RA-4 Kodak RA-RT Lifetime

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by kb3lms, Jul 6, 2011.

  1. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    I have been room temperature tray processing a number of 8 x 10 and 10 x 12 prints in Kodak RA-RT chemistry using a developing time of two minutes. The liter I am working with right now has had 22 or 23 prints (mostly 8x10) run through it and the contrast of the prints has started to rise quickly with the colors starting to look a little "plastic". The first 20 prints looked OK. Is this an indication that the developer or blix is reaching exhaustion? The paper I am using is Kodak Royal "Digital." It's been working well till this contrast issue came up in the last three or four prints.

    As a test I went back and printed a small piece of Edge and it has the same higher contrast.

    Is it worthwhile to add a pinch of sulfite to try and extend the life of this batch or just toss it now? I have more stock chemistry to mix so it's not a problem to make a new liter. My main reason for asking is that I would like to know if this quickly rising contrast is a way to tell that it's time for a new batch of developer and blix. In reading the "Darkroom Cookbook", Steve Anchell writes about rising contrast as B/W paper developers move towards exhaustion due to bromide buildup and I am wondering if the same sort of thing is happening here?
     
  2. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    Have you considered replenishment? Check with your chemistry but I think you could dump and replenish about 10mL per 8x10 sheet. That way the chemistry will last quite a bit longer.

    Also, since you are doing tray development, do you keep track of the tray temperature? Could it be that it's just cooling down with time?
     
  3. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    WRT replenishment, would you mean, for example, making two liters instead of one and the topping up say 10mL of fresh chemistry for each 8x10. The maybe discard and start over when the second litre has been used up?

    This is room temp development, in my basement. Temp is a constant 70 deg F.
     
  4. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    Yes, something like that. I don't think you need to replenish after every sheet. I usually dump/replenish with about 100mL after half-dozen 8x10s or so. The chemistry in trays does oxidize more quickly than in a roller-transport machine (what I use), so you may need to replenish with higher amount.
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    You are at capacity or way over with that many prints in 1 L of Developer. Check the Kodak web site for capacity.

    PE
     
  6. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Here you go, http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/j39/j39.pdf

    All you need to know about chemistry, and you have to consider deterioration when in a tray. See page 3 for the recommended capacity.

    Using it one shot in drums, I can get 3 8x10 per 70 ml by reusing the 70 ml for a couple 8x10 and 4 4x5 test prints, that is 6 trips thru the drum for the same 70 ml in a couple of hours. Which turns out to be 42 prints per liter.
     
  7. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    Thank you, everyone. So, high contrast and colors not quite right, it's dead. Makes sense. Well, I cannot complain about the longevity of the chemistry. This batch worked long enough.

    Last night I went ahead and dumped the old solutions. The blix had a gray sludge that had settled in the bottom of the container and won't wash out. Any idea what that would be? The container is just a reused PET drink bottle so I will throw it away and start with a new one but just wondering if that sludge is pointing to any issue out of the ordinary.
     
  8. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    Even heard of silver lining? :laugh:
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Sounds as if you really exhausted the blix too. The sludge is a mix of silver salts and iron salts. Some fresh blix might dissolve it given time. You might try a tray cleaner such as Dichromate + Sulfuric Acid.

    PE
     
  10. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Silver rich sludge that should not be disposed of in landfill or down the drain - Send it off for reprocessing or see if your local council has a toxic waste disposal facility.

    As for cleaning, I've used a thick toilet bleach to clean trays before now and have also tried Cilit Bang. Sodium Hydroxide is also good for removing (some) deposits.
     
  11. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    As I mentioned, it was an old drink bottle so I just threw it away. In the scheme of things it could not have been too significant but I will keep your point in mind.

    As a matter of fact, the blix was getting cloudy in the end so in the future I will have to change out my solutions more often. That ought to help make Kodak a little happier anyway! :D