Ultrafine RA-4 Paper

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by FilmIs4Ever, Feb 12, 2005.

  1. FilmIs4Ever

    FilmIs4Ever Member

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    Hi everyone. I'm printing some color in my basement now, and I was settled on going with some of Kodak's Endura Paper because it is archival, cheap, and should print my mostly-Kodak-dominated film repertoire quite nicely. However, I have run across some very cheap paper, available from Ultrafine (www.ultrafineonline.com) that can't be beaten at $100/500 shts (or can it?). I'm just starting color printing and need something cheap because I have a hard enough time not ****ing up B&W paper, so color I'll make a minimum of three times as many mistakes. At the same time, I am printing some people's pictures (snapshots, homecoming photos etc.) and I don't want to give them a product on inferior paper that will fade and yellow much quicker than Kodak's. So does anyone know what the specs are from this paper? Also, what is the optimal chemistry for a given color paper: the one made by the same company, or is there a specific paper developer shown to be the most archival and high-quality? Thanks for your help everyone.

    ~Karl Borowski
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    They don't give much info do they? My guess is it's some sort of consumer paper.

    If you're just starting out it pays to have known good paper. Why chase your tail anymore then you have to? If you want cheap to get started on watch Ebay for somebody selling roll paper. Make sure it was well stored. Or even buy yourself a fresh roll of 8" or 10" wide paper. Assuming you're making 8x10s. By the time you've finished a roll you'll have learned the paper and the process. A 275 foot roll of 8" paper is about 330 8x10s less waste. A similar roll of 10" would be 400+ 8x10s.

    BTW you're just starting out by printing other peoples photos? You're a better person then me-) I grabbed about 15 of my negatives that had all been taken at the same time on the same roll of film and that caused me enough trouble when I started. I can't imagine how much hassle doing other peoples must be.

    RA-4 is supposed to be RA-4. Maybe others can comment I've only used a private label kit from Fotochem and Fuji chemicals. Mostly with Kodak paper.
     
  3. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Karl,

    I have purchased cheap paper to practice on in the past. I find that when I print b&w for extended periods, my color skills fade and I'd rather practice on cheap paper. (500 sheets is a lot of practice though!) I have the same problem going back to b&w but for some reason I can't bring myself to buy cheap b&w paper.<g>

    Neal Wydra
     
  4. FilmIs4Ever

    FilmIs4Ever Member

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    Cheapest Chemistry (Room Temp Possibly?)

    I have decided to go with the Ultracolor paper just for starters to learn the craft since it's so cheap. However, the corresponding RA-4 kit is rather pricey. What are some of the cheapest RA-4 kits out there? I'll probably using developer one-shot unless there's another feasible option for replenishment that isn't too terribly complicated. I have one of those rotating drums for processing, but I want to go through prints as fast as possible for when I'm in a crunch and have a lot to print in a hurry. I've heard Tetenal chemicals can be used at room temp, but theirs are rather expensive 5 Liter kits. Can Kodak's larger 10 liter kit be used at room temperature one shot? Also, about how many sq. in. of paper can a ten liter kit handle one shot?

    Regards.
    ~Karl Borowski
     
  5. psvensson

    psvensson Member

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    Ron Mowrey, ex-Kodak, sez RA-RT replenisher works fine for room-temp. development. Time is around 2 mins. I use Patterson's Photocolor chemistry in trays. Works very well, except that the stated times are too short - extend by 50% for better print-to-print consistency. The diluted developer lasts a very long time without replenishment.
     
  6. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    The Fotochem stuff is fairly cheap.

    http://www.jdphotochem.com/

    You'll have to ask what shipping will set you back. No need for replenishment. I make up a small amount of developer. 250ml I guess and 500ml of stop and blix. The three chemicals go into small glass bottles. IIRC the alleged capacity of the stuff works out be 13 8x10 prints for every 250ml of developer. In my expierence that number is very low. If you do a pre-wash capacity is even higher. The thing is once you mix up the developer it's life is measured in weeks. The concentrate lasts alot longer. All I do is reprogram the analyzer every so often. I guess every 20 8x10s. The change in the analyzer setup is very small over the life of the chemicals.

    Best way to deal with high volume is to get a bigger drum. My biggest will handle 4 8x10s and I think about the bigger model every so often.
     
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    BTW I'm talking about buying a bigger kit and mixing up small volumes of the kit.
     
  8. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Do not know

    I have no idea how good or bad this paper is. I do know that when I started printing color..ep2..I went thru a 100 sheet box to get a properly filtered, exposed and processed pic.

    I have bought and been satisfied with buying unopened boxes of Crystal Fuji Archive from ebay which were inexpensively obtained.

    If you have your processing under control you might well be able to establish a correlation between the cheap paper and the endura so that you could take several or more sheet to find your exposure and filtration on the cheap stuff and know for example the Endura requires 20% less exposure, 15 more units of red and 4 more of magenta...actually probably stated as a percent.
    Then you could get a proper print on Endura by using only a few prints.

    In my opinion your success as a color printer is going to come from sticking to it. It requires plenty of chemicals, electronic light control...a stable light source, processing control, paper and more than any other ingredient sticking to it.

    Good luck.
     
  9. VoidoidRamone

    VoidoidRamone Subscriber

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  10. psvensson

    psvensson Member

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    I would recommend tray processing for speed.

    I note the Arista developer Grant uses takes 3 min 20 sec at 24 C! The Photocolor developer is twice as fast.
     
  11. gbroadbridge

    gbroadbridge Member

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    I also use patterson RA4 printmaster at room temp. It lasts pretty much forever. Just last night I developed some prints in RA4 chems that has been unused for more than one month and they all look fine. The original developer was mixed early December 2004 and has been replenished 2 times since then.

    I've been replenishing the developer as required to make up volume.

    Graham.
     
  12. FilmIs4Ever

    FilmIs4Ever Member

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    Sorry if this has been answered before or if it is something that every competent photographer should know, but what is involved with replenishment? What is the proper way of replenishing solution? Does it depend on how much a particular solution has processed, how old it is, how much solution has evaporated or sloshed out of the tray during processing, or a combination of all or some of the above? Also, once a solution has been replenished, must it then be discarded, or can it be replenished multiple times. When I was taught how to process B&W, I was told to buy HC-110, because it was cheap and replenishing something like D-76 would be a "pain in the ass" along with shifts in consistency from before to after replenishment. Granted this was for film development which I am much more reluctant to replenish for than something as unimportant as a single piece of paper here and there, but is there any truth to the difficulty of determining the proper rate of replenishment?

    Regards.
    ~Karl Borowski
     
  13. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I replenish bleach and fix for C-41. After each batch I remove so much of the old solution. Exact amount varies with the amount of film and the chemicals used. IIRC my bleach is considered low replenishment so very little bleach gets replaced every batch. OTOH I remove more fixer per batch. I then replace that amount with replenisher. You'd do something similar with paper but you'd keep track of the amount of paper instead of the amount of film.
     
  14. gbroadbridge

    gbroadbridge Member

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    I don't think there is a single correct answer to this question in B&W or colour.

    The obvious answer is to follow the manufacturers recommendation, which will normally state so many ml replenisher for each film or sheet of 10x8 paper. Replenisher itself may be a normal strength working solution or something much weaker, whatever it is will be disclosed in the data sheet from the manufacturer.

    I tend to take note of the manufacturer recommendations and then once a solution is supposed to be getting exhausted watch carefully for signs of exhaustion. If I see an indication of exhaustion, I replenish :smile:

    I also look for missing solution, if I mixed 600ml originally (which would fill a bottle to the top, and now I'm down to 500 ml, I'll mix another 100ml of working strength solution and add it to the old so thatI continue to deprive the solution oxygen when I bottle it.

    I do use a propane/butane squirt (cigarette lighter fluid) in every bottle before I close it to remove the oxygen, which helps a lot with longevity of developers.

    Some metrics for you. I'm still using patterson RA4 dev originally mixed in November 2004, replenished 3 times to make up volume. The Patterson Bleach-Fix has been replenished once to make up volume. I have not once replenished because the chemistry is showing signs of exhaustion. I use this chemistry at room temperature (~24C)

    I use Agfa C41 colour kits typically for 8 x 120 films rather than the 5 x 120 that they state. The kits easily last 4 months from mixing as long as they are stored back in airtight bottles after each roll of film.


    Graham.
     
  15. FilmIs4Ever

    FilmIs4Ever Member

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    Psvensson: How much does a supply of Paterson's photocolor cost you? I've heard good things about this brand before.

    With regard to replenishment, in addition to adding a certain amount of fresh developer, do you also have to take out a certain amount of used developer? Can replenishment of a given solution continue ad infinitum or is there a limit to the number of replenishments a given solution can endure?

    Regards.
    ~Karl Borowski
     
  16. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Ya you pull out old solution which would be full of things from the film/paper processed.

    How much effort are you willing to put into making sure your process is in control? If you're willing to jump all the hurdles then I bet you can keep replenishing forever. Go to the Kodak website and see if the info on process control is still there. I'm not sure it makes that much sense for the average person. Better to dump the stuff every so often but if you're doing processing every single day then maybe you want to stock control strips and get a densitomer.