Best Strategy for 2L-at-a-time C-41 Developing

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by cbphoto, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    I haven't developed C41 in about a year, and back then I used the large size Rollei kit. It worked very well for me, so long as substituted the Kodak final rinse. It is not as economical to buy 4 mini kits (which is all Freestyle has right now), and I need to fill an 8-reel SS tank. I am not looking for Arista/Tetenal/Unicolor or anything that uses a blix rather separate bleach and fix, and I'm phobic about buying hundreds of dollars of high-volume Kodak concentrates that may go bad before I use them.

    I've searched the forums (and Kodak's PDFs) about the Flexicolor SM F1 + F2 kits, and haven't found much definitive hands-on information regarding volume and shelf life. How much concentrate is there, and how long will they keep (unmixed)? Together they are about $100 and supposedly can run 200-ish rolls before the F2 part needs to be replaced (am I reading that right???).

    What other solutions to this problem have you guys come up with? I REALLY want something simple, although that is starting to seem difficult. Any US-based source for the medium or large Rollei kits?
     
  2. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Buy the smallest C41 Flexicolor and RA4 kits that PDISUPPLY.COM (Rochester, NY) has. (NO, I don't get a commission.) I use the RA4 RT (Roller Transport.) developer/replenisher I use fixer and potassium ferricyanide but you can use their respective blixes. Keep the blix components separate in their respective containers. You should have NO problems with these components EVEN IF they start forming particles with time. Honestly, I have used these after years of storage.

    Store the developer concentrates for the C41 Flexicolor in either glass or PET plastic FILLTED to the rim. I think that the Part A of the FLexicolor does NOT have to be airtight so you can keep it in its original container.

    For the RA4 RT developer store the Part C in either the original container or GLASS. PET plastic will corrode with this highly alkaline product. Parts A and B MUST, MUST, MUST, MUST be stored AIRTIGHT in either PET plastic or glass. Get glass marbles to take up the slack. For TINY quantitites get 50ml liquor bottles or tiny glass bottles and get really small marbles (arts and crafts stores) to take up the slack. (NOte: PEPSI soda bottles have sheer sides without embossed design: these are PET plastic and can be slighly squeezed to let out air: leave no airspace.) These chemicals won't go bad and you won't spend hundreds of dollars. But WATCH OUT for the paper: that is the Achilles' Heel here. Even with simple refrigeration it starts to go bad after about a couple of years. Buy only enough paper to last a year and store it cold. - David Lyga

    NOTA BENE: see my post (today) on extreme C41 dilutions.
     
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  3. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    Thanks David, but I can't figure out the Kodak naming schemes, and don't know what to buy. According to the PDI site, I'd have to spend quite a bit to get much larger quantities than I need. I had it figured out a long time ago, and then products started disappearing. I think I need a simplified kit unless there are stable, low-volume individual components available. Any specific hands-on info on the SM F1 and F2 kits would be very useful. I'm also putting out feelers to a few dealers regarding the Trebla kit. Seems really quite cheap for what you get.

    I do not need RA-4 chems.
     
  4. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Sorry about that. I had not looked at their site for quite a while since I have still so much. The smallest Flexicolor developer they have is 4X5 gal or 20 US gallons for over USD100. You live in NYC: doesn't B&H sell 5 liter sizes, even if they have to order it.? You could easily pick it up.

    Seriously, this is getting difficult and the 'writing is on the wall' about future availability. None of us know what is going to happen, but B&H, I think, still has listed on their website small sizes of C41 chemicals. - David Lyga
     
  5. fotch

    fotch Member

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    What happen to the Kodak color kits at the Photo Formulary? I was unable to find them there.
     
  6. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Fotch the world is, indeed, coming to an end. (Still, I refuse to get a gun.) - David Lyga
     
  7. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    B&H has nothing in stock except a 25 gallon bleach, unfortunately, so I might as well order online and have everything show up at my door.

    I emailed PF yesterday to ask about the kits. If I recall correctly, they were quite expensive and not very high capacity, which is why I went with the Rollei. The Rollei was a good balance - a little pricey compared to buying the high-volume Kodak, but simple, good, and still much, much cheaper than a lab. And no blix!

    Worst case scenario, I could buy four mini-Rolleis and get 40 rolls for $100. Not terrible, but I'd like to do better.
     
  8. wogster

    wogster Member

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    I wonder about the logic. 20 years ago, there was a lab on every street corner, so the market for 4x5Gallon kits, was huge, now there are maybe 10 major labs and a few dozen smaller ones, so the market for those large quantity packages has got to be tiny, certainly a lot smaller then say the market for a 5x1L kit would be.
     
  9. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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  10. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    Unique also carries the Kodak "SM Tank" chems, which are lower volume. Tell me if I have this right:

    If I get five of the 2L dev kit, one each of the 10L bleach and fix, and a handful of the final rinses (I'll have to look up the capacity, but for $3 each, who cares), and I use PE's posted Kodak chart recommending up to 3 re-uses per batch (with extended dev times) of 36-exp rolls, that's 8 rolls per 2L x 3 re-uses x 5 bottles of developer = 120 rolls for $190 shipped. Not terrible.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2012
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The Photographers Formulary has Kodak kits in 1L size. I have used them and they are fine. They are repackaged from larger Kodak kits and the repackaging is done under Nitrogen. IDK if any are left though.

    PE
     
  12. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    Yeah, I thought I read here that they were gone. Wouldn't they only be good for about 12 rolls, though? What do you think of my SM scheme above? Are there better options still available?
     
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Try Trebla chemicals. They make genuine EK kits. The company is run by former EK engineers.

    The Formulary may still have kits left, or may have run off a new batch. I have 2 here.

    PE
     
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  15. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    I emailed a couple of dealers about the Trebla kit yesterday, so hopefully that works out. Seems like a great deal.
     
  16. wogster

    wogster Member

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    That's fine for those of you in the United States, but AFAIK nobody is doing it here in Canada..... There is some stuff by Champion, but the smallest size for developer is 10L.
     
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I've had 10L kits that I divided up myself and used bit by bit. They lasted for a year or so and did a fine job. You just have to look out for the developer part turning dark like coffee. I have had that but at about 1 years time.

    PE
     
  18. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    Looks like the PF is permanently gone, as is the Trebla. I was able to find a Trebla kit left over, though.

    How crucial is the dev starter for the Trebla? It is discontinued.
     
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  19. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    I believe that starter is just bromide (am I incorrect?) to slow things down initially, until enough bromide has gotten into the solution to slow things down on its own. Not needed if you: do 'one shot' and make appropriate time adjustments. Again, correct me if I err. - David Lyga
     
  20. RPC

    RPC Member

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    This is my understanding of the function of the starter and bromide, and someone correct me if I am wrong.

    Bromide is the restrainer, which is not put or needed in replenisher, as it was already in the original developer when it was first mixed, and continually replaced as a by-product of development. The restrainer (usually bromide) is needed in nearly all developers to prevent unexposed silver halides from developing, producing fog.

    Now, If you want to make a working solution out of the replenisher, then you must add starter, which has bromide (restrainer) in it. As far as I know, the only use for starter is to make a working solution out of replenisher. I don't see how it can be left out for one-shot development, even with a time adjustment.
     
  21. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    I think that that is not necessarily the case RPC.

    Look, if you use your working solution 'one shot', there is a built-in consistency there. The TIME and TEMP needed will be consistent for each film because EACH FILM gets its 'new' developer.

    Any necessary restrainer has already been added to the developer by the manufacturer. I have NO problems with fresh film yielding absolutely NO FOG and I use NO starter with my 1+14 dilution (see my recent 'dilution' thread). In fact, the film I normally use 'expired' in 1998 and kept cold: Fuji Super G+ 100. - David Lyga
     
  22. RPC

    RPC Member

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    As I said, the bromide acts as a restrainer and the starter containing bromide has a restraining effect that is lacking in the replenisher. Straight developer mix would already have the restrainer in it. I inferred from cbphoto's post that the trebla kit was replenisher and called for starter. If it is straight developer then it would require no starter.

    In your altered-from-normal process, if you are not getting fog and you are using replenisher, it could be because your developer is soft-working enough that fog doesn't form, similar to developers D-76 and D-23 not requiring restrainer due to them being soft-working.

    But if using replenisher as working solution in the normal manner, I believe leaving the starter out would result in fog or other problems.
     
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  23. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Well, is 'Flexicolor' developer or replenisher?

    Probably both, and geared to 'normal' results with negatives. True, normally, replenishers do not have to have restrainer because they are put into solutions already containing bromide (from the film already developed). Actually, I do not know if there is ANY bromide already in the Flexicolor developer but it works fine without starter and that is the main focus here. - David Lyga
     
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  24. cbphoto

    cbphoto Member

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    I read on an old APUG thread that the Trebla kit uses a replenisher, and you need to buy the $4 starter separately. I did find some, so we'll see what the instructions say when it all actually gets here next week.
     
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  25. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Flexicolor can be either Developer or Replenisher and the packages are labeled as such.

    PE
     
  26. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

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    I tried Kodak replenisher without starter before. It was too hot. It rendered colors that were not natural to my eyes and there was evidence of over development. By looking at the Kodak instruction to prepare working solution from replenisher it explains by itself why the soup was too hot. The replenisher is diluted a bit by adding the starter and the water to become a working developer. Without the proper dilution it is too hot. I am not sure what will happen by diluting with water rather than with the starter and water.

    I am convinced that replenisher is replenisher. It is not the same as a working developer. Starter is cheap and there is plenty of availability.