Quick Color Darkroom Troubleshooting

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by littleblightie, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. littleblightie

    littleblightie Member

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    Hi there,

    Just a quick one...

    I have worked in a black and white darkroom a fair bit, however have just started getting into color, and am having an issue that, on face value, is probably quite quick and easy to remedy.

    All of my prints are coming out with an yellow muddy tint. Not just the exposed area, the whole paper. The box of paper was brand new unopened and sent from B&H to Australia, am I right in assuming that the paper wouldn't be affected by the X-rays it would be subjected to?

    I think it has come down to chemical contamination or a stuff up in the process somewhere, because even if I develop a piece of paper straight out of the box, it is yellow.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    What chemistry are you using? And are you exposing in total darkness? You can't use a safelight as you would for black and white.
     
  3. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    In a fair world, the paper usually wouldn't even get X-rayed.
     
  4. littleblightie

    littleblightie Member

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    Using a Tetenal RA-4 kit. But yeah, total darkness (Big learning curve on that!)
     
  5. littleblightie

    littleblightie Member

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    And Fuji Crystal Archive 2 paper.
     
  6. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    I've used Fuji Crystal Archive paper with Tetenal RA4 chemistry, and didn't have that problem.
     
  7. chuck94022

    chuck94022 Subscriber

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    The x-ray equipment used these days in airports, especially for international flights, is quite powerful. I have no idea if it would fog color paper, but I would not be surprised at all. You might first contact B&H to see if they have any insight into this - if they are shipping paper internationally they must have confronted this issue if it exists.

    They x-ray everything going into the baggage compartment, and they x-ray it hard. They also open things... hmmm... I presume the packaging was completely sealed when you received it...
     
  8. Edward_S

    Edward_S Subscriber

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    It may be the bleach-fix that has gone bad. There are other threads here about that. Do you know how old it is? I had a problem a while ago when the entire image came out pale yellow but that seemed to be due to chemical contamination; the paper itself looked OK. I've had no problems with mucky/muddy colour prints since I stopped using Tetenal and started with Fuji Hunt Xpress RA. Based on my limited experience, I would suggest that you will be better off with a kit that lets you mix the bleach-fix from its component parts as needed, rather than using the Tetenal kit that supplies the bleach-fix as a pre-mixed concentrate.
     
  9. kerne

    kerne Member

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    Quick troubleshooting guide:

    To quote J Brenner, "only change one variable at a time". Isolate the problem and you may be able to salvage either the paper or the chemistry.

    Problem: muddy-yellow cast on print

    Test 1 - can I fix it with filtration? Problem includes unexposed areas, so probably not
    Test 2 - try different paper with same chemistry
    Test 3 - try different chemistry with same paper

    If problem still exists, look for additional possible points of contamination - stray light (lots of gear has LEDs that can't be turned off, I make judicious use of black tape to cover these buggers), contaminated water (all the water coming into my darkroom is well filtered), contaminated equipment (make sure whatever processing equipment you're using is free of left-over contaminants).

    I use drums for my color printing and I make sure they're thoroughly cleaned between prints. A small amount of left-over bleach/fixer in the drum would completely ruin the next print.

    I've only ever used Kodak RA4 chemistry and had zero problems from day one.
    - http://www.adorama.com/KKRADRRT.html
    - http://www.adorama.com/KKRABFR10L.html