A newbie to C-41 needs a little help with chemicals

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by djnicepix, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. djnicepix

    djnicepix Member

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    Hello all,
    I would like to start developing C-41, graduating from black and white process. I would like to use Kodak Chemicals as I did with B&W, but am open to other brands if they are better. The real trouble I am having, is that in looking for the developer, Kodak says that their Flexicolor SM tank developer is what I should be using in my small tank. Same thing for the bleach, fixer, rinse and stabilizer. What I find at places like B&H and adorama, is flexicolor developer/starter, or developer/replenisher, not just flexicolor SM tank developer. Could someone out there straighten me out as to what I should get for my small tank. Thanks in advance for your time and help,
    Dean
     
  2. thornhill

    thornhill Subscriber

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    What sort of small tank are you using?
    I've always gone by the Kodak publication Z-131 when I'm using rotary tube process, pages 1-5 and 3-6 from their website. I don't see any mention there of SM. I'm just using Flexicolor developer Cat. #192 7698 which makes 1 US gallon of working solution. Works fine, no starter needed. Hope this helps.
    Derek.
     
  3. steelneck

    steelneck Member

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    Kodak is a mess information-wise, and you also have to develop at that high and very precise temp, they also do not recommend to mix chemicals in small batches and they have not chemicals in small quantities (that also differs on where you live). Kodak is clearly not for the hobbyist and somehow i think the mess is made on purpose as some kind of market move.

    Have a look at the Rollei Digibase C41 chemistry:
    http://www.macodirect.de/rollei-colour-film-developer-sets-c-416_404_534_620.html

    That chemistry is made to be mixed in small quantities and the concentrates have very long shelf life without protective gas and such hassle and it can be used even in room temp (20C), though at a very long developing time. I use it at 30C 8min and get good results. You could also try Tetenal, i have had success with that, also at 30C, but Tetenal have blix instead of bleach and fix separate.
     
  4. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Separate bleach and fix is more archival than a combined blix - something to consider.

    Doing C41 is fun and I don't mean to discourage you from trying it, but I gave up on it and let a lab do it for me since it's cost effective to do so and far more consistent. If I shot a ton of 4x5 C41 I might reconsider, given the high cost of processing but my volume is low so using a lab makes sense here, too.

    E6 is fun too - again, I don't do it anymore for the same reasons, but it is something that every photo hobbyist who likes silver should try once. Seeing positives come out of the tank is really pretty cool.
     
  5. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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  6. fotch

    fotch Member

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  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I replenish mostly, but when I first started I just did one shot.

    The kit makes the replenisher and all.

    This thread lists the times I use http://www.apug.org/forums/forum40/74792-c-41-times-doh.html
     
  8. perminna

    perminna Member

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    There are several kits (from Tetenal, Kodak, Fuji, etc.) available for C-41. Some include 3 chemicals, some more. There's no need to buy chemicals separately.
     
  9. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Thanks Mark.
     
  10. Iwagoshi

    Iwagoshi Subscriber

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    Dean,

    You might want to start here, C41 for Dummies, this should be a sticky.
     
  11. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Moderators please take note. I would like to see this become a sticky too.

    Steve
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Kodak's C-41 chemistry seems to have become somewhat of a mess since the discontinuation of the one-gallon Flexicolor items. I used to be able to go into Samy's or wherever and simply buy a one-gallon kit of developer, a pre-mixed gallon of bleach, a 750 mL bottle of fixer concentrate to make one gallon, and a tiny bottle of Stabilizer or Final Rinse to make one gallon. It cost about $50, and the most expensive part was the bleach, which lasted for two kits'-worth of developer. So, I got eight quarts of working solution for about $80 after tax. I would go through each quart at least twice, bringing the chemical cost down to about $1.25 per roll of 35mm in a quart tank.

    Now, they have a ten liter kit, and also have replenisher on the shelf (just in case ten liters isn't enough :rolleyes:smile:. The bleach bottle on the shelf is now 2.7 L. (What???) The Fixer is the same (to make one gallon), and they don't have stabilizer at all! So, nobody buys ANYTHING from the shelf there anymore, and they will stop carrying it because nobody buys it, because if they buy it, they can't process their film anyhow (no Final Rinse).

    B&H's online selection is hard for me to figure out, and they do not ship many items.

    Nobody at Samy's really knows what they heck is what when it comes to color chemistry, because none of them process it themselves. So asking is a big runaround, and lots of uhms and ers as they try to make sense of the catalog based on one-line descriptions on a computer screen. If only places like Samy's, B&H, and Adorama would group SKUs to let us know what exactly we need to buy to process our color film!

    Freestyle does not carry Kodak color chemistry. I find this to be a damned shame. I used to be able to go in there and get my Kodak 5 L E-6 kits right off of the shelf, but I cannot do this now. I am not going to use the cheesy blix kits they have, which are more expensive and lower in quality than the Kodak kits. Why they choose to carry only an inferior product for more money is beyond me.

    If only Freestyle would bring in Kodak color chemistry! I know they would arrange the stuff into user-friendly groups to help us pick what we need.

    All I can say is that I am glad I stocked up on one-gallon developer kits when I heard they are going to be discontinued. I still have about a dozen left (and two E-6 kits).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2010
  13. fotch

    fotch Member

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    This is sad. One would think that Kodak would continue to make something available so photographers would continue using their color film.

    Instead, its more difficult and now many One Hour labs are closing up. Of course, the quality of roller transport is not as good as self processing so it is needed regardless.

    There is probably a reasonable explanation or just corporate dumbness. :sad:
     
  14. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Film is dead...or at least dead enough that no one really cares about it very much. Ever heard of triage?
     
  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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  16. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Then why come out with new films? Triage, as I understand it, has some logic to it. Introducing new color film and no means or reduced means to develop just seems rather stupid.
     
  17. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    I also buy from Pakor but I bought the individual items from kodak, not the kits. C-41 dev starter, 5 gal size of C41 developer, a 5-gallon size of c-41 bleach (which I'll regenerate at least once), enough fixer to make 20gals (since it's cheap and I can use it for B&W also), and some final rinse off ebay. It's all the regular C-41 process stuff, not the -RA or -SM versions. I can round up part numbers if need be but all the info is on the Pakor site.

    I just noticed Adorama carries the C41 dev and will ship (w/o hazmat fee, apparently!?), so probably will go that route next time. The only thing they and others won't usually ship is the bleach part B. (Pakor will ship it though).
     
  18. i40west

    i40west Member

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    Photographer's Formulary recently started selling a C-41 kit. But I just went to look and get the link, and, well, poof, their website, at least, no longer exists. Does this mean film really is dead?

    I've been using the Tetenal kit. The Kodak chemistry is almost impossible to get: even if you want the large quantities, no one will ship it to you.
     
  19. fotch

    fotch Member

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    They are reconstructing their web site. Call them, they should have it in stock.
     
  20. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I've seen talk here of a new C-41 kit from Rollei, with separate bleach and fixer, in quantities that are sensible for small-volume home darkrooms. I get the impression it's available only in Europe at the moment, but I seem to recall that Freestyle will be selling it in the US Real Soon Now. You might give them a call to verify this. You could also check out Unique Photo. They've got what may be the world's worst Web store, but they do have a lot of otherwise hard-to-find color chemicals. You could call them on the phone to ask questions if you need guidance about what to buy.
     
  21. djnicepix

    djnicepix Member

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    Just read through all the replies so far and want to thank all of you who answered. You have all been of enormus help to me and I really appreciate it. I am going to check out the "C-41 for dummies" for sure. I am glad to see that I am not alone when it comes to deciphering info from Kodak and the store websites about which chemicals I need.
    I believe (my own opinion), that since the age of digital, folks are able to push the shutter button and get instant gratification with a picture on the monitor. Not may folks who love the REAL deal of film. In this light, the manufactures must produce products that make profit and pay shareholders dividends. This is expected as it is only to make money that a company is in business! So, this will leave a much smaller core of niche companies that are able to produce films and chemicals. I do believe that film WILL stay always but be supplied as such mentioned above.
    I will leave this thread open here for all to add to as they wish and fill it up with more great ideas and comments.
    Also, I have purchased the Tetnal Kit and it is on the way. It did seem the most logical and COMPLETE simple kit available to experiment with.
    My heartfelt thanks again to all.
    Dean
     
  22. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Good luck Dean, keep us posted.
     
  23. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    The Kodak bulk chemicals last a very long time when not diluted for use. Since they are liquid you can mix up small lots pretty easily. Kodak even tells you how much to use per liter of working solution. I've done this for a number of years, taking a 3.5 gallon kit and making up a liter at a time. The bulk chemicals seem to stay fresh even a year or more after breaking the seal.

    The SM kits are tuned for use in a small darkroom, as opposed to a production, machine processor, environment. I haven't tried them yet, but they seem to be a wise way to go.

    As detailed in many places on this forum, you really need a separate bleach and fixer for the best results on color film. Many kits use a blix, which does not fully clear out the silver. The kits work, but the results have definite quality problems for the processed film.