Blue RA4 prints

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by ZZZeDDD, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. ZZZeDDD

    ZZZeDDD Member

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    Hi!

    Tried asking this question on a Flickr forum earlier and was pointed in this direction, so hope someone on here can be of help...

    This weekend I processed my first roll of colour pictures using a Tetenal kit, those looked excellent when coming out (the stabilizer was quite foamy though, not sure if that's normal), I actually preferred this process to the B&W process... However, when moving on to the printing things went wrong it seems.

    All three prints I made came out the same, nothing on them but a (quite gorgeous) intense dark blue. The booklet that came with the Tetenal RA-4 kit suggested my chemicals were contaminated with fixer, so I did a fresh mix, with cleaned beakers, utensils, you name it, but again no luck, Blue all the way.

    My box with photo paper (Kodak Supra Endura F) was still sealed, slit the seals open with the lights on but didn't open the plastic bag until I switched the lights off, my safelight wasn't operating either whilst printing.

    The one thing I might've done wrong is using Ilfostop as a stopper, as the kit didn't come with stop chemicals and I couldn't find I shouldn't use it on the web right away so gave that a go. Is this my error?

    If anyone's got a clue, I'd be really grateful!
     
  2. gmikol

    gmikol Member

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    Does the paper come out solid blue (no detail), or does it look like a black & white photo, except blue (a black & blue photo).

    It's been a while since I processed RA-4, but did you have some basic filtration dialed in? Like 40M 40Y, or whatever is printed on the label of the paper. If you just did a whilte-light exposure with C-41 film, the orange base would be rendered blue-ish on the paper.

    Just a thought...Good Luck.

    --Greg
     
  3. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Foamy stabilizer is normal if you agitate -- don't agitate stabilizer. Blue blacks generally mean blix got in the developer, although an underexposed print might have cool blacks. RA4 uses dev and blix no fix, I've also never heard of using a stop bath with RA4. all blue prints is something I can't address -- unless it is what greg says.
     
  4. ZZZeDDD

    ZZZeDDD Member

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    Thanks for the quick replies Greg and jd!

    Won't be agitating next time, I'm quite sure that's just what I did. So that's that problem tackled...

    The prints though, I dialled in the basic filtration as described on the box (though I'm a Durst m305 - might have to adjust as Kodak would print Kodak values?). The paper came out a solid blue where exposed, no detail at all, so not quite sure what happened there. As for the stopper, if I'm not mistaken (the booklet is upstairs) the manual stated a stop bath but only came with two bottles. Perhaps I should give it a try without a stopper after all...

    Fairly new to this as I only started B&W a couple of weeks ago but felt I needed to do colour as I'm much more of a colour man :smile:
     
  5. rossawilson1

    rossawilson1 Member

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    Ilfostop is fine, I use Ilfostop with RA4 so I doubt it's that.

    Considering you tried this twice and everything is new, I'd look for a problem with your home processed negs or your filtration. Can you scan the negs to make sure they're good?

    You never mentioned trying to dial the blue out, have you added (EDIT: don't add subtract!) about 20 yellow to see if that lessens the problem?

    The only other thing I can think is Blue can be a safelight problem, are you doing all the printing in total darkness? Even if you have a colour safe light try using it without.
     
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  6. rossawilson1

    rossawilson1 Member

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    If the print came out solid blue could you be way over exposing and not filtering properly, have you tried reducing exposure a lot until you get at least a faint image?
     
  7. ZZZeDDD

    ZZZeDDD Member

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    Thanks rossa!

    I scanned the negs (at tiny resolution just to see which were print-worthy) and they looked just as nice as I would've got them from my usual lab (the film is quite expired so I couldn't do too much harm there :wink:)

    I'll try to do less filtering this weekend, that should help. My exposure ranged from 40 to 10 secs in four strips (+/- I couldn't see the timer in the dark). I believe the filter pattern on the box had no yellow and magenta + blue only (M55 and B65 IIRC?), I'll give it a try with no blue and Y20 instead...

    My safelight is amber - but as mentioned earlier - switched off, so that shouldn't be a problem.
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Kodak paper requires M+Y filtration normally. If the paper is too blue, you remove yellow or ADD blue. Your situation sounds abnormal. It also sounds as if you overexposed by quite a bit. You don't mention the lens opening.

    Usually for an 8x10 from a 35mm negative, I use 12" f11 and about 60M and 60Y. I would have to look it up to be exact, but yours sounds way outside of that!

    PE
     
  9. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I have used the Tetnal RA-4 kit with Kodak paper (it's been a couple of years), and it works fine. Contamination is definitely suspect. I found that I absolutely needed a stop bath. I used 2 percent acetic acid. If somehow fixer got into the developer you could have this sort of problem. Try mixing new developer and doing it all again.
     
  10. rossawilson1

    rossawilson1 Member

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    Weird, M55 and B65! Ive only ever seen a CMY or just MY value.. but then I'm only familiar with the Fuji film and paper and an LPL enlarger.

    Sounds like you gave it a reasonable time in between exposures, if there was no change in density at all then I guess you could be way way out! Hope that's it because then your problem is easy. If the filter change gets rid of the blue then I guess you know it's not the filter which should mean it's exposure. I had the same problem once, kept making sheets of pure colour until I realised I had the lever on the aperture set to aperture bypass, I was turning the aperture but it wasn't doing anything while I had this switch down.. doh!

    Anyway, let us know how you get on, and good luck because it's such a rewarding process when you get going!
     
  11. rossawilson1

    rossawilson1 Member

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    Apologies Photo engineer is obviously correct, SUBTRACT yellow don't add.
     
  12. ZZZeDDD

    ZZZeDDD Member

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    Doh! Just went up to check (luckily I didn't reset the colour head) and its set on Y and M only, C is 0 indeed. One is 55 the other 65 - not sure which is which anymore. I seem to have read somewhere (but not tested as I didn't get past the blue stage) you're only supposed to dial in two filters, not all three? Not sure there's aperture bypass on the lens, so don't think I engaged that...

    The new developer was the first thing I tried, combined with an intense wash of all materials involved, so no luck there either...

    The aperture was at f/5.8, paper size 5x7 but I'll give it another go at f/11.

    I'll keep you all posted - and thanks again for the generous input! :D

    Zeno
     
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  13. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I've also found that a stop bath was, if not necessary in RA-4 printing, is at least highly advisable for the protection of one's sanity. I use 1% acetic acid (one part white vinegar to 4 parts water).

    The overall color in the final print will depend, directly, on the color balance of the negative, and, generally overlooked, the color temperature of the enlarger or other light system. As an example, there is a world of difference between a "PH" (?? memory suspect) incandescent lamp and an EYA Halogen.

    What filtration were you using?
     
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  15. rossawilson1

    rossawilson1 Member

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    Indeed, if using M and Y then adding C will only serve as neutral density and cut out light without changing the colour. Although you could argue cutting the amount of light will induce a slight colour shift.

    Hope it goes well!
     
  16. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    These exposures at f5.6 are way over what I ever needed with a Durst M605. I usually needed under 10 secs and at f11 and with only a 75W bulb. Do you mean there isn't even the slightest hint of a picture? You have put the paper the right way up have you and aren't exposing the non emulsion side?

    How did you arrive at these exposures?

    I'd make sure that the paper is emulsion side up, use PE's recommendations on initial filtration, try several strips at 5 intervals, starting at 4 secs to 20 secs and with an aperture of f11. Use only Y and M as per Kodak's recommendation and set C to zero.

    If the chems are fresh and at the correct operating temp and you still get nothing with the above settings then I am stumped.

    pentaxuser
     
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    With a 5x7 from a 35mm, I would use f11 or f16 based on what I hear, and I would work from there.

    It may be that you need to go to about 10M and 10Y to beat the blues. In that case, you might need f16 or f22.

    PE
     
  18. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Others' suggestions are good. I'll add this: If there's any image on the print at all (vs. a solid blue), you could try scanning it and post the image for us to see. Be sure that the scan is a reasonable approximation of the print in overall color, though. I suggest this because something about the print that you haven't mentioned might be critically important.

    I'll also hammer, probably needlessly, on one point: A red safelight will cause cyan fogging. This is at any point between opening the box of paper and its development. So if you're processing in open trays, be sure to do so in total darkness until the paper is in the blix. If you're using a drum or similar enclosed processing hardware, you can turn on the lights after the paper is in the drum and you've put its lid on.
     
  19. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    I get weird dark blue results when my paper is way overexposed, like when I forget to stop down the enlarger after focusing.

    With Kodak paper I find myself in the 60-70 range with the M and Y dials. The fuji paper requires much less filtration. That's with my enlarger though.
     
  20. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    Exhausted or contaminated developer will "tinge" prints a blue color - but you'd normally get some image with it. Are you sure the safelights were off? Because all blue sounds like fogging with yellow, (or amber) light.

    Bob H
     
  21. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    I use a Beseler 23C with a dichro head. Colour paper is a LOT faster than black and white paper, and an over-exposed colour print from a negative will come out dark blue all over. For example, when printing 35mm to 8X10, I expose b&w paper for about 15 sec at f11. Supra Endura I expose at f11 for 3 seconds. Do a test strip at 1,2,4,and 8 seconds and see what you get. My guess is you will probably get an image at 2 sec. I started doing colour about a year ago. It took me about two boxes of paper until I figured out the subtractive colour balance thingy so my prints are consistently correctly colour balanced. Just the other night, I ran off eight colour 8X10s and only had to re-do one of them to adjust the colour balance. They were all printed from 6X6 negs from the same type of film. When you change film, you usually have to re-balance the colour filters.

    Incidently, colour analysers are available quite cheap on ebay right now. I bought one for less than $20. It helps you get in the ball park when you change film types or formats. There are instructions on the net regarding how to use one.

    Have fun.

    Rick
     
  22. ZZZeDDD

    ZZZeDDD Member

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    That's a whole lot of great tips! I would expect to only get a chance to retry the weekend but this makes my hands itch to go upstairs again... Interesting how colour paper is so much more sensitive than B&W, I will take notice of this...
     
  23. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    Now you have to let us know how it went - we're all waiting:tongue::tongue:

    Bob h
     
  24. ZZZeDDD

    ZZZeDDD Member

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    Success! I made a slightly over 1 sec exposure with f/16 (which is the smallest aperture on my lens), and other than it being on the red side it looks quite alright to me! I did a test exposure 1 sec vs 3 and even three was getting incredibly dark, so I now understand how very fast this paper is...

    Here's the photo. I'll need to investigate whether the streaks on the left hand side are on the negs or not and when giving it another try I'll make sure to tone that down (bear in mind the film is heavily expired, so some reds were to be expected, that's what I got when I had them professionally developed as well).

    Thanks a lot everyone!

    Zeno
     
  25. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Zeno;

    Add a 50 red (or 50M + 50Y) to your next exposure. If your process is in control, the picture should be a lot closer to normal.

    PE
     
  26. ZZZeDDD

    ZZZeDDD Member

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    Thanks PE, will do and will report back again when it looks how I'd want it to look ;-)