developing c-41 color film?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by stradibarrius, May 27, 2009.

  1. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    I know this has probably been asked a million times but...I process my own B&W with a small 2 reel tank.

    Is developing color film as simple as B&W?
     
  2. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    Even simpler. Every C-41 film gets the same processing times so you can develop different C41 emulsions in the same tank.

    The only hitches: you'll need a water bath to keep the film at 38C, though a couple of degrees either way won't be fatal. Also, sourcing the chemistry can be tricky, especially in smaller quantities. Some suppliers don't carry, or won't ship, certain components.
     
  3. aparat

    aparat Member

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    Yes, it is as simple. You will just need to have a way to control the temperature (e.g., with a water jacket). I have not had good luck with the Tetenal two-bath press C41 kit. I got a magenta shift in my reds, and I didn't feel like experimenting any more, so I gave up, for now. You might have better luck.
     
  4. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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  5. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    If you have a way to control the temperature, yes. I have used fish tank heaters to bring the chemistry to the appropriate temperature.

    Develop 3.5 minutes
    Blix 7 minutes
    Stabilizer 1 min
     
  6. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    If you have difficulty finding chemistry in small quantities take a look at the alternative C-41 thread.
     
  7. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    It's pretty simple. All the mechanical stuff is, of course, the same. The rolling, the agitation, the pouring, etc. There are fewer steps and the process is faster than b/w for me. The temperature control is the hard part. I have found the easiest way is to use a temp control valve with a built-in thermometer used for coarse temperature control, with the flow going into a water jacket (sink or tub with a level-setting overflow stopper), and an accurate and precise thermometer that is used by hand for fine temperature control. I am considering making my own, but now I use the one at the CC I attend...In fact, it is one of the main reasons I still attend at all! The fishtank heater idea is something I want to explore as well. It can't be all that different from a Jobo heater, but being ignorant of the specifics at this point, I am leery of its ability to provide a constant temp to the degree of precision and accuracy needed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2009
  8. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    I watched a You-tube video where a guy used a plastic tub with very hot water to get the temp up , set the three bottles of chemistry in the tube and with a thermometer measured the developer, poured it into the developing tank for the correct amount of time and aggitation, then blix, then fixer. Rinsed and hung to dry.
    It seems just like B&W but with different chemicals, temps & times????
     
  9. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

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    I think there should be a sticky or two on this forum with: 1) basic resources explaining the process of beginning color processing, particularly temperature control and various methods for doing so; and 2) sources for buying the chemistry in smaller quantities.

    Especially the latter. I keep seeing references to this in various threads but forget where they are. These, to me, are the two most important questions for beginners and #2 for beginners and advanced who process in smaller amounts.

    Maybe the "alternaive c-41" thread could be a sticky. I'm going to look for it, but at this point, I don't know what it is about.
     
  10. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Hmmmmm, yes and no. A couple of stickies wouldn't hurt, it would be quite the opposite, but then:

    1) The articles section of the forum is the right place for explaining "the process of beginning color processing". Instead, an FAQ might be something better. Question #1 could be "How do I develop C41" and the answer a link to the article in this forum. It's amazing how many people miss the articles.

    2) No, sources for low volume chemistry can change within short time, so it wouldn't make much sense (IMHO). Think about the geographic location of anyone in this forum as well...
     
  11. cschweda

    cschweda Member

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    Can someone post the link to the "alternative C-41" thread? Search turns up exactly one thread.

    This one.

    Thanks.
     
  12. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

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    If I were you I would not want to waste time in pursuing alternative C-41 process unless you know there is something that you are specifically looking for. The fastest and most efficient way for any beginner to achieve a simple goal of producing quality negatives at home is to simply buy ready made Kodak C-41 chemicals and follow Kodak's instruction. It is just about fool proof unless you try to cut corners and alter the process at will. This is the fastest way to get you there and waste no money and time. It is not difficult.
     
  13. mts

    mts Subscriber

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  14. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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  15. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    It's ok as far as it goes, but the processing practice this video demonstrates isn't the best. For reasons discussed elsewhere, separate bleach and fix baths are preferable to using blix owing to the likelyhood of retained silver. Better processing inserts a sulfite stop bath following the developer step and adds a rinse following the bleach. I always complete bleach and fix steps by inspection in the light using a lifting rod to agitate the film reel in the tank. These two steps must go to completion and inspection processing verifies that the bleach is working before the fixer is used. The bleaching effect should be apparent first around the film edges and sprocket holes where the emulsion layers are exposed well within one-half the specified bleach time. Likewise for the fix, although this is usually less problematic than can be incomplete bleaching.

    The video appears to omit a decent wash following the fixing step. The flushing step shown is not a good wash in my opinion. A 4-5 minute wash in running water is preferable before the stabilizer. The wash needs to be longer or hypo-clearing agent should be used when processing black & white films. As PE has pointed out several times in other threads, no further wash should follow the stabilizer! Washing again or processing in photo-flo defeats much of the purpose of the stabilizer solution.

    I also criticize the film handling that is shown in the video. I am much more careful about handling my wet film. As it unrolls from the reel, I hang it directly from an overhead clip before running a stabilizer-dampened sponge squeege down its length, finally adding a clip weight at the bottom. I definitely do not let the film roll around in the sink at any point in processing, as this unnecessary handling invites dirt particles that will produce scratched film when it is squeeged.

    The video is a decent demonstration of how to process C-41 using small tanks and a water bath, but in my opinion it does not teach good darkroom processing practice.
     
  16. Jayd

    Jayd Member

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    A perament but updatable FAQ would be what I would like to see. I to have become again interested in home processing C41 because I can no longer get 120 / 220 done at reasonable time and cost locally or for that matter anywhere I have found.
    The aquarium heater would likely produce plenty of heat the issue is accuracy + - I seriously doubt a cheap one is accurate enough but there may be one that is, or you may be able to buy a separate controller that is.
    The two big issues for me and I thing maybe a good starting point for the FAQs:
    1.Has anyone found an aquarium heater or other device(s)that is made to hold a temperature with in the processing specs?
    2. Where can I get chemicals at an economical cost in or available to central Ohio USA?
     
  17. Jayd

    Jayd Member

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    My practice in the darkroom embraces the old "cleanliness is next to godliness" who knows if God takes a bath? but it is true of darkroom practices: Grit,dust and chemical contamination is are a few good reasons not to be careless with your film and to keep things clean.

    Jay
     
  18. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    There's a thread on here with some heater suggestions. I think it was a Won Pro. Even though the controller only goes to 95 degrees or something, you can pop open the controller and remove a stop. The instructions are here somewhere.

    As far as chemicals, though I haven't taken the plunge, ordering the Trebla filmpac from labdepot.com (and the starter) seems to be the easiest route.
     
  19. lionelpina

    lionelpina Member

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    Reliable Water Heaters for Photography

    A Scientific Water Bath used in the Scientific, Medical and Lab fields is a controlled water heater system that has adjustable control settings that would go from( for E6 and C41 processing) below38C, to 38C, to beyond 38c. Google them or look for a decent used one on Ebay. Ebay has plenty in different sizes for under $100.00 US. They may not do everything a JOBO does but heat control won't be an issue.:smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 31, 2009
  20. Tom Taylor

    Tom Taylor Member

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    If you are truly serious about processing color film, I would purchase a Jobo CPA-2 processor w/lift. The Jobo solves your temperaure and agitation problems and delivers lab quality results almost mechanically: For example, I set my greylab timer to 9 min, 45 seconds and at precisely 6 min, 40 seconds begin draining the developer and at 6:30 pour in the bleach (the C-41 process does not use Blix which is used in the RA-4 process). The advantage of the CPA-2 over the CPP-2 or smaller CPE-2 is that you don't really need the cold water valve component of the CPP-2 - especially with color since the ambient temperature of your room is normally well below the processing temperature of the film/paper - and the CPA_2, like the CPP-2, will allow you to process large format film and paper up to 20x24.

    As far as the chemistry, both Adorama and Calumet will sell and ship them to you. I recommend that you at least start with Kodak chemistry and definitely search the Kodak website where you will find several tech pubs that you can download explaining the chemicals, processing, and mixing smaller quanities from their packaged products.

    Finally, you might find Exploring Color Photography by Robert Hirsch very informative. It's out of print but can still be found.
     
  21. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    Unicolor makes a 3-part kit that's about as easy to use as it gets. Freestyle sells the Unicolor 1-liter kit for $14. The instructions are easy to follow and I've found the results to be good.