RA4 problems

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by SeanEsopenko, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. SeanEsopenko

    SeanEsopenko Member

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    I tried RA4 for the first time with Kodak chemicals using a Jobo CPA-2 I picked up on Friday. I printed one contact sheet which looked like the top-most image and thought I did something wrong. I retried, filling the little jobo graduates with fresh chemicals from my accordion squeeze bottles. I got the exact same results, producing the image at the top.

    Then I read that the above might have been caused by exposure to "white light" so I thought maybe the light was reflecting around in the glass for the contact sheet. Kinda strange but I thought "what the hell, I'll see what it does with a negative in a carrier" and printed the second image above.

    The two topmost images were done with 30 seconds pre-wash, 45 seconds developer (started dumping at 40 seconds and poured the stop bath in within 8 seconds). 30 seconds of stop. 30 seconds of rinse. 1 minute of blix (recommended by jobo). 30 seconds of rinse 3 times. Everything was done at 35 celcius +- 0.2 degrees (digital thermometer with readings down to 0.1 degrees)

    Then, according to some documentation from Fuji, I learned the brownish colour could be caused by being in the blix too long. I shortened the blix to 45 seconds and it got pretty much the exact same result.

    I'm at a loss as to what's causing this. My starting filter was 40 magenta and 40 yellow after reading that as the general advice for fuji CA paper on the net. I have a dichroic head. Any advice?

    forgot to mention: after the contact prints I realized the non-expert jobo drums with the cogs aren't daylight tanks. so I kept the lights out until the tank was installed for the second contact print (shown above) and it got practically the same results. You can see the light leak streaking across the page in the contact print but the two enlarged prints didn't have any contact with white light.
     
  2. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I can't really tell, but do the prints have white borders?

    Does your enlarger have a 'white light' lever which moves the filters out of the light source to aid focusing? Could it be engaged by accident?
     
  3. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    The borders of the negs aren't black on the print therefore you don't have enough enlarger-exposure time. The medium-greyness certainly looks like fogged paper.

    The 2xxx drums are light tight if you have the cup installed under the cog lid. Without the cup, they're not light tight at all.

    Where did the white borders on the second two images come from, i.e. why is it white outside the image areas? Can you do a print with some of the paper area covered by the easel so that you have a definite white section?
     
  4. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Process a piece of unexposed paper and see if it comes out white.
     
  5. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Looks a lot to me like the chemicals are spoiled. Do your process tewst with a sheet half exposed to room light { put half the sheet under a box or other solid object and turn on the room lights for a minute) and process. Fogging will give you grey white, bad chems will give you that grungy color black.
     
  6. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    At this stage the only thing I think we can be sure of is that your process, temp and times are OK. These were certainly the times, temp and process I used without problems. So at least you can look elsewhere for the cause(s).

    I have just started colour again, this time using Kodak paper but from what I remember from my Fuji paper days my Y and M filtration was closer to the low 80s. Note that this was a Durst enlarger with max 130 units. Enlargers in another family might have quite different filtration for the same colour effect.

    I hope you find the cause.

    pentaxuser
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    You have underexposure, you need about 10 - 20 more red filtration, and the development is uneven.

    PE
     
  8. RPC

    RPC Member

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    Color balance and exposure are the likely culprits. Please give us more exposure info. Time, f-stop, size, etc.
     
  9. SeanEsopenko

    SeanEsopenko Member

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    Hi thanks for the replies took a while to get back into the darkroom. I mixed another batch of developer and tried again duplicating my steps exactly EXCEPT for my measuring process and the issue was solved.

    For those curious it wasn't underexposure because with the freshly mixed chemicals the prints came out WAY over exposed. I was doing 10 second exposures with my enlarger on the "high" setting (no light baffle) at F5.6, 8, 11, 16 for those 4 box test prints. I had to stop it down to almost F32 to print on the "high" setting and about F8 on the "low" setting. There are some cross-curves in the negative I was enlarging which were mostly remedied by the fresh chemicals but I think that was exacerbating the issue. A color meter & some correcting filters are next on the list of stuff to get.

    I've ruled the problem out to mostly be me not being accurate enough with measuring the quantities of ABC developer solutions (using a 600mL graduate to measure 40mL quantities wasn't very accurate). So I picked up a syringe from the local drug store and was able to measure with confidence.

    On another note I finally finished re-gearing a CAP-40 for RA4 and it was immensely easier to use than finicking with a jobo lift. I haven't been able to get RA4 developer & bleach starter solutions here in Canada yet because Mondrian is still in the process of switching from Kodak to CPAC and they're out of stock of lots of stuff. Is it ok to run with the replenisher chemicals I have and just replenish according to the kodak guides?

    I guess the question is what kind of difference would I see between 2L of freshly mixed developer replenisher or 2L of fresh developer replenisher with starter in it? This is in a roller transport unit like my regeared CAP-40. Should I try to get my hands on some starter ASAP? I AM quite excited about being able to get some ok prints out of all this. Like I had predicted they're MUCH sharper than what I can get scanning the negs with my V700 and printing them from my R3000.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2011
  10. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    PE has told us the starter in not that critical for the developer. I think thats for one shot work, don't know how it will do for a CAP-40, color may drift as it seasons.
     
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Let me clarify....

    If you have RA-RT developer replenisher, it can be used mixed as the instructions state without starter and it can be used from 68F to 100F. If you use a starter in the developer, I only recommend use at 100F. The starter is not needed for the blix.

    PE
     
  12. SeanEsopenko

    SeanEsopenko Member

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    So what advantage does RA-RT developer with starter bring?
     
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    This system is supposed to supply a starting point for a seasoned process with little waste at startup and little deviation from a seasoned, replenished system.

    PE
     
  14. SeanEsopenko

    SeanEsopenko Member

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    My re-geared CAP-40 takes 1:10 min from when the paper first touches the developer to when it touches the stop bath. From a Kodak publication I found a chart that recommended 1:00 of development without pre-soak at 92F. But if I'm using starter I shouldn't be deviating from 100F and 0:45 of development?

    Am I going to be running into some serious issues trying to use a roller transport at a non-standard speed/temp if I'm using developer starter? My time is basically fixed to 1:10. Should I not use starter at all, use starter at 100F or use starter at 92F? Which would be the least worst option?
     
  15. Photo Engineer

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    I use 2' at 68F and 1' at 100F with RA-RT developer replenisher. The low temp is in a tray and the high temp is in a Jobo. Far be it from me to set your workflow. All I can do is give you my conditions and tell you that it works. Oh, I also use a pre-wet with the Jobo processor.

    I have never used a CAP-40, just a basket processor for prints up to 16x20.

    PE
     
  16. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Can times for temperatures between 68 and 100 be extrapolated from a curve of those two, pretty much linearly?

    I'm wondering because I want to do RA4 in trays, but my darkroom is closer to 80 in the summer than 68. Actually usually between 75 and 80 or so. Heck, I'm not sure it's down to 68 in the winter (it's in the basement and mostly underground and Georgia is not the great white north.)
     
  17. SeanEsopenko

    SeanEsopenko Member

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    Kodak tech pub J-39 (http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/j39/j39.pdf) provides a chart with development times & temperatures on page 3 in the lower left corner. I'm extremely new to RA4 so I don't know exactly what happens when the times/temperatures are deviated from those recommended other than "a colour shift".
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Please note that that chart is for developer, not developer replenisher, and thus times/temps cannot be derived from what I have said or what Kodak has published that can be compared with each other.

    PE
     
  19. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Plus theirs only go down to 83F. My darkroom is enough warmer than 68F to make that an impractical temperature, but it's not usually 83. I'd prefer to use whatever the ambient temperature is at the time, but it is easier to raise it and keep it constant than to lower it and keep it constant.
     
  20. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Hi Roger. I standardize at 83F with 2 minute times (incl a 10 sec drain) for both Dev and Blix. This is
    with Kodak RA/RT used one-shot in a drum. The chemicals are preheated in a simple tempering bath.
    I preheat the drum with plain water, and also include a brief stop plus water rinse after the developer.
     
  21. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Well I can use any temperature I want if I use drums since I do have a Jobo. But I've done prints in drums and find them a huge PITA, so the discussions here on using RA4RT replenisher in trays at room temperature really caught my eye.
     
  22. SeanEsopenko

    SeanEsopenko Member

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    With my experience with C41 film development (and development in general) it's good to pick a temperature and stick with it. Consistency of temperature (and process in general) makes troubleshooting much easier when problems arise.


    I modified an old Ilford CAP-40 roller transport unit for printing. I was using the jobo at first because the roller transport wasn't ready yet but now that it is I can say the roller transport is awesome to use even from the small bit of experience I've had thus far. It was very easy to do and CAP40's can be found for quite cheap. If you'd like the part number for the replacment drive pulley and the new drive belt let me know. I can also detail the process (been meaning to do it in a blog post).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2011
  23. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    While I generally agree about film my experience with Tetanal RA4AT showed very little variation with temperature. I don't mind if I need a slight color pack tweak per session. So I'm hoping using the Kodak stuff works as well without the yellow whites from faulty blix.

    That said a RT machine would be awesome. I'll drop you a PM soon, thanks!
     
  24. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Too bad you're on the other side of the country, cause I have a clean 20" roller-transport unit I don't even use. The problem with tray dev is that after awhile expoure to the open chem can lead to allergic sensitization, esp at elevated temp. If you are working with stainless trays it's easy to keep the temp
    constant by using a water jacket larger tray below and a thermoregulator, or just tweaking with a dripping inlet line.