RA4 Headaches

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by coisasdavida, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. coisasdavida

    coisasdavida Member

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    Hello all,

    I've been trying to get some RA4 working here but haven't had any luck. I came back and read this forum many times, but still getting cian/green streaks and general cian/green fog, total lack of contrast.
    Let me tell you what I have and what I have done so far:

    No, I don't have a safelight of any kind.
    Yes, it is completely dark in my darkroom. The entire processor is in the dark.
    There is no outside, there is no light coming in.
    I used so far 5 different papers, different batches, different sources.

    Colette processor from Colex - but with no temperature control, running at 24C.
    I used the Display speed, 115sec dev time, all pumps are fine
    •changed the tanks order, added a stop bath between Dev and Blix (no change)

    proceeded to try my old faithful
    Nova slot processor - temp control, running at 35.5C
    45s dev time
    •mixed nem chemistry RA4 RT
    •tried 29C, 32C, 38C also (no change)
    •added prewet (no change)
    •added stop bath (acetic) (no change)
    •cut dev time to 30s (a bit of improvement)
    •almost doubled Blix concentration (a bit of improvement in contrast)


    Is there a chance that even with a stop bath, the blix is acting too slow and allowing the cian fog/streaks to form?


    I'll try post some images on my blog: http://refotografia.wordpress.com/
    Any input or ideas with be appreciated.
    regards,
    Gui
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Cyan stain or coloration in streaks indicate that the developer was contaminated with blix or fix, that the stop was not good enough or complete enough, or that the lights were turned on before blixing was complete. I have never generated cyan stains by other means. Diffuse cyan streaks may indicate red light fog.

    I'll wait to see a sample.

    PE
     
  3. coisasdavida

    coisasdavida Member

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    •the chemistry came in with typical coloration, and both times it was mixed I am sure I didn't mix anything I shouldn't.
    •IIRC I added 120ml of Glacial Acetic Acid to 9 liters of water to make the stop bath used in the Colette, the other one was my regular B&W stop that was ready at the time. I'll try a newer Glacial Acetic Acid package, just to be sure, if I try developing again @24C, but @38C this shouldn't even be an issue, correct?
    •lights vs. blix, I tried leaving the print longer in the blix with no sucess too.

    I wrote the chemistry seller, asking if he had any other reports about the Blix he sold me.
    In the mean time, I tried going beyond 2,5x the concentration of the Blix and I almost got a streak-free print.
    The contrast is great!

    But the streaks still show a random pattern, I experimented with the agitation in the first 5 seconds of the blix and was able to "control" the pattern of the streaks. Not very cientific, but in a weird way, I found when it happens. Could the fix be fast and the bleach slow?

    Examples: http://refotografia.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/1624/
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Well, was the blix a 2 part blix? If it was a single part, then it may be bad and the extra concentration might be fixing that problem.

    PE
     
  5. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    I'd get all new chemistry and start with that. It sounds like chemistry issues. I don't even use stop bath for RA-4 and have never had any problems like you describe.
     
  6. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    I always use a 2% acetic + bisulfite stop for both printing and film. The sulfite stops help to ensure that you do not contaminate the bleach with color developer. PE, care to comment here?
     
  7. coisasdavida

    coisasdavida Member

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    Single part.
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    MTS;

    I use 1 or 2% acetic acid alone. That is good enough.

    Coisasdavida;

    A single part bleach fix (blix) has been associated with severe problems here on APUG. It is best to use a 2 part blix for paper.

    PE
     
  9. carlosmccosta

    carlosmccosta Member

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  10. coisasdavida

    coisasdavida Member

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    I got in touch with the people that make the chemistry I'm using.
    I explained my whole method of work and in reply they told me I could dilute the developer way more or use a starter.
    It was an endless discussion, I figured I was right, they knew they were right.
    I tried what they said just to prove them wrong and everything worked fine.
    Apparently the developer was too concentrated and I never felt so stupid in my entire life.
    I apologize for the post and everything.
     
  11. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

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    Glad to hear it worked out. Sometimes we have to learn the hard way, even when it hurts our pride.
     
  12. hrst

    hrst Member

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    Can you tell us which developer you did use and what is the correct dilution, so that none of us need to do the same mistake?
     
  13. coisasdavida

    coisasdavida Member

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    They are a local brazilian brand called CompactColor, the kit is the TotalFlex.
    The mistake I made was to assume that the difference between replenisher and developer was simply 10ml of starter. IIRC last time I mixed RA4 (in the 90s) the kit I used was like that.
    Anyway, this kit has a very concentrated replenisher and along with the starter you have to add lots of water to make it into a developer.
    I skipped that step and loaded an entire Colex tank with replenisher.

    Next time I'll the "Heist" philosophy:

    D.A. Freccia: You're a pretty smart fella.
    Joe Moore: Ah, not that smart.
    D.A. Freccia: [If] you're not that smart, how'd you figure it out?
    Joe Moore: I tried to imagine a fella smarter than myself. Then I tried to think, "what would he do?"