Kodak Ektacolor RA4 4x5L DEVELOPER RT (Roller transport) LU (Low Utilisation)
An ideal kit for the low volume user, at an amazing price. Despite the name, this product does not have to be used in roller transport processors, but this is the most common equipment used. The great thing about this kit is that it will make a total of 20 Litres, but is supplied at 4 separate A B & C bottles so you never have to ‘break into’ and make up the next batch of 5 litres until you need to, allowing the concentrates to remain sealed in their packaging. Used to its maximum, this kit would process many hundreds of prints.
Photo shows the 4 A, B and C concentrates + carton. To give an idea of scale, the bottles are only around 250ml size (label says “5 litres” because they will make 5L working solution). Officially this chemistry should be used at 35 degrees C. However, unofficially, we believe it can be used at 20deg with some experimentation.
Developer Starter, click here: this MUST be used when you mix the tank solution from scratch. If you don’t follow the mix instructions for the tank/working solution that includes the small amount of starter, your tank solution will be too active and may chemically fog the paper!
Bleach-Fix / Blix: You also require the blix for RA4, click here.
Hints and tips for successful RA4 processing
If you have any doubt about the activity of your RA4 developer, fully expose a small piece of paper to light and process it. Once dry it should be JET BLACK, with no hint of blue WHATSOEVER (it MUST be dry before you pass judgement as it will always display a hint of blue when wet). Any hint of blue indicates the developer is becoming exhausted (or is too cold or development time too short). It is useful to retain a black test patch you know is good for future comparisons. In a professional lab a control strip would be processed and analysed on a densitometer, but this rough and ready alternative is better than nothing.
A hair dryer is a very useful darkroom accessory for quickly drying colour prints as it is impossible to judge the print when wet. (unlike black and white where a reasonable degree of judgement is possible)
If you are able to find them, a set of Kodak Print Viewing Filters are incredibly useful for assessing colour casts. These are used to momentarily view the print by waving them between your eyes and the print when viewing from, say, a couple of feet.
RA4 chemistry may be used in any of the following equipment:
- Dish processing
- JOBO / Rotary processing
- 12″ table top RT processors like Durst Printo, Thermophot Durst RCP
In our opinion, it is very much worthwhile finding a small table top processor if you plan to anything more than a few prints now and then. We are fans of the Durst Printo because of its clever design and that each bath is 2.5L. The issues to watch out for with the Printo are: burnt out heater elements and degraded exit rollers which can stick together or disintegrate. However we do know of a company in Birmingham who will re-rubber these rollers, please contact us for details. As a minimum, you only need 2 Printo modules for RA4 (both need to be heated) as you can rinse the print yourself after it exits the blix. This also means you have a print in your hand in 90 seconds, which is very useful for test prints.
Small 12″ table top processors are capable of processing anything from very small volumes up to small studio levels – for example a photographer who prints their own weddings or studio shoots.
Note: Unless you can obtain a special safelight or safelight filter, there is NO safelight when handling colour paper, it must be handled in complete darkness, which is another reason why the table top processors are so useful, you feed the print, shut the lid and then you can turn on white lights. But even if you do obtain a colour safelight, they are very dim and still prone to fogging the paper. So it’s just easier not to bother, in our opinion, and just learn a new way of working.