Finally Got my Ducks in a row - starting RA4 printing

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by hoffy, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Well, after quite a while trying to get all my gear sorted, I am finally waiting on my last component so I can start RA-4 printing at home (the paper).

    I am planning to process using a Jobo, with Tetenal chems (I have the 5L kit) at 35dg C. The paper that I have ordered is the Fuji Type II gloss (lustre was out of stock dammit!)

    Does anyone have any filter figures that I could use as a starting point?

    In relation to washing the prints, the kit says 3 x 30sec washes in the drum. Would it be worth my while to wash a little longer in a RC washing tray? Or is this just a waste?

    What else will I need to consider?
     
  2. David Grenet

    David Grenet Member

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    I would (and do when I print RA-4 at home) wash in a tray.
     
  3. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    I dabbled with RA4 in a Jobo drum, but quickly switched to using open trays - The hassle of drying the drum between each print and burning through paper swayed me.
     
  4. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Burning through paper? I am not sure what you mean.

    In relation to letting the drum dry, were you letting it air dry? Or trying to dry it out?
     
  5. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Wipe down with a towel and then hair dryer to get the last few smears of water out - Always seemed to have one drop lurking somewhere that wouldn't budge.

    I got hold of two 8" wide rolls of Kodak RA4 paper dirt cheap, so had (still have) plenty to play with - When tweaking 5-10 units of C, Y or M to get the colours looking right, you'd be surprised at how much paper gets used.
     
  6. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Hoffy,

    For the starting filter pack you may find filter info on the paper box; some boxes have this, some don't.

    There are four basic variables; the type & batch paper, the type & batch of the film, the lighting in your scene, your enlarger.

    The Jobo works just fine. It does take a bit of care to address the water drops but it is't that tough. The Jobo is easier for me and much more pleasant "aromatically".

    I do a 30 second first rinse to knock off the big chunks, followed by a 60 final rinse, I have seen no reason to wash more.

    The process is essentially designed to go to completion so a little extra time in the developer, blix, or rinse won't hurt. Don't go too far though.

    View the prints "where they will be hung". The lighting in my darkroom is different than anyplace mine will ever be seen. The lighting where they will be hung has a huge effect on how the colors are viewed.
     
  7. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    Agreed on all so far. I used paper towels to dry drums. I used to use the cibachrome drums which when disassembled were pretty fast and easy to clean and dry. However, switching to a processor (fujimoto CP-31) sped things up considerably and is so much faster and easier to use. Starting filtration should be on the box but if not try something like 55M 40Y or 65M 50Y. Those are the usual starting filtrations on Kodak Endura.

    I too go through a fair bit of paper, not usually wastefully but just churning through prints once I get going.

    If using drums having 2 or more is a good idea, that way you can wash and dry one while the other is processing, that speeds things up a lot.

    congrats on getting some RA-4 done at home! It's quite satisfying to be able to make your own color prints, I think.

    -Ed
     
  8. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    OK, thanks. I had often wondered why no one ever mentioned using paper towel to dry the drums. That's what I was going to do. I am assuming that any residual water in the drum will be detrimental to the final print?

    And, as for a second drum, yes, I would like to pick one up.....which in itself is not the most easiest thing to locate around here!

    And thanks for the filter tips. I hope they are written on the box. This I think is going to be the most challenging side of what I am about to start.
     
  9. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Yes the suggested filtration is usually printed on the box. And you seem to need only one tiny residual drop of water in the drum to create a streak on the paper. Paper towels have worked pretty well for me.
     
  10. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Try 50M + 50Y as a starting point. You don't have to use the cyan filters. Have a great time and keep your chemicals a constant temp. The color balance will shift if the temperature changes. Dry your prints thoroughly before judging color balance and density.
     
  11. mikecnichols

    mikecnichols Member

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    I'm picking up a second drum. I found a few on eBay and on Craigslist.
     
  12. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    It's not too challenging. You may want to get the Kodak print viewing kit, one sold on here recently:
    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum379/88509-kodak-color-print-viewing-filter-kit-new-unopened.html
    They come up on ebay quite often.

    Stick with one film to start with (or maybe forever) - that certainly helps as you'll find that each subsequent roll has a very similar filter pack which needs only the slightest tweak (or maybe none). It also helps as by shooting only one type of film you'll get to know all its characteristics. Make lots of notes - write the filter pack and time on the back of all your prints for future reference. Fuji Pro films (160, 400, 800) all print on the same pack for me - hopefully Kodak's new Portras do the same (there used to be big difference between VC & NC).

    For your very first print choose a frame in normal light - not some difficult mixture of artificial and daylight. Lastly, this thread helped me a lot:

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum221/58260-ra-4-printing-200-a.html

    Particularly this:

     
  13. hrst

    hrst Member

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    I wrote down the filter values behind the print when I started. Frankly speaking, I have never looked the values again, but in any case, writing them down WILL help you learn them more quickly, as you can make a connection in your head with the print you have in your hands and the filtration values. This is an important point in learning process.

    In the beginning, I often had to do two or three test strips before the final print.

    After making about 50 or so prints, I found that most of the time I could get both the filtration and exposure very close to what I want with the very first test sheet, and the second one is the final print. Then, if I have more images on the same roll of film that are similar in lighting conditions and exposure, I make the final prints directly.

    In some special cases, I have needed two test strips. For example, Fuji Reala is surprisingly green which you will notice if you try to print it with the standard filter pack. I needed about -15M or something like that. Or, once I accidentally forgot to pour prewash water out when I developed C-41 and thus developed with developer diluted 1+1 or even more.... which resulted in twisted color balance which I was able to correct well enough just with filter pack.
     
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  15. mikecnichols

    mikecnichols Member

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    After working with Fuji 200, I printed from Ektar 100 a couple weeks ago and the adjustment was very slight. I went ahead and made a new program with my analyzer, but it really wasn't much of a difference. I think it was like, +10Y.
     
  16. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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  17. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    I was given a filter kit a while ago, so I have that one covered as well.

    I also have a fujimoto enlarger with a built in colour analyzer sitting in my shed. I haven't gotten it up and running and was planning on selling it, but might dust it of and give it a try (I am using an LPL 7700 currently)
     
  18. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    OK, next question (if anyone is listening). Should I be storing the paper in the Fridge or freezer? It clearly states store below 10deg C. Would there be any benefit to storing in the freezer. or is it just like film and doesn't matter?

    Cheers
     
  19. hrst

    hrst Member

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    Paper keeps quite well in just fridge at about +10 C. I'd say about 2 or 3 years, or even more. However, if you feel like stockpiling, seal the paper in airtight plastic baggage, put in the freezer, and before using, let warm for a few hours before opening the package.
     
  20. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII Member

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    Even though I haven't done RA-4 processing for some years (I was a professional printer at one time), I used to process RA-4 at home in drums and have a suggestion that may be helpful to some here. Don't dry your drums! There is no need to. It is not only a complete waste of time but it actually introduces problems. The reason many dry their drums is to avoid streaks in paper if a drop of water gets on the dry paper and it can be very difficult to avoid having a drop of water from the drum or cap remaing after drying. The solution is easier, much faster, and more dependable. It completely eliminates the drying step that will greatly slow you down and cause problems. Rince your drums and use them wet! Put your paper in the wet drum and then give the paper a quick water pre-soak In other words, don't even try to keep your paper dry until the developer step. Instead of going to lengths to avoid a drop of water getting on the paper, soak the paper! Streaking will be totally avoided.

    When I first started processing RA-4 prints in drums, I dried the drums with a hair dryer but it also caused problems and really slowed the process down. The drum has to cool thorougly or it will raise chemistry temperatures and, if the plastic of the drum is thicker in places , it will cool more slowly there and cause streaking in the prints.

    So just rinse the drums throughly and use them wet with a pre-soak. This same principle is often used with film as well. When I first tried this, I smacked myself in the forehead for not thinking of it sooner and wasting so much time previously. Once I started just using the drums wet with a quick water rinse before the developer step, I eliminated all the problems caused by drying drums and printing was MUCH faster. I am actually suprised that people here have recommended drying the drums because using wet drums has long been known for processing film.

    If you have been drying your drums, try using them wet. You will never look back and you will kick yourself for ever having gone to all the trouble of drying them.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2011
  21. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Interesting that you say that ZoneIII. The leaflet that came with the tetenal kit suggested that pre-soaking was not a good idea. When you started to pre-soak, did you have to alter your processing times?

    Cheers
     
  22. hrst

    hrst Member

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    Also, consider tray processing. It's a matter of taste but I find "traditional" tray processing much easier and less tedious. There really is no reason why you would need different measures compared to BW printing. Color works just like BW in trays. Use very dim yellow safelight so that you light it up when the time is up in developer. This way you can move the paper to stop bath easily
     
  23. mikecnichols

    mikecnichols Member

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    I had pretty much gone your way, in theory. I never tried to completely dry the drum, but enough to slow me down. Last night, I added in the pre-soak for the paper because I hadn't had enough time for the paper to raise to room temperature. I figured it didn't matter for the print to get wet before developer, especially the backside, since there was the option of a pre-soak. I definitely will follow your method from now on. I'm getting a second 8x10 drum this week, which will help, but now I feel is almost not needed now.

    Since we're on this topic though, may I ask how long a print can sit in a drum before it is processed? I'm wondering if I can go ahead and expose to prints and then process them back to back, or if there is a window of time that developer has to hit the paper.
     
  24. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    Not sure about the stability of a color latent image, but there was a discussion about latent image fade in B&W paper sometime last year.

    I can't regurgitate the technical details, but the take away was that the image noticeably fades in short order, like just a few hours.

    That's not to say it fades away and isn't usable, but that the blacks are measurably less black with a densitometer. I suppose that would result in less saturation in C41. I don't really know.

    I suspect if you expose one, shove it in the drum, expose the second, shove it in a drum, then process the first, then process the second, you would be OK. But if you let the first one sit unprocessed for "too long" (being very nonspecific) then there would be noticeable degradation.

    MB
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2011
  25. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Kodak recommend a 30 sec presoak to eliminate streaking, see their J-39 document.
     
  26. mikecnichols

    mikecnichols Member

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    Thanks for the response. I guess I'll just try it next time I'm down in the lab. I'm still on my practice chems anyway....I'm surprised at how long and how many uses I am getting from them.