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  #1  
Old 8th October 2020, 08:51 PM
John King John King is offline
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Default Colour Printing

Because of the cost, I started to use Tetenal RA4 kits about a year ago but have never been happy with them. A mix of off white borders, poor saturation and bleach fix that didn't last the test of time. Despite regular replenishment it lasted about 50% of time of the developer.

I changed back to Kodak today and had a brief session in the darkroom to see how it was compared to Tetenal. I am more than happy with what the result was. The colour balance shift was not far off Tetenal, perhaps 5 units more magenta, but the comparison! You cannot describe it, to give it full justification, it is so different and better. Clean and white rebates where the masking frame edges are, instead of cream and the colours are 'alive'.

It costs a lot more initially, but in actual comparison it is about 1/2 price to that of Tetenal. I think I actually wasted more Tetenal than I used to produce a decent print which makes the price differential even more to my advantage.
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Old 9th October 2020, 06:02 PM
JOReynolds JOReynolds is offline
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Default A novel solution to poor longevity

This is only theoretical - I've not tried it - but once mixed, ferric EDTA (brown bleach) and thiosulphate (fix) will degrade one-another in the presence of oxygen (air). Why not try bleaching in bleach and then fixing in fix? This is, after all, the procedure for film in C41. I can't suggest the timing or temperature but give 50% longer than when the appearance changes. In fact you might consider using C41 bleach and fix. C41 bleach is expensive but can be replenished and used for a long time. Paradoxically, it needs to be aerated (kept in the oxidised state) to work properly.
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Old 9th October 2020, 09:43 PM
John King John King is offline
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Default Longevity

That is too late now I have gone back to Kodak. It has shown to be far more stable than Tetenal and is in the long run far cheaper. Kodak paper and Kodak Chemicals I trust them more than Tetenal.
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Old 11th October 2020, 06:22 AM
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Miha Miha is offline
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John, which Kodak RA4 product did you go for?
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Old 11th October 2020, 07:28 AM
John King John King is offline
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Default Kodak RA4 Developer

Kodak Ektacolor RA4 developer and the same brand for the blix. I bought mine from AG photographic for a 20 litre complete kit The stop bath is also from Kodak (1 to 63) dilution To buy 2 x 5 litre Tetenal kits will cost almost the same. The kit comes as 4 sets of bottles and each set making 5 litres so it will have a long shelf life.

The only thing you have to buy as an extra but only use it for the initial fill of the NOVA tank is a bottle of starter which initially stabilises the developer. The content in the emulsion of the paper takes over as you use it more and more. Strictly speaking it isn't absolutely essential but it is best to use it. That itself is reasonably cheap because for a 2 liter NOVA tank slot you only use 80cc out of a 1.2 litre bottle.

I thought at first I had over diluted the first lot of blix because it was considerably paler in colour than the Tetenal, but no, it is right and now the white areas of the paper are just that - not a light cream.

Replenishment is 10cc per 80sq ins conversely Tetenal do not give a replenishment rate which I feel should be more than that.

(if we are to face another 'lock-down' I can see me catching up on a lot of printing I have been putting off.)

Comparing the cost to printing digitally once you have paid out for the kit and a roll of paper, the digital version doesn't get a look in. Apart from being a good bit cheaper it gives a lot more satisfaction.

Last edited by John King; 11th October 2020 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 11th October 2020, 07:42 AM
John King John King is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOReynolds View Post
This is only theoretical - I've not tried it - but once mixed, ferric EDTA (brown bleach) and thiosulphate (fix) will degrade one-another in the presence of oxygen (air). Why not try bleaching in bleach and then fixing in fix? This is, after all, the procedure for film in C41. I can't suggest the timing or temperature but give 50% longer than when the appearance changes. In fact you might consider using C41 bleach and fix. C41 bleach is expensive but can be replenished and used for a long time. Paradoxically, it needs to be aerated (kept in the oxidised state) to work properly.
They do not appear to degrade each other, well not in my experience anyway. Splitting the bleach and fix into 2 seperate elements would make it impractical with my set-up anyway because the NOVA slot processor has only 3 baths. I would then have to have a dish and a heater for the fixer which is totally impractical in my set up. I am pretty certain the Kodak engineers would have taken this into consideration when they formulated the chemicals anyway. It is possible that they have used something else as a buffer to stop any adverse inter-reaction taking place. Kodak may not have had a lot of success in the modern business world, but they are pretty good chemists.

The aeration of the blix is not really convenient in a NOVA, but the developer is constantly being moved around when the paper is agitated. it is not just dipped into the blix and left to bleach out, it is moved constantly up and down and side to side which appears to be enough to carry out the task. I speak from experience not theory. Sometimes in a live situation, theory has to bow to the practical!

As for longevity of the developer and blix, (Kodak only) I have yet to have a problem. I have found that so long as the replenishment rates are strictly adhered to, there is never a problem. Some time ago I actually had the same baths in continual use for over 12 months. Even then it was only to dredge out the sludge at the bottom of each tank slot (with replenishment rate of 10cc per 80 sq ins of paper). I also take an additional precaution where after every session, I clean the tube lids, inside and out and dry them thoroughly. I replace the lids, but then cover the top of the NOVA with cling film which stops most of the evaporation. I have never been one for note taking, but with RA4 I note down the area of every piece of paper I use and ponce 800 sq ins of paper is reached, the developer, stop bath and blix are replenished with 100cc each. (200cc in the case of the stop bath.) One of the few things I am really meticulous about.

Last edited by John King; 11th October 2020 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 11th October 2020, 09:38 AM
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Miha Miha is offline
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Thanks John. Do you mix 5 litres at a time or just 2 litres (to fill up the NOVA slot)?
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Old 11th October 2020, 09:59 AM
John King John King is offline
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Default Mixing RA4

Initially I make 3 litres of developer and blix. 2 litres fill each individual slot to start off with. The remaining litre I split down to 5 x 100cc glass screw top bottles and 1 x 500cc glass bottle. Only 2 litres have the 'starter' included.

When the first 5 x 100cc bottles are used I then decant that into the smaller bottles.

Once I have decanted the 500cc bottle I make another 1 litre and put that into 2 x 500 cc bottles. so on and so forth

As an experiment, with C41 developer which will go off a lot quicker than RA4, I have tried mixing 1 lire at a time and then decanting that into 150cc glass bottles which is the quantity needed for a JOBO processor. These are then heated in the Microwave (Shh don't tell the boss).

The the caps are fitted when the liquid is hot(ish) - about 50C seems to be about right, so when they cool there is a partial vacuum and the liquid shrinks in volume reduces the oxygen levels This appears to be like a lot of work but it appears to work. last Friday I developed a film with pre-mixed developer that was over a month old, it had only slightly discoloured and there were no issues with density or colour balance. I only use the developer once then discard, perhaps not as economical as it could be but it ensures a set standard.
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Old 11th October 2020, 10:11 AM
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Perfect, thanks again John. I've been doing both C41 and E6 and might try RA4 soon. The problem is I don't have any kind of processor available apart from a dish warmer: http://www.kaiser-fototechnik.de/en/...ge.asp?nr=4141
It can accommodate 2 10x8 dishes but I need to find a safelight solution as well.
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Old 11th October 2020, 10:27 AM
John King John King is offline
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Default Ra4

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Originally Posted by Miha View Post
Perfect, thanks again John. I've been doing both C41 and E6 and might try RA4 soon. The problem is I don't have any kind of processor available apart from a dish warmer: http://www.kaiser-fototechnik.de/en/...ge.asp?nr=4141
It can accommodate 2 10x8 dishes but I need to find a safelight solution as well.
Be aware, setting up RA4 can be expensive, but I am sure that you knew that already. The NOVA processors are for the amateur in my opinion the gold standard. You can do print after print with no cleaning out a drum and drying it and hoping the temp of the developer doesn't drop too much. You only have to rinse the paper clips and give them a good shake afterwards

The 10x8 processors if you can find them they are not too bad, but I don't think they are made anymore. I don't think I could work without my Duka safelight which again are not made now, but I have a couple of spare bulbs - possibly the only ones in UK - NO they are not for sale! From the likes of Second Hand Darkroom, complete safelights can be picked up for about 75. You need a Duka 50 the Duka 10 is for B&W only

Last edited by John King; 11th October 2020 at 10:30 AM.
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