Actually, I can't get RA-4 working solution go bad even if I try! I had some 1,5 years old, heavily used, lying around (in a squeezed bottle) and it worked just fine. I have left the developer in open trays for several days in some occasions, and it still works. I just find it more robust than any other color or BW process or BW paper developers.
Of course, this doesn't mean that you have to try to abuse it like I did ;). But this should give you some idea about the "safety margin".
If you can set up a DIY cutter and based purely on U.K. prices but this should apply elsewhere, the savings on buying rolls are very substantial.
If you prefer Kodak RA4 paper then a DIY cutter is essential or will be very soon as cut stocks run out.
Given the reluctance users might have to cut their own stuff with fears of making a mess of it and given that Kodak still makes the paper, I have never understood why Kodak decided to cut out a couple of easily done stages in the factory i.e the cutting and boxing and hand over the cut sheet market place to Fuji?
Anyone know Kodak's reasoning?
I don't think there is that much problem in cutting down the rolls. The real problem is that Kodak does have no paper left for optical enlarging. Some people report bad, some good results from the new "digital" paper but there are very few examples seen. Kodak itself says that neutrals are cyan if skin tones are balanced right. And contrast is very high.
The "plain" Fuji CA, on the other hand, should still be "optimized" for both optical & digital exposure, and it works. Endura VC may be as usable, but the official information doesn't sound very appealing and we still lack experimental information.
There's a bit of endura in-date still floating about, and it keeps well so even a few years out of date, it will still be fine. Get what you can now, if you want Endura. I am sitting on about 3000 sheets of it in various sizes, and using the oldest stuff first.
I use the 10L RA/RT kits from Kodak. As mentioned they come 4 to a case, which is a good way to buy it since it cuts down on excess shipping costs, and keeps fairly well in sealed containers, I think.
OK, so I went to Darkroom Central and the Bleach/Fix set they have is totally what I used to buy. However they did not have the 1-Gal dev kit. Anybody has a source for it in Canada? With the 1-Gal kit, I would dilute the whole stash, use intensively over one or two darkroom sessions, and not worry about extra chemicals going bad. I worry that the 10L developer kit might lead to some losses.
I process in Unicolor drums, never tried in trays, but I might eventually give it a try.
Found out that Henry's online store has Fuji CA paper, and OMG! special-order Ilfochrome material. They just don't have a code for the Ilfochrome kits. I think I'll find out if they can get them.
In Croatia I can buy Tetenal professional RA4 chemistry (3-part dev with CD3, 2-part blix) directly at a warehouse of a supplier/distributor. Price is lower than the market price in Germany and the UK prices of Nova/Tetenal RA4 kits. OTOH, Kodak RA4 chemistry is extremely expensive over here.
Can I use stop bath from B&W (obviously just used for RA-4, not mixing with B&W paper or any film use) like Ilfostop indicator stop bath or is that not even recommended anymore?
Ordered some Fuji Crystal Matt and Glossy and Kodak Endura from Henrys. I'll see what if anything they're able to ship. If they come up empty then I'll get something from B&H though I'm worried that they only have the Fuji Crystal Type II that few seem to like and no other cut paper.
Also ordered from darkroomcentral.ca
Still wondering about the stop bath question.