RA-4 paper in B&W chemistry - how to improve contrast?

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mkillmer

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I'm trying out paper negatives with ra-4 paper processed in B&W chemistry.
I've tried:
Rodinal 1+50 - Low contrast negative
Xtol 1+1 + Rodinal 1+50 - low contrast negative
Rodinal 1+12.5 - Low contrast negative - ugly yellow/orange "rash" on the paper

Here is an example of Rodinal+Xtol:
13421103985_4f2da3734d_z_d.jpg

Any suggestions on a developer/technique for improving contrast?
I use a Jobo rotary processor, speed does not seem to affect this.
 
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mkillmer

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I agree, that may be an answer... Which paper developer would solve this problem?
 

Robert Ley

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What paper developer do you have?
I would try D-72 or Dektol 1:2 or 1:3 and go from there. D-72 and Dektol are essentially the same and you can find the formula online if you have some of the basic photo chemicals or just order some Dektol.


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MartinP

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You will probably find that normal black-and-white paper (which can be handled under a safelight, unlike RA4) processed in any standard paper-developer produces better paper-negs than RA4 processed in film-developer. Having said that of course, I think that I recall Rodinal was originally (more than a century ago) also recommended for silver-chloride papers at a dilution something like 1+3.

Presumably you are completely unable to use any materials other than RA4 paper and Rodinal? If that is the case then a stronger mix of Rodinal, and a higher temperature, should increase the contrast - but it will most likely still look poor in comparison to normal materials. Out of curiosity, what are you planning to contact-print the negatives on?

Often the contrast 'problem' with paper negs, using b+w materials, is that it is too high. If you can find a fixed-grade, black-and-white, resin-coated paper for the negative then the contrast will likely be better (ie. lower) than using a multi-contrast paper, but they will work too. Pre-flashing the paper is also an option.
 
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Gerald C Koch

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Color emulsions usually give low contrast when developed in B&W developers. This is true for both papers and films. There is very little that can be done to remedy the problem. This problem has been discussed on threads with respect to color negative film processed in B&W developers.
 
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mkillmer

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Thanks for the inputs. I have a few hundred feet of ra4 paper that I hope to shoot.
I've had some success shooting it as colour paper negatives, but I was hoping for a simpler process that would work for b&w.
 

Algo después

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I have a few hundred feet of ra4 paper that I hope to shoot.
I've had some success shooting it as colour paper negatives, but I was hoping for a simpler process that would work for b&w.

...I'm on the same page as Mark. Has anyone else tried how to improve this process?
 

koraks

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RA4 paper has very little silver in it. Consequently it is only capable of producing very, very weak dmax. Instead of black, it achieves a dull middle grey at best. Since this is an inherent property of the product, I don't see how this could be used for decent b&w work.
 
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