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  1. #1

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    Day dreaming about doing RA4 at home...

    I am day dreaming about doing RA4 at home....

    I already have a color enlarger and since I do B&W work, most of the stuff are already here. My concern is over chemistry.

    I know I can buy all sorts of kits or chemistry individually. According to a tech note by Kodak and notes by kit manufacturers, once mixed to a working solution lasts weeks not months even in full bottles. In tray, 4 hours. That basically mean an evening of fun will cost me at least 20 dollars in chems.

    Seems chems for 1 liter cost about $20 no matter how I do this. When I do 8x10, 750cc to 1 liter is what I use for trays. I know tube uses less but I don't think I can control a dev time of 1 minute adequately evenly for all corners of paper if I have to pour and roll.

    Somewhere on APUG, I read a post by someone that basically said the chems for RA4 are "so cheap" it makes no sense to stress over keeping properties. It doesn't seem cheap to me.

    Am I missing something or have an awfully big misconception/misunderstanding?

    Couple more questions while I'm at this....

    Is RA4 development done to completion like B&W?
    Does temp/time variation result in color shift or just under/over development?
    How in the heck do you guys do this in complete darkness???
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by tkamiya View Post
    I am day dreaming about doing RA4 at home....

    Is RA4 development done to completion like B&W?
    Does temp/time variation result in color shift or just under/over development?
    How in the heck do you guys do this in complete darkness???
    Yes;No( room temp to 35C produces acceptable results); Some of us don't. We use a sodium lamp such as a DUKA.

    I wonder when, if ever, this myth that RA4 can only be done in total darkness will die. Can the myth last as long as the last 100 yr old Ilford employee churns out the last HP5+ while listening to Tex Ritter singing"Do not forsake me oh my darling"

    Seriously, just buy some chems and give it a go. If you have an itch then the only solution is to scratch it

    pentaxuser

  3. #3

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    Well.... when Kodak literature says that, is it a myth? Glad to know it doesn't have to be absolutely pitch black though. How's your chem cost?
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  4. #4

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    Depends on the specific paper etc. Test any safelight. I would personally NEVER handle any kind of
    color paper except in total darkness. And RA4 chem does not keep well at all once it is mixed from
    concentate. I won't mix more than I need for a single session, daily. You might relax these rules a
    bit, but unless you have some scientific replenishment regimen, you might see a gradual degradation
    in the quality of color if the chem gets stale. It's easy enough to mix in small batches. Temperature
    control is vital for consistent results. That's simple if you have a tempering box or decent water
    bath. I recommend Kodak RA/RT chemistry, though there might be acceptable substitutes. I've
    never personally had good luck with "room temp" kits. I use 2 min times at 85F in drums. Be careful
    to have good ventilation. Open trays can be a bit nasty on your lungs, and harder to keep constant
    temp unless they too are suspended in a water jacket.

  5. #5

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    Unless you leave your paper out for much longer than you need to expose it and then place in a tray/Nova slot processor/Jobo or other makes drum, then you will be safe at a light intensity that allows you to see what you are doing.

    I am in the U.K. so my chem costs may bear no relation to yours. It is also dependent on the period within which you use the chems and how many prints you do.

    If RA4 printing becomes a regular hobby then Kodak or Digibase chemicals become quite cheap. If you print once in a blue moon then dev does eventually go off and home processing can become expensive.

    I'd get a thermostatically controlled Nova processor anyway. It is great for B&W as well. Until you are sure about wanting to do RA4 you might want to try as small kit a kit as you can get.

    A Jobo processor is another possibility. This will do both C41 and RA4 via tanks and paper drums.

    If you abandon C41 and RA4 you can sell the processor for what you paid.

    There is a mass of threads on RA4, Kodak and Digibase chems etc. Do a search and have a look at them

    pentaxuser

  6. #6

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    Question....

    What varies when temp varies? Contrast? Density? Color shift?

    I didn't think about fumes. I may need to do drum then and do so in garage. I can easily rig up a rotating base myself.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  7. #7

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    You'll get a color shift. Then it will become very difficult to fine-tune your final results or even predict them. I am allergic to RA4 chem, so what I do is load the drum in the dark and then process
    it outdoors under a shaded canopy (obviously in mild weather). My big processor is actually on a wheeled cart. But if you simply buy an inexpensive drum, you can simply slowly roll in back and forth
    on the bed of your darkroom sink for the prescribed time. You don't need to spend big bucks for
    the learning curve. I assume you know how to make a water bath for keeping chem bottles at the correct temp. RA4 printing is really quite easy once you learn the basics.

  8. #8

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    I was going to buy some wheels, mount them upside down and put that in a large tub (of warm water).

    Sounds like tube method is a better way to go for more than few reasons. Thank you for your replies!
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  9. #9

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    I will need to look for 8x10 tubes. I only have 16x20 kind here.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  10. #10
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    I do mine in a Jobo, which solves the temp thing. There are loads of RA4 threads on APUG but the salient points from them are:
    - the mixed developer keeps for ages, a year or more if you can exclude air (I use silvered mylar bags)
    - apparently dev concentrate doesn't keep at all once opened, maybe even if unopened
    - room temp works with some papers (Kodak) but not others (Fuji); if you get it nice and warm (33-38C) then the Fuji should be fine, just don't do it at 20C
    - bleach and fix kept separately keep forever but blix doesn't, so make up a 5L blix kit as 2.5L bleach+2.5L fix, then replenish your blix working solution with half-n-half
    - the blix is more expensive than dev; if the dev goes off then just buy more dev and keep using your old blix concentrates
    - the developer smells pretty bad (strong amines; "chokingly meaty" is the best description I can think of) but that's only a problem with trays or sticking your nose near the bottle
    - it's very cheap; look at the 4x5L Kodak kits from Ag Photo or US vendors. At 10mL replenishment per 8x10, that's a shirtload of printing from 5L let alone 20L.
    - paper is stupid-cheap compared to B&W especially if you can cut from rolls.
    - don't forget your prewash and dev starter

    I bought a 4x5L kit and sold one 5L unit to hoffy. I can sell you one too if you want to pay the postage but you're probably better off just getting the 4x5L directly and sharing it with people local to you instead of paying 2 lots of international postage.

    As to darkness, I go for complete darkness because my safelights are red LEDs and fog the RA4 strongly. What I do is place the open drum just to the left of my enlarger (lid just behind it) and the paper to the right. Getting paper into the easel isn't so hard except for large sheets, getting paper into the drum is pretty easy. Holding the easel down with blu-tack or tape reduces the risk of slippage and loss of framing accuracy due to accidental bumping that happens when you can't see. Once it's in the drum and closed, the lights go on for processing.

    Quit dreaming and start printing!
    Last edited by polyglot; 01-10-2013 at 05:19 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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