those Nova slotted print processors are pretty efficient. i would definitely consider getting one of those for volume printing like the yearbook. they don't take up a lot of space, either. i think they're a couple of hundred dollars, though, and you have a get the size for the prints you're making.
(you attach a clip to the paper and slip it vertically into each of the slots in turn, and agitate by moving it back & forth in a circular motion while you watch the timer.)
Since the topic is RA-4 101 anyone care to jot down the basic steps for one of the room temp chems using tray processing and the basic things needed (dev & bleach/fix) so I can go shopping!
The major problem with RA-4 in trays is the sensitivity to light. All the literature indicates "must be processed in complete darkness" ... a problem with tray development. I have the JOBO "Maxilux" LED safelight; there is a setting for "Color" - but using a rotary processor, I haven't tried it.
Originally Posted by Nige
The steps ... I print RA-4 color all the time, so I'll have to think about this for once ... here goes:
Get a chemistry kit ... I'd recommend JOBO / Tetenal's room temperature RA-4 kit - and a decent thermometer. Check the information in the kit to figure processing times.
"Standard" temperature is 35 degrees C (95F) - these are the times for the Tetenal RA-4 Professional Pak kit at that temperature... the "steps" are the same for room temperature processing:
1. Expose the print.
2. Normally, there would be a dry pre-heat - a minute or two to bring the print to processing temperature. Wouldn't be necessary at room temperature - its already there.
3. Develop - One minute (remember this is for 35C).
4. Shortstop (only time I use shortstop - really necessary in color printing) - 30 seconds.
5. Bleach-Fix - one minute.
6. Wash - same as any RC print .... five minutes or so.
7. Air dry.
Processing isn't complicated or difficult - actually pretty boring. Exposure - getting the color balance the way you want it - is.
I *LOVE* my ColorStar 3000.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
you'll need something to mix the chemistry in and 4 collapsible bottles, two 1L bottles for the developer and two for the blix. you keep used chemistry in one set and unused in another. that's so that you can replenish the volume in your trays. the volume of developer tends to decrease as you move prints into the (optional) stop bath, while the volume of bleach/fix tends to increase. you probably shouldn't use the color trays for anything else.
after mixing the juice, i pour 1/2 of the mixtures into the trays and 1/2 into one set of bottles. however, it's a good idea to use as little as needed so as not to expose it to the air too much. it's also a good idea to mark the trays with reflective tape so you can see them in the dark, at least until you get the hang of it. set up a wash tray running at 80 degreed F, and keep a hair dryer around for drying test strips/prints to accurately check the color.
you can get one of those kodak viewing filter sets and/or a neutral density transparency & test printer for making test prints, but i find all of those things useless. i do keep a notebook with standard filter packs for film/paper combinations under sunlight and tungsten, though.
you can use a tong(s), but i find it easier to use one chemical-resistant vinyl glove and rinse & dry it well after each cycle. i don't think this ruins the chemistry, and it's MUCH easier to work with tests strips and not waste too much paper.
so, to print, after i've got the chemistry set up and the bath running, i hang the glove over the edge of the sink near the developer so i can find it in the dark. i set the timer for 7 minutes or so (depending on the temp. of the developer as per the instructions in the Tetenal box: about 1.5 min for the dev, 30 secs for the stop bath, 1 min in the blix, and 2-3 min in the wash). i point the timer away from the enlarger and tape black cardboard to it to block the light.
if you don't have a standard "filter pack" for your paper/film combination, you can use the one on the box. it may vary from one emulsion to another, so write it down so you can vary your filter pack when you buy another box of paper. in other words, make a note of your filtration *relative* to the numbers on the box.
dial the filter pack into the color enlarger, or use something like the Ilford Cibachrome color filters and stick them into the filter holder on your black & white enlarger.
turn off all the lights (total darkness), expose the paper, open the easel, put glove on one hand, start the timer, grab the paper and stick it into the developer. agitate & touch the corners. when moving from one solution to another, let it drain for about 10 seconds, keeping it away from the glow of the timer.
voila! once it's been in the blix about 20-30 seconds, you can turn on the lights.
after it's been in the wash about 2 minutes, you can dry it with the hair dryer and check the color and exposure.
ok, that was quite a lecture but i think you'll get the hang of it pretty fast. in fact i always feel a little wierd printing black and white because the lights are on.
thanks guys! couple of further questions...
short stop.. just water or something else?
Paper, I've checked my likely suppliers website and they have Kodak Supra, Ilford Cpm-1m, Fuji CA70 and Agfa Signum listed under colour papers. Are any better than the others? I want realistic colours if that means anything.
Chemicals wise they have Paterson Printmaster in little bottles or the Tentanal in biggish (expensive) ones. For an initial trial I might go for the Paterson unless it's rubbish? (although is seems ok from other posts here)
I have a Colorstar 2000 although I imagine I'll have to learn to use it on the fly.
more trays!!! actuallyl I have some 10x12 trays I hardly use so could dedicate a couple of them. Probably shouldn't be investigating this, I need another project like a hole in the head!
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As mentioned temperature is much more important for colour than B&W processing. For that reason I bought a rotary processor a little while ago. If you're wanting to save on space and get more consistent results, the Durst Printo colour processors are a good way to go.
As it happens, I've had the hard word to sell mine which is taking up space in the spare room at the moment. Unfortunately my good intentions of getting into colour processing at nome were never realised. To save me the bother of feebay, you can have it cheap if you wish to go that way.
Though, of course if you feel you've spent enough already I can understand that!
thanks for the offer John, but that beast is overkill for what I want to do (a couple of colour prints mostly just for the sake of it).
the printo is a great little machine for a small darkroom...I got one at home that I use for b&w mostly. any RA4 processor can run b/w as well--and the Printo does a good job of it. Takes very little chemistry and can be regeared easily for about 4 other speeds, and you can adjuist the temps in each tank as well as add on other tanks & energy therm/motors. It's a neat little machine--don't think of it as a "big" processor. It's not, it's like a hobby version of the larger lab machines, but you could easily make hundreds of prints a week with one. if you make alot of b/w prints, and want to do some RA4 on the side, it would be a good machine to use for it. as an added bonus to the speed & convenience? You keep your hands dry....
but for the original question? The only way you can "crank" out any kind of print--color or b/w--is with a roller transport processor. It's possible to make alot of prints with trays, but the ease of the processor will become apparent the minute you use one. Even a little machine like the Printo can run circles around a trayline and drums are no comparison....
The Printo is a good deal used because it's still being made & parts are available....
btw--the size of the basic machine (2 tanks and entry module) is about that of a 20x24 tray...the wash tanks and dryer add more space, but the basic Printo is very compact. Not as much as a Fujimoto, but it's not even as big really as a DuoLab (which would be another option or a slot processor).
Hello John. I would indeed be interested if the price were right. Also, I'd like a little more information about this machine. Is it replenishable or is it used primarily for one-shot processing? Does it do Ilfochrome? Also, what would the thing cost to ship? Do you live in the USA? Anywhere near Ohio?
OK Karl. I've sent you a PM answering your questions.