C-41 Newbie: Storing Tetenal Press Kit Mixed Chems?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by little-infinity, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. little-infinity

    little-infinity Member

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    I apologize in advance if some of this stuff has been posted previously.

    My school (OCAD) doesn't seem to have a place to develop C-41 on our own, just B/W film. So being the curious child I am, I wanted to find out how to do it myself. I read through many threads here and was inspired to DIY my own colour film. I already know the process. I have the paterson tank and reels.

    Probably will order the Tetenal 1L Press kit for now and see how that works out.

    My only concern is chemistry life. I'm only comfortable doing 1 roll of B/W at a time right now, so the same goes for colour. I know C-41 chemistry goes bad fast, though I've seen people extend chemistry life with tolerable results. I'm willing to tolerate colour shifting and all that. This is just me being experimental :tongue:

    Should I mix ALL the chemistry or just a little? The tetenal instructions tell you how to mix the whole 1L but I don't think i want to do that. How would I mix lesser quantities? Just use less powder/water?

    I'd say I'll be doing 3-4 rolls a month to start things off. Then maybe after a dozen rolls, mix a fresh batch.

    So what's the best and cheapest way to store the chems so that they are airtight? It's not absolutely critical for me to get the perfect results like you would from the lab using flexicolour, so I don't care if the chemistry slowly expires. I just don't want my chemistry to drop dead fast. I'd say I plan on using this for 6-8 months.

    Thanks!
     
  2. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I'd check how many films 1L will do. It is likely to be only a few. As powder it will last a long time, maybe indefinitely, but unfortunately you cannot divide the powder to do say 1 film at a time. So once you make up the 1L of liquid then divide it into bottles which hold enough liquid for one film only and try and fill the bottles completely so there is little or no air present.If you can't fill the bottles then use Protectan gas to prevent air getting to the liquid

    6-8 months may be longer than the developer will survive but as long as the quality isn't important then it will be interesting to see how it goes. Please share your experience with us

    You might be better with the Digibase C41 minikits if there are available where you are. It would seem that they last for quite a long time.

    Manufacturer's shelf-life times tend to be very conservative but once your developer passes its shelf-life time then it might be worth "wasting" developer by doing a clip test( cut a few frames from the film ) to check its strength before devloping the rest of the roll.

    Frankly from a film processing economics aspect and given your film usage it might be cheaper and better to use a reliable mini-lab.

    pentaxuser
     
  3. little-infinity

    little-infinity Member

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    Thank you for the reply :smile:

    I agree that a minilab would be better economic wise. Thing is good reliable C-41 in the GTA is dying. When I'm downtown at school I know of only 2 good places nearby I could walk to (Eight Elm and Downtown Camera). I think Blacks and Henrys do it too, but I'm skeptical as they're shifting to digital. I hear they send their stuff out so it takes longer. Still, if I was shooting seriously for an assignment or fineart, I'd obviously get my negs done at Eight Elm. I want someone that still takes analog photography seriously.

    However, at home in Mississauga (I'm closer to Oakville actually), I don't know anywhere (except the local shoppers drug) that will do develop only, and do it well. I don't know if im crazy, but sending my film to drug stores sounds a little sketchy! In any case the home c-41 thing is mostly for kicks right now. I'd like to see how convenient it is to do it right without leaving home. I'm trying to get in the habit of shooting way more film than I do to make it worthwhile. I already do alot of RA-4 printing at OCAD, but I think I'll just scan my negs digitally at home.

    I checked out the digibase kits, but I'm not sure if they can be bought in Canada. Finding C-41 of any kind in Canada is pretty much a nono at this point, so the choices I have are probably only powder kits (Unicolour from Freestyle, and Tetenal from B&H). *sigh* I wish Kodak packaged 1L flexicolour kits. With the whole customs thing though, I'd probably incur some serious hazmat issues if they were to be shipped in liquid form.

    ANYWAYS here are more questions.

    Is it bad to use more developer than is needed for 1 roll of film?
    How much exactly do I need?
    Will any bottle do for safe chemical storage, and can they be stored in room temp? Or should I freeze them?
     
  4. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    No it isn't bad it just wastes the developer.
    Depends on film and tank size and whether you intend to use inversion development or rotary. A Jobo tank in a Jobo rotary processor needs only 140mls for a 35mm film but 240mls for inversion.

    I'd use a brown bottle with a screw top. Room temp will be fine. Don't freeze

    Incidentally if you intend to do inversion development then experiment first with a water bath set at at least one degree C more than the C41 developer and ensure that after each inversion cycle you place the tank back in the water to maintain the C41 dev temp. Do it all with water to check that temp is maintained. C41 dev temp is critical. Once you have got the temp right and can maintain it for the dev cycle then use the C41 dev.

    Best of luck

    pentaxuser
     
  5. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Mississauga closer to Oakville eh? Sounds close to me; I'm in the Sheridan Homelands neighbourhood near Erin Mills and Duindas.

    Pleased to hear you are on the OCAD track. I wish I had the will to pursue arts when I was younger, but my present engineering career certainly is steady and pays the bills.

    I home process C-41. I find that it works best when I mix 1L, and have 4 35mm films to process in it at once (steel tank and reels).

    I could mix it to lesser quantities but I mix from powders (from raw constituent ingredients), and the margin of error grows as I try to measure lesser amounts.

    I have reused developer, but try to not let it go longer than a couple of weeks after I have first used it if I want mostly reliable results. I have tested black mungy looking developer that is used and over two months old, and it still will deevlop a film, to good density, but I have not taken the time to calibrate what the colour shifts and other downfalls this may present.

    Paterson tanks are great, but they do risk aerating the chemistry more than a Nikkor type tank. If you do C-41 in a Paterson and plan on re-using the chemistry, use the spinner stick, rather than putting the lid on and inverting it. Spinning can also be carried out while the tank sits in a tempering water bath.

    C-41 developer can be kept in full glass bottles, and yes, the fridge does slow down oxidation. I would not recommend freezing; you risk some ingredients precipitating out. Glass bottles filled quite full is best for developer; plastic containers and not totlally full works fine for stop, bleach and fix.

    Get in touch by sending a PM or another post. I can get you started in C-41. I have heaps of gear and chems around the basement.

    The bleach I mix gets reused to about 25 rolls per litre to exhaustion (gets too slow), and the fixer goes out to about 16 rolls or more before it gets close to silver saturation.
    I one shot with 10mL of glacial acetic acid per litre for stop bath usually , but could set you up with an indicator stop bath that could be reused to make your life simpler.
     
  6. little-infinity

    little-infinity Member

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    Oooh. Clarkson Village, down by the lake!

    And it's never too late to pursue the arts, and its easier with stable income because the supplies can get expensive!

    Anyways, thank you for your help and advice so far! Yes I was intending to use the Paterson tank, standard agitation process, similar to how I would do with B/W. From my experience, my only quall with the Patersons is that during inversions (B/W) I notice some of the chemistry drips out of the tank. Is this normal? At OCAD though the developer was tossed after single use so it wasnt too bad, but I figure with C-41 this minor loss of chems each time can be problematic. How would I keep the air out of the bottles if this occurs? I heard people added water but that would weaken the developer would it not?

    But this spinning stick, I have no clue what you mean! I take it you don't have to invert if you use one? If so, I would prefer this method so i can keep the tank in the tempered bath during the process just to be more consistent with the temps. And to prevent loss of chemistry.
     
  7. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    Although it works OK, I am moving away from the Tetenal powder chemistry because I don't really care for the blix. What I have done successfully is to mix the liter of devloper and freeze half of it. I've had no problems with freezing. But agreed that you can't freeze just anything. I've used four of these kits and froze the developer with three of them. And, I do keep the other chems in the fridge when not using them. I can stretch about 6 months out of them.

    You can put about 5, 36 exposure 35mm rolls through the developer. When it goes bad / exhausted I have found that it goes all at once so I would recommend not pushing your luck on capacity.

    Mike, what are you mixing up for a bleach? I'm thinking of mixing up a Potassium Ferricyanide bleach.

    -- Jason
     
  8. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Well for mix DIY bleach I have in the past used with good results a C-22 bleach. It is fast, but the big guns moved away from it because of its heavier environmental hit.

    I mixed it as 80-90g of K Ferricyanide and 20g of K Bromide per litre. It does films in 2:30 when fresh.

    I would actually mix 2L at a time, and add 45mL fresh solution per roll to the working solution as a replenisher so I could keep the time constant. I would consider the working solution as saturated/exhausted after adding a full litre of replenisher, so about 23 rolls per 2L. It could be used longer with longer times.

    It is possible to watch by pulling the lid of the tank and lifting the reels after the film has been in the bleach in incandescant a few minutes, provided you use a stop and a rinse after the developer. Do rinse before using this bleach, because there are no pH buffers with just kFerri kBr.

    When doing bleach time visually I would bleach for a minute after I could no longer see an image, and treated it like fixer; when it takes twice as long to bleach then when new, consider it time to start a new batch.
     
  9. little-infinity

    little-infinity Member

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    Yeah, I hear a seperate bleach-fix process is better. The Rollei kit looks alot more appealing, but I doubt they'd ever ship chemistry in liquid form across the border :sad:

    So if I use the spinning stick method (i figured it out, how could I be so stupid), I know the blix farts out some CO2. Do you need to wear a mask/gloves for C-41?

    So say the instructions dictate you agitate 4 times every 30 seconds (just throwing an example out there), how would that translate in rotations?
     
  10. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    Thanks! That's what I was planning on and you have confirmed that it should work.
     
  11. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Mike, I have done C41 but what was happening in the tank was always a mystery. I realise that bleach is to bleach away the silver halides, leaving the colour dyes only but when you say "no longer see an image" does this mean that there is nothing there after successful bleaching? Isn't there a colour image which requires fixing.

    Can you clear up my confusion. Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  12. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Sorry about that- what I mean is that the dense image turns a bit into a 'ghost' - it is not transparent until the halogenated silver is removed in the next step - the fixer.
     
  13. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Thanks for that Mike. I wonder if someone like me who hasn't seen the ghost effect would be able to tell when it had got to the right ghost condition on which you add the 1 minute and also use as the formula for exhaustion? The bleach formula you have given seems simple to make, relatively cheap and most important the chemicals are easily obtainable in the U.K. so it is well worth a try provided I can do the assessment but correctly.

    pentaxuser
     
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  15. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Sorry for the lack of more empirical information on the time to bleach/ability to bleach to exhaustion.

    A trial could be to test - shoot a roll of grey card or macbeth card, and snip off a few frames and process them.

    See what the film looks like after 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, 2:30, 3:00, 4:00 in a fresh batch.

    Go and then see when you consider there is no visible change in the bleaching action, and make that your 'fresh' minimum fix time.

    If you want to get numerical, go and process a bunch of strips that you can tell apart (scratches in emulsion prior to processing, etc) and pull them off the reel and into a running water bath after the above sequence time in the bleach when their time is up.

    Then fix all at once, and measure the optical effect of the final negatives with different fixing time with a densitometer, or the time to print a grey square in RA-4 if doing the tests optically.
     
  16. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Spinning - say 4 seconds in 30 seconds. I spin left and let it spin 2 seconds. Then I spin right and let it come to a stop. YMMV.
     
  17. hrst

    hrst Member

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    Many people seem to "know" that. It's because it's mostly an internet legend. Well of course it's true if you compare to Rodinal, but otherwise..... I think that color chemistry keeps quite well! (Especially RA-4 but that's a different story.)

    I've never had C-41 chemistry go bad. I store them in squeezed PET bottles without air. 6 months is normal, just like with most BW developers. I've had XTOL die much more quickly than any color developer.

    But of course, to be on the safe side, better to follow the manufacturer's conservative figures. They usually talk about 6 weeks.

    Blix didn't go bad too quickly, either, when I used it. But again, separate bleach + fix is more dependable also in terms of shelf life.

    Displacing all the air is the key. Reducing temperature also helps considerably, but don't go too low. I have found no problems storing in a fridge at 4 deg.C so I could suggest it as a personal experiance, but follow the manufacturer's guidelines here (not below 10 deg.C) just to be sure.
     
  18. little-infinity

    little-infinity Member

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    Actually that's what I was told by one of the technicians that works in the photography area of our school when I inquired why they did not allow C-41 to be processed there, only B/W. I also was told that the chemistry is extremely toxic. Guess that's bogus too?

    So much for learning anything at school *rolleyes*

    In anycase I might be moving on to the Formulary Kit (Kodak Flexicolour that is repackaged in a 1L kit).

    Would those accordion bottles be any good? I don't have access to nitrogen or any of that special aerating stuff, so I need a quick home-made way to keep air out. I can store in my fridge.
     
  19. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Look into 'Private Preserve' for storing opened wine and scotch bottles, to displace air off the top of chemistry. Nitrogen and argon I recall. The last one I bought was $20, and lasted me for a few years of processing when I started with colour. It came from a cigar store next to the Vintages LCBO outlet in the Sherwood Village shopping centre.

    I have a healthy sized surplus stock of labware glass bottles free to you to get you started. Get in touch.

    Don't waste your money on the accordion bottles; they are not viable compared to plain old glass, even with good old marbles used to mimimise air space.
     
  20. hrst

    hrst Member

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    Yes, that's a legend too. Color chemistry can be even less toxic than many B/W developers due to nonexistence of metol and hydroquinone. Instead, there is a phenylene diamine derivative color developing agent that can be allergenic (similarly to hair dyes), but nothing really toxic. Bleach and fixers are very innocent, and final rinse does not include even trace amount of formaldehyde anymore.

    These legends are so well-spread that most instructors who haven't acquired the correct information by themselves, are just uninformed but have heard the legends... And it's not always easy to questionize all you hear! Well, all we can do is spread the information.

    Luckily, when in doubt, using common sense helps quite a bit as a starting point. Color processing is/was done on a HUGE scale commercially in minilabs everywhere, so the process must be designed so that it cannot be very toxic to workers or environment. Otherwise it would have been caused HUGE concerns.

    Accordion bottles are mostly useless. You cannot displace all the air from them easily, which is just against the whole purpose of them. But, I find that plastic (PET) soda bottles work fine and are easily squeezable.
     
  21. tbeaman

    tbeaman Subscriber

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    Yeah, even friends of mine who were enrolled in the well-respected local university's fine arts photography program were led down that path of misinformation. They were pretty incredulous and amused that I was intending on doing C-41 processing in my kitchen. I haven't heard anything from them about it since I was successful.

    Is it not true that E-6 was in part (or in whole?) developed as a process that could be "more easily" done at home?

    And I second the recommendation for soda bottles. Cheapest and easiest source of flexible PETE bottles.

    I myself am wondering about using products like Dust-Off canned air to displace oxygen. I've searched before, but never found much that was definitively said about it.
     
  22. little-infinity

    little-infinity Member

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    Ahh thank you!

    You mean those plastic Coke bottles that hold 1L?

    But how would I squeeze the air out? It doesn't look like that thing will squeeze in a very nice shape....
     
  23. hrst

    hrst Member

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    I don't know which kind of bottles are available there, but here beverages are sold in "thin" PET bottles that can be squeezed quite well to about 0.6x of original volume, or to 0.8x without losing form too much. So, the available series of 0.33L - 0.5 L - 1 L - 1.5 L - 2 L here works for any volume. Of course the bottle loses its shape if squeezed much, and in extreme cases cannot retain the original volume. Furthermore, squeezing and expansing the bottles for dozens of times can make the plastic brittle, so don't reuse them too many times. Common sense works here quite well, and if you use 1 liter bottle to store 1 liter of solution, the problems are nonexistent.

    Almost close the cap. This restricts the speed of air coming out when you squeeze. This way you'll quickly learn how to displace all of the air, as you can look at the thin neck of the bottle and solution rising up, and when it stops rising, close the cap tightly.
     
  24. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    I was using PET bottles until I was showing my daughter my darkroom one day (she loves seeing pictures come out of 'nothing' and in fact she is the one pushing me to do color, kids don't get B&W) and she said my indicator stop bath in clear PET bottle looked like orange juice. To me the yellow looks too yellow to be orange juice, perhaps it looks like Mellow Yellow or Mountain Dew but anyways, the thought of her drinking it sent horrible thoughts into my mind. I bought all brown bottles and threw out all my PET bottles the same day, I don't want ANYTHING in my house that reminds my kids of orange juice, especially when the low odor citric acid stop bath almost smells like something you could drink. No thanks, no more re-used PET bottles for me...

    I do need to know about storing and using color chemicals though. I really want to get into developing and printing my own color and need to see what I can get here in Ontario Canada as most of the Canadian companies seem to have nothing. Perhaps I can see if my local lab can sell me chems and papers since they must be using them.
     
  25. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Look up Mr. Yuk.

    It is a graphic that kicked off hazardous material labelling quite some time ago.

    I had the graphics guru here at work harvest a copy of the Mr. Yuk logo, and clone a whole array of them onto a page.
    I then copied the page onto a sheet of labels.

    I cut out a label and stick it on the lid of a bottle anytime I put something not safe to eat in the fridge, or otherwise store it outside of my darkroom.
     
  26. tbeaman

    tbeaman Subscriber

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    Hmm, yeah. I should probably invest in some warning labels...

    [​IMG]

    :whistling:

    Don't worry, this was just after the first session, and was specifically arranged for comic effect; I've taken measures since then. I've also been squeezing every bottle, not just the developer as seen here.


    Edit: Let it also be known that that yogurt isn't mine. I only eat the 8% stuff.
     
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