Some RA-4 Reversal success today...

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by bvy, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    This is Provia 100F, 35mm, wet printed in the darkroom using the RA-4 reversal process. It's been a few years since I experimented with this process. I remember having issues with whites that stopped at gray. This print has a full range of tones, and I don't know what I did differently.

    Process: Ilford PQ 1+9 (1 min at 68F), stop, rinse. Expose 1-2 minutes. RA-4 at 94F.

    I still have some issues to work out, but they're mostly related to this particular print more than the process itself (the blown out highlights for instance).

    Thought I'd share. It's not Cibachrome, but it's not inkjet either.

    2017-12-29 14.56.24.jpg
     
  2. halfaman

    halfaman Member

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    Very impressive. Can you develop a little bit more the process?

    Type of paper use, light and distance for fogging, RA-4 was with standard times?
     
  3. OP
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    bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    Fuji Crystal Archive paper. Forgot that detail. Everything was processed in a drum on a motor base. The exposure or fogging was one to two minutes under room light -- a couple of daylight balanced fluorescent bulbs. I just held the print upward with my left hand while I rinsed the drum with my right hand. Standard RA-4 times and temps after that: one minute at 94F, stop, rinse, blix, rinse.
     
  4. mshchem

    mshchem Member

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    Very nice. Color looks good. You are covering a big range of values in that shot. Be interested in seeing something with less range. That's as good as I've seen on RA4 paper. If it has it's own "look" so much the better.
    I need to get back to work. I've got everything but the PQ developer.
    Keep us posted.
    Best Mike
     
  5. afriman

    afriman Subscriber

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    This is really impressive. The skin tones in particular are very nice - way better than any other examples I've seen. The contrast looks very similar to what I used to get with Cibachrome, when just doing a straight print without any dodging or masking. Highlights were similarly blown out. The top left corner seems to show some mottling, or is that just an effect of the lighting?

    How would you compare this to a print from an internegative, either done in the darkroom or with a slide copier attached to a camera?
     
  6. Berri

    Berri Member

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    that is a great success!
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Congratulations.

    PE
     
  8. twelvetone12

    twelvetone12 Subscriber

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    That's beautiful bvy! Congrats! I had good results with d19 + ra4, but will try your method soon.
     
  9. OP
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    bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    I haven't worked with internegatives so I can't say. Also I think what you're seeing is the light catching the surface of the paper in that corner. This is the lustre finish and it has some texture -- very similar to Ilford's pearl finish. I haven't looked very hard for mottling though I won't swear there isn't any.
     
  10. peoplemerge

    peoplemerge Subscriber

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    Thanks @bvy, I'd like to report really works! On top is a heavily graded inkjet print from a $200 pro lab drum scan with saturation exaggerated. On bottom is the RA-RT print:
    * 4x5
    * printed in trays
    * PQ 1:9 1st dev 3:38 at ... 18C? (I don't have my notes, I'll double check once I get home; it was very cold by CA standards)
    * Kodak indicator stop 30s
    * Wash 30s
    * Reexpose using daylight LED equiv 150W bulb for 30s
    * Kodak RA4 CD 1:30 (lights on)
    * Kodak RA4 Bleach 2m
    * Kodak RA4 Fix 2m
    Bleach and fix are 1/3 too dilute - I should have read PE's post about the correct dilution prior to mixing these baths as separate.

    It's stunning to see the CD develop in room light. OOhs and Aahs from my pops, who shot large format in the 60s.

    It is definitely PQ when combined with Fuji Crystal Archive paper (I'm using Pearl) that achieves pleasing whites. Note the mottle in the corners, and the white on the inkjet paper is brighter. Of course, the contrast is much higher than the inkjet and I haven't experimented with those adjustments as explained by PE. But this is an art reproduction I'm doing in collaboration with the artist, but neither of these factors is upsetting - it's within reach of a professional (ie sellable) looking fine print!

    Over the last month, I playfully experimented using Kodak papers with Dektol, PQ, D72 minus bromide, D72 + a few g bromide and hypo, double the sodium carbonate. The mottle is reduced on Kodak but still present. I never got the whites past a moderate gray.

    I'll have to try a portrait.
     

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    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
  11. 1kgcoffee

    1kgcoffee Member

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    That's a gorgeous print, don't have much to add except that I'll have to try this process myself.
     
  12. peoplemerge

    peoplemerge Subscriber

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    Thank you @1kgcoffee :smile:
    Though there was some skill taking the shot like setting up the lights in a confined space and dual polarizing, most of the credit goes to the artist for such exceptional work. [​IMG] [ Here https://gambaroff.com/gallary/VR_wedding_jpg ] is a more faithful reproduction. It's for an upcoming art opening in Los Angeles.
     
  13. peoplemerge

    peoplemerge Subscriber

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    Now that I'm home looking at my notes, I can confirm the time and temp as:
    Beseler 45M condenser (my diffusion enlarger barely prints 6x8)
    Schneider Componon-S 135 at f/11 (135 might be a tad small for 4x5)
    1.2 sec exposure
    1st dev 23.6C = 3:27
    CD 15.6C = 90 sec.
    0C 50M 70Y
    I suspect CD time isn't as critical - is this process to completion?
     
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  15. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    I have followed this RA-4 reversal theme closely, and this is certainly by far the best print I have seen, makes it very tempting to try this myself. One thing I do not understand about this: the process you describe sounds very straight forward, something that any experienced lab worker would have tried first. Why did it take so many iterations to arrive at "develop in PQ 1+9 for one minute, then run through RA-4" ? Which are the critical variables? What was the unconventional step in order to arrive at these process specs? Are certain C-41 films more suitable for this process than others? What happened here?
     
  16. OP
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    bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    You're absolutely right. There is a little more to it. I can't speak to peoplemerge's success, but for my own part, I was a little careless and (fortuitously?) stumbled over something good. Now I'm trying to reproduce it. See this thread for part two.
    https://www.photrio.com/forum/threa...imulate-partially-exhausted-developer.156555/
     
  17. peoplemerge

    peoplemerge Subscriber

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    Hey @Rudeofus
    Yeah, it's surprisingly straightforward. Though you mentioned C41 prints, I'm sure you mean E6, since the crazy thing we're trying to do is print slide film not print film.
    It's not hard to test various developers. I'm certainly not a photo chemist: my lab tech skills are at the doubtful level of 20 years' of forgetting my high school chemistry class.
    From what I've read here, here, here, and here, most self-mixed use traditional developer formulas with good results but impure whites. People have tried a whole slew of specialized developers with all available papers. It was @bvy who tried PQ with Fuji.
    @bvy - reading your subsequent thread now.
     
  18. peoplemerge

    peoplemerge Subscriber

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    Forgot to mention the film I used to make the above print was Provia.
     
  19. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    Yes, sorry, my fault, this should have read E-6. Obviously one doesn't need special tricks to enlarge C-41 film.

    Strongly disagree with your "surprisingly straightforward" phrase, bvy already agreed that this was a lucky strike with preused PQ 1+9 dev, not anytjhing easily reproducible.
     
  20. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    I'm guessing he was referring to the print in the original post. Your print is unique and interesting, but not the kind of realistic (similar to pos-pos) result that most people are probably looking for from RA-4 reversal.
     
  21. peoplemerge

    peoplemerge Subscriber

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    @Wayne Fair enough. Must say I myself am pleased with the result with fresh PQ. Insofar as using as a starting point that represents a colossal step forward in solving the issue of pearly whites. I would also like to see mottling reduced and join the experimentation on optimizing that step.

    I'd love to see others should give it the old college try.
     
  22. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    I was all set to give it a try after seeing the OP's print, until I found out it wasn't necessarily a repeatable result. :sad: Most other reversal efforts I've seen, while interesting, aren't the quality I would hope for if and when I try it.
     
  23. OP
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    bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    Sorry for the tease. I am still experimenting to get back to what I got originally. I tried diluting the PQ, and that got me close with the colors and contrast, but it introduced a lot of (or just the usual amount of) mottling that I didn't have in the original print.

    But this can't be impossible. It's not like I mixed up a concoction of something and kept no notes. It was a ten month old working solution of PQ 1+9, stored in a mostly full glass bottle that had (if my notes are correct) the equivalent of 30 8x10 sheets run through it at the time. 30 to 40 is capacity for the amount I mixed. I'm not even sure why I kept it, let alone used it, except that it was handy and I was just looking to ballpark some parameters with it.
     
  24. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    That usage would have added a lot of bromide and chloride to the mix and that could be what helped.

    FWIW, most all pos-pos chromogenic processes were plagued by mottle after conversion to RC. It came and went, and AFAIK there were no real solutions.

    PE
     
  25. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    Isn't Ilfochrome coated on RC paper? I have not seen mottling with this one, even with my careless way of processing ...
     
  26. Photo Engineer

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    Rudi, I said chromogenic! Ilfochrome is dye bleach.

    Oh, and Ilfochrome is not coated on RC.

    PE
     
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