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View Full Version : RA-4 chemicals: which Kodak product for rotary tank processors (Jobo)?



Wade Guisbert
16-Jan-2010, 17:01
I have been using the Tetenal Mono PK RA-4 "kit" for my initial foray into prints from color negs. It is working just fine!

However, it looks as if I buy Kodak Ektacolor RA Paper Developer, 1 Gallon manufacturer # 1478817 and Kodak Ektacolor RA2 Bleach/Fix SM Tank, 6.3L manufacturer # 8915753 I would be able to do it for less than half the cost.

Any suggestions?

SamReeves
16-Jan-2010, 17:04
There's nothing wrong with Kodak's RA-4 chemistry, though it doesn't get sold in a kit. You'll need to figure out how much you'll want to use, and buy accordingly.

Usually I use the bleach-fix twice, and that can add up to some savings.

Wade Guisbert
16-Jan-2010, 17:23
Thanks Sam!

However I get confused by the "adjectives": additive, starter, replenisher. I'm thinking these relate to some large automated processor. Or do I just ignore these descriptors, and just buy "any old" Kodak RA developer and bleach/fix?

Larry Gebhardt
16-Jan-2010, 17:53
I use these:

Dev http://www.adorama.com/KKRADRRT.html with http://www.adorama.com/KKRADS.html
Blix http://www.adorama.com/KKRABFR10L.html

I have heard the starter isn't needed, but I use it.

When using RA4 in either the Jobo or the roller processor I use a stop bath between the two steps. In the jobo I replenish at about 29ml/8x10 for the dev and 20ml/8x10 for the blix if my memory serves me right. To replenish I just count my prints up, multiply by the replenishment rate and add to the storage bottle. I discard any leftover used solution that doesn't fit in the bottle. May not be the right way to do it, but it seems to work fine.

I mix these up in 1 liter increments. The math is easy since each makes 10 liters, so I just measure out a 10th of the bottle.

The mixed developer is mixed to replenisher strength. To make a working solution you add some water and some starter. The amounts are on the starter bottle. The blix is used at mixed strength, and replenished with the same.

Hope this helps.

Allen in Montreal
16-Jan-2010, 18:39
Wade, what size prints are you most likely to make?

Wade Guisbert
17-Jan-2010, 05:15
Larry,
At this point I will follow your lead. Thank you so much for the effort and the web addresses!

Allen,
For the most part I use 8X10 to test time and filtration, and print to 20x24. Then I usually find I want to further adjust the time, filtration and cropping after looking at the "whole" 20X24. So I do several more 8X10's then do another 20X24. Then again, I can still want a few adustments. It is not unusual to do six 8x10's and three 20X24's till I am kind of happy.

All the time I am having fun! For some reason the paper in the trash doesn't bother me, but the dwindling chemicals does!

Wade Guisbert
17-Jan-2010, 05:44
The Fujicolor Crystal Archive 20X24 is $2.00/sheet the Tetenal Mono PK is $6.00/sheet.

I cut the 20X24 into six 8X10's, so if I go through the process three times, it is $32.00.

I can't really complain too much about that, it keeps me in the basement the better part of a day and out of my wife's eyesight. I could spend a lot more bowling or golfing (or getting a lap dance as I remind my wife),but I was a poor kid and also now that I am semi-retired I can't help but watch the pennies!

Wade Guisbert
17-Jan-2010, 07:01
If I still use 300ml/20X24 print on my Jobo with the 3063 tank with the solutions Larry suggested, it will cost $0.86/20X24 print in regards to chemicals. This will reduce my costs for a "three trial" 20X24 to $11.44! Shoot, Adorama charges $14.40 for a 20X24 digital print from a 60MB file.

If I make 100 prints the next year, I will save enough for two lap dances and at least 10 hours with a divorce lawyer. I wonder if Tiger Woods was familiar with cost benifit analysis?

All humor aside, is my thinking reasonable?

IanMazursky
17-Jan-2010, 14:41
I have heard the starter isn't needed, but I use it.

Starter is important for these developers and bleaches (especially in E-6 and C-41 if its required).
They kick off a seasoned tank solution which helps to minimize variations in color and density.
Kits like the kodak 1 gal e-6 and the c-41 1 gal dev have the starter mixed in or as part of one of the mixes.
A good thing about the starter concentrate is they last almost forever.
IIRC, In one of the kodak tech pubs i read they have the life listed as indefinitely.

Im sure you can use it without but the results can be unpredictable and repeatability can become an issue.
I accidentally forgot it once in the E-6 CD and it didn't look good to say the least.
RA4 may be a bit different in that you can compensate with a different filter pack.

Drew Wiley
17-Jan-2010, 20:40
I always use Kodak starter chemisty one-shot in drums, no replenishment. Didn't
have as good luck with Tetenal. Do up to 30X40's that way.

tgtaylor
17-Jan-2010, 23:20
If you use it aas "one shot," the 10L kit http://www.adorama.com/KKRADRRT.html will make 12.5L of working tank solution. For mixing instructions see the Kodak Pub CIS-49 Preparing Smaller Than Package Size Amounts of Kodak Procesing Chemicals on Kodak's website.

SamReeves
18-Jan-2010, 10:29
Starter is important for these developers and bleaches (especially in E-6 and C-41 if its required).
They kick off a seasoned tank solution which helps to minimize variations in color and density.
Kits like the kodak 1 gal e-6 and the c-41 1 gal dev have the starter mixed in or as part of one of the mixes.
A good thing about the starter concentrate is they last almost forever.
IIRC, In one of the kodak tech pubs i read they have the life listed as indefinitely.

Im sure you can use it without but the results can be unpredictable and repeatability can become an issue.
I accidentally forgot it once in the E-6 CD and it didn't look good to say the least.
RA4 may be a bit different in that you can compensate with a different filter pack.

It's not a big jump on the filter packs. That's always going to change a little between printing sessions. I've never used the starter with the Kodak RA-4, but then again I'm mixing the chemistry to be one shot for the developer. I've never replenished squat. :)

IanMazursky
18-Jan-2010, 10:57
I dont replenish developers either since i run it in a rotary tube, it mixes in to much air.
I spoke with a kodak tech years ago and he gave me some good reasons to use starter so i do
It was also needed when i used to run control strips and i was plotting everything.
Even used as a one shot, the plots went way to far out when i didn't use the starter.
Starter is inexpensive and shelf stable. If it says its needed for the particular chemistry i use just to be safe.
I know some of the color chemistry doesn't need it, maybe RA4 also falls into that category since you can compensate.

Im getting back into color here for my LVT so i have to start the plots all over again. Fun fun!
I still have starter from a few years back that is perfectly good so i will use it.
I guess at some point i can try to see if there is a big enough difference. But it doesn't seem to be worth the few pennies saved.

tgtaylor
18-Jan-2010, 11:30
Does the "RT" in Kodak Ektacolor RA Paper Developer / Replinisher RT stand for "Room Temperature?" I'm beginning to suspect it does and would explain why I'm limited to 10 to 15 second exposures at f16 @95F in a Jobo.

IanMazursky
18-Jan-2010, 11:34
RT stands for Roller Transport.
The RT set of chemicals where meant for roller transport processors.

"KODAK EKTACOLOR RA Developer Replenisher RT
This developer has built-in protection from oxidation and evaporation that makes it particularly suitable for roller-transport processors and continuous processors with low utilization."
http://www.kodak.com/global/en/business/retailPhoto/products/chemicals/ektacolor1.jhtml?pq-path=12552

Kodaks manual J-39 (http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/j39/j39.pdf) has a little more info on using Kodak RA4 chemistry in a jobo.

tgtaylor
18-Jan-2010, 11:57
The reason I asked was because PE and others on apug advised against using the starter if one was processing at room temperature ("RT"). As I never even thought about RA4 processing at RT, I thought the RT designation could stand for room temperature.

You learn something new every day around here!

IanMazursky
18-Jan-2010, 12:38
If PE said to use it without a starter i would take his advice.
He is the master of this alchemy!

When you run out of the RT, i would test the regular RA4 paper developer for the jobo.
I know a number of jobo users who use the regular RA4 dev and can expose at whatever they want.

I think Tentenal still makes a room temperature RA4 kit.
I bought one a few years back and didn't have much success with it.
But that could be due to the Ilfochrome printing filters in my D2 and my attempt at tray processing.
Not an ideal situation at the time.

Larry Gebhardt
19-Jan-2010, 09:23
I forgot to mention that when I use the Jobo I use 25RPM to keep the oxidation down.

Also get some of the Kodak Test strips. They will save you major headaches if you somehow contaminate the components, or mix improperly. I don't bother to plot them with a densitometer, I just run one periodically throughout the day. Visually you can get a good feel if things are going ok as far as replenishment, or if you aren't washing the drum enough and have contaminated your developer.

al olson
21-Jan-2010, 08:01
Thanks, Ian, your information may have solved my problem.

I have been using a DoMac roller transport for 10 years now. Initially, I was buying the RA-4 chemicals from an east coast supplier. However, I found the Kodak chemicals to be much cheaper so I reset the temperatures to use the Kodak.

My problem is that when I process paper 11x14 and larger, the last inch or so, depending on the color, becomes noticeably lighter. I have blamed this on the fact that after the end of paper passes by the lucite rollers that hold it in the bottom of the developer trough, it pops up out of the developer.

I have theorized that the developer has become locally exhausted at that point and misses a few seconds more agitation that the rest of the paper received.

I never had this problem with the other developer in the DoMac. The Kodak RA-4 works fine in the Jobo and I have been using the Jobo for my final prints. However, the DoMac is more convenient and I still use it for making test prints with a lot of refreshing.

I was never aware that there was an RT version of RA-4. I had never seen it stocked in the photo stores, only the non-RT version. From reading the Kodak links in your post, it seems that I should be using the RT to solve the DoMac problem. I am going to request that my photo supplier order a few gallons of RT with their next shipment.

Thanks again,