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Thread: Anyone Made RA-4 Color Prints From Ektar Negatives?

  1. #1

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    Jul 2018
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    Anyone Made RA-4 Color Prints From Ektar Negatives?

    I am about to start printing some new RA-4 color prints from Kodak Ektar negatives and I was wondering if anyone here has done this before?

    I would be interested to learn about your overall thoughts about the prints and if you have a starting filter set for Ektar other than the typical 50M, 50Y?

    If I end up liking anything that I print, I will share some photos. I have no idea how this is going to turn out.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Anyone Made RA-4 Color Prints From Ektar Negatives?

    Quite a few of us do it. I use various Fuji RA4 papers. The starting filter values vary relatively little batch to batch, but you do need to calibrate to your own reference negative. RA4 is fairly straightforward once you pin down the key variables of temp, timing, chem freshness etc. A slightly bigger problem is learning how to correctly expose Ektar in a manner that makes it fully cooperative. It's somewhat different than other color neg films. But to appreciate that, you need to land on first base with what you already have and see if it meets your personal expectations or not, and go from there.

  3. #3

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    Re: Anyone Made RA-4 Color Prints From Ektar Negatives?

    Hi Drew, good to hear. Can you or anyone else that is making RA4 prints from Ektar post some pics here? I would love to see them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Quite a few of us do it. I use various Fuji RA4 papers. The starting filter values vary relatively little batch to batch, but you do need to calibrate to your own reference negative. RA4 is fairly straightforward once you pin down the key variables of temp, timing, chem freshness etc. A slightly bigger problem is learning how to correctly expose Ektar in a manner that makes it fully cooperative. It's somewhat different than other color neg films. But to appreciate that, you need to land on first base with what you already have and see if it meets your personal expectations or not, and go from there.

  4. #4

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    Re: Anyone Made RA-4 Color Prints From Ektar Negatives?

    I print from Ektar occasionally. It's not any different from printing other film stocks. Yes of course, color rendition and saturation are specific to Ektar, but each film has its own characteristic. I don't think I scanned any of those prints, so sorry, no examples. But even if I had, what would a digital scan really tell anyway? The digital part of the process always gets in the way of really judging the end result.

    Just give it a go and ignore any feeling you might have of Ektar being 'special' or 'different'. It's a unique film for sure, but printing it is really not more challenging or different to any other C41 film.

  5. #5

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    Re: Anyone Made RA-4 Color Prints From Ektar Negatives?

    Thank you. Any recommendations on improving archival properties of RA-4 prints? I assume a dilute selenium toner bath is okay on RA-4 prints?


    Quote Originally Posted by koraks View Post
    I print from Ektar occasionally. It's not any different from printing other film stocks. Yes of course, color rendition and saturation are specific to Ektar, but each film has its own characteristic. I don't think I scanned any of those prints, so sorry, no examples. But even if I had, what would a digital scan really tell anyway? The digital part of the process always gets in the way of really judging the end result.

    Just give it a go and ignore any feeling you might have of Ektar being 'special' or 'different'. It's a unique film for sure, but printing it is really not more challenging or different to any other C41 film.

  6. #6

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    Re: Anyone Made RA-4 Color Prints From Ektar Negatives?

    Proper storage conditions; check the datasheet of your RA paper. Dark, cool storage is best. They should last decades that way.
    Selenium toner isn't going to be beneficial in any way.

  7. #7

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    Re: Anyone Made RA-4 Color Prints From Ektar Negatives?

    That makes sense when I think about it. The RA-4 prints are dye-based and the selenium changes the silver compounds in b/w prints and so selenium won't have any impact on the RA-4 prints. I am just wondering if there is anything that can be done that is similar to selenium toning for b/w. What about Sistan? I was thinking it was made for helping with oxidation, but I could be remembering that incorrectly?


    Quote Originally Posted by koraks View Post
    Proper storage conditions; check the datasheet of your RA paper. Dark, cool storage is best. They should last decades that way.
    Selenium toner isn't going to be beneficial in any way.

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Anyone Made RA-4 Color Prints From Ektar Negatives?

    I use Fuji Crystal Archive papers. How "archival" Archive really is depends on quite a few factors including display conditions. But I would recommend washing them well, certainly more than the mere 2 min that automated processors typically do. Sistan probably won't help with dyes. Fuji give a somewhat cryptic as usual hint, but a distinct one, that their polyester-based Supergloss is going to be more permanent than equivalent RC paper base, and that seems logical because residual color couplers are going to wash out better. But full gloss isn't appropriate for every subject. The limiting factor with chromogenic RA4 papers is not just when dyes will eventually fade, but also when residual dye couplers will yellow enough to spoil the appearance of the print.

  9. #9

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    Re: Anyone Made RA-4 Color Prints From Ektar Negatives?

    Sistan isn't going to do much either. It's also designed to bind to silver grains, so it won't work magic on dyes. The best archival treatment for ra4 paper is thorough blixing followed by a decent wash. Since it's essentially PE paper, the wash doesn't need to be as thorough as for fiber based b&w paper.
    The main factor in aging of ra4 prints is exposure to heat and more importantly UV. Stored in a cool dark place, the dyes will degrade the slowest. They will eventually break down though. Organic dyes just will never be as stable as the metal particles in a silver print.

  10. #10
    Andrej Gregov
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    Re: Anyone Made RA-4 Color Prints From Ektar Negatives?

    I print RA4 primarily with Portra films. When I have tried Ektar, I found it challenging to color correct. It was quite sensitive in the green/magenta, sometimes requiring under 1 point corrections to get rid of a magenta cast. All Kodak films were reformulated some years ago to make them scan easier. Ektar changes likely caused it to become more difficult to deal with in the color darkroom. If your normal starting point is 50M/50Y in the color pack, you might try removing 5 points of magenta and start with 55M/50Y. But color heads vary so much, just pick a starting point and go. You'll get to a new range quickly.

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