I do mine in a Jobo, which solves the temp thing. There are loads of RA4 threads on APUG but the salient points from them are:
- the mixed developer keeps for ages, a year or more if you can exclude air (I use silvered mylar bags)
- apparently dev concentrate doesn't keep at all once opened, maybe even if unopened
- room temp works with some papers (Kodak) but not others (Fuji); if you get it nice and warm (33-38C) then the Fuji should be fine, just don't do it at 20C
- bleach and fix kept separately keep forever but blix doesn't, so make up a 5L blix kit as 2.5L bleach+2.5L fix, then replenish your blix working solution with half-n-half
- the blix is more expensive than dev; if the dev goes off then just buy more dev and keep using your old blix concentrates
- the developer smells pretty bad (strong amines; "chokingly meaty" is the best description I can think of) but that's only a problem with trays or sticking your nose near the bottle
- it's very cheap; look at the 4x5L Kodak kits from Ag Photo or US vendors. At 10mL replenishment per 8x10, that's a shirtload of printing from 5L let alone 20L.
- paper is stupid-cheap compared to B&W especially if you can cut from rolls.
- don't forget your prewash and dev starter
I bought a 4x5L kit and sold one 5L unit to hoffy. I can sell you one too if you want to pay the postage but you're probably better off just getting the 4x5L directly and sharing it with people local to you instead of paying 2 lots of international postage.
As to darkness, I go for complete darkness because my safelights are red LEDs and fog the RA4 strongly. What I do is place the open drum just to the left of my enlarger (lid just behind it) and the paper to the right. Getting paper into the easel isn't so hard except for large sheets, getting paper into the drum is pretty easy. Holding the easel down with blu-tack or tape reduces the risk of slippage and loss of framing accuracy due to accidental bumping that happens when you can't see. Once it's in the drum and closed, the lights go on for processing.
Quit dreaming and start printing!
Last edited by polyglot; 01-10-2013 at 06:19 PM. Click to view previous post history.