CD4 Color Film Developer

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by bill williams, May 21, 2008.

  1. bill williams

    bill williams Member

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    This may (or may not) be of interest to someone out there that has on hand the basic chemicals needed for mixing up C41 color developer. This formula came about because of having tried Dignan’s split C41 and then having left over chemicals (and curiosity). Toying with Dignan’s recipe led me to searching the web for any C41 information I could find written by PE.

    All the C41 information I could find posted by PE was very helpful and I really appreciate his contributions, just as I do everyone’s. I’ve found that without a doubt that he is correct in his assertion that the best C41 processing is done with the chemicals and procedures specified by Kodak. No surprise.

    However, I’ve stirred up a mix that is at this point in time satisfactory for at least 2 color films, and I’m working to nail down the mix for the remainder. I’m putting this online now because it is time consuming to determine what mix works for each film, and I thought that perhaps if someone else had interest that they might work on a film of choice to them, and share with us all any success that they might have. The two films that I’ve found the ‘mix’ for at this time are Fuji Superia 200, and Kodak Gold 400. I’m very close on Fuji Superia 400 and 800. It could be that what I’ve found to work for the Fuji 200 and the Kodak 400 would be satisfactory for XP2 and for the Kodak BW400CN, but I’ve not tried them.

    The main variables that are changed for each type of film are the amounts of potassium bromide and potassium iodide. Wrong amounts of the bromide and iodide will cause color casts(usually yellowish), small to large, depending on the amount of error in the chemicals. Changing the amount of CD4 and/or potassium carbonate as well as the time in developing will change the contrast and/or density. In all my tests, I only used ‘snips’ of a couple of frames in order to conserve film.

    You will need sodium sulfite, CD4, 10% potassium bromide solution, 1% potassium iodide solution, potassium carbonate, and water. Very, very helpful to me are a stainless steel set of four fractional teaspoon measures. I got them from a kitchen specialty shop, they are labeled something like a ‘pinch, dash, smidgen, or drop’ and they are actually quite close to being 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, and 1/64 teaspoon.


    The formula used for Fuji Superia 200 and Kodak Gold 400:

    Water 500ml @ approx 112 degrees
    Sodium Sulfite (A) .5 grams (approx 1/8 tsp)
    CD4 .35 grams (approx 1/8 tsp)
    Potassium Iodide 1.8 milligrams
    Potassium Bromide .25 grams
    Potassium Carbonate (A) 4 grams (approx 2/3 tsp)

    You need to have everything ready in order to get it into the water quickly. There is no water bath! Just be sure you have water at 112 degrees F (within a degree or two) when you begin to add the chemicals. I’m sure that most of you will be working in a room that is somewhere near 72 degrees F and the ambient temperature will drop the temperature of the developer quite a bit during development but that is ok. If your area is really cool, you may not be as successful with this method.

    So, with film loaded in the tank and ready, and with 112 degree F water in a container, quickly add and stir each chemical in order. The mix will clear quickly after the potassium carbonate is added and stirred. Pour it into the tank, and AGITATE GENTLY AND CONTINUOUSLY FOR 8 MINUTES. Pour out(discard) the developer, pour in the C41 bleach(which is @ room temperature) and bleach for 10 minutes. Empty the bleach back into its container and wash the film for 5 minutes. Empty the water, pour in the C41 fixer(@ room temperature) and fix for 10 minutes. Empty the fixer back into its container. Wash the film for 5 minutes, then stabilize and dry.
     
  2. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    C41 dev., fix and stab. is extremely cheap, now come up with a homebrew bleach that cost less than $10 a gallon to mix and you'll have people beating a path to your email.


    erie
     
  3. bill williams

    bill williams Member

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    I agree. I wasn’t suggesting this to replace C41.
    And in practically every instance I would prefer to have my color film developed in the proper C41 chemicals using the Kodak specified times, temperature, and techniques. I plan on continuing to develop my color films almost exclusively in C41.

    I’ve shot Fuji 800 at ISO 3200 and was very satisfied with the results from this ‘developer’, more so than pushing with C41. I am not sure of it, but I believe that with this home brew you gain film speed and easier control of contrast and density. I think it does well with Fuji 200 and Kodak 400. With that in mind, it might be of interest to those that shoot XP2.
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You can use quite a simple ferrricyanide/bromide bleach for C41, that will cost you far less than $10 even for an Imperial gallon, not the short measure US Gallon.

    Ian
     
  5. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Considering how much film a gallon of low replenishment bleach can handle isn't bleach already cheap ?
     
  6. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    It depends, shooting a lot of 4x5 in a weekend, I can exhaust a gallon of bleach in one darkroom (kitchen, really) session. Though I do cheat kodaks somewhat conservative #'s and use the older capacity guide. It's not unusual for me to process 25-30 sheets of film and 8-10 rolls of 220 in one day long session. I do replenish, and aerate, but even then, the controls strips start to show lower bleach activity after a days use, enough to spike the green and blue D-min values, thouhg I usually can regen the bleach, the last few times I've just started over as it was easier than running a half dozen control strips to get it close enough. I process by hand, though my Wing Lynch is taunting me, the fact that I would basically throw the bleach away is troublesome to me, from a cost standpoint.


    erie
     
  7. stefan4u

    stefan4u Member

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    Dear Bill !!

    Does your formular really works ?? Did you have made paper-prints in your lab or measured the whole think throught??
    Just asking because I still work about another variation with is considerably more concentrated and will do it within the usual 3:15 minutes.

    Coming from

    Tab water 800 ml
    Calgon 2.5g
    Potassium carbonate (anhy) 37.5g
    Sodium sulfite (anhy) 4.3g
    Sodium bromide 1.4 g
    Potassium iodide 1.2 mg (!)
    Hydroxylaminsulfate 2.0 g
    CD-4 4.5 g
    Water to make 1.0 Litre
    ph should be around 10.04 - 10.07

    In small fraktions I increased the Iodide up to 2 mg / as well the CD4 up to 4.7g/L. I had solutions with different ph's from about 10.00 up to 10.15.

    There is an approach with
    Tab water 800 ml
    Calgon 2.5g
    Potassium carbonate (anhy) 37.5g
    Sodium sulfite (anhy) 4.3g
    Sodium bromide 1.4 g
    Potassium iodide 1.6
    Hydroxylaminsulfate 2.0 g
    CD-4 4.5 g
    Water to make 1.0 Litre
    ph adjusted to 10.07 till 10.09 with sulphuric acid

    The green layer(s) and the blue layer(s) match quite well, but the red is still a bit underrepresented. The densiotometric results are quite well, compared to a minilab processed grey pattern the results in D min, Dmax Speed and gradiation is virtually the same (deviation B-G 0.04 at the low densitys up to 0.09 in the high densitys). But R-G shows a observable deviation from -0.06 till -0.18 in the grey tablet. This is not OK and will lead to a slight color crossover in the print.
    *these measurements are 'off standard' because I 1.dont have the real test strips and 2. because the R-G and B-G differences give me a better overview concerning color shift/spread. So no HD-LD curves here...


    There are two suspects in my eyes,leading to my underrepresented red, thats is mainly a elevated ammount of sulfite (changes in ph did not brought the desired effect) and the bromide level. Sulfite acts as a preservative as well as a conditioner and reduces stain and Dmin. Dmin is actually good even when processing the films with extended time (3:25min) so here is a possible option.

    Haven't tested this yet because of a lack of time...

    On the other side, the bromide level is one of the very few known fixed points and should be abouit 1.3 g/L. Next runs will be with 3.2g / 3.4g Sulfite/ Litre, but i will do variate the bromide level in the range from 1.1 to 1.35g/L as well, if variations of the sulfite level will not have the desired effect to the red layer.
    Increasing the Jodide up to higher levels (2mg/L) decreased the blue Dmax as well as the blue Dmin and is no option.

    So the next formulation will be:
    Tab water 800 ml
    Calgon 2.5g
    Potassium carbonate (anhy) 37.5g
    Sodium sulfite (anhy) 3.2g
    Sodium bromide 1.3 g
    Potassium iodide 1.6 mg
    Hydroxylaminsulfate 2.0 g
    CD-4 4.8 g
    Water to make 1.0 Litre
    ph around 10.07

    Keep you posted,
    Regards from Germany,
    Stefan
     
  8. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    Stefan,
    you really should try to get your hands on some control strips, it will tell you a lot more than a gray scale believe it or not. Check with your local labs, maybe someone will take pity on you and "find" some expired strips, have them process one and read it on your densitometer, then compare to yours.



    erie
     
  9. stefan4u

    stefan4u Member

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    Dear Erie !!

    You are right for sure, this will be the last step if color curves are nearly in shape. Until this point is reached I will use these homemade 'control strips', at least they are all made under same light conditions and are from she exact same emulsion...

    Regards from Germany,
    Stefan
     
  10. bill williams

    bill williams Member

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    Yes, it works. I've tried to be low key about it, but it sure works and works well, with the films I've worked out the right amount of bromide and iodide for, which at this time are Fuji Superia 200 and Kodak Gold 400. I'm very close on others, and I've shot with Fuji Superia 800 at ISO 3200 and been quite please.

    I printed Fuji 200 negatives developed in the home brew tonight on Kodak Supra Endura. The prints are actually beautiful(though the subject matter was just some grab shots on the way home from work). I hope to do as well with Fuji Superia 100 and Kodak Gold 100. The images are very sharp, very clear, with excellent saturation. I'm thinking I'm picking up a full stop of speed, but I've not really tried to evaluate that aspect yet. Anyone with the chemicals and the film, especially the Fuji 200, should give it a try. I've not worked as much with the Kodak 400 but I believe it is just as nice.

    And yes, balancing the diffusion of the restrainers into the layers is the problem, and it has taken a lot of test strips for me to get to this point. By the way, I have a Beseler dichro 67S enlarger, and the yellow and magenta settings for printing on the Kodak Supra with the Fuji 200 negatives were 120 and 130, respectively.

    Good luck.
     
  11. stefan4u

    stefan4u Member

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    Dear Bill !!

    Thank's for answering, I will keep your formulation in mind...
    It is a bit surprising that this "slim" developer works, but if it does, so much the better :smile:

    Regards from Germany,
    Stefan
     
  12. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Yikes. I'm used to the Fuji-Hunt low replenishment bleach. My poor memory tells me 5ml replenishment for one roll of film area. For 3.79 litres of bleach that's a lot of rolls.
     
  13. bill williams

    bill williams Member

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  15. stefan4u

    stefan4u Member

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    Dear Bill !!

    Maybe it's just in my eyes, but the colors seems to be a bit off. Looks disturbed somehow, like Yellow and and Magenta layers are a bit out of control...

    But if you say that your prints are all right, it's maybe just a problem of scanning and viewing on uncalibrated monitors (like mine...)

    Regards,
    Stefan
     
  16. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    Stefan, I'd tend to agree, though it's not too bad, and could be the scans as well. The average person would never notice. While I prefer using Kodak's chemistry for most of my work, I'm considering playing with the Dignan formula when I travel, though I need to do some serious testing. Here's a few quick shots I took last week with the RB and the 360mm lens, processed in the kitchen sink, no tweaking saturation or the like, just simple level adjusting and no sharpening, I'm really starting to like this new Portra 160VC:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. stefan4u

    stefan4u Member

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    Nice shot's really !!

    The "dignan" formular does it's job quite well with forgiving low saturated portrait films. Unadjusted I had good results with Agfa Portrait 160 (RIP), but quite harsh prints with consumer stuff. Watch out for the ph, it HAS TO BE adjusted to ~10.05 with sulphuric acid. If you take the formular without corrections, ph will be too causic at about ~10.50, depending on your water supply. Further I suspect that there is too much sulfite and bromide in, the Densitiometer's reading for red are a bit low...

    Regards,
    Stefan
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 23, 2008
  18. bill williams

    bill williams Member

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    Stefan,

    I really don't disagree that the results are not dead on as they would be with C41. The negatives do print very well, and the process gives very repeatable results. For that reason, I posted what I'd found. I thought perhaps that anyone that had experimented with Dignan's formula might find that this worked better for them, as it can be tailored to each film type and easily altered for contrast. I would think that it would be quite suitable for XP2. And I plan to continue to tinker with it in hopes of finding exactly the right amount of bromide and iodide to make it more acceptable. I wouldn't for a moment suggest that it matches or exceeds the quality and results from C41.

    By the way, when I worked with Dignan's formula, I found that doubling the carbonate and the CD4 helped a lot, and I also found that Kodak films liked some potassium bromide and not potassium iodide, and the other way around for Fuji. Had some success, but not enough to continue fooling with it. I liked the one shot small chemistry approach better.
     
  19. stefan4u

    stefan4u Member

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    Dear Bill !!

    Hope you didn't misunderstood me, never crossed my mind to criticize you!! There is just a keen interest in homebrewing, the differents formulars and their 'output'. Sadly I'm in an horrible lack of time, next batch and test runs are possible in about 3 weeks...
    * Interesting, your observation that fuji films tend to like more jodide in the developer. It seems to make sense if you compare the Fuji formulations against some kodak formulations (found in various patents). The fuji "standard" seems to be 1.5 mg/L against 1.2mg/L for kodak (if the numbers where not modified with intent...)

    Regards from Germany,
    Stefan
     
  20. bill williams

    bill williams Member

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    Stefan,

    I didn't take it as such. And I feel any comments pointing out either negative or positive attributes will help me to do better. I do not have the background in chemistry that either you or PE are fortunate to have, my field is electronics. And I do not have at my disposal even a densitometer, just an EM10, and some old 'True Balance Set UP Negatives' to compare with as well as some negatives I've done at home with Kodak's C41 chemicals and many from the one hour labs. The very best negatives I have were all done at home in the Kodak chemicals. The worst, from the one hour labs. I looked at the strip of negatives that the two images I posted came from, and compared the mask with a recent one I developed in C41, and I do believe that the mask is a bit towards the yellow, maybe about 5cc yellow. So I will make a correction. I appreciate any comments or discussion that will help guide me!

    Thanks!
     
  21. atomo47

    atomo47 Member

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    Hi, can you tell me where i can find cd3 and cd4 kodak developing agents? Thanks
     
  22. RPC

    RPC Member

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    CD-4 from Photographers' Formulary and CD-3 from Artcraft.
     
  23. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    I'll resurrect this old thread just to see if anyone has an opinion on the "shelf life" once mixed of Bill Williams' CD4 developer (as given in his OP)?

    Or might it be "better" to treat it as one-shot ?

    I use C41 film infrequently enough to make buying a C41 kit uneconomic & wasteful; acquiring CD4 and some iodide is less than the cost of a kit, and I have the other chemicals on hand, so I can have a bit of fun (and perhaps even get some decent results, although I expect imperfect results and am OK with that).
     
  24. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    The original recipe should certainly be treated as "use only once and right after mixing" formula as it completely lacks any preservative for the CD-4. Stefan's recipe is a bit light on HAS but should work for a few weeks (don't tell him, he uses it fresh and single shot).
     
  25. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    thank you, Rudeofus.

    I also noted that it contains a very much smaller proportion of CD4 than seems common in other formulae (0.7g/L rather than ~5g/L)
     
  26. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    He also uses it single shot while most C41 color developers are used for up to 16 rolls per liter, so in term of cost it's a draw. The low concentration of dev agent reminds me of David Lyga's recent thread with highly diluted Tetenal C41 soup, which reportedly gave him good results.