C-41 Processing Options 1Q 2013

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Paul Verizzo, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

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    Moderator: Is this worth a "Sticky?"

    A few months ago I critiqued the sticky about color neg chemical sources and was challenged to "go for it," meaning write up my own list. So, here it is, early 2013. And we all know how fast the film biz is changing, so if you read this in a year or two, things could be different. Again.

    My ground rules are:

    First, this is strictly about C-41 color neg processing as I have zero interest in RA-4 print processing.

    Second, I admit, despite lots of research, confusion on the many Kodal Flexicolor options. But I will make a few observations.

    Third, I'm going to presume that posters on APUG will mostly be looking for complete developer-fix-bleach-stabilizer kits or individual phases. Alternatively, mix it yourself for one or all steps.

    Fourth, that you live in the USA. Sorry, not trying to be America-centric, but please, whatever your geography issue is, it doesn't reflect on my research. I'm not familiar with vendors in Zambia.

    Fifth, that some vendors have issues shipping liquids or alleged hazmat chemicals. The most well known is B&H. Yet, for someone in NYC, that's not a problem, so they are included here.

    We all know and love Freestyle, in Hollywood, right? My first order with them was from the back pages of Popular Photography in 1965. Around 1981 I found myself living in L.A. and spending many a Saturday AM in their store. Heaven. So, I'll start there.

    The C-41 processing options from Freestyle, early 2013, are:

    1. The Arista kits, liquid formulation, 1 quart or 1 gallon, $28 or $70. This is the liquid Unicolor chemistry. How do I know? Look at the instructions for it and the dry version, and they are identical except for the mixing part.

    2. The Unicolor dry chemical kits, 1 liter or double down. $19 or $33. This is what I've been using with fully satisfactory results. The least expensive kit available.

    3. The Rollei/Compard/Maybe Fuji liquid kit. This product was removed from Freestyle's online catalog in January 2013, right between first draft of this piece and the final version! And has been confirmed since then, no longer available in the USA.

    4. The Tetenal liquid kits, 1 liter or 5. The one liter is a bit pricey at $40, but the big boy is pretty reasonable at $75. Go figger.

    Moving on to B&H, they offer a number of Kodak products, but with long order times and no shipping, store pickup only. But buried in the offerings is the venerable 1 liter dry Tetenal Press Kit, a somewhat less active version of standard C-41 chemistry: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/109267-REG/Tetenal_T109306_C_41_Press_Kit_for.html Twenty dollars buys you a kit that allows a processing time at 45°C at 10:30 minutes, or at 38°C the time is 13:15.

    www.digitaltruth.com has the same Tetenal kits as Freestyle at the same prices. Rollei/Compard "Out of stock."

    If you want to peruse processing instructions prior to purchasing, you are out of luck with Tetenal products. I have scoured the intertubes for this information, including the English language home site of Tetenal. I also asked Digital Truth for them, and they could not supply them either.

    On to the Great Yellow Father, Kodak. The opinions I offer here are from my observations, not use. I readily admit the possibility of error or differences of opinion, so take my advice cautiously.

    Way back, Kodak had a Flexicolor kit for home use. Long gone. The many problems in buying Kodak Flexicolor products boil down to this: They are meant to be used with specific machine models and not for tank or tube processing. Sometimes products similar by name, i.e., "Kodak Flexicolor SM Developer" are radically different when comparing stock or part numbers.

    As a recent sub-discussion here showed, even a Flexicolor disciple didn't understand the role of developer "Starter." Which, bottom line is important for start-up consistency.

    Another problem, generally, is that you have to buy in case lots.

    One Flexicolor product that might hold perfect potential for home users, developer only, is Kodak Flexicolor SM Tank Developer #1756337. It is a 12 liter kit and several vendors sell it, that with shipping, puts it in the $80 price range. Use your Google/Bing to find current sources. It comes in a case of six bottles each of each component, so you can mix only 2L at a time. Of course, there are no instructions because it's meant for a machine. And further of course, you still need your own bleach, fixer, and stabilizer/final rinse.

    The Trebla brand of color chemistries keeps popping up here. The implication is that they have simplified the Kodak chemistry. Some say it is Kodak repackaged, but I can't see anyone getting away with that w/o Kodak's permission. But the bottom line is that Trebla is still marketed to the minilab user, all case lots and the same confusing product lines.

    http://www.minilab.com is one source for both Kodak and Trebla and other lesser known chemistries. Another apparently popular supplier is http://www.pdisupply.com/ as is http://www.uniquephoto.com .

    Mixing your own C-41: Using what seems to be a solid C-41 developer formula, and the chemicals available at http://www.artcraftchemicals.com, I determined it would cost about $100 to make enough developer to develop about 45 rolls. IIRC, that sucks up the CD-4 developer in its entirety and you will have various amounts of the other chemicals left over. So, let's call it $2/roll with no fixer, bleach, or stabilizer.

    Two bits of my c-41 philosophy:

    Cost Per Roll: Yes, you can buy bigger and bigger lots of chemistry to reduce the cost per roll. But it's all diminishing returns. The 5L Tetenal kit will conservatively process 60 rolls for a cost of $1.25 each. Is it worth bulk buying, figuring everything out, to get to, oh, 50 cents? Not for me. YMMMV. (Your Mental Mileage May Vary.)

    Blix vs Bleach & Fixer: Oh, the gnashing of teeth! Best recollection of many discussions on this earth shattering topic here, is that there is a remote hypothetical possibility that separate chemicals might be somehow a little better, or under certain conditions. OTOH, blix has been working great for the low volume user for over forty years.

    The reason labs use separate chemicals is simple: It's the only way to control replenishment and get product consistency in high volume. It's not superior per se.

    I did backchannel Photo Engineer for his thoughts on this topic, and here is what he said:

    "A blix cannot be made potent enough to remove all silver from films. Therefore some silver remains behind in dense negative areas (highlights in the print) and this increases grain and decreases color saturation. The effect is not noticeable looking at the blixed result, but can be seen in direct comparisons of blixed and bleach then fix examples. Also, part A of a Blix is not necessarily a bleach in and of itself. There are chemicals in bleaches that drive the oxidation of silver metal that are made up for in a blix by the hypo in part B. This issue is touchy and I agree that many have used a blix for film for years, but hey, if a company can sell it, why not go for something that almost works. Right? Especially if no one can detect it without a side by side comparison."

    YMMV! (If you aren't familiar with this, it meand "Your mileage may vary." The caveat automaker throw on the TV screen when they claim specific fuel mileages. )

    If you want separate chemicals, perhaps for bleach bypass experiments, all the kits provide a Blix A and Blix B to mix for a complete Blix. One is bleach, the contents being some form of EDTA. The other is fixer, with ammonium thiosulfate. You can mix them separately, although in theory there will need to be pH adjustments for each bath. But that's out of my league to advise on such.

    So here we are at this point in time.
     
  2. Nuff

    Nuff Member

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    I will add my 2cents (and first post on this forum) for those of us who live in Zambia aka Australia.

    I've just purchased a 5 liter Rollei kit from Macodata and had it shipped to Australia. The shipping can be quiet expensive, since they charge at 1kg, 2kg, 5kg and higher steps.
    The 5 liter kit was 5kg and I had to buy lots of film to pad it out and make it worth the price. The good thing is, they have quiet cheap buil Rollei and Fomapan film.
    Not to mention I got the last 20 rolls of e100vs film they had.

    Since they are in Germany, the prices include VAT, but when you create an account and your country is outside of EU, it will atuomatically subtract the 18% or something similar of the prices. Making everything cheaper.

    The Rollei kit is here:
    http://www.macodirect.de/digibase-complete-kits-c-416_404_534_620.html

    And Fuji Xpress kit is here:
    http://www.macodirect.de/fuji-c-416_404_621.html

    I'm not sure if it's worth importing to USA, but it's worth taking a look if you are after this specific kits, since they seem to be discontinued in USA.
    The shipping prices are on this page: http://www.macodirect.de/cms.php?cID=1
     
  3. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Hey, Nuff, welcome to APUG from Melbourne. When you get a chance, why not introduce yourself to APUG on the "Introduce yourself..." forum.
     
  4. chuck94022

    chuck94022 Subscriber

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    A China report:

    Tetenal kits are readily available in China. They are more expensive than in the US (around US$100). In Beijing, you might find it at the Wukesong camera mall, or possibly find a box at Wande photo. They are readily available online through the local buy anything site www.taobao.com (type Tetenal in the search box). In Shanghai, the big photo mall (I forgot the name) has it.

    I've not found any other kits in this country. There may be a Chinese knock-off, but I've not yet identified it. (There is for everything else...)
     
  5. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Hello Nuff, welcome to APUG.
     
  6. drumlin

    drumlin Member

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    Thanks for this Paul! I agree it should be sticky'ed, with the caveat that it may need to be unstickied and updated in several months or so when availability changes. The other sticky thread on this (that we've both contributed to) is approaching two years old and requires a lot of digging and note-taking to figure out what's current.

    Too bad there's not a wiki style page format on APUG that could be edited so that the top post stayed current as things changed.

    I think I'm still going to try to gather the Kodak Flexicolor chems and give them a whirl. I'll report my experience if it varies from what others have already said. EdSawyer seemed to summarize things nicely here: http://www.apug.org/forums/viewpost.php?p=1471473
     
  7. oldlincoln

    oldlincoln Subscriber

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    Flexicolor SM processing units F1 and F2

    I don't know if others would be interested, but I just bought one F1 and two F2 kits on evilbay for $74 shipped. These kits were short date and just out of date. The regular lab instructions indicate that you would use one F1 and three F2's in processing 600 rolls of 135-36 or 120.
    The F1 contains the developer parts A, B and C and the final rinse concentrates. The F2 contains the bleach and a fixer concentrate. I want to say up front that I have not used these yet, as I want to save up my exposed C-41 films and process them in a batch. I anticipate no problems though. This developer requires no "Starter" and the processing should go just like the regular SM chemicals only cheaper.
    I have translated the Kodak mixing and processing instruction down into a recipe format that I will post it as follows with the caveat that it is not yet tested with a processing run and may be subject to later revision. Use in the experimental spirit.

    To make 1 Liter. Capacity of solutions: 10 rolls of 120 or 135-36

    Mixing Instructions:
    Developer:
    To 500ml water add:
    74ml Part A & stir
    9.5 ml Part B & stir
    34ml Part C and top to 1L with 384ml water & stir
    Keeps 6 weeks unused in a full brown glass bottle.

    Bleach:
    No mixing, use straight. Store in a 1.75ml bottle and aerate after use.

    Fixer:
    Add 500ml of concentrate to 500ml of water & stir.

    Final Rinse:
    Add 18ml of concentrate to 982ml of water & stir.

    Bleach, Fixer and Final Rinse will keep 8 weeks unused in a full brown glass bottles.

    Process times:
    Preheat the tank at 100°F for 1 minute.
    Developer: 3 minutes 15 seconds at 100°F [Initial agitation for 30 seconds, followed by 2 seconds of agitation every 15 seconds. Use last 10 seconds of this step to drain tank.]

    Bleach: 6 minutes 30 seconds at 75°F to 105°F [Initial agitation for 30 seconds, followed by 5 seconds of agitation every 30 seconds. Use last 10 seconds of this step to drain tank.]

    Wash: 1 minute 30 seconds at 75°F to 105°F [Use running-water wash at rate that will fill tank every 4 seconds. Or fill tank with water, agitate for 5 seconds, and dump. Repeat cycle throughout wash time.
    Use last 10 seconds of this step to drain tank.]

    Fixer: 6 minutes 30 seconds at 75°F to 105°F [Initial agitation for 30 seconds, followed by 5 seconds of agitation every 30 seconds. Use last 10 seconds of this step to drain tank.]

    Wash: 3 minutes 15 seconds at 75°F to 105°F [Use running-water wash at rate that will fill tank every 4 seconds. Or fill tank with water, agitate for 5 seconds, and dump. Repeat cycle throughout wash time.
    Use last 10 seconds of this step to drain tank.]

    Final Rinse: 1 minute 30 seconds at 75°F to 105°F [Initial agitation for 30 seconds; no further agitation required.]

    Dry: As needed. Not over 140°F
     
  8. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

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    Good work, oldlincoln!

    I hope I never implied that Kodak chems aren't great, but users have to take the initiative (and risks) as you have.
     
  9. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

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    Yes, this is a changing topic. That's why the sticky that's there and that I criticized should be removed. I'm not trying to have a pissing contest or anything, it's my info is much more complete and up to date.

    And, when much changes, maybe a year down the road, it should be rewritten.
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Should this be 1.75 litre bottle?
     
  11. oldlincoln

    oldlincoln Subscriber

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    Nope... I'm talkin American here. Oh yes, and the Color should be amber. Out here in the weeds, we just usually call it a half gallon jug.
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    So translating to "American" ...

    You didn't mean the 1.75 ml (1.75 millilitres = about 0.6 ounces) you put in your very helpful original post.

    You meant 1.75 litres (about 60 ounces, which is close to a half gallon).

    Speaking of course of US fluid ounces, and US gallons.:wink:
     
  13. oldlincoln

    oldlincoln Subscriber

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    Right! I missed that you meant I had typed ml instead of L. I sometimes jump at an opportunity to lip off. Such is the case here.
     
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  15. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    Why not merge this with the existing C41 sticky thread? No sense having 2.
     
  16. Paul Verizzo

    Paul Verizzo Member

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    Two very different postings in content and time. And the firstest :smile: is now out of date. Also, as we've seen, as a post goes long in time, a lot of barely relevant comments.
     
  17. David Nardi

    David Nardi Member

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    For those of you that live in Canada you can get Arista and Tetenal chemicals from Beau Photo in Vancouver (www.beauphoto.com). This was from an email with them in Dec 2012:

    Tetenal E6 1L $69.70
    Tetenal E6 5L $113.96
    Tetenal C-41 1L $46.51
    Tetenal C-41 5L $78.13
    Arista E6 1 QT $44.29
    Arista C-41 QT $53.78

    All prices in CAD.

    They started offering these kits as of October 2012. That's great news for Canada considering the options prior to this were pretty non-existent here. I still buy my Tetenal E6 5L kits from Germany at www.fotoimpex.de/shopen/. It's still cheaper even with shipping. However I will buy my Tetenal C41 5L kits from Beau Photo from now on since those are cheaper than Germany.
     
  18. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    no

    The other thread is very much up to date. A 2nd sticky on the same topic dilutes things. Merge this and add to the end, and just read from the end of the thread if it bugs you. The other thread was not only much more complete, but had data from long-time C41 users rather than newbies and people who don't seem to have a complete grasp of the process and options. Any thread, will obviously get out of date, but that doesn't invalidate the data contained within. no sense rewriting/rehashing the same thing in multiple threads as time goes on. That's pointless and wasted effort.


     
  19. albada

    albada Subscriber

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    Any idea which of these kits lasts the longest?
    For somebody who only shoots 1-2 rolls a month, chemistry-longevity will determine cost per roll.

    Mark Overton
     
  20. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    I beg to disagree with this statement. CD4 is about $25 for 100g. There are about 5g/L of developer, so 100g makes almost 20 liters. Each liter should be good for at least 5 or 6 36 exp 35mm rolls, so 100g CD4 would be enough for close to 120 rolls. The only other relatively expensive chemical in C41 developer is hydroxylamine sulfate, of which 2g/L is used. I would guesstimate the developer only cost at closer to 50 cents a roll than $2 if mixing it yourself. Maybe you meant to say $45 for 100 rolls, not $100 for 45 rolls?

    And I am sure you could get a lot more than 5 or 6 rolls per liter. I just stop there because home brewed developer is cheap and there is no need to be too frugal, especially with important images.
     
  21. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    With a Fuji account one can buy direct , this is how we do it in very small batches and run in our Jobo. We do this for personal
    film only and do not offer it as a service.
    Therefore any camera store in NA with a Fuji account can get it for you.
    Just another option maybe not open to some but ok for others.
     
  22. RPC

    RPC Member

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    At Artcraft I got .5 pounds (roughly 225 grams) for $37.50.
     
  23. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

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    Unique photo sells Champion chemistry. Its made in malasia, and their head office for NA is in Toronto.
    They sell in pretty much every market around the world and make a "minilab" style C-41 kit made of DEV (+starter if you want it), Bleach, Fix and Stab.

    At photokina i met with the CEO of the company who explained they are now going to introduce new smaller kits.
    As of last time i bought any the smallest one could buy was kits to make 4X10L working solution DEV (in 4 separate 4L jugs of concentrate) and about X1.5 that for bleach\fix to fit the kit. Starter and Stab sold separately in fairly small containers (1L, lasts forever). The cost per roll on the 40L kit was somewhere in the 0.20-0.30 $ us.

    The new kits are supposed to be 10L kits (concentrate packed in 4X 1L bottles) throughout the range. Data sheets and mixing capacity readily available from champions website.

    Great stuff, lasts forever like the tetenal, or better, easy to mix, and has no hazmat rating in the US, so can be shipped with UPS\Fedex easily, and with some paper work can be shipped with USPS (just a liquid declaration).

    Their stab contains formalin, so i would just use sprint stab (made locally, to me).

    I will churn out a more detailed look at this with all the info.
     
  24. Rolfe Tessem

    Rolfe Tessem Subscriber

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    Kodak doesn't make it easy to figure out, but this is what I use. Unopened, it lasts a very, very long time. Each developer three bottle set makes two liters. I think the bleach and fixer last basically forever. You want the last four items on this page.

    http://pdisupply.com/productSub.cfm...&StatusID=0&Sort=&pageRecords=30#.UVI_3Ks6VFl

    Editing my own post because I think I was't clear -- the developer kit includes (I think) 5 of the three bottle sets to produce 10 liters total, in five two liter batches. I store these in two one liter batches and it lasts a very long time as long as it is in a stoppered bottle. So you only have to mix two liters at a time.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2013
  25. mike-o

    mike-o Member

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    I use this fixer instead of the tank fixer on the PDI list. It's a lot cheaper. I haven't been able to figure out the difference.

    http://www.uniquephoto.com/product/...d-replenisher-for-color-negative-film-m-25-l/
     
  26. mike-o

    mike-o Member

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    Not for nothing but Champion bought Kodak's photochemistry business in 2006 and has been supplying Kodak since then.