C-41: how long can I leave film in wash or stabilizer?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by ignatiu5, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. ignatiu5

    ignatiu5 Subscriber

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    I’m thinking of trying C-41 myself, and while I simply don’t have space in my apartment for water baths for the chemistry, I do have myriad of such equipment available to me at work. For a number of reasons, I can’t hang the wet film to dry at my job.

    I have seen a variety protocols for one-shot usage, so I know the minimum times for the processing steps. My question is this: how long can I leave the developed film (35mm or 120/220) in either wash or stabilizer while I transport the rolls (in stainless tanks) home to hang to dry?

    Commute is no shorter than 40 minutes, if that matters.

    Couldn’t seem to come up with an answer via the search function.

    Thanks,

    ignatiu5
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    This is something that I have never tried. I know that the wash and Stabilizer steps are not harmful if extended, but I do know that you run the risk of excess swell if the film is left wet for too long of a period of times.

    I might suggest that you use a long wash time, then drain the film and cap the tank and then stabilize when you get home. This might be a better route. Or stabilize and cap the tank and transport home. This way the film is not fully wet, but is kept moist in a capped tank.

    PE
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The older recommendations for B&W film washing were quite long, up to 60 mins, modern films particularly colour are extremely well hardened in comparison, so a long wash won't do any harm. Some pre C41/E6 colour processes washed for 30mins,.

    I think I'd rather keep the film fully submerged while commuting, that way the temperatures stay stable.

    Ian
     
  4. ignatiu5

    ignatiu5 Subscriber

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    Thanks for the responses so far.

    My biggest worry was potential damage from the lag time before stabilizer (if I used the wash step as my transport time) or from the extended contact of stabilizer (if using this step for the commute). However, maybe the chemistry itself won't be a problem, as PE suggests.

    Despite his rather paltry post number, I might be inclined to try Ian's suggestion of submerged travel. I'm a little concerned that there might be a difference of gelatin swelling/drying between areas of the film remaining in contact with water droplets post draining, and those areas adjacent. i.e. fully-wet under the droplet versus humidified but only partially wet. Or am I being overly cautious? PE, what say you?

    Any others with insight? Anybody else go driving around the city with half-baked C-41 in the passenger seat?
     
  5. fotch

    fotch Member

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    How about one of those dryers that dry the film while on the reel? Probably could make one out of a PVC or sheet metal duck and a hair dryer.
     
  6. ignatiu5

    ignatiu5 Subscriber

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    I'm not really interested in drying film on the reel; hanging at home is what I'm looking for.
     
  7. fotch

    fotch Member

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    How about drying and keeping rolled up then re-wetting and drying by hanging at home? Just a thought.
     
  8. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    If a liquid swells emulsion and most devs stops and fixers are largely water then in some developers such as Perceptol at a 1+3 dilution the film can be in liquid for the best part of 50 mins.

    If you do all 3 steps at work then fill with water, drive home and complete the washing there, I'd be surprised if the extra time in water while driving home made much difference. Didn't the famous Bert Hardy in the early stage of his career as a darkroom assistant once leave a film in a developer most of a whole night and doesn't stand development involve immersion in liquid for a long time. Les McLean in his book speaks of the old press photog's trick of DD/FF method (dilute developer/fast film) when film was slow with immersion times of 6 hours.

    There would appear to plenty of evidence of long immersion in liquid not adversely affecting film.

    Personally I'd echo Fotch's sentiments. The on-reel film dryers are surprisingly quick at drying, saving time when you get home for other things.

    pentaxuser
     
  9. ignatiu5

    ignatiu5 Subscriber

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    Thanks for your response. I'm not worried about the film being in liquid for an extended period of time (I do semi-stand with dilute Rodinal for 1.5 h). Not having done C-41, I was concerned that either not being stabilized (if film is being transported in wash) or extended contact in the chemicals of stabilizer could be detrimental to the film.

    It looks like I can just travel with the film in stabilizer and dry it at home.