Buying Flexicolor C41 chems will drive you nuts

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by SkipA, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    Buying Kodak Flexicolor chemicals for C41 processing is just plain difficult. It's hard to figure out what you need in the first place because there are multiple flavors (LORR, SM, RA, and regular, it seems). No supplier stocks all of the CAT numbers, or even necessarily stocks compatible quantities of the various chemicals. Kodak keeps changing the concentrate volumes and CAT numbers. Some are in gallons, some in liters. Vendors sell different minimum or case quantities. The prices are all over the map.

    The sticky List of Color Chemicals and Where To Get Them at the top of this forum is not even especially accurate or very useful anymore for Flexicolor C41 chemicals.

    I have screen shots of my shopping cart at Adorama, Pakor, and PSFNY down below to illustrate the point. I went looking for Ed's list of chemicals from that sticky thread:

    # 444-0296 - KODAK FLEXICOLOR C41 FIXER AND REPLENISHER, 5 GALLONS, 4 PER CASE, KODAK#1693837 $6.66
    # 444-0364 - KODAK FLEXICOLOR C41 DEVELOPER REPLENISHER, 5 GALLONS, 1 PER CASE, KODAK#1919042 $23.10
    # 444-0375 - KODAK FLEXICOLOR C41 DEVELOPER STARTER, MAKES 17.75 GALLONS, 1 PER BOX, KODAK#1953009 $4.50
    # 444-0401 - KODAK FLEXICOLOR C41 BLEACH, 5 GALLONS, 1 PER BOX, KODAK#1987924 $77.21
    # 444-1044 - KODAK FLEXICOLOR C41 FINAL RINSE AND REPLENISHER, 75 GALLONS, 2 PER CASE, KODAK#8486268 $34.00

    Note in the above list, the 444-nnnn numbers are Pakor numbers. The Kodak CAT numbers are at the end next to the prices. Those prices are from 7/25/2011, and in several cases they are considerably higher today. Much of the price difference appears to be due to the replacement of the one part bleach with the two part Bleach III.

    I tried to match up the list above as best I could at Pakor, PSFNY, and Adorama. It's impossible to match it up completely. PSFNY does not sell the 5 gallon developer / replenisher CAT 1919042. Instead, they sell CAT 1532753, which is 5x5 gallons. Neither Adorama nor Pakor sell the 5x5. They only sell the 1x5 gallon. So to make it somewhat comparable, I added 5 of the 1919042 to my cart for Adorama and Pakor.

    At PSFNY and Pakor, you can buy everything you need for process C-41, although the costs are wildly different. At Adorama, you can't, because they don't sell all of the chemicals. I find it rather bizarre that Adorama sells part A of the bleach, but not part B.

    A huge difference you'll notice in the prices below between PSFNY and Pakor is the because of the Final Rinse and Replenisher. At Pakor, 12x12.5 gallon is $12.01. At PSFNY the exact same thing is $161.41. How weird is that?

    Now none of these have shipping calculated. I know from experience that Pakor will be outrageous, and they can't even tell you exactly what it will cost if you call them on the phone. You won't know until it is shipped. For what I have listed for Adorama, it'll be $103 shipping. PSFNY will be $144 shipping, but that is a considerably greater amount of product than from Adorama. Even with Pakor's typically high shipping cost, I very much doubt they could be more expensive than PSFNY, mainly because of the price difference for the final rinse.

    To get the best prices, I'll have to split my order between PSFNY and Pakor (that $12.01 for 12x12.5 gallons of final rinse is a steal).

    I wish I could just buy this stuff in a conveniently packaged 5 gallon kit.
     

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  2. RichardH

    RichardH Member

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    That's the exact reason I went with B+H and got the Tetenal C-41 Press kit ( powder) for 19.95 1-Lit kit.

    If I lived in N.Y. I could get everthing from their store.


    Richard
     
  3. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Don't know if it's still available but this kit is all you need, http://204.8.121.79/techbullfilmpac401.asp Developer, bleach, fix, and replenisher.

    It does show on Pakor's web site. http://www.pakor.com/Products/TRELUX_FILMPAC_C-41RA_KIT_FUJI55FP475_444-2648.cfm

    And Nova Graphics web site http://novagraphics.net/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=9&products_id=3169

    Even if it had to be special ordered with their next stock order (been a while since I bought my last kit and I think Pakor had to order it for me then) it makes it simple and the kit is great.
     
  4. rustyair

    rustyair Member

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    Thanks! Does anyone have experience buying the Trelux FilmPAC Kit either from Pakor's or Nova Graphics?

    475 rolls of 135 for $60 something is very ideal to me and looks like I got to purchase this Trelux kit before I go insane.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2012
  5. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    Skip, thanks for the update. I buy from adorama when possible, as they often don't charge hazmat, when pakor almost always does. That 5 gal bleach kit contains both part A and B. I think it is the smallest size of both parts, available together. It is almost infintely recyclable, using bleach regenerator. I would go with the 1x5 gal developer, not 5x5 gal. It will take a while to use all that and dev is the one thing that has a shelf life, even unmixed.

    Pakors price on the rinse is probably per each, so multiply x 12 for the per case price. They might ship partial, but not sure...they may only ship full cases. You can make your own final rinse with photoflow, it is essentially the same thing.

    Don't give up, it is worth the effort!

    Ed
     
  6. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    Mark, that is a very interesting option! I was aware of Trebla, but I didn't know they offered a convenient pre-packaged kit. I really want to use Kodak Flexicolor chemicals, but Kodak makes it so darn difficult to figure out what you need to order, and then the way its supplied through the distribution network makes it too much of an adventure. If you figure out what you need in Kodak chemicals, it'll be good for one time only. By the time you use it all up and go to buy more, Kodak will have changed their CAT numbers or packaged volumes and you'll have to figure it all out again.

    The ease and low cost of buying the Trebla FilmPac is hard to resist. I'm likely to go that route. I can't understand why Kodak doesn't do the same. If there is a market for the Trebla FilmPac, then that market exists for Kodak too, yet they ignore it.

    Is there a difference between C41 and C41RA?

    From reading about the FilmPac at the http://204.8.121.79/techbullfilmpac401.asp site, I gather that all of these included items in the quantities supplied are intended to be sufficient to process 475 rolls of film in a replenished system.

    1 x 10 Liters of TL-50 Developer
    1 x 2.4 Liters of C-41RA Bleach
    3 x 5 Liters of C-41RA Fixer
    2 x 10 Liters of ELF Stabilizer

    I'm guessing most people will use the chemicals one-shot rather than in continuous repenished operation. Does Trebla provide any mixing instructions for one-shot use?

    One last thing --- reverse DNS on 204.8.121.79 doesn't return anything. Who exactly are you buying from at that IP address, and is it trustworthy? Do they ship for reasonable prices?
     
  7. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    Ed, thanks for the encouragement. I'm sure I'll eventually figure it out, but one has to have masochistic tendencies to want to deal with the confusion and difficulty of ordering Kodak chemicals.

    I figured that what Pakor is listing as $12.01 for a case of 12 is probably really per each. $144 is more in line with PSFNY's $161 for the same item. Just another hurdle in the quest for Flexicolor chemicals.

    Adorama doesn't have a 5 gallon bleach listed on their site anymore Ed. What they have listed now is Kodak C-41 Flexicolor Bleach III Replenisher, 12.5-Gallons, Part A. The CAT number is 8184038, which matches up with what I see on Pakor and PSFNY. It's 12.5 gallons, not 5 gallons, so I don't think it's the same as what you are referring to. And it is weird to offer part A only without part B.

    My shipping price from Adorama to Texas is $103 for what I have listed there. It would be $81 if I bought just one case of developer CAT 1919042, which is what I'd actually do. That is still pretty hefty. Notice that I don't have a final rinse in my cart for Adorama. They only package it in very small sizes that, when compared to buying a case from Pakor or PSFNY, is many times the cost.

    It's aggravating that you can't get everything from one place without either having to buy five times what you need, or being charged outrageous hazmat shipping charges that can't even be quoted to you on the phone.
     
  8. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Just FYI the 475 roll figure is for 24-shot rolls and in continuously replenished system.

    This kit is much more economic especially if you shoot a lot and process very regularly you could get up somewhere close to the capacity of the kit, but you probably will get considerably less.

    With my first kit I got about 70-80 as I remember, that included all my mistakes in learning the system.

    Second kit was well over 100.

    Now I could probably get about 200-250 if I shot that many rolls in a year.
     
  9. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I am hoping they still do the kit.

    Well worth asking those suppliers.

     
  10. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    Fun, isn't it?
    I went to Calumet a couple years ago to get the necessary sm 41 stuff as I hadn't processed c41 before and after reading all the threads on it, was more confused than when I started. They didn't know what to sell me. I walked out with most of what I needed but as others have said, they didn't have it all. Now i use the rollei kits from freestyle.
     
  11. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Personally I think Kodak would do well with a kit that contains all of the chemicals required, but rather then sell based on size, sell based on capacity. For example a 10 roll kit, a 25 roll kit, maybe a 100 roll kit.... Really what the heck would I do with 570L of final rinse, when I process less then 12 rolls a year.....
     
  12. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    Yup, even some of the merchants who sell the chemicals don't understand what is needed, probably because most of their attention is focused on selling digicams. As a result, they don't know what to stock or how to advise a customer.

    I've used some small kits, and I've read good things about all of them. I'm just trying to get a lower cost of processing per roll, which will allow me shoot and process more rolls for the same amount of money. The Rollei Digibase kit at Freestyle has a 10 roll capacity. The kit plus shipping is $30. For 10 rolls, that's $3.00 per roll. I realize that you can get more than the specified capacity from most kits, but I prefer not to extend the designed capacity very much. It's just too risky. You can't reprocess a film to correct a problem caused by using exhausted chemistry.

    It should be possible to get per-roll costs down below a dollar by using bulk chemicals. The reality today is that if you want to do that, you have to pay in other ways.
     
  13. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    Whether a kit is specified in liters or gallons or in number of rolls wouldn't matter to me. Usually both are provided by kit makers. The problem is that Kodak doesn't make any kits at all. They used to, but they dropped them years ago.

    By the way, Rollei Digibase apparently has kits in 10, 20, and 50 roll capacities. Freestyle only stocks the 10 roll kit. You do usually get economies of scale by buying larger kits. But this has to be balanced with the risk of not using them completely before they go bad, or cutting them down for one-shot use and keeping the concentrates preserved in between uses.

    The latter is required for the Kodak Flexicolor chemicals since they are only available in large volumes. If you are going to process one-shot, you might as well buy the chemicals in a way that gives you the greatest capacity for the cost. I was thinking that Kodak Flexicolor chemicals would be low cost winner in that scenario, but now I'm wondering if the Trebla FilmPac wouldn't be close enough that the ease of ordering would make up for any cost per roll difference. I haven't done the math, but it looks promising.

    On the other hand, Kodak Flexicolor chemicals are the real deal, and can be trusted to produce optimal results when used properly. That's another reason I am interested in working this out. But if it costs me $330 to $550 plus shipping just to get started, I have to consider other options.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2012
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  15. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Kodak doesn't even need to make kits - they just need to make individual components in appropriate volumes and provide up-to-date, understandable advice on what to order to those who want to assemble their own.
     
  16. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    I agree Matt. You wouldn't need a kit if the Flexicolor chemicals were available in smaller volumes matched to equivalent capacity, and all of the parts you needed were documented and stocked by retailers and distributors, and the ordering confusion could be straightened out. Then it would be a no-brainer.
     
  17. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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  18. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    It's an alternative, Dave, I agree. It avoids the headaches, but at a high cost. That 1 liter kit is going to process 12 rolls. The cost of the kit plus shipping puts the per-roll cost at about $3.
     
  19. wogster

    wogster Member

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    They have done it that way for decades in B&W. The real issue is that Kodak still thinks that most C41 film processors are large corporations that deal with thousands of rolls, rather then the little guy who processes his own at home. However those large corporations dealing in thousands of rolls are dropping like flies. So smaller quantities, with good instructions, for home use would make sense as a product line. Where more then 1 bottle of concentrate is needed, you put all the parts together with an instruction sheet in a box. Each one would have one side which tells you what other products you need to process film. I think some good sizes might be 1L, 2L, 5L, 10L, 25L, 1 (US) Gallon, 2 Gallons, 5 Gallons, 10 Gallons, 25 Gallons. This isn't the amount of concentrate, but what it makes up.
     
  20. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Skip, if you can source the Trebla stuff don't worry about quality.
    I am almost positive PE said Trebla is a company started by former Kodak chemists.employees.
     
  21. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    I've used the Trebla stuff, its 1st rate IMO. Negatives were super clean(as they should be), and grain was just as good as a commercially(dip-n-dunk pro lab) processed roll would be.

    Its a trade-off though. Time-wise. What do you consider your time worth? I don't currently have space to store a Jobo CPA/CPP2, etc... IMO, that's the best way to process color film if you DIY. But if I did, I'd be using the Trebla, with no questions asked :smile:

    -Dan
     
  22. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    There is a Trelux FilmPAC product described on the CPAC site. It says its for CN-41 processing. I'm not sure what that is, maybe CPAC's name for C-41?

    Info about Trebla's FilmPAC in this PDF.

    Minilab Supply Store sells some Trebla FilmPAC products, but no real detail on what they consist of.

    Now these folks, Southpoint Photo Imaging Supplies, have a Dallas office that is only 30 minutes away from me. They carry Kodak, Fuji, and Trebla chemicals and paper, according to their website. My guess is they don't do retail sales, but it's worth a shot. Will call them tomorrow.


    Dan, thanks to you and to Bruce for the feedback on Trebla quality. I do have a CPP-2. It sits on a shelf in my darkroom, out of the way, when I'm not using it. It's much easier for me to process my own film in the evening than it is to make two trips to the nearest decent C-41 film processor.
     
  23. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    Seems like threads like mine aren't all that uncommon. Lot's of good info in this one: Bad News for C41ers. What's sad is that this intolerable situation has existed for so long. If someone finds a solution, it's good for that person for that time only. When they need to restock, it's back to the drawing board. Or so it seems.
     
  24. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    Couple of places that have the Trebla Treylux FilmPAC currently listed:

    Pakor - Part Number: 444-2648 - Trebla Trelux FilmPac C-41RA Kit - Trebla Part Number 55FP475

    NovaGraphics - Trelux FilmPAC Kit - 55FP475

    I haven't contacted either to see if they are truly in stock.

    To those of you, Mark Barendt or others, who have used the Trebla FilmPAC 55FP475, did you do one-shot processing? Anyone use a rotary processor (e.g., CPP-2)? Was there enough information included with the kit to help you figure out how to mix less than full volumes?
     
  25. gmikol

    gmikol Member

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    I've been struggling with the same thing as SkipA...trying to find the right components / order numbers, etc.

    I've been thinking about doing C-41 at home since I figured out how much gas I'm burning driving back and forth to the lab.

    I spoke to someone at the Formulary on Friday, and I was told that they do have stock of the 1L kits, even though it doesn't show on the website, but that even they have been having problems sourcing all the components they need to make the kits.

    I've mostly been looking at the Flexicolor SM kits...the part numbers and prices in the big c-41 thread all seem to be accurate still. It is not the most cost-effective, but I like the fact that the developer comes in 2L portions, instead of having to mix up all 10L, as in the Trebla FilmPac.

    I'm also hoping I can get my local photo store to add it on to their next chemistry order, to try and cut down on shipping and haz-mat costs, hopefully. If anybody's interested in splitting an SM kit (does not involve opening any bottles) 50/50 with me in the Portland, OR USA area, PM me.

    --Greg
     
  26. ctsundevil

    ctsundevil Member

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    I've been buying Flexicolor chemicals from Unique Photo. They stock just about everything Kodak makes and discount if you buy case quantities.

    Here's what I use:
    Flexicolor LU Developer Replenisher Cat# 1534718 That's the 10 liter size, 4 per case. I think it's about $96 per case.
    Flexicolor SM tank bleach Cat# 8824690 It's 2.7 liters, 2 per case. A case is less than $60. No mixing and very good capacity.
    Flexicolor Fixer Replenisher Cat# 1597392 It makes 25 liters, single bottle and it goes for $9.95.
    Flexicolor Final rinse and Replenisher is the 5 liter size Cat# 8673170 $4.98 each

    You will need a starter with that developer. It's Cat# 8485153. One bottle will last you a very long time and it is about $8 or $9