RA4 Printing Problem

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by thefizz, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    Has anyone any ideas what is causing what looks like a cyan coloured stain around the edges of my print. I am using Fuji CA paper and Kodak's Ektacolor Developer Replenisher RT/LU in a Nova heated slot processor at 35 degrees celcius. As well as the stain, the print itself has a muddy cast over it. This is the first time I have encountered this problem. I know its not a safe light problem as I didn't use one. I mixed fresh developer to see if that helped but the problem still exists.

    Peter
     
  2. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I have had that problem.

    The fix for me was to change my process to keep the solutions from getting contaminated.

    I'm using a JOBO and reliably get 20 8x10s using 200ml.

    The last ten seconds of each bath is draining.

    Pre-rinse twice, 30" each clean water
    Develop for time appropriate for the temp in use
    Stop bath 30"
    Rinse, clean water, 30"
    Blix for the same time the developer got
    Three 30" rinses in clean water
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2012
  3. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Blue stains can imply developer carryover into the blix, or fogging. Though you don't have a safelight, that doesn't mean your darkroom is safe - RA4 is pretty sensitive stuff so I would suggest doing a safety test by progressively covering a sheet with hard-edged things (coins, tanks, whatever).

    To prevent carryover, the recommended way is to use at least one of a stop bath and/or rinse between developer and blix. My process looks like markbarendt's though I give it at least 2:00 of rinsing (as per Ektacolor specs) and 4 changes of water in that time.
     
  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I left one thing out.

    I do add extra time as more sheets go through. So 1 minute is a normal start time for the temps I use, the first 6-8 sheets get that for both develop and blix, then the next 6-8 get 1:30, the balance maybe 2:00. I don't know if this extra time is needed, I haven't found the limit yet, but Kodak does advise extra time when you go past normal capacity.
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Blix or hypo contamination of the developer, safelight fog or lack of a stop after development with inadequate blixing.

    Thsse are 3 of the likely causes of cyan stain.

    PE
     
  6. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    When I started colour printing (in the last century:D) I used a JOBO and got all descriptions of problems and probably the same as you are getting now. I changed over to a Nova Slot Processor and the problem disappeared. It WAS contamination caused by not washing and drying the drum out properly after each print. Doing it after each print was tedious and slow, the NOVA is much quicker and more reliable, you only have to rinse off the clips that hold the paper.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2012
  7. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    This problem happened from the first sheet of paper that went through the process. All chemicals were freshly mixed and there are no light leaks in my darkroom. I have never had this problem before so it really has me baffled. I doubt it is caused by dev carry over into the blix as I use a stop and also a rinse bath between them. Its strange that the stain is only on the edges of the paper although the cloudy dull cast is all over the print. I will mix fresh chemistry again and have another go at it.
     
  8. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Have you tried the pre-rinse?
     
  9. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    No I have never pre-rinsed and never had this problem but I suppose it won't hurt to try it.
     
  10. Pasto

    Pasto Member

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    I had a similar, but not identical, problem that turned out to be bad, although newly purchased, paper. In addition to the staining like you mention, the paper base had a yellow cast.
     
  11. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    Well it was a new box I had just opened so I'll test with some kodak paper I have if the problem happens again with the Fuji.
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Fuji CA II paper and later versions are reported to require a different developer or a different development time. You might want to check on it.

    PE
     
  13. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    Well it was a new box I had just opened so I'll test with some kodak paper I have if the problem happens again with the Fuji.
     
  14. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    Ah this may be my problem. The box was different to my last order of Fuji paper so I must check which version it is.
     
  15. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    Peter,

    what you describe is an effect which only appears near the edge of your paper sheets. It would be most helpful if you could determine whether this effect comes from the paper or from your dev kit.

    A trivial way to test for this would be cutting a sheet in half before developing it and observing the edges where you cut the sheet. If the "new" edges also show this problem, you need to look at your dev. If the "new" edges are ok, obviously the paper was the source of the problem.
     
  16. jm94

    jm94 Member

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    I have had this happen with contaminated tongs, blix-contaminated tongs then contacting a sheet during development. But thats the only time I have seen this problem personally, safelight fog can also cause it, colour is best done in total darkness although a #13 safelight filter can be used for brief periods, I have used a 15 watt bulb with no problems... also you can a colour 'safetorch' but they shouldn't be left on or placed too close to the paper, they can fog it too. A safelight filter that has become 'unsafe' can be a source of the problem. Also if you are printing at room temperature you are best to use the kodak kit with no starter.
     
  17. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    I checked the box and it reads "Fujicolor Crystal Archiv". Also written in German is "suitable for digital and optical exposure". There is no mention of which version the paper is but I'm guessing its not the version I have used with success in the past.
     
  18. Sergejs Orlovskis

    Sergejs Orlovskis Member

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    What kind of BLIX to you use ? Your BLIX is bad i think. When blix become bad paper edges have some colour cast usually yellow - gray. Try to use fresh BLIX or double blixing time if You don't have fresh BLIX. If You work in total darkness paper edges must be brilliant white.
     
  19. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    I did some more printing with the same chemistry and an older box of Fuji Crystal Archive paper which worked fine. So it looks like my latest purchase is a different paper.

    I'm wondering why the box states it is suitable for digital and optical exposure? Is the optical exposure something other than RA4 printing?
     
  20. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Digital printers use colour lasers to produce an image on paper, optical exposure is through an enlarger. The one difference is that you may need a slightly different filter pack for the digital/optical paper, as the lasers have a slightly different colour balance.