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  1. #1

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    Getting back into Color print and negative developing

    Hi!
    Back in the day...lol. I will define that as 1978 for a few years, and then briefly in 1990, I have had a make shift darkroom in my parents home. I used Kodak paper...I believe it was called ektacolor with beseler 2 step chemicals. I got pretty darn good results with prints that still look fantastic today. I also began developing the negatives with Kodak hobby packs with good results. Later I moved to ektachrome slide film and used Kodak chemicals to process them. I also used ektacolor paper. I don't recall if beseler had chemistry for that. Maybe it was a 3 step? I forgot. Even had fun with expensive cibachrome for a little bit.

    Fast forward to present...

    I built the darkroom I always wanted. Couple of questions.

    Was the color paper process called ra-4 back in the day? I see stuff on ebay. Maybe feeling nostalgic....probably not worth wasting money on old paper that wont work. Is it worth even trying? Will the new ra-4 chemistry work with the old paper?

    I did not begin developing yet. I was going to order from freestyle. They have arista and Fuji paper. Which is better? Which is better ra-4 chemistry? Arista or tetenal?
    Same for c-41. They have rollei and tetenal and surprisingly a powder unicolor which does not sound good. Can anyone offer any suggestions? Thank you

  2. #2
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    Old colour paper will most likely disappoint you. I would certainly recommend against starting out with it.

    Once you get things working well with current paper, you can then consider taking a chance/experimenting with old stuff.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  3. #3

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    The current color neg printing process is still RA4. I prefer either Kodak RA/RT chemistry or direct generic equivalents (like Arista). Avoid
    "room temp mono" kits. It's the papers that have changed - they're way, way better than the old papers. I use various Fuji Crystal Archive papers and process them in drums.

  4. #4
    bvy
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    Quote Originally Posted by DREW WILEY View Post
    I use various Fuji Crystal Archive papers and process them in drums.
    My workflow also. I'm very happy with the Fuji paper though I admit I haven't used anything else. The Kodak papers are also reportedly fine, but you have to buy them in rolls and cut the paper to size. Arista, I believe, is rebranded something or other.

    I wouldn't bother buying old paper or chemicals on eBay. The Fuji paper is available in cut sheets in different sizes and sheens, and the Kodak Ektacolor chemistry is cheap, easy to find, and easy to mix.

  5. #5
    bvy
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    For C-41, there are kits, but I prefer the Kodak lab chemicals for separate bleach and fix (as opposed to blix). See the sticky in this subforum for a list.

  6. #6

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    I have been happy with Unicolor C41 powder kits. I used a Rollei Digibase C41 liquid kit with separate bleach and fix and got good results as well but now all their kits use blix (at least in the U.S., Freestyle) so I went back to Unicolor. The only modification to Unicolor is to add 1/2 teaspoon of PhotoFlo concentrate to 1 liter of the stabilizer, and repeat every 8 rolls, to eliminate water streaks. I would try Kodak Flexicolor if the the sizes were smaller and it was less expensive.

    For RA4, I use Kodak Ekatacolor chemicals: Kodak Ektacolor RA Developer Replenisher RT to make 10 liters (Unique Photo #EKY8415580, $14.26); no starter needed; Kodak RA Bleach/Fix to make 10 liters (Unique Photo #EKY6601629, $14.75). These concentrates have expiration dates on them. See Kodak's J-39 publication for use.

    I got boxes of old paper with a couple of enlarger deals but ended up getting rid of it all. Establishing enlarger color filtration settings for your enlarger/film/paper combinations is the only time consuming part of printing and having to constantly change them because of the color shifts that occur in old paper is frustrating. Fresh Fuji Crystal Archive II gives great results (and cold storage keeps it fresh).

    Pushing your C41 kit way beyond the storage time and number of roll recommendations can produce negatives that look OK but have enough color shifts to require filtration setting changes when printing. I get 20 rolls from a Unicolor 1-liter kit (vs. 8 rolls recommended) but I develop all rolls within a few days. This produces consistent negatives with respect to printing. So you can push your C41 kit to some extent but it's not worth doing to extremes, as some people online do.
    Last edited by mklw1954; 01-09-2015 at 09:09 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7

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    Thank you everyone. I do black and white as well, and bought old Kodak paper. It is fogged in varying degrees from useless to marginal. I tried fiber papers that supposedly are better such as Kodak elite double weight. I found that the new ilford RC paper beats it hands down and is easier to use. Probably same for color stuff. Well, time to put an order in.

  8. #8

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    All color papers are RC.

  9. #9

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    I know color is all RC. I was just talking about some black and white I bought which was fogged. So since color has even less shelf life, I decided never to buy used color paper.

  10. #10

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    In 1978 the color print process should have been EP-2, I think? RA-4 came out some years later, it was more ECO-friendly. If I remember correctly EP2 paper won't work in the RA chems because the higher temps of RA makes the EP emulison slide off.

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