Technical Data sheet for Tetenal Work, RA-4 paper


Print on Tetenal RA-4 Glossy

Magazine Test of Tetenal Work RA-4 (magazine unknown; date around 1996)
Written by John Tinsley. Entitled
"Tetenal werks, ja !"

Tetenal are rapidly becoming the top supplier of colour materials for the small and medium sized darkroom. The variety of chemistry now available varies from room temperature RA-4 chemistry through both 3 and 6-bath E-6 to one of the widest range of products for black-and-white work of any manufacturer. Not only is the range wide, but the chemistry is available in small and medium packs suitable for small scale and occasional use.

Colour printing in the small darkroom is gradually changing over to the RA-4 process. RA-4, which stands for Rapid Access, is a process which can develop, stop and fix colour paper in around two minutes, which means that a minilab can produce colour prints between three and four times more quickly than with the older EP-2 process, and the effect on lab profits are not inconsiderable. Up to now, the quality of RA-4 materials have not been as high as EP-2.

EP-2 (Ektaprint 2), a Kodak process originally, is characterised by prints of good gradation, excellent colour balance and low to medium contrast, just right for portraiture and fine art work. RA-4, on the other hand has shown a tendency to brash extreme contrast and colour, with the paper difficult to process in some chemistry packages. It's been fine for 6x4in miniprints of holiday snaps, but not for 24x20in delicate autumn landscape scenes. Once or twice, too, I've noticed a tendency for RA-4 prints to exhibit 'crossed curves', a peculiar and most unpleasant effect where highlights and shadows have opposite colours -a red highlight has a cyan shadow, or, more commonly, a print with an overall magenta cast has green shadows. It's caused by different emulsion layers developing at different speeds, and there's not a lot you can do except change paper or chemistry and hope the problem goes away. For these reasons, I have tended to use the EP-2 process for the highest quality work, using Agfa type 8 paper and Process 92 chemistry. It takes a little longer, but the results have been worth while.

Recently there has been a much needed improvement in the quality of RA-4 paper, and Tetenal's new 'Work' paper is the best I've used so far. It is still bright and maybe still just a little brash, like the box, but it is the easiest RA-4 paper to grade that I've used so far. It is also possible to match a colour exactly, the first time I've ever been able to do it with RA-4 materials. Better still, Tetenal's 'Work' paper will process easily in Tetenal's Mono PK room temperature chemistry, and is slightly cheaper than other materials on the market.
Those switching to 'Work' paper will be reminded a little of EP-2 paper. 'Work' is slightly faster than the other RA-4 papers I've tried, an exposure time of 4.5 seconds at f8 being about right for a 10x7in enlargement from a 35mm Kodak Ektacolor Gold 160 negative on an LPL enlarger. Normally I'd have used about six seconds. Filtration, too, is more like EP-2 with LPL values of 70Y, 50M being used as opposed to values more like 50Y and 35M. Contrast is still high, but seems to be more acceptable.

'Work' paper from Tetenal is available in both gloss and semi-matt finishes, in sizes from 12.7x8.9cm up to 70x50.8cm and, as a price guide, costs around £33 for a box of 100 sheets of 10x8in, and just under £11 for ten sheets of 16x12in.

This page last modified: 8th May 2012