RA-4 starter. Do I need it?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by RichardH, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. RichardH

    RichardH Member

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    I finished ordering my chemicals for ra-4. They are Kodak replenisher RT. My question is, when I mix the replenisher I then have to add more water for a tray solution by their directions. Kodak suggest adding a starter to this. Do I actually need the starter since it is being diluted for a tray process? My way of thinking is I don't need it since I am all ready diluting it with water for the working solution. I know from way past experience when I had a roller transport that I never used it but it ran most of the day while printing. Since I am using trays, Do I actually need it???? What do ya'll use for tray processing? :confused:

    Richard
     
  2. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Most of all starter just boosts the halide levels of the solution so that processing time for a fresh batch of chems is no different from a seasoned and replenished tank solution.

    In trays you will find that diluted RT without starter may give you different exposure times/colur balance (linked in RA-4 printing) but will work. You can also use it room temperature, but will also experience colur shifts in doing so, and may want to extend the tray time much beyond the 45 seconds that you use at 38C.
     
  3. RPC

    RPC Member

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    Starter is used along with dilution, to make a normal working solution out of replenisher, for use at normal developing temperatures and times for RA-4 developer. However, the replenisher itself, without further dilution and without starter, can make excellent prints at room temperatures for about 2 - 21/2 minutes.
     
  4. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    If you leave it out, you'll initially get approx 20CC error in magenta plus more density. As your process stabilises, it will converge on the normal behaviour. So your recorded colour balances and exposures for the first few sheets will not be reproducible later.

    If you one-shot, it shouldn't really matter - your colour packs and exposure time would differ from the with-starter case, but do you care?
     
  5. RichardH

    RichardH Member

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    Thanks polyglot for the reply. It has been 30 years since I have printed color and It's hard to remember all I need to remember. That's called a senior moment. I did remember from back then that I never used starter with a roller transport but just don't know anything when using trays. I bought paper in bulk so the emulsion was the same and only had to change analyzer settings when a new batch was opened. The analyzer was set up for skin color and now what I shoot is landscapes. I'll have to test about everthing I print now, so by the time I get what I want, the dev. will be stabalized. MAYBE????

    Thanks
    Richard
     
  6. Mr Bill

    Mr Bill Member

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    Richard, you might find some useful info in Ctein's book, so have a look. Check Chapter 9, "Bits and Pieces," for a short section on room-temp processing. http://ctein.com/booksmpl.htm

    My own experience has been hi volume, never in trays, so I can't add much to (nor confirm or deny) what the other posters have said. I can tell you, though, that simply letting your solution sit (or even diluting) won't cause it to match one with starter solution added. If you had to match other processors (with seasoned developer), you would absolutely need to use the starter solution, and even then it's barely good enough.

    I don't remember when RA4 was introduced, but if you grew up on the former process, EP2, you'll find RA4 to be much less sensitive to replenishment errors, etc.
     
  7. RPC

    RPC Member

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    This is not my experience. If I use Kodak RA-RT replenisher in a tray, without starter and dilution, the first sheet will have the same color balance as the rest. If there is a difference, it is very small, certainly not 20cc.

    I do not know why the starter (designed to provide restraining halide for fresh-mixed working solutions) is not needed to produce good prints at room temperature. Perhaps PE can answer.


    EDIT: After re-reading the posts I believe you were referring to using the developer with dilution, but without starter. If so, you may be correct. I have never done this.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 4, 2012
  8. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Ctein is talking about the Tetenal RA4AT kit, where the AT stood for "ambient temperature." AFAIK, it's no longer available. I used it, but had problems with yellow whites. Mostly the prints looked ok except in very white highlight areas (the yellow could, I think, be somewhat compensated for in the filter pack) but the borders were clearly yellowish. Another poster here had the same problem and has written about writing back and forth with them, and concluded it was due to chemical problems from their attempt to pack the developer in a single concentrate and the blix in a single concentrate. I don't recall which was the problem but I believe the developer - bad blix could probably be fixed by re-treating in good blix.
     
  9. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    The developer concentration is not the same as the replenisher concentration. If you make up a 5L batch of RA-RT soup, that is not 5L of working solution. It's meant to be mixed at I think 80% concentration (with 2.5% starter and the rest water) to get an initial batch of working solution (i.e. about 6.25L if you made working solution from a whole batch of replenisher), then replenished at about 7-10mL/sheet.
     
  10. Mr Bill

    Mr Bill Member

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    Ahh, I see; I didn't realize Ctein used only, or at least only wrote about, Tetenal. Nevertheless, his methodologies are all sensible, so can still have educational value.

    I have, in the past, seen yellow "stain" on paper which was due to blix problems, and could not be removed by retreatment. So I know this is possible in some situations. But I guess it doesn't matter since the Tetenal product is no longer available.
     
  11. Mr Bill

    Mr Bill Member

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    RPC and Polyglot may also be using different types of paper, and different types of scene. A low key portrait, where the background is nearly black, may have 3x the replenisher demand of a "normal" scene. I don't know what's up, just saying that the discrepancies could well be due to different operating conditions.

    Even though RA4 is robust with respect to replenishment rates (many sheets developed in the same untreated batch of developer is equivalent to underreplenishment), at some point the developer will begin to fail. And different papers don't always behave exactly the same; this is not just hypothetical, either. Just saying...
     
  12. RichardH

    RichardH Member

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    Thanks all for the input.
    Mr Bill, it was EP2. RA-4, I'm sure,will be a new experience. I wish I had a penny for each 8x10 I printed back then. I could live very well on that with retirement now.
    It looks like this weekend will be the startup for my system and process. YAAAHOOOO, can't wait.
    I'll let all know how it comes out with the testing and mixing. I didn't order any starter but it won't be any problem ordering if needed.
    I have been looking at the Jobo system in case trays didn't do it for me. I wish I had about 5 systems to sell. My checkbook would be real proud to see that much in it. I did play a little with the nova system after I shut my lab down, but couldn't use it due to being on the road all week for work and weekends was spent with family. Wish I hadn't sold it.
    I'll send an update after trial and error this weekend.

    Thanks
    Richard