Room temp RA-4, some questions

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by earlz, Sep 15, 2018 at 11:07 PM.

  1. earlz

    earlz Member

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    So I've done some research, and seeing as room temp RA-4 is certified as being "good" by PE, decided to do start working toward getting an RA-4 setup to do some color printing fun. It'll be a bit painful since I don't have a color head on my enlarger, but under lens filters (either the CMY ones stacked, or RGB multiple exposure) sound reasonable, even if a bit annoying.

    I want to do room temp RA-4 in trays. I have a few questions:

    1. I've found the Kodak RA-RT Replenisher on Amazon of all places, but I can't find an alternate source for when that seller inevitably stops or jacks up the price. Is there a better source that I can rely on in the future?
    2. I saw Freestyle selling "Silver Pixel" branded chemicals that sound similar to Kodak's. Are they the same? Is it safe to use their blix in this process? I can't find any source for Kodak blix
    3. Any tips for doing tray processing in darkness? Is there any minimal safelight that might help me with locating the trays and such? Is it safe to expose to light after stop bath or should I wait until blix?
    4. Is this process compatible with the reversal process for doing RA-4 printing of slides?
    5. My nominal room temp is around 72F. Any adjustments needed? The times I've seen quoted for 68F is 2' for dev, 30" for stop, and 2' for blix. Not sure how sensitive this process is to color shifts, but I do have experience with E-6 and C-41
    6. How much capacity can I get out of the chemicals? I see for tank processing, you'd normally use them one shot.. but in tray I can't find any referneces
    7. I've heard the starting filter packs for this is different from normal RA-4 processing. What is a good starting filter pack?
    8. Any other tips for doing this process, as someone somewhat experienced with B/W printing, but never having done full darkness printing?
     
  2. RPC

    RPC Member

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    You can get the Kodak RA-RT developer replenisher and bleach-fix (blix) from Adorama.

    I don't need or use a safelight but I believe Wratten #13 is the one used if you can find it.

    I would wait until the stop bath is complete and the print is in the blix before turning on the room light.

    The room temperature process using RA-RT will work just fine for the RA-4 Reversal color developer. However, you should use Kodak Endura paper for this process as Fuji paper does not work well.

    You can do it at 72F with no problems. It is not sensitive to temperature change as color film is, but consistency is recommended.

    Just start with 50-60Y and 50-60M and go from there.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018 at 2:54 AM
  3. RPC

    RPC Member

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    Kodak gave a tray capacity for its regular RA-4 developer of 15 8x10 prints per quart, but up to 40 prints were possible for non-critical applications. I have made at least 40 8x10 prints per quart when doing contact prints of my negatives and noticed no problems with color when using the RA-RT developer.
     
  4. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    As far as a colour safelight is concerned there are three options
    1. Total darkness -if you are at home in such conditions then fine and it is the cheapest way
    2. The very dark green safelight which is the one, I think, that is referred to in the Wratten 13. I tried one and could barely see a hand 12 inched in front of my face after about 15 mins but you may be different
    3. The sodium safelight such as the DUKA which in my experience does both work and is safe at a low level which does allow you to do the essential things such as take paper out of the box, place under easel, move it to the developer trays, drums, Nova slot processor etc. Warning there may be those who say that the only safelight is total darkness

    You need to decide.

    pentaxuser
     
  5. OP
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    earlz

    earlz Member

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    What if I had some glow in the dark strips? I don't really need light so much as just some way to orient myself to the enlarger and trays. I was thinking I could have one to a side of the enlarger, strips between each tray, and then one small dot under each set of tongs.. basically just some way of knowing that I'm putting paper in developer and not stop or blix, and a basic way to figure out where to start feeling for the enlarger. I know some of those glow in the dark things are rather bright, but how bright is too bright? I could put color filters or translucent tape over it to dim it more, but I'm curious if anyone else has tried such a system.
     
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The Wratten 13 and associated filters are dark AMBER, not green. Glow strips can fog paper. I have done it.

    Use no more than a 15W bulb at 10 feet with a WR13 filter.

    PE
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    My Kodak Wratten data-sheets say the 13 is Amber, the dark amber is the 10 or 10H, having said that the latter are very dark. My understanding was the 13 was for indirect use, and the 10 direct.

    I use a brighter fluorescent amber safe light filter for colour printing however it faces away from the enlarger, paper and Nova slot processor, essentially it lights my darkroom clock and a few other key items.

    Ian
     
  8. Photo Engineer

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  9. Young He

    Young He Member

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    I feel the chemicals are cheapest from unique photo, even after shipping costs. I don't need a safelight either, as it is pretty easy to handle the paper in darkness. Try searching for bleach-fix, not blix. I feel that it is often better to err to a longer development and blix time, as partially exhausted chemicals can deliver bad results if the print is developed too little. I would recommend replenishment as it delivers consistent results, but I get good results from just leaving a print rolling in the drum for 5 minutes.


    I have gotten some bad results from the kodak ra-4 in terms of the concentrate storage life after opening- my last batch only lasted 5ish months,even with some of that spray thing. One of the blix concentrates crystallized and my developer part c went from a nice yellow to a muddy brown. I'm planning on mixing all of the concentrates and using a floating lid tank I have.
     
  10. RPC

    RPC Member

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    I recommend mixing the developer all at once and storing in full, glass, tightly sealed bottles. The developer can last many months, even years stored this way. After mixing, the developer has excellent oxidation protection.
     
  11. OP
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    earlz

    earlz Member

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    $21+$24 for a 10L RA-4 kit is pretty reasonable for me. More expensive than B/W, but that's to be expected. If I'm doing 20-30 prints per liter then I don't see it being difficult to go through 10L in 5 months even. That basically just demands I have at least 2 color printing sessions per month. I would be interested in pre-mixing it all just for ease of use though, but I don't have that many containers. I could store maybe up to 5L of chemicals easily, and that's with reusing C-41 mixed chemical containers that I'd rather keep dedicated to C-41.
     
  12. Young He

    Young He Member

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    You can usually extend the lifetime a bit more than kodak recommends, but yeah $40 for 10l is pretty cheap.

    I have heard of these large containers (https://www.amazon.com/Gallon-Refri...d=1537129864&sr=8-3&keywords=fridge+water+jug) that are pretty cheap, $20 on amazon, that hold like 10l of chemicals. I have seen them used to hold chemistry but have not tested them.
     
  13. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    Since when? I dont recall that being an established fact
     
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  15. RPC

    RPC Member

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    I was referring to Fuji CA II paper. This is my experience after much experimentation and has been reported by others. I challenge anyone to produce as good a reversal print on the Fuji paper as can be done on Endura paper.

    On the other hand, CA II works beautifully for straight RA-4 prints.
     
  16. Photo Engineer

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    I have also seen some problems with CAII paper in samples sent to me and also reported by others.

    PE
     
  17. OP
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    earlz

    earlz Member

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    Does Kodak Endura still even exist? I can't find anywhere selling it other than in bulk roll form.
     
  18. RPC

    RPC Member

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    It has not been sold in cut sheets for years, so any you find may be expired, and so that is a problem for reversal doers. AFAIK, bulk rolls is the only way to go.
     
  19. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Freestyle Silver Pixel kits are identically formulated to Kodak RA/RT. But I gave up on "room temp" processing long ago. It's so easy to maintain a precise water bath, what would be the point anyway? I mix just enough chem for a single day or session at a time, and use it strictly one-shot, never replenished - that solves a lot of unnecessary problems too. And I work in total darkness. Why gamble?
     
  20. RPC

    RPC Member

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    The OP wants to do it in trays, where room temp is much easier.
     
  21. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Two bad ideas as far as I'm concerned. Open trays equal unhealthy fumes, and to deal with that you need airflow across the trays to pull the fumes toward the exhaust fan, and that in turn means that "room temperature" in those trays is not going to be constant at all. RA4 can be fussy in terms of how modest temp changes can affect color balance.
     
  22. OP
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    earlz

    earlz Member

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    Why would room temp not be constant with a fan? Setup the trays, turn on the fan, and let things settle for 15 minutes or so and it should remain at the same temp until you turn the fan off. If RA-4 is similar to C-41 chemicals, then the developer isn't too smelly while the bleach-fix is pretty bad. Either way, everything I can find on the topic says that RA-4 development is to completion, ie, you developer everything that can be developed. If this is the case, then lower temperatures just mean you need to give the developer more time, but it otherwise won't over develop other color layers by staying on it too long from wrong temperature processing. This is of course completely different for C-41 film processing, where it is definitely not a to completion process.
     
  23. DREW WILEY

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    Smelly and unhealthy aren't necessarily synonymous. I'm not trying to discourage anyone from starting out as best they can; but after you've wasted a bunch of paper and start feeling a raspy throat, it makes you think twice. But good luck either way. Used developing drums are dirt cheap these days and use far less chemistry, and are way easier to keep temp constant for the brief times necessary, provided your actual solution bottles are held in tight temp tolerances in a water bath. No need to
    worry about doing volume printing until you've got the basics down first. You've already got one headache up front due to lack of a colorhead, so just adding more unknowns become frustrating. Hope not. RA4 is actually fairly easy with a bit of experience and proper gear. And with a bit of luck, someone might give you a free color enlarger.
     
  24. Photo Engineer

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    Well, the developer contains a PPD developing agent along with TEA and Sodium Carbonate. The only "odd" ingredient not found in B&W is DEHAO (Di-Ethyl Hydroxyl Amine Oxalate). It has a faint odor. The blix contains no strongly odorous material except Ammonia and at pH 6 this is not bad. I'm not sure what the odor is from. I don't notice a strong odor, just a faint fishy odor.

    PE
     
  25. RPC

    RPC Member

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    Low temperature for a longer time means less likely to have inconsistency than high temperatures for shorter times.

    The smell of RA-RT developer is a little stronger than most chems, but IIRC the MSDS lists it as low inhalation hazard.

    Unless you are bothered by the fumes or deathly afraid of the dark, trays are by far the best way to go IMHO. First tray, second tray, wash, done (if no stop bath). Drums require you to pour chemistry in and out for each solution--pre-wet, developer, stop bath, blix, wash and rotate the drum somehow. Why do all that? The drum has to be washed and dried before the next use, wasting time. When you are learning to get the color balance right, wasting such time is just more frustrating.

    The print capacity for the RA-RT developer shown earlier means you can get as many if not more prints by using trays than one-shot in drums. BTDT.
     
  26. DREW WILEY

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    Learn the hard way, I guess, kinda like people who don't bother to wear gloves. I got tired of seeing sick "artistes" and outright debilitated commercial lab owners. The risk accumulates over time. No sense sending someone down the wrong path to begin with. Even ordinary b&w chem can cause respiratory issues without proper ventilation, and potential allergies. And I disagree with your comments on drum capacity. Those figures are generally related to the worst senario options - poorly leveled inefficient drums. You are correct about them being slower. Regardless, I always rinse between all three chem steps anyway. Drums make that particularly easy. You must be thinking of strictly small prints anyway, certainly the logical route when starting out.
     
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