How do you process your RA-4 paper?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Chan Tran, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Moved in my new house a year ago. Now it's time for me to start putting up the darkroom again. I am very much satisfied with my dry side setup. My wet side left a lot to be desired. I wonder how you all do it so I can pick up some ideas. Thanks.
     
  2. antmar

    antmar Subscriber

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    I made a lot of experiments but when I found Nova processors I never looked again for something else.
    Temperature, space, chemistry life and storage, time to setup are not a problem anymore.
    Hope this helps.
     
  3. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I use a NOVA as well. In fact I use 2. A three slot 12x16 for colour (RA4 and a 2 slot 12x16 plus an open dish for the B&W developer. They, NOVA are the epitome of superb simple design that just work with no fuss.

    The real beauty of them is the very small footprint they have when left idle or even working. My darkroom is shared by my motorcycle (actually it is my garage) so space is at a premium. As Antmar has said chemistry life is superb, the RA4 I am using at the moment was first mixed in June 2012 and just replenished after each session (100cc per 800 sq inches of paper - pro rata)
     
  4. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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  5. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    I have a really cheap setup. I use a Dev Tec drum processor that I bought in the 80's for about $50. It has a motor but I often just turn the drum by hand. It has a water bath; years ago I drilled a hole and inserted a fish tank heater through the side; it's pretty rock solid at about 98 degrees F, and I get excellent and repeatable results.

    I mix my own developer, use diluted vinegar as the stop bath, and use Kodak Blix.
     
  6. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Jobo at 35C. I'd like a Nova but have no room for one.
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Nova tanks, it's so easy, reliable.

    I began colour printing withg the Pavelle process in the late 60's and used a few other processes before settling on a Nova system and Tetenal chemistry, I'd never go back . . . . . . . .

    Ian
     
  8. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Is the Nova intended to be used in the dark? I know the tube type processor I can use in the light.
     
  9. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    Drums! I have the 8x10 drum with motor base. Super fast and super easy to use.
     
  10. RPC

    RPC Member

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    Trays at room temperature with Kodak RA-RT Developer Replenisher and Beach-Fix. Easy as b&w. No hassle with temperature control, don't have to wash and dry a drum, and small test prints are quick and easy to make. Developer seems to last and last, even in open air.
     
  11. frotog

    frotog Member

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    Fujimotos. Both 31's and 51's. I found that I need the consistency of finely temp controlled roller transport to dial in the right color bias.
     
  12. OzJohn

    OzJohn Member

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    Hard to beat a roller processor as long as you have the volume of paper to put through and the Fujimotos are amongst the best. I don't print anymore but I still have my 51 and from memory it takes about 5 or 6 litres of each chemical which can represent an awful lot of wasted money when the soup goes off through lack of use (for those who've not used one, a replenished colour system does not save under-utilised chemicals; the most consistent processing quality and chemical longevity is obtained from machines that work for several hours a day most days). I might sell the 51 later this year if I can find anyone in Australia interested since I'm planning to turn the darkroom into a study but first I'll have to fill it with water and make sure that everything still works OK as it has not been used for several years. A job for another day. OzJohn
     
  13. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Nova for me as well, Firstly at room temp and then heated when I found one with a thermostat.
     
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  15. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    I use Fujimotos too, CP-31 and 51. Great units. the -31 only needs 2L of chemistry. 6L for -51.
     
  16. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Gosh, I've never even bothered to plug in my roller processor. I just use drum. They're loaded in the
    darkroom but actually processed outdoors, to minimize exposure to the chem, which I'm mildly sensitized to.
     
  17. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    You could use a Nova by feel alone but as the paper sinks into a deep slot then a dim safelight like the Kodak colour safelight will be very safe and give just about enough light to see to use a Nova.

    On the other hand a DUKA or Thompson sodium safelight could be used at quite a high illumination as nearly all of the time the paper sits too deep in the slot for light to penetrate. Unlike trays light can't shine into the slots.

    A good investment for B&W as well for the reasons already mentioned

    pentaxuser
     
  18. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    I wish Nova was more available here in the US
     
  19. frotog

    frotog Member

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    I'm sorry to hear this Drew as I know from experience how inconvenient and tedius drum ra-4 can be in comparison to RT. If you do this with any regularity at all it would behoove you to look into a properly designed exhaust and fresh air intake for your drkrm. The amount of time you'll save will pay for the HVAC bill before you get through your first 5 litres of replenisher.
     
  20. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I've got a superb exhuast system. One just gets sensitized to certain things over time. That's the risk.
    I know former lab owners who either got put out of business that way or couldn't enter certain sections
    of their own lab. I suspect its amine-related. Just because something doesn't stink doesn't mean it's
    safe. I have a big 30X40 processor that actually sits on a cart I can move outdoors. The only disadvantage is that the weather needs to be mild so that the temp of the chem in the drum won't
    shift during processing. I've been offered a clean 50" roller processor, but don't know if I could
    devise a way to safely use it. I'd need to put it in a separate outbuilding apart from my main lab. I
    might sell my 20" processor. Drums are very reliable, and one doesn't have a lot of high-tech circuitry
    or pumps to worry about. But they are a bit slow if doing test strips etc.
     
  21. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Well I think I would continue to use tube on a rotary base. I think I would room temp as it's difficult to control the temperature while it is in the drum. Both the Nova, the Jobo and the Fujimoto is out of reach for me right now price wise.
     
  22. darkroom_rookie

    darkroom_rookie Member

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    Drums. Two 16x20" Jobos, 24x24" home-made and 36x50" home-made. Kodak RT/LU with white vinegar stop. #13 safelight only when doing photograms.
     
  23. frotog

    frotog Member

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    Temp drift and time variabilities due to manual fill and dumps are the two aspects of drum processing that will keep you from dialing in the perfect ra4 print - you'll be lucky to get within a cc point or two of neutral and once you get there making a duplicate will be well nigh impossible. If you have high standards for print quality and the ability to get there, drum or tray ra-4 processing will drive you nuts with the variability.
     
  24. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    A temperature controlled drum is perfectly consistent (I have produced 15+ copies of a couple prints, no visible difference even in side-by-side comparison), especially if you do the proper process-temp prewash.

    If a Jobo is too much $$$ and you're handy, there are lots of instructions on the web for making a bath from an aquarium pump, kettle element and PID controller for $100ish.
     
  25. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I have no problem making a tempering bath and keep the bath at correct temperature. My problem is how to keep the chemical once pour into the drum not to change. The Jobo had the drum submerged but how do I submerge my drum in my tempering bath?
    I could make a higher precision tempering bath than the Jobo but I don't know how to keep my drum underwater to keep the chemical from dropping the temperature. The Jobo has the coupling and drive system which I found difficult to duplicate.
     
  26. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    Is controlling the temperature precisely as important as getting results that you can reproduce? I use a tempered pre-wash with my drum, and the developer goes in at 94F. I develop for one minute and don't reuse the developer. Sure, there's temperature drift, but it doesn't vary much between processing cycles (assuming non-extreme ambient temperatures) and it averages out to the recommended 92F for this processing time. RA-4 works over a range of temperatures, so it seems like like you have some leeway.