C-41 troubleshooting

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by thisismyname09, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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    My first attempts at C-41 processing with a tetenal kit were mildly successful, and I've since moved to using kodak developer and a separate bleach/fix. I had horrible color shifts and stains at first, which I attributed to insufficient washing between dev. and bleach (I'm using a ferricyanide bleach). Here's a control strip that I just developed next to the reference strip:

    [​IMG]

    The base is a bit more orange and a bit lighter. You can't see it on the scan, but the black is darker on the reference than the one I developed, so I'm suspecting underdevelopment.

    I've been doing my processing like this:

    1. Pre-soak @ ~100F / 1-3 minutes (while I wait for the developer to heat up)
    2. Develop @ 100F / 3:15 minutes
    3. Stop @ ~100F / 1:00 minute (acetic acid, pH = 4.5)
    4. Wash @ ~100F / ~3 minutes
    5. Bleach @ ~100F / 6:00 minutes
    6. Wash @ ~100F / ~3 minutes
    7. Fix @ ~100F / 4-5 minutes (TF-4)
    8. Wash @ ~100F / ~10 minutes
    9. Stabilizer @ ~100F / 1:30 minutes

    I noticed that 1 minute is usually the recommended time for the pre-soak. Will a longer pre-soak mess things up? Other than that, I'd suspect my temperature is off. I only have one thermometer and no way to tell how accurate it is. Can anyone enlighten me?
     
  2. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    I presoak for random times. As long as the temperature is high enough I think you're good.

    You might try heating the water bath to 102 to compensate for heat loss in transfer. As a feeble ballpark test, get a glass of ice water and stir it and use your thermometer to read it. If it's far from 32 degrees you have problems.

    As far as I'm aware using Ferricyanide bleach and non-color fixer is detrimental to the final image. To what extent that occurs, I have no idea. I would recommend finding Bleach III or SM from kodak and see if that makes a difference. Color fixer is also very cheap, so I would recommend using that.
     
  3. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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    I'm pretty sure the (biggest) problem is temperature. I found another thermometer and the difference was about 5 degrees (F).
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    You need a stop/clear between the developer and the bleach. See my other post on this!

    PE
     
  5. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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    I forgot to mention that, but I did do it.
     
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Where are the color patches? That might help.

    But, it does look like underdevelopment. OTOH, this film series was not designed for a ferri bleach with a clearing bath. So, IDK what is really going on here.

    PE
     
  7. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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    Color patches? The only thing the box contained was a pre-processed strip and several sealed pre-exposed strips of film.
     
  8. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    stop and clear? Im embarrassed Ive never heard of this. I use a technolab dip and dunk film processor and its baths in sequence are dev,bleach,wash,fix,wash final rinse, dry..... my chemistry is carefully controlled and as a result my control strips for C-41 plot perfectly. can you explain this stop/clear between dev and bleach? or provide me the link to the thread on this?
     
  9. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    I get the sense the stop and clear is only necessary with a ferricyanide based bleach. It's not specified in the actual c41 process because the bleach performs this function on its own.
     
  10. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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    Yeah, its unnecessary if you use the normal kodak bleach. I'm just too poor to buy the real stuff.
     
  11. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    You should change your stop to one that contains sulfite to neutralize the color couplers. PE mentions this is other posts. Make your stop 1-2% acetic and also 1% sod. bisulfite. Yes, it is rather odorous but better safe than sorry.
     
  12. RPC

    RPC Member

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    I would recommend a longer wash between the bleach and fixer, maybe 5 minutes or more with the ferri bleach. Not to solve your problem, but in general. The D-min areas seem clearer when I do than the standard 3:15.

    RPC
     
  13. georgegrosu

    georgegrosu Member

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    What say thisismyname09 remember me some that happened in the Buftea laboratory about 25 years ago. He appeared on the machine for ECN 2 process, a big fog plus other densities increased. I made comparative tests - machine solution / fresh solution and no difference. Prebath only remained unverified. The test showed that the prebath was trouble. Prebath got off. I washed the prebath and filled with fresh solution. Everything went well. In general, when a "jump comes”, it is easy to solve process. Wash machine and put fresh solutions.
    After a few years I received a brochure from Agfa for contamination prebath. We already pass.
    My impression is that thisismyname09 have a contamination problem.
    I do not work with 41 C kits. I use the ECN 2 process for all color negative films. I consider the results satisfactory.

    From here you can make an idea.
    http://www.kodak.com/global/plugins/acrobat/en/service/Zmanuals/z131_05.pdf Use KODAK FLEXICOLOR Chemicals to process KODAK Color Negative Films and other films designed for Process C-41.

    George
     
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  15. wruzin

    wruzin Member

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    Hello all. Regarding the wash step(s) in the Flexicolor C 41 process; I have noticed some folks use a wash between the developer and fixer step; while others use a wash after both bleach and fixer steps. Kodak seems to go both ways depending upon whether one is using a "rotary-tube processor" or a "small tank". Kodak instructions for the former do not suggest using a wash until after the fixer step, but when using a "small tank", a wash is included after the bleach step and the fixer step. I am currently using Paterson tanks with a Beseler motor base, which, I guess is considered a "rotary-tube", but isn't it a "small tank" as well? I am using Kodak's Flexicolor chemistry pretty much as a "one shot" process, except for the SM Bleach which I have been reusing after pumping air into it with a fish tank bubbler. I was wondering why the "wash" step seems to be added in some directions and omitted in others? Maybe PE can add some insight on this?
     
  16. Stephen Frizza

    Stephen Frizza Member

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    Im confused as to why you are running control strips in a process which isnt the designed process for the control strips ( re. ferri bleach) if the result is so critical that you are running controls why not run the proper process? why not use the correct bleach?
     
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    To be more precise, it scavenges any remaining color developer to prevent coupling in the strong ferri bleach.

    PE
     
  18. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    I had nothing but brilliant results with the tetenal kit, though I processed @ 31c when I still had tetenal chemicals.

    The Agfa bleach is pretty cheap btw.
     
  19. RPC

    RPC Member

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    A ferri bleach, used properly should give good strip results. This is taken from Kodak's process control literature concerning testing for retained silver and leuco-cyan dye:

    "2. Rebleach the control strip for 5 minutes in a known
    good bleach (i.e., a properly constituted Process C-41
    bleach or a solution made from KODAK Farmer?s
    Reducer, Part A)."

    Part A in Farmer's Reducer is potassium ferricyanide.

    Using a control strip and a densitometer always makes sense, the whole point being knowing just how close you are to the real thing, and when it is necessary to make changes.

    RPC
     
  20. Tom Taylor

    Tom Taylor Member

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    1. I believe that you are making a mistake by pre-soaking the film. Moth Jobo and Kodak recommend that you bring the drum up to processing temperature by rotating it in the trough for 5 minutes and do not use a pre-soak.

    2. Both Jobo and Kodak recommend a 3;15 development time @ 100.4F

    3. You don't need a to use a stop between the developer and bleach according to both Kodak and Jobo.

    4. Both Jobo and Kodak recommend a 6:30 bleach cycle. I wouldn't short it.

    5. Jobo inserts a 3-minute wash between the bleach and fix step (6 changes of water). Works fine as far as I can tell.

    6. Both Jobo and Kodak recommend a 6:30 fix cycle. Why short it?

    7. Jobo recommends a 5 minute final wash with 6 changes of water.

    8. Jobo recommends a 1-minute final rinse/stablizer off processer. Kodak recommends 1:30.
     
  21. RPC

    RPC Member

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    When using a ferri bleach, some type of stop bath is absolutely necessary between the developer and bleach. Any developer carryover into the bleach will be oxidized by the ferri, causing a bad stain.

    A long wash or clearing bath is recommended after the ferri bleach to prevent reaction with sulfur in the fixer, resulting in fogging.

    RPC
     
  22. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I don't know what you consider expensive or where you live but it looks like for about $60 bucks plus shipping you can get 2x 2.7liters of Kodak's C-41 SM bleach at Liberty.

    http://www.libertyphotoproducts.com/product/KODAK-FLEXICOLOR-SM-Tank-Bleach-To-make-27-L,3420.htm

    Just found Sonman. http://www.sonman.com/products/KODAK-FLEXICOLOR-SM-Tank-Bleach-{47}-To-make-2.7-L-min-order-2.html even cheaper at about $41 plus shipping.

    That should be enough to do about 800 rolls if I read the Kodak's instructions right.
     
  23. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I have always used a prewet in my Jobo. This has been my practice for years and I get on-aim results, I assure you.

    PE
     
  24. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Kodak specifies pre-wet for C41, but not E6.

    Seriously, eBay bargain bleach is the way to go.
     
  25. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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    I've been looking for a while but I've been unable to find any.

    The lowest I've found previously was a little over $100. I seem to be bad at googling. Thanks.
     
  26. Tom Taylor

    Tom Taylor Member

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    Nicholas,

    See the Kodak pub on this: http://www.kodak.com/global/plugins/acrobat/en/service/Zmanuals/z131_03.pdf

    "Adjustment. Do
    not immerse the film in a warm water pre-soak. Warm-up step is
    done by warming the outside of the tube with hot air or in a
    tempered water bath.
    "