blotchy first attempt at C41 - any ideas?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by mkillmer, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. mkillmer

    mkillmer Member

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    I processed my first roll of Color film (Kodak ultramax 400) with my new tetenol kit. The process seemed to work, but about 1/3rd of the pictures have dark irregular stains. I've included some of examples. Any ideas?
     

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  2. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Each of these problems appear to be the result of processing errors. The middle image indicates inadequate developer solution, and this could also be apart of the problem with the others. Agitatoin methods could be apart of the problem.
     
  3. mfratt

    mfratt Member

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    The first few times I tried C-41, I was trying to keep it at the recommended 102º F. I don't know if my agitation was off or what, but I got some funky results on my 4x5 negatives not dissimilar to what you have there: weird, blotchy color shifts, etc.

    Because of the short development times at those temperatures, it really has to be spot on perfect or you greatly increase your chances of screwing up your film from improper agitation, bubbles, etc.

    I've been processing in handheld inversion tanks at room temperature ever since I killed an entire batch of 4x5 negs from trying to do it at 102º, and have had quite acceptable results for both roll and sheet film. I've used both the Arista and Tetenal kits, 13.5mins in developer and 8 mins in blix @ 68º, agitating for 5 sec ever 30 seconds.

    Yes, it takes a lot longer, but if you're going to be hand processing, it leaves much much more margin for error.
     
  4. timparkin

    timparkin Member

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    I don't know exactly what your problem is but I have found that a good 2-3 minute pre wash helped a lot..
     
  5. mkillmer

    mkillmer Member

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    Yes! You are right -it does look like too little developer!
    I definitely put in more than enough. Is it possible for the spiral to get caught mid way up the central tube in the tank due to agitation? How do I stop this from happening?
     
  6. Stew

    Stew Member

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    Put a rubber band on the center tube above the reel , that should do the trick.:smile:
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    If you did not use a prewet before processing, this may be part of the problem. It also looks like insufficient agitation in the first developer and in the bleach bath.

    Remember people, a light spot in the positive is a dark spot in the negative and so insufficient developer would give a dark edge in the positive and not a light edge as seen above. Blotches indicate either insufficient agitation or no pre-wet in a drum or tank process.

    PE
     
  8. Makten

    Makten Member

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    This is really interesting! If there are no cons except for the extended time, why have we never heard of this? :smile: I would much, much rather take the extra time than going through the PITA of keeping 38C and having to stress and hurry with the developer.

    I know that Tetenal themselves claim that you can develop at 30C for 8 minutes, so if that doesn't affect the colors, it makes perfect sense to do it at 20C for an extended time.

    Anyone else tried this? I don't want to screw up my film. :tongue:
     
  9. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    No secret really, in the machine processing section the JOBO/Tetenal instructions list 75F 17:30 dev, 8:00 blix so the 13.5 dev at 68F seems a bit short but if it works, use it I guess! However, 104F is listed as the recommended temperature for machine processing (doesn't say why).
     
  10. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I have tried and tried to do C41 at 20 deg C and have gotten high yellow or low cyan contrast or both. I have never been able to get a matched curve set from low temperature processing due to diffusion problems with the developer.

    PE
     
  11. Jan Normandale

    Jan Normandale Member

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    I'm about to start using a CPE 2 and have been using a Paterson tank. Are there any threads showing images using a Jobo vs "by hand" developing. The times are considerably different and I'm wondering how to deal with the "temp loss" curve of manual vs continual temp of Jobo with substantially shorter developing times.
     
  12. OzJohn

    OzJohn Member

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    Like PE I've tried C41 processing at lower temps and could never make it work. When I was developing colour I always used Kodak Flexicolor chemicals but I doubt that there is any magic ingredient in Tetenal any other brand that would improve the result. To prove the point to my own satisfaction I once shot four identical films under studio conditions using colour targets as the subject and had one processed by a pro lab, another at the local Kodak 1 hour lab and I developed the other 2 - one at 37degC and the other at 24degC, both in Flexicolor. Can't remember the timing I was using for the 24deg process but I recall it was long and based on a consensus of advice gleaned from various sources at the time (mainly magazines) and seemed to produce correct overall density with negs that looked OK.
    I learnt a lot about neg development from the experiment because not only did I establish that the negs developed at 24deg contained a virtually uncorrectable cyan cast but also that the standard of my processing even at 37deg fell a bit short of both the lab processed films - printable but lacking their neutrality and clean colours. There was very little difference between the dip and dunk pro lab result and the 1 hour lab down the street.
    The experiment caused me to get a Jobo machine for film processing. After much trial and error I was able to get results pretty much identical to a lab but I always re-ran the comparison test at least half yearly until I stopped processing colour film a few years ago.

    OzJohn
     
  13. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    With plastic Paterson Super System 4 tanks and a simple water bath I get excellent temperature control. In fact I tried without a bath once using a higher starting temperature and it works too but I feel better using the water bath so that is what I stick with. 39C/102F at the start works well for me, I just have to look at the stopwatch to make sure I don't do an unintentional push as 3:30 goes by fast...
     
  14. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    There is a thread about the Rollei C-41 kit here somewhere. The kit claims you can process at 20ºC with extended times, and I tried it with comparisons against Kodak Flexicolor at both 20ºC and 38ºC. All results at 20ºC were awful. With scanning and heavy color manipulation in Photoshop I was able to almost match the color from the normal Kodak stuff at 38ºC, but saturation was off and it just wasn't right.

    I have used a warm water bath to do standard inversion processing with great results, but I too use a Jobo for my color work.
     
  15. Chris Douglas

    Chris Douglas Member

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    I use Unicolor kits but I suspect they are similar. I use a metal 16 oz tank with an empty spiral on top, and use 15 oz of chemistry. Two inversions every 30 seconds, with thermostatically controlled water bath. I generally follow the directions and always get good results. Good luck.