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  1. #11
    hrst's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by polyglot View Post
    Or: do I try to go for C-41/RA-4?
    YES! It's easy and very cheap and results are stunning.

    This will require at least a print drum, if not the motorized base.
    Now where did you hear that?? That's not true at all. It's just tedious to use drums. Use trays, it's a lot more convenient and you don't need to buy anything. There's a lot of threads about the subject.

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by hrst View Post
    ..Now where did you hear that?? That's not true at all. It's just tedious to use drums...
    Don't you need to clean - wipe - dry the drum after every print in order to avoid streaking? If so, it's tedious. I'd rather use trays in the dark.

  3. #13

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    Home C41/RA4 is eminently do-able and with films like Ektar or 160VC/400VC/160C you can get saturation, plus have the benefit of natural neutral emulsions like 400H/400NC/400VC for speed.

    I do my RA4 room temperature and got the Kodak RA4 RA-RT (sometimes known as RT/LU) this weekm £50 or so; but if mixed 1L at a time (the kit supplies 4x5L) then this will last a very long time if the chemicals are flushed of air after mixing allowing the 1L batches rather than 5L batches. Even if you work with 5L batches at a time, that whole lot will last you minimum 6 months. The cost of printer ink is comparable if not more expensive.

    Then there's the paper, Kodak Supra Endura is lovely stuff (I just wish their was a heavier weight but there you go) and is relatively cheap. It now comes in packs of 50 and 50 8x10" sheets are locally £11 for me to buy. There is also Kodak Edge which is cheaper roll paper you will have to cut.

    In terms of how easy it is, very. I'd also advise trays. I tried a drum this week and I found it a pain, so I've gone back to trays.

    Most Kodak film I use (160VC, Ektar, Gold 200) will print at the box colour balance settings with no adjustment so that keeps test printing costs down to find your initial colour balance. Fuji I find a bit different (as well as the Portra NCs) but once the balance on that is sussed you are then good for that as you will know your ballpark for subsequent shoots. Then I cut each 8x10" sheet into strips of 5 roughly to give about 20 test strips (4 sheets used) and then I find the rest of the pack I can use to get reliable prints thus not wasting too much paper. On average I'd say out of a box of 50, I will get 40 good prints. So that works out 28p (UK pence), I will never process enough to use up a batch of RA4 chems in 6 months and per 1L batch of prints I could easily print those 40 prints. So I work that out as £50 / 20 = £2.50 per 40 prints on chemicals.

    What this should show is that RA4 and C41 is cheap. Certainly comparable to working digitally, if not cheaper, and gives you just gorgeous C-Type prints. Medium format looks superb printed this way.

    It's also easy to do at home, the main thing is to orientate yourself in the darkroom in the pitch black. But you soon get the hang of that

    And I do all of this in my rather small bathroom so there is no need to think you need space, my enlarger is on the washing machine top, dev tray usually on the toilet seat (hmm lovely!), and the stop and blix on the floor (protected by a waterproof sheet.)

    I still shoot slides, but I admit mostly in 35mm as I don't have a 6x6 projector; especially now that Ektar gives me prints that are not a million miles from the palette I love in Kodachrome, but with the bonus that it is a print I can put in an album, sell or hang on the wall.

    I then scan the 10x8s on a flatbed scanner (not expensive one) which digitalises them if I need to, and this works a treat for all my 35mm and 6x6 MF work.

    Good luck and have fun,

    Vicky

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anon Ymous View Post
    Don't you need to clean - wipe - dry the drum after every print in order to avoid streaking? If so, it's tedious. I'd rather use trays in the dark.
    When I remove the print from the drum, I rinse the drum under running water, then push a tea towel into the drum and pull it out, et voila! a clean, dry drum. Not what I'd call tedious. But hey, whatever floats your boat.

    I have my workflow set up so that the paper I use is in a paper safe that dispenses one sheet at a time. I hit the light switch, take a sheet out of the paper safe, place it in the easel, hit the print button, place the sheet in the drum right beside the enlarger, and turn on the lights. Lights are out for about 30 sec. Then I'm free to putz with other stuff while the drum is rockn and rolln.

    Whether you use trays or a drum, try RA4. If you're like me, you'll wonder why you waited so long.
    Rick Jason.
    "I'm still developing"

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricksplace View Post
    If you're like me, you'll wonder why you waited so long.
    Same here. Should have tried this years ago and ignored all the 'it's too hard' comments online.
    Steve.

  6. #16
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    If you are going to use drums, get more than one.

    I have four 8x10 Cibachrome drums, and I just cycle through the set (use one while other three air dry).

    I'm currently using this for Black & White when I don't want to put out all the trays, but it will work as well for colour.

    Matt

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricksplace View Post
    When I remove the print from the drum, I rinse the drum under running water, then push a tea towel into the drum and pull it out, et voila! a clean, dry drum. Not what I'd call tedious. But hey, whatever floats your boat.
    Indeed, whatever floats anybody's boat, but I'm too lazy to mess with drums.

    Quote Originally Posted by ricksplace View Post
    Whether you use trays or a drum, try RA4. If you're like me, you'll wonder why you waited so long.
    Well, first I'll have to find a colorhear or filters, but what really hurts is local availability (not much) and the fact that supra endura that everybody says that is the best paper (in sheets) has been discontinued.

  8. #18
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    I was in exactly your situation when I took up color darkroom work. Assuming you've tried black and white darkroom work the color should be fairly easy. The challenge is to get your first print. Once you have that, you're all set because the color doesn't really change. Stick with one film (Ektar 100 or Portra 160VC/NC) and go from there.

    Ektar 100 when printed optically is a dream film. It looks great. Good skin tones, nice reds and purples.

    Use only kodak papers and kodak chemicals. They work great at room temperature. The current recommendation is to use Kodak developer RT without starter.

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum221/...ing-200-a.html

    The last comment in that article has the new specifics. I don't like fuji paper anymore.
    --Nicholas Andre

  9. #19
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    E6 chems are cheap, Im using Kodak E6 fixer replenisher, Agfa bleach, and Kodak E6 Colour developer replenisher (40 litre) + starter, costs less to buy than the 5L kit.

    Mix up my own first dev.

    and use Rodinal + salt for a first dev for colour neg as a colour neg, and E6 CD for the colour developer on it.

  10. #20
    polyglot's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone - I didn't realise RA-4 was that easy and I shall definitely have to give it a go. If that works out well, I guess I can then think about C-41.

    I'd been told to use drums for the not-being-dark aspect of it all. I can try trays and if I don't bugger it up then that's cool.

    Someone mentioned in a PM the Jobo DUOLAB so I'll look that up too.

    Next question on C-41: I'm assuming the print dynamic range is no more than 6-8 stops... do people do dodging, burning, etc on them to get stuff to fit on the paper? I guess you don't have much contrast control (barring the addition of sulfite to dev, etc) because that could change colours. Accurate D&B with 3ish second exposures sounds harder.

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