RA4 developer capacity and shelf life

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Wayne, Jan 1, 2014.

  1. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    Just for yucks and because I didn't feel like mixing a new batch, I did some printing with some Arista RA4 chemicals that I mixed up on December 7. The spec sheet gives it a one week life in processor, but doesn't say when the life is in a closed bottle. They also recommend one shot use, which I always prefer to do anyway.

    I didn't print any comparisons to prints that I made when the solutions were fresh so I can't say that they action didn't change some, but I can say I still got quite acceptable results. I only had about 100 ml of developer left over, and I used it for 6-7 prints and the last one looked as good as the first.
    If I was doing valuable prints for sale or making multiple copies of one image that I needed to be identical I would still go single shot, but it was nice to know I can reuse the solutions in a pinch and that they seem to last longer than suggested. I was developing 8x10s in a drum.

    What have you found in this regard?
     
  2. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    I think the capacity and longevity designations of RA-4 developers are somewhat conservative. I use the Ektacolor chemistry, and I'm finishing up a ten liter batch that I mixed up in the spring (and bought in August 2012). I keep the working solution in two liter soft drink bottles filled to capacity. As far as reuse, I find it beneficial to develop my 8x10's in the same 70ml of solution that I used to make my test prints. I make tests on 4x5 sheets and reuse that for as many tests as it takes (one to four usually). Then I make the final print using the same 70ml of solution. (I do this because I once ran tests for a print, and then made the final 8x10 with fresh developer from a new bottle. The color balance was way off, and I had to start over. Developer was probably pooped, but I was still able to adjust the color balance to get something usable).

    I process at 94F for one minute using drum and motor base. My paper is Fuji Crystal Archive.
     
  3. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    For comparison, what does Kodak claim for capacity and storage? Since I'm new to RA4 (bot not to color) I'm going the low volume, economy route with Arista. Eventually once I improve (and my pay improves) I will probably to go Kodak based on comments I've heard about it's longevity. BUt maybe Arista lasts pretty long too. There have been comments that the 10 liter Arista kit (no longer available, that I can tell) was Kodak but no such comments on the smaller kits I'm using.

     
  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I store the stock in recycled wine boxes and it lasts a very long time. The last batch I used up was probably 8-10 months old at the end.

    I normally figure about 20ml for each 8x10 as capacity and add a little extra time for each run then toss it.
     
  5. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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  6. Chris Douglas

    Chris Douglas Member

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    My beseler 8x10 tube uses 50 ml per print for 20 prints per liter. I have consistant results so I've never tried re-using the chems. It seems to me the biggest investment in color printing is time, so I want to make sure I get good results. Maybe after retirement I can experiment...Someday...