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  1. #1

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    RA-4, something's wrong

    I've been trying to get good RA-4 prints for a while now, but it's become obvious that something is really wrong here.

    I do my first print with no filters, and it usually comes out with the most correct colors of anything I print after. My prints always come out blue, cyan, or green. No matter how much cyan I add, it always turns out blue-ish (and, of course, I'm not even supposed to be using cyan filters with RA-4...). The corrections that the kodak color print viewer gives make everything much worse.

    I've tried several different negatives (one developed at a lab, one at home), kodak and fuji paper (supra endura and crystal archive), and just about every filter combination there is. That narrows it down to my chemicals and my enlarger, I suppose. I'm using a condenser enlarger with a filter pack, and I'm using kodak Developer Replenisher RT. I develop for 45s at 95 degrees F in a tube on a unicolor base, reusing and replenishing the developer.
    I do not have the 'starter' solution for my developer, but I'd be surprised if that's causing this dramatic of a problem. Shouldn't developing a few sheets "season" the developer just as well as the starter, anyway?
    If that really is the problem, is there anything suitable as a replacement? I don't have the time to wait for it to be delivered at the moment.

  2. #2

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    - Are you running the correct process times for the temperature?

    - Are you trying to print from multiple film types or a single film type?

    I should point out that I've printed colour RA-4 with a colour diffusion head, not using a physical filter pack with a condenser enlarger.

  3. #3
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    You say you are developing with daylight tubes, and acetate filters. I used this process for years, with good results before finding a reasonable priced dichroic enlarger and roller processor.

    Colour paper has a dye overcoat, which I suspect the manufacturer uses to 'correct' the colour repsonse of different emulsion batches. It can cause problems with tubes and developer reuse/partial reuse.

    I would do a pre wet of about 300mL per 8x10 tube (more on larger tubes) with about 100F to pre warm the tube, and in the process, wash off most of the dye overcoat, and also wet the gelatine so the subsequent developer can penetrate more quickly. Use fresh water from the tap for this each time; dont reuse this water.

    Then after the pre wet drains, pour in the developer. It is ok to develop a bit longer than 45"; colour RA-4 is a develop to completion process (don't go past 2' or toher wierdness ensues.

    You say no starter; not a huge issue, but do you dilute the replenisher strength solution first to a working tank solution? With kits I have bought int the past it was all working strength. I would need about 80mL, but would often add in 60mL fresh, and about 60 reuse from the prior run to help dilute and spread the active fresh developer.

    Then a 15" weak acetic stop bath used once only to keep the blix pH from being screwed up too easily from alkaline developer carry over.

    Then blix for something like 2' if above some temeprature that I thing was 75F. Then a water rinse consisting of 3-4 changes of 300mL.

    Pull the print, hang to dry, rinse tube again, and then dry it out. This prvents blix carry over the next time you use the tube for the developer. Minute blix carry over will screw up the developer's performance fast.

    If you change the filter pack you need to adjust the exposure to account for the light loss change. The print viewing filter kit should have a card that gives the exposure factor for each filter. It is recommended for dye stability in the fiter pack that you put a heat absorbing glass filter upstream of the acetates; this is a long term issue, and not related to the challenges you face here.

    My experience with Kodak Supra paper in my RA-4 set up is that the paper needs about 30 magenta and and 50 yellow, as a minmum, exposed at 5s, f8 or f11 to start. As paper ages it looses red sensitivity, so over time the M and Y filtration goes up to pour more red at the paper to try to overcome its loss of red sensitivity

    I hope these comments give you clues.
    my real name, imagine that.

  4. #4
    RPC
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    There is definitely something wrong, a print with no fltration should be very reddish or orange, not on the cyan side.

    If you are using the replenisher, you should develop at room temperature for 2 minutes. Why are you using it at 95 degrees for 45 secs? That is the time for the regular developer or the replenisher with starter. The replenisher alone may not work well at that time & temp and may not season quickly enough.

    RPC

  5. #5

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    Please do not be offended, but are you exposing the print in total darkness or are you using a safe light? Have you tried processing a blank not exposed sheet? I have not processed any color paper as you are in a tube in many years, but have used a roller transport processor (Fujimoto CP-51) for over 15 years and your experiences with color printing are new to me. The Kodak color correction filter sets can be used to correct both color prints from negatives and color prints from slides. Are you sure that you are using the white side and not the black?
    I have no experience with the Kodak chemistry that you are using, but I have used Fuji-Hunt chemistry for prints and developing negatives for many years and highly recommend that chemistry.
    This is about all that I can think of and good luck with working this out.
    Robert

  6. #6
    paulie's Avatar
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    what paper and how old is it, if its paper in sheet form then its likely to out of date.

    ra4 needs to be fresh fresh fresh

    are your masked borders bluish?

  7. #7
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    When I hear someone say cyanish color prints, I think "red safelight", "developer contaminated with blix" or "no stop bath". These are the three common causes.

    I suggest running a small strip of unexposed paper through the process. Use of starter is not needed. You have things right otherwise unless you have a safelight or one of the other problems I've noted.

    PE

  8. #8

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    I'm not using a safelight, I'm using brand new paper and freshly mixed developer, though I have not been using a stop bath, just rinsing well in between steps. I just tried 2m at room temp with no improvements. A sheet exposed to room light came out black, but has a very faint magenta-ish tint.

    I'll try again with the stop bath.

  9. #9
    tiberiustibz's Avatar
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    I heard of someone with this problem. He claimed the paper was bad but his rinse was causing a terrible cyan cast. I believe the rinse was too hot but I don't know if changing temperatures will effect this. So skip the rinse.

    1. Mix fresh developer, let it cool to room temp (68/72ish). Set in tray. Same for blix, room temp.
    2. Make a print with a filtration of 75M 75Y using 2.5 minutes in the developer. The blix should be 3 minutes, lights on after first minute. If it's a final print I use 5 minutes in for fun.

    Use room temp and no stop bath/rinse/water of any kind until after the blix. Let the print dry (or submerge in fix.) Then evaluate. If this eliminates your problem, it was probably the rinse.
    --Nicholas Andre

  10. #10

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    Adding the stop bath didn't change anything. An unexposed sheet came out pure white.

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