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  1. #1

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    Tentenal RA-4 paper 3.5x5 and RA-4 chemicals

    Hello everyone. I am new to this forum and about 6 months ago got into analogue photography. I at first got the local lab to print my photos, as i got used to using an SLR camera with 35mm film. I recently have set up my own darkroom, and have got to grips very well with B&W developing and printing in trays. (I found the lab too costly and its not totally analogue, digitally printing the paper, therefore lacking the same quality as optical prints). I got an enlarger with a colour head, 3 trays, paper safe, chemical bottles (that i can expel all the air from), measuring cylinders, safelight, tongs and a blackout curtain for a mere £70. It is very fun, and I am just about to start colour printing. I got some 3 month old sealed box of Fuji crystal archive paper (100 sheets) for £10, but the size i find is a bit big for when im starting out and managed by hard work to find some old? Tentenal RA4 paper at 3.5x5in. 3 boxes of 100 for peanuts. The seller had said it had been stored cold. (weather it was in a freezer or a fridge i do not know). I have barely got any decent results in google on this paper. I didn't even know tentenal manufactured RA4 paper. I intend to do my processing at room temperature in trays (this is all i can afford, my darkroom ambient temperature sits at around 20C). I have done C-41 with the nova press kit at room temperature using my gut and extending dev. times (7 minutes dev, 5:30 mins blix, at 20C). I got the lab to enlarge them and they came out very well. So i am all set for C-41, although the shop offered to do me film dev. only for £1 a time, i get on well with them in there, and i will do this with mission critical negatives.
    Now I am waiting for the chance to get some RA4 chemicals, and am wondering a few things, like around what time was this paper manufactured, and the results i can expect to get if this paper had been stored in a fridge, and if it had been frozen. I hazard a guess that it is at least 10 years old. any info on this paper would be brilliant. Also, what RA4 chemicals does everyone on here recommend, to process at room temperature? I know i can't use a red safelight for RA4, i need one that emits 590nm... The cheapest option is a colour LED safetorch which i am going to get. (for indirect illumination).
    Many thanks and good group we have here

  2. #2
    paul_c5x4's Avatar
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    Welcome to the dark side. From your use of the £, I'm going to guess you are located somewhere in the UK.

    From reading the Kodak datasheets and some of the threads here on RA4 processing, the standard chemicals can be used at lower temperatures with extended development times. I'd suggest doing a search for posts from Photo Engineer on the subject.

    If you need/want any RA4 paper, ping me a PM and I can cut some off an 8" roll for you.


    P.S. You'll probably want to pick up some more trays - Three is never enough and if you ever do any gold toning, you'll want to dedicate one tray to the stuff to limit contamination.

  3. #3

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    Yeah when i get a bit more cash, i will be picking up some more trays.
    From what i have researched, i could extend the dev times with kodak chemicals. They are usually bought in bulk. I also am wondering... to extend the blix life, to not mix the 2 parts (bleach and fix) the kodak chemicals are supplies in, but instead to have them as seperate bleach and fix. As for the dev, i have a couple of, and intend to get some more of them AP collapsable bottles that you can squeeze all the air out of.
    And yes I am located in the UK. When i require some more RA4 paper (I have the Fuji paper to go thru and the tentinal to try but wouldn't mind having some more on hand, i will PM you for a price on say 50 sheets of 5x7in.

    Many thanks

  4. #4

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    Welcome to APUG!

    I also use the Kodak chemicals (I buy them here). I've started making up the whole 5 litres at the same time and then storing them in 500ml pop/water bottles with the air squeezed out.
    Steve.

  5. #5

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    They seem a very good price, i shop on firstcall-photographic for my B/W needs, but AG seems a little cheaper for colour stuff. Have you ever tried seperating the beach and the fix halves for the kodak blix kit? I have heard alot of mono concentrates of blix for RA4 (both bleach and fix already mixed as concerntrates) dying very fast, because one oxidizes the other. As i intend to get a few more trays a seperate bleach/fix wouldn't be an unreasonable exchange for longer chemical life. The kodak chemicals will last me ages if i store them correctly.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by jm94 View Post
    Have you ever tried seperating the beach and the fix halves for the kodak blix kit?
    Do you mean after the concentrates have been mixed up? Kodak Blix comes in two separate bottles (see here), I make up the whole lot and then store it in pop bottles which I squeeze to eliminate all air. The stuff seems to last really well this way and if you're concerned about shelf life, maybe store your blix this way also.
    Steve.

  7. #7
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    Kodak RA-RT developer and blix mixed to the working solution stores quite well in glass containers filled up. I am not a big beleiver in the squeeze air out plastic jugs. The best plastic I find for free is the 1l bottle the long life milk that my office buys for tea/coffee comes in.

    I buy the Kodak 5L kits, and make them up 2L at a time to suit the tank size of my processing machine. The developer will work out to 8 weeks if it has not been used to exhaustion early on, and the blix easily that long.

    Low utilization additives are made for each working solution of RA-RT to help them last even longer, but I have not had success in buying less than a full case from my wholesaler, and that is both pricey, and a few lifetimes worth for a hobbyist.

    I would consider daylight tubes and recycling solution with a bit of fresh stuff for each go, in lieu of working in trays. The chems are not really waht you want to soak in, yet I find tongs and gloves are hopeless in the light you can work RA-4 in.

    I find I am actually happier printing RA-4 and tray processing (which I have also done) in absolute darkness. Once the print is well rinsed after the developer, than I would turn b&w safelight on to finish the work. I know it can be white light, but it keeps you from being so dark struck when it comes to expose the next piece. I kind of like the full mental map aspect of where everything is when working for short times in the absolute darkness, with just a few luminescent patches on counter corners, etc to provide directional orientation. I does lead to keeping an organized and tidy darkroom.
    my real name, imagine that.

  8. #8

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    I meant about mixing the 2 halves of the blix concerntrate in seperate working solutions (bleach and fix), if they do not need to be combined to do their action and could therefore be used as seperate bleach and fix. I have picked up 3 more trays, so seperate bleach and fix is no problem. If not, sounds like the blix should last long enough... i intend to get a colour "safetorch", its the cheapest form of RA-4 safelight i can use, just so i can see where the tongs are!

    (cant be used for direct illumination from what i have read) I do not want to be dipping my hands in the RA-4 chemicals, the B/W ones dont seem bad on my hands. Also what is more satisfying that watching the image appear in the developer? If i did the math and mixed the concerntrates 1L at a time, (as opposed to 5), mixing the apropiate ammounts of A B and C for the developer for 1L, and the same with the blix, do the concerntrates unmixed keep? It is quite a bit of money to shell out so i defintely want to make the best of it! But it will be like a "one off" cost if i use it right, considering you get 4 lots of 5L you can make with the kodak chemicals! The 3 boxes of Tentinal paper is in my fridge, along with my Fuji! the tentinal paper does look reasonably old, i can't wait to get my first RA-4 chemicals!

  9. #9

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    Have a look on the U.K. e-bay for DUKA safelights. They give good but safelight for RA4 and are usually quite cheap.

    pentaxuser

  10. #10
    paul_c5x4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jm94 View Post
    I do not want to be dipping my hands in the RA-4 chemicals, the B/W ones dont seem bad on my hands.
    Some of them B&W chemicals can be really nasty (hot, caustic lith dev for example). I favour using disposable nylon gloves when processing paper - If I'm doing a lot, nylon glove on one hand, cotton on the other to handle paper with.

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