘Fibre Based’ (F.B) paper, was the traditional paper for black and white printing for many decades. When processing F.B. paper, the liquid chemistry soaks into the paper, making the paper slower to process and (especially) to wash and dry than P.E (R.C) papers. However, the technical benefits of the Baryta layer include greater detail and definition, extended tonal range and (when properly processed) excellent archival properties.


FOOTNOTES

Michael Talbert started making colour prints in 1969, using Kodak Ektacolor Commercial paper. He was a photographic colour printer in the 1970s, printing colour negatives mainly onto Agfacolor paper. He also had experience using about 10 types of Kodak paper, plus other makes, Gevacolor, Fuji, Paterson, Konica.

Michael now sets up and takes “Retro” fashion pictures, but prints them digitally.

See his web page selling Retro Greeting Cards

     
UFA, Universum Film AG, (originally Universum Film Aktiengesellschaft):
The following is taken from Wikipedia:
Universum Film AG, (originally Universum Film Aktiengesellschaft) better known as UFA or Ufa, was the principal film studio in Germany, home of the German film industry during the Weimar Republic and through World War II, and a major force in world cinema from 1917 to 1945. After World War II, UFA continued producing movies and television programmes to the present day, making it the longest standing film company in Germany.
     

Wolfen and ORWO:
Agfa were making colour motion picture film, negative and positive, possibly since 1939 at their plant at Wolfen. Much later, when the film was marketed, it was labeled “Veb Filmfabrik Agfa Wolfen. Deutsche Demokratische Republik”. In the late 1940s, Agfacolor films Type T and type K were also being manufactured at their West German factory at Leverkusen. By 1956, the Leverkusen factory were making the, then, new Agfacolor CN17 Universal colour negative film, (40 ASA(ISO)) designed for use in Daylight and Artificial light. At that time, CN17 film was only made at Leverkusen, the East German Agfa factory continued to make type T and type K films independently. As from 1956, the East German films were re-named, “Agfacolor Ultra “ negative films, with an increase in speed from 12 ASA(ISO) to 32 ASA for both types.

As far as Michael Talbert can ascertain, Agfacolor paper was only made at Leverkusen, possibly from the end of WWII, and then marketed in Europe as from 1949.

Alongside is shown a box of Agfacolor Ultra K Negative sheet film, manufactured in 1963 in East Germany by Agfa at Wolfen.

This film is balanced for Tungsten light exposure at a speed of 40 ASA (ISO). It has an expiry date of April 1964.

From 1964 onwards, products made at the East German Wolfen factory were labeled ORWO, (Original Wolfen), and this film became known as “Orwocolor Negative, NK 17” The equivalent Daylight type film was known as:
Pre-1964: Agfacolor Ultra T,
Post-1964: Orwocolor NT 17.

The Wolfen plant continued to manufacture negative film branded with an “Agfa” label until 1964, from then on the film was branded “ORWO”. ORWO stands for “Original Wolfen”, and by the mid 1960s as many as five different types of negative film, plus three transparency films, were manufactured at Wolfen.

The change in brand name may have been due to the fact that Agfa and Gevaert joined forces in July 1964. Both companies continued to make colour film and colour printing paper with their own brand labeling for a year or two after 1964, and by the late 1960s film and paper products were labeled “Agfa-Gevaert.”

“Gevaert” was a large Belgian photographic material manufacturing company founded by Lieven Gevaert in 1894. The company’s plant at Mortsel made colour film and colour printing paper as from the early nineteen fifties, initially mainly for D&P laboratories. The company started marketing their colour film and colour printing paper in the U.K. in 1953, with the sizes of prints and prices being similar to Agfacolor at that time.

Agfachrome CT18:
Taken from Amateur Photographer magazine for 23rd November 2013. "....Agfa CT18 requires a process unlike any other, and the relevant AP-41 process was discontinued by Agfa in the early 1980s,..."


This page last modified: 21st September 2014