Poor contrast using RA4 & Fuji CA70 paper

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by dave barnett, Jan 19, 2005.

  1. dave barnett

    dave barnett Member

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    Hi, I hope you can help me with this frustrating situation.

    I'm having a problem achieving a similar contrast to lab produced prints. I have the negs developed & printed commercially and then enlarge and process those that I really want. Unfortunately my prints, particularly noticeable in snow scenes, do not have the same contrast range as those commercially produced....colours look fine though.

    I was unable to get Kodak paper this time around and am using Fuji CA70 along with Kodak RA4 chemicals.
    I have a home built processor.......3 deep perspex tanks that hold 5l litres of chemicals and sit in a temperature controlled water bath. I move the print from one tank to the next.

    I process the prints at 33 deg for 1.5 minutes dev +10 sec drain time, 30 sec in stop and 2 min in the B/F. Wash for 5.
    I've tried increasing agitation and increasing developer time but these have had no noticable impact on the contrast.
    I'm not replenishing the chemistry, but using it at the rate of 5 litres per 100 (10x8's). I'm not real sure about the correct number of prints per 5 litres so this is a potential problem area, however even when the chemistry is fresh, the constrast is lower.
    Any ideas on how to raise the contrast in my enlarged prints?

    Thanks for your help
    Dave
     
  2. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't know if this applies to you, but many machine prints from labs are produced using consumer grade papers. These papers are are often very high (for RA4) contrast papers. Kodak edge as an example is the highest contrast RA4 paper I have ever used and is noticably higher in contrast than Kodak Ultra or Fuji CA type C.
     
  3. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Dave,

    Check everywhere for light leaks and reflections. The enlarger is a huge source. Turn off your safelight (if you're using one). It may be masking light leaks into your darkroom, or fogging your paper itself. It doesn't take much to kill the print.

    Neal Wydra
     
  4. dave barnett

    dave barnett Member

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    If this is the case then it sounds like I'm " beating my head against a brick wall"! I will have to be satisfied with what I am getting.
    Thanks for your advice
    Dave
     
  5. dave barnett

    dave barnett Member

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    Hmmmm, I'll check for light leaks, though the edges of the print not exposed (and not covered during the exposure) still look white after processing. However, I'll turn off the safelight and see if that makes a difference.
    Thanks for your reply
    Dave