developing colour film in less than ideal conditions

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by nwilkins, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. nwilkins

    nwilkins Member

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    Hello everyone,

    this question does contain a small bit of forbidden (non analog) content but my question is really about analog developing so I thought this would be the best place to do it.

    I have experience with black and white film, but not so much with colour. I do shoot colour but usually get it lab developed because I know temperature deviations can cause a colour shift in the film.

    However, it would be much cheaper to develop it at home, and I never print colour film optically, I just scan it. So I guess my question is how much of a colour shift occurs in colour film if the temperatures are not super precise (within 1-2 degrees off)?

    Is the shift small enough to be easily corrected in photoshop after scanning?
     
  2. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I won't directly answer your question, because I can't. Scanning color film I have no clue what I'm doing. I scan it, work it until it looks like I want to, and print.

    What I can tell you, though, is that it's easy to maintain chemistry temperature. All you need is a water tempering bath and a good thermometer. When I develop C41 film at home I simply put my chemistry bottles with the water bath a little too hot and keep it there until the chemicals are roughly at temperature. Then I let the temperature drop to the correct processing temperature, and then I slowly pitch in hot water to keep the temperature right where it needs to be.

    I can't tell you if my results are fantastic, but I can tell you that I see no difference between what I process and what the lab processes. And for sure I'm able to keep the temperature dead on accurate throughout the whole processing cycle.
     
  3. destroya

    destroya Subscriber

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    It can make a difference in your negs, albeit not a huge one if its off by that small a margin.

    keeping the chems at temp is easy. any large (bigger the better) cheap slow cooker can keep your temps very close to 100 for the entire process. I got a cheap one at walmart for under $20 after thanksgiving that is perfect. just set the temp dial and you are all set. I use two thermometers to make sure the developers atay at 100. Do allow time for the chems to come up to temp and then stabilize as well.

    Here is a great link to a site one of our fellow board members put up that helped me

    http://www.lamarlamb.com/On-Film/Film-Blog/Developing-Slides/13127177_bK665M#!i=948545069&k=mwgyG
     
  4. nwilkins

    nwilkins Member

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    okay thanks guys - I think I will try it as $8 per roll of 10 shots is getting pricey.
     
  5. wombat2go

    wombat2go Subscriber

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    I am using the 5 litre Digibase kit
    It cost USD $133 including shipping from Germany to USA
    It will give me 5 sessions over a year or so
    I am ready for the 3rd session now.. I accumulate about 8 rolls of 35mm and 120 per session
    So I will get about 40 Rolls total.
    It is a lot of work though, it takes most of a day to set up, process and clean up and it gets a bit tedious.
     
  6. heterolysis

    heterolysis Member

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    It will work perfectly for your purposes.

    I've played with the home kits before and pushed/pulled film in them without trouble, and it is not hard to maintain an approximate temperature. Variation of a couple degrees won't be beyond repair in the scans. I've even had fair results with pushing really dead chemistry.

    Do a test strip the first time you make up the chemistry to see if you did it right and if it scans to your liking. If that's okay, I'd say you're in the clear for developing to your heart's content. Do another test strip if the chemistry gets old 2+ months at room temperature. If your scans lean towards being very blue, in my experience, just push the film a bit.

    Beau photo in Vancouver will ship Blix kits. It's a bit silly to order from all the way across the country, but might be easier than getting chemicals into Canada. I'll be ordering from them again soon (in Ontario now)---two of my last five rolls that went to the lab were ruined. It's disappointing enough losing your work, but it's even more frustrating when you paid someone else to do it for you.
     
  7. Nuff

    Nuff Member

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    According to the specs. The 5 litre kit is good for 110 x iso100 rolls and 100 x iso400. So if you are only getting 40 rolls, you are wasting a lot of chems.

    I got the same kit and I'm going to develop C41 for the first time this weekend. I've just put together this 300W aquarium tank heater controlled by a PID. It holds the temp very steady.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. wombat2go

    wombat2go Subscriber

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    Nuff , you are correct.
    Learning as I go, I wanted to space the developing sessions at about 3 monthly intervals, and I can only accumulate about 8 rolls in that time.
    I mix solutions of 750mil, so I will actually get more than 6 sessions which will probably take 1.5 to 2 years.
    I could probably do up to 16 rolls per session, so I feel the 5 L kit would be better value if shared by 2 or 3 users.
    Also there is the shelf life of the kit after the containers are opened, I think I read that one constituent has a life just exceeding 2 years.

    Hope your weekend goes well, I have good success except that the white residue from the stabilizer, occasionally mars a frame - I might try a squeege next time.
     
  9. Nuff

    Nuff Member

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    You are right. I think all of them are good for 3-4 years except developer C (could be one of the other ones) it's only good for 1-2 years. It's colour goes off and it's not good then. It's life can be extended by keeping air out and storing it in the fridge (not freezer).

    One question I have about colour development compared to b&w is, do you people tap the tank to dislodge air bubbles? I do it all the time in b&w, but I've not seen it mentioned in instructions or for that matter anyone doing it in the videos I have watched.
     
  10. Nuff

    Nuff Member

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    Well, I hope the working solution keeps for at least a month or even better 2. I will be mixing 750ml as well (easiest size of bottle to find) and that's good for 15-21 rolls of film.
    At the moment I have 8 rolls ready and 2 more should be finished by next weekend. Also I will be back from quick holiday in 4 weeks, where I assume I will burn between 20-40 rolls of film.
    Maybe even more, since it's going to be in Japan and film is quite cheap over there.

    Also since I'm going to get some iso800 film, I can extrapolate that the solution is only good for around 90 x iso800 rolls? Might be even less if I push it.
     
  11. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Home C-41 is incredibly easy. The hard part is just devising the water bath. Everything after that is straight through processing as normal. E-6 is just as easy, but more steps. Once you're setup for C-41 you're also setup for E-6.
     
  12. heterolysis

    heterolysis Member

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    My last kit quoted it was good for 80 rolls with no regard for the film speed, so 90 might be a reasonable estimate. Even still, in my case, $80 for 80 rolls is not something I'll argue about.
     
  13. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    You think that's pricey, son, eh?
    Spare a thought for us in Australia: 10 shots is $12.40 a roll (E6), or $27 for C41, and rising. :pouty:
     
  14. nwilkins

    nwilkins Member

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    I assume you mean C41 is $12 and E6 is $27, right? Otherwise you are definitely going to the wrong lab!
     
  15. Nuff

    Nuff Member

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    I'm not sure which lab you go to, but at a pro lab I visit for development charges $11 for E6 and C41 in 135 or $9.90 for 120.

    By the way, I did my first self dev last weekend and I had mixed results. First of all, on the first run, all of the rolls had really bad dried stabiliser dried up.
    What's the best way to clean it off from cut and sleeved film?

    The next one, where I decided to use the rotational thingy instead of inversions, I got bromide drag on all of the negs...

    Another thing I've noticed, even though my water bath was constant 37.8C, the chems once in my paterson tank was about 2-3C cooler.
    On the other hand all the chems in glass bottles where 37.8C. I think the plastic of the tank doesn't transfer the heat well enough, so the bath must be warmer. But I'm not sure how it will affect the Chems. Once I pour it in the tank. Also I think the presoak might need to be warmer, to heat up the tank more. My guess might be around 45C or more. I've tried 43C on the 2nd run, but it still wasn't warm enough.

    One last question, the times mentioned. Do they include the times it takes to pour in and out the chems?
     
  16. clayne

    clayne Member

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    You don't have to include the pour in pour out times if you're doing it at a reasonable rate. It's not that precise. The difference will be negligible even with the short times of C-41.

    1. Make sure the chemicals in your chem tanks are actually at 38C. Just because the holding bath is doesnt mean the chems are. Give it atleast a 30-60mins in the bath at 38C before actually using the stuff. Validate with a thermometer as well (just wash it off after). Plastic is a bad conductor and a good insulator so it make take a while to "catch up" to the bath temperature. This is why it's good to have an aquarium heater rather than running water as it saves a heck of a lot of water by containing the whole bath. Based on what I see in your photo you should be good heating and control wise.

    2. Stabilizer is pretty much photo flo + stab so if you don't have problems with photo flo you shouldn't have problems with stab. Don't use it at 38C. Just use it at room temp at the end (I don't water bath my stab).

    3. Bromide drag is surprising. My methodology with the tetenal kit is continuous hand agitation for 3.15-4.00 (depending on how many rolls I've used with the dev so far). Never even remotely seen anything like bromide drag.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2013
  17. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    No. E6 is $12. C41 is $27.
    This is a professional lab. Another nearby charges $14.95 for E6 and $30 for C41.
     
  18. wombat2go

    wombat2go Subscriber

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    Clayne and Nuff,
    Reading Clayne's point 2 , I wonder if there is a mis-translation or instructions in the wrong boxes at "processing-Step 5" of the "C41 Digibase Instruction Manual"
    I have had the same scum problem mentioned by Nuff, when I had the stabilizer at 37.8 C
    Next time I will try Stabilizer at 25 C for 90 seconds as in the lower boxes.
     
  19. Nuff

    Nuff Member

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    Is that C41 with prints or just dev? Sounds like it's prints at that price and it's comparing apples to oranges.
     
  20. Nuff

    Nuff Member

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    wombat2go, did you mix the stab according to the PDF or on the bottle? If you see they are different. I used the instructions on the bottle which asks for half the solution the PDF does. I'm thinking about getting a squeegee. With photoflo I just hang the negs and the photoflo comes off. I think the issue is that the film (and stab) is hot and dries before the stab has the chance to drip off the film.

    clayne, I'm pretty sure the bromide drag is my fault. I've changed the agitation method. The first set didn't have it, I was more vigorous with the agitation. I think swirling around the spools instead of inverting the tank isn't aggressive enough. I will go back to inversions and lower the stab temp. As for the temp of the chems, they were in the bath for 60min and were exactly 37.8C. I guess I'm going to submerge the paterson tank after loading film to bring it up to temperature as well before pouring in the pre-soak.
     
  21. clayne

    clayne Member

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    A pre-soak should be decent enough, the patterson tank isn't going to hold or absorb any significant heat as it's plastic. A good 5 minute pre-soeak at 38C should definitely help though.

    As far as temps go, the only "critical" temp is the dev. Just about everything after that (excluding stab) only needs to be near 38C, +/- 3-5C won't make or break bleach+fix. Stab, I just keep it out near my drying cabinet and it's usually 68C or so when I use it.
     
  22. wombat2go

    wombat2go Subscriber

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    Nuff, I did not notice the difference, that explains why I ordered extra stabilizer because I thought the kit was wrong!
    So it looks like I am using too much concentration.
    Next time I will correct that and also leave the sab solution out of the hot bath
    Thanks for picking this up.