I'm going to try colour printing -need help
I have been a hobbiest photographer with a darkroom for around 40 years, and I've never done colour. It's time I bit the bullet.
I have done several searches on this site regarding printing in colour. I currently have a Beseler 23C with a dichro head, a few drums and a roller. I spoke to the owner of the local pro lab and he has agreed to sell me some of his bulk Kodak chemicals. After reading PE's posts, here is what I'm thinking of doing: (please tell me if I'm on the right track)
Purchase the following:
Kodak Developer replenisher -one bottle of liquid concentrate that is diluted 1:8 PE says that the starter is unnecessary. Should I use this as one-shot in the drum or mix up a litre and pour the developer back into the one litre container until it's time to mix up fresh developer?
Kodak Bleach/Fix replenisher -one bottle of concentrate that is to be diluted with water (can't remember the ratio). Should I use this one-shot in the drum or mix up one litre as mentioned above?
Do I need the stabilizer?
Here's what I have gathered after reading several threads from people who do colour in drums:
3. Stop (Apparently Kodak indicator stop can be used)
I would rather deal with the local guys for chems since the shipping on kits will kill me. I like to support the local guys too.
I plan on working at room temp (70F) and adjusting the times accordingly.
Am I on the right track?
Thanks in advance for any advice.
"I'm still developing"
Basically you are on the right track.
I would question the reasoning for a pre wet, unless you really do have a temperature problem. However you are going to develop at room temperature, more or less, so I don't see the reasoning.
The RA4 colour process in every commercial machine, does not do a pre wet. I now process in a roller transport machine, it doesn't have a pre wet. When I developed in drums I didn't use a pre wet, as it isn't in the official processing instructions, I never had a problem, ever!
I have done one shot processing and ½ shot processing in drums, let me explain. Say your drum requires 50ml for an 8x10" print you can use just 50ml, or be generous and use 60ml to ensure you cover the paper. What I found was a more consistent process with drum processing, was to use a fair amount of developer. I would use 150 ml for an 8x10" paper, at the end of the cycle I would dispose of 75ml and add 75ml of fresh developer for the next print. By doing this I maintained exceptional colour consistency and saturation from print to print. This consistency is something that is reasonably important and slightly hard to do, if you are running with minimum chemicals in a drum. I know this from personal experience.
You do have to ensure that you have enough active developer to process the square area of paper, do keep that in mind.
There is no stabiliser in RA4, at least I have never heard of it.
With drum processing I found that a stop bath was a very good idea for consistency, followed by two quick 30 sec washes.
Once the print has been bleached and fixed (blix) I used to do one quick 30 second wash in the drum, then take it out put it into a tray and wash it the same as B&W prints.
You can dry the drum whilst the print is washing.
I found I never needed the starter after I forgot to use it once, never used it after that.
A possible route for colour balancing, is to photograph a colour chart, if you have one or can borrow one, in mid morning or mid afternoon clear daylight.
Then in the darkroom, work your way to getting a reasonable white and grey and the other colours as well.
I suggest a colour chart instead of a grey card, you'll never get an accurate representation of a grey card from a colour paper.
Thanks Mick. I won't use a pre-wet. I like your idea for 1/2 shot processing in drums.
"I'm still developing"
For what it's worth I always use a pre-rinse. It's the way I was taught.
I've never tried it without doing a pre-rinse.
Jerry, as far as I know, pre wetting for paper developing came about because of high processing temperatures required for the processes.
If you live in the northern parts of the world, and all of these processes did emanate from that part of the world, it gets mighty cold in winter, which is when a lot of darkroom work was done.
RA4 is extremely short if carried out at it's nominal working temperature. As the time is so short, unless the drum and paper temperature relative to the developer are quite far apart, I don't see much of a problem.
However there are many, many ways to develop colour paper and film, whatever works, keep doing it.
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In posts I have read, PE says he uses Kodak RA developer replenisher RT. This consists of three bottles mixed as per instructions with no dilution. I have used this and it seems to work fine. The developer mentioned may work as well, I have not tried it.
I found with Kodak Supra [I think it was] I NEEDED a prewash. Not caused problems. I've no idea where my notes are so don't ask what problem -) Oh wait it was the greenie meanies -)) Basically a wierd greenish cast that a pre-wash dealt with. The newer papers didn't have this problem.
To the intial question. If you're using drums don't make up 1 litre of developer. Drums use very little developer and developer has poor relative keeping qualities. Blix keeps a long time and benefits from aeration.
Oh the prewash will keep the paper from sucking up developer like a sponge. PE will rightly point out you will be diluting your developer but it has never been a problem for me.
Use RA-RT developer replenisher, no starter for 2' at 20C or 68F. If you use a tray, no prewet is needed, but if you use a drum, use a prewet. My developer in a drum is one shot due to the prewet.
The stop will be usable until it turns cherry red or purple. No longer.
Blix can be used over and over and over as long as you add about 100 ml of fresh to every liter once each session of about 20 - 30 prints (8x10). Also, it will never hurt to wash 2' in the drum and then hold in a tray of water until your print session is done, then rinse all for another minute then dry.
This assumes 68 - 70F throughout.
Thanks folks for all the help.
PE -is that developer a "one bottle" concentrate, or does it require mixing parts A,B,and /or C to make the working solution? I think there was only one bottle of developer replenisher concentrate that I looked at that said "mix this with 8 litres of water to make 10 litres of working solution". I'll go back to the local pro lab and look again, now that I have learned so much from you folks.
"I'm still developing"
I used a print brightener/stabiliser from Fotospeed or a "Waterless Wash" which came from Nova Darkroom in the U.K. I think that there were the same thing. In both cases it is said to cut down or cut out washing as well as brightening the print( this is a marginal difference, I feel). My practice was to do at least one wash in the Jobo drum for 30 secs then transfer into a Nova Quad slot containing either the Fotospeed product or the Nova product for the requisite time at about 24 degrees C although the prints were developed at 35 degrees C. The temp change didn't seem to do any harm. Will this short wash and then the waterless wash/ stabiliser brighthener reduce the life of the prints? I don't know. My oldest print is still only about 4 years old but no sign of deterioration yet and some hang on walls under glass.
I simply poured the used dev back into the 1 litre working strength bottle in the Jobo kept at working temp, shook it around to mix it with the rest and used it again but dumping 100ml and replenishing as required by the chemistry manufacturer.
I think there can little argument that one shot and dump is the way to go if you want absolute consistency. Doing it this way also gets through the developer and even at low volumes of prints probably gets through enough dev to avoid the shelf life problem. However with the smaller Tetenal kits and their price the one shot approach works out expensive.