I need a refresher on RA-4 products...
Yes, yes, GFE and the archives are there, but there seems to have been so many conflicting claims recently over the availability of RA-4 papers and chemistry that I thought this question would at least be useful to all the other sobs like me in need of a summary.
It's been a while since I printed RA-4, almost two years, and my last trip to the local photo store was not encouraging (welcome to Montreal, where we fear above all looking left behind). I was looking for:
* 8x10 or 11x14 RA-4 paper: what's left from Kodak and Fuji?
* RA-4 developer: I used to get the Kodak 1-Gal kit, do they still manufacture it?
* RA-4 bleach+fix: I used to get the Kodak 10L kit, same question?
* Are the Tetenal or other third party RA-4 products worth using?
* Did Fuji ever made small-batches RA-4 chemistry available in North America?
* If you live in Canada, are you able to get chems shipped either from another Canadian place, or from the USA?
You do understand that asking those questions to the 18 year old clerk at the photo shop has yielded so far nothing more than confusion and ignorance, so I'll pass on the suggestion to call the shop!
Using film since before it was hip.
"One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal
, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11
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The situation in Europe is quite good IMO;
http://www.nordfoto.de/cgi-bin/nfvsh...74437118722259 (Tetenal 5 liter "pro" kit probably works)
As for other questions, Tetenal 2.5 liter kit is faulty stuff unless you can get it very fresh. You have to check the serial production number (printed inside the box last time I used it) and ask for production date from Tetenal, and if it's more than 6 months old, don't buy it. However, the 5 liter kit should be okay according to some.
In Canada, Kodak 10 liter kits RA/RT are still available, Kodak cut sheet paper is history. Fuji cut sheet paper is available, but only via mail order from the US, AFAIK. See http://www.darkroomcentral.ca for mail order chemistry in Canada, under the color paper tab. Kodak ship the 10 liter kits of RA/RT colour chems in boxes containing four kits, so unless you want 40 liters, you have to get them from a dealer who breaks up the factory cartons.
I have to add my experience about diluting the big kits --
The undiluted original concentrates GO bad in the original bottles after opening in about 6 months. I have seen this with developer AND the fixer part of blix. You have to transfer them to new, squeezable or small bottles if you do this...
HOWEVER, I have found that both developer and blix keep very very well after mixed to the final dilution! This has been somewhat surprising to me. It is probably partly because the diluted solutions are very easy to keep completely airtight in 100% full or squeezed bottles. My experiences with PET and HDPE bottles, air squeezed out, are both very good. About year for both developer and blix, at least for now.
Are you processing in trays or do you have some sort of auto drum like a jobo?
I use trays and 10L Kodak RA/RT Mfr. Part: 8415580
This will work in trays at less than optimal temperatures. I've used it successfully down to 64f with extended development times. (1:45-2:00 minutes)
Adorama will ship in US but don't know what prices are to Canada and what restrictions are in place.
For Blix I use Kodak Mfr. Part: 8309031
I use no starters for either of these and we have good authority that none is needed.
Current papers offered now seem to be optimized for both digital & optical exposure which may compromise for rnlargers.
I still have a fair amount of Supra Endura (older stock still can be found in the US) and got a good deal on a 611 ft roll of Kodak Edge (thinner base/support). The Edge is okay but the Supra Endura looks much better.
I did use Fuji CA about 5 years back but haven't tried any of the MANY types of CA on the market now.
IDK how it behaves in trays at lower temps.
Good luck, I just came out of my DR where I was printing some Portra NC from a new to me 60mm Zeiss Distagon and it reminded me just how worthwhile it is sorting all this out.
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Purging the Kodak concentrate bottles with argon/nitrogen extends their life well over a year. BTDT, have the nice prints to prove it too.
Yes keeping the mixed chems in recycled pop/water bottles with the air squeezed out has them keeping for at least 7 months. I have some mixed last august that I use for testing once a month, they are still good.
You can get Fuji cut paper from Beau Photo in Vancouver. They don't have a web store, but sell a significant amount of analogue materials. They sell and ship, but warn about shipping costs.
Ask for the film and darkroom section.
They can also get and ship anything in the current Kodak and Fuji (Canada) catalogues, but they aren't necessary set up to advise you on what you want.
“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
This may be true if you are lucky, but the developing agent is not packed under an inert atmosphere, but rather under a mix of inert gas and Sulfur Dioxide. When you open the bottle the first time, you smell this excess SO2 gas.
Originally Posted by Bob-D659
Once lost, the developing agent part begins to go bad much more rapidly than otherwise, and the final solution can lack some sulfite.
PE, what's your opinion on storing the developer mixed to working solution?
You may find some old stock of Kodak cut sheets that are still in date, but for brand new you would have to buy a roll of their Endura VC paper and cut it yourself. Fuji Crystal Archive Type II is still available in cut sheets.