Help please: Shouldn't unexposed RA paper develop white?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by dslater, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. dslater

    dslater Member

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    So I just got some Kodak Supra-Endura and Ultra-Endura from Ultrafineonline.com. 2 boxes of 50 sheets. Looks like they cut them down from rolls and re-packaged the paper in their.own box.
    As a test, I took a piece of each straight out of the Box and into my Jobo to process. As they were unexposed, I expected them to come out white after development. Instead both sheets have a distinct greenish hue.
    Any ideas on what could cause this?

    I'm processing with Kodak Ektacolor RA-RT developer replenisher 10l kit (cat# 8415580). The replenisher was mixed up 2 weeks ago. To make a tank solution, I don't use a dev starter, however, I do dilute the replenisher with water. So where the Kodak sheet says to mix 800ml replenisher with 175ml water and 25ml dev starter, I mix 800 ml replenisher with 200ml distilled water to make a working solution.
    I'm using Ektacolor RA Bleach-fix 10l kit (cat#8309031) for my bleach-fix.

    I process at 95deg F.

    1 min pre-wet
    1min developer
    30 sec stop bath
    30 sec wash
    1 min Bleach-fix
    6 30 sec. wash cycles.

    Does anyone else have experience with paper from Ultrafineonline? It the repackaged paper they sell outdated?
    Any ideas on how I should proceed to determine where the problem is without buying yet more paper? I'd hate to go spend $100-200 on a roll of paper only to discover the problem is with my chemistry.
     
  2. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Some years ago I bought some BW paper from them that was not just fogged but actually black for a 1/4 inch along one edge. Vowed never to buy from them again.
     
  3. dslater

    dslater Member

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    Grr.... I was afraid of something like that. Although given the evenness of the color cast, I don't think the paper was exposed to light. I suspect it's just old. Since it's repackaged, there's no way to tell how old it really is.

    I didn't get a good feeling when the paper arrived and I discovered the box of supra-Endura was mislabeled as ultra-Endura. The feeling got worse when I sent them an e-mail asking if it had been mis-labeled and the reply was a single line in large type that said yes the package was mislabeled. No apology, not even a salutation in the reply - I guess they were too busy to write a reasonable reply.

    The other thing I noticed is the paper doesn't say anything on the back. All my older Endura paper says Kodak Endura on the back, so I'm left wondering if this paper is even what it says it is.

    Is the normal failure mode for old Kodak RA-4 paper to develop a greenish cast?
     
  4. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Sounds like the paper has either expired or was not stored properly. I've experienced a cyan cast with old paper. No change in the filter pack would produce a good print.

    I am surprised that this company is still in business. They seem to repackage anything that is available and do not tell the buyer if they change to a difference paper or film. No telling what the paper is if it doesn't say Kodak. Remember Kodak stopped making paper several years ago. Color materials do not age as well as BW.

    I developed a severe sensitivity to the color developing agents and can no longer make color prints. So my experiences are from some years ago.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2012
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Yep, sounds like fog to me from a safelight.

    PE
     
  6. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    Are you talking about cut sheet boxes, Gerald? Kodak RC color paper for RA-4 processing is readily available fresh. The current offerings may be limited to Kodak Professional Endura Premier and Metallic papers, and it is only available in rolls. Was this paper being sold fresh today actually made several years ago?
     
  7. E76

    E76 Member

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    No, Kodak still makes RA-4 paper, but as you said only in rolls. All they did was stop selling cut sheets about 2 years ago with the release of Supra Endura VC. (Supposedly, the new VC paper is only suitable for use with digital exposure systems, but I've come across a few people who have used it for optical prints and claim it works fine, albeit with higher contrast. No idea if this is actually true or not, as I haven't tried it myself.)
     
  8. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I always buy my paper and chemicals from a reputable known dealer here in UK. A couple of years back, Kodak paper became unobtainable in cut sheets but it was still available in rolls. I could cut the paper but it isn't worth the hassle so opted to go over to Fuji Crystal archive instead. which is in sheets.

    I am not as happy with Fuji as I was with Kodak, but that is the way of things.

    Perhaps when you mix your RA4 Developer you should use the 'starter' for the initial batch. Then for replenishment the Kodak Ektacolour without the starter. I have never had the problems you describe but that sounds as if it has been in poor storage conditions and got too warm at one stage.
     
  9. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

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    For starters - Kodak papers:

    no marking on back = ULTRA.
    Kodak logo on back = Supra\Portra.

    This was done so you can tell them apart once they are out of the box, no matter if it came off a roll or cut sheet box.
    I also heard from someone here there are is no more lower contrast paper and Ultra is the only option out there (but i dont know where\when that is)

    Ultra has a much higher base shift to green\red.

    Since you are not mixing your chems as the instructions call for, i would start by at least trying to do that, mixing fresh chems.
    This sounds like you have a contaminated developer, which would normally cause a blueish tint on mostly white developed paper if un exposed, but that would be the first place to look.

    Old paper would come out yellow ish, and safe light exposure would appear uneven and darker at areas.
     
  10. frotog

    frotog Member

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    Kodak discontinued Ultra endura about a year ago. For at least two years before being discontinued Ultra was only available in rolls larger than 20". So yeah, if you purchased ultra endura in sheets smaller than 16x20 it's no longer fresh.
     
  11. tim elder

    tim elder Member

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    I bought a box of paper at a photo lab in town that the lab bought from them and it was definitely slightly expired Ultra Endura. It had a slightly yellowish cast, however, rather than a slightly greenish cast, so it's probably not the same exact issue.

    Tim
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Tim;

    The yellow cast is more usual with old Endura.

    A cyan or green cast is (as I said before) usually due to safelight fog.

    PE
     
  13. dslater

    dslater Member

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    PE - thanks for your reply. It was suggested above that I might have problems with my developer. Do you see anything wrong with the way I'm mixing my dev? Could an error in developer mixing cause such a cast? I'm very careful with mixing my chemistry, so I don't believe my developer was contaminated with anything foreign.

    I also found an old unopened box of Supra Endura. I'd say it's at least 5 years old. Tried developing a sheet of that. It didn't come out with a noticeable cast, but it's definitely not white either. I'm assuming this is due to age.

    I also carefully checked my DR for light leaks - none that I could find.
     
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  15. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Contamination of developer with Blix can cause a cyan-green cast sometimes.

    PE
     
  16. jm94

    jm94 Member

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    I have had a magenta cast before with safelight fog... I find a yellow Cast on Ra4 paper has happened on aged paper.
     
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    A magenta cast would come from a green safelight. Most people use a dim red safelight giving a cyan or green fog. If you overdo the Kodak recommended WR13 safelight you get a blue fog.

    PE
     
  18. dslater

    dslater Member

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    So can a Kodak #13 Amber Safelight still be used with the new RA-4 digital papers? It was my understanding that the new papers are quite a bit faster than the older papers were.
     
  19. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Yes, the WR13 can be used.

    Use the Kodak guideline for time of exposure and wattage.

    PE
     
  20. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    Generally with expired Endura, it's a yellowish cast to the whites, as PE mentions. Cut sheet endura is still good even several years out of date. I'd say less than 5 years out is nothing to worry about, and you'd only notice the yellow cast if you have fresh paper to compare with. Freezing can help extend it even further. Beyond that it gets a bit more noticable but still usable. I used some that had been stored poorly (by me), in hot attics and whatnot, since 1993 (!!), Supra II. It was heavily yellow cast, so much that I couldn't correct it enough to get it neutral, but it still gave a semi-decent print, just not really color correct, and contrast seemed lower than it should have been. But it still printed! amazing.
     
  21. dslater

    dslater Member

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    Well,
    I mixed up some fresh developer and have tried some unexposed Supra Endura and Crystal Archive Type C. Neither of the papers had a noticeable cast. However, they're not white either. They've been stored in my Basement for at least 5 years - not refrigerated - probably exposed to temps as high as 80 during the summer months. The Crystal Archive is lighter than the Supra Endura and seems usable on images that don't have a lot of bright highlights.
    Just to be sure - am I correct in assuming a processed unexposed piece of paper should come out as white as an unexposed piece of paper that is put straight into the Bleach-Fix without development?

    I've read many threads here stating that RA-4 paper can be used well past its expiration date. So far I've tested at least 4 or 5 different boxes of paper - including a couple that have never been opened. None of them come out white when I develop an unexposed piece.

    One thing has occurred to me. I live in New Hampshire - the Granite State. One of the things about living here is that the granite contains significant amounts of thorium and uranium leading to problems with radon gas. My house was built in 1870 and the basement walls are made of large granite blocks. I wonder of my paper has aged faster than normal due to exposure to radiation from radon gas?

    If so, should I consider building a lead lined box to store my paper, or would the metal in a refrigerator provide enough protection? I do not remember exactly which particles radon emits, but as I recall, they're not very penetrating - the only reason radon gas creates a health threat is because you inhale it into your lungs.
     
  22. dslater

    dslater Member

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    Yes - just looked it up - radon decays by emitting alpha particles. Very dangerous in ingested or inhaled, but they are readily absorbed by materials and their penetrating power is limited. So the metal casing of a refrigerator may well provide enough shielding to protect the paper.
     
  23. dslater

    dslater Member

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    Anyway - ordered some Fuji CA and fresh RA-4 developer from Adorama. I've never gotten a bad product from them, so I assume both the paper and developer will be fresh. Hopefully things will go better.
     
  24. frotog

    frotog Member

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    Radon gas in NH is fogging your paper? Could be but the more obvious cause would be expired and poorly stored stock. I know that there are quite a few threads on this site boasting the longevity of RA4 papers. I would not put too much faith in these testimonials (consider that the largest population of people having difficulty differentiating color are men 40 years and older). I just tossed a box of Endura f surface 8x10 (expiration 6/11) that had been stored in a chest freezer because the color shift to yellow was too severe to correct without a dramatic shift in the rest of the spectrum. The difference between that paper and another box of endura f (expiration 12/11) was dramatic. Considering the low cost of color paper and the labor involved in making ra4 prints why would anyone want to print with bad stock?
     
  25. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    'Off whites' are why I always wondered if there cannot, somehow, be a 'Farmers Reducer' for color paper in order to 'bring back the whites'. How nice that would be. - David Lyga
     
  26. Photo Engineer

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    If you have radon gas in your basement, you are likely to die of lung cancer before your paper is too badly fogged from the radiation. Yes, all color and B&W papers fog with time if kept at room temp. The Kodak product yellows gradually and loses a bit of red speed so the color balance must be adjusted.

    The tests to run are as follows:

    In total darkness....

    Sheet #1
    Blix, wash dry. This is the reference white.

    Sheet #2
    Develop, blix, wash, dry. This is the test for dmin.

    Do this for a fresh sheet and a kept sheet and compare all 4 sheets.

    PE