DIY Slide Developing Kits in the 1980s?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by cooltouch, May 5, 2013.

  1. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    I'm wracking my brains trying to remember the slide developing kit I used for a while in the 80s. Would have been during 1985-87. I seem to dimly recall the box the chems came in was mostly black with example photos on the top and sides. Maybe Unicolor?

    I'm hoping that somebody here might recall what kit it was that I likely used. I'm pretty sure it was a three-bath kit. The chems were liquid, not powder. I do recall that it used blix, and that its temp sensitivity was +/- 0.5 degree F, but I guess that's sort of standard.

    I also recall that I bought it at a well-stocked local camera store, and not mail order. I lived in Southern California back then and I'm thinking it was probably Frank's that I bought it from.

    TIA for any help you can provide.
     
  2. Muihlinn

    Muihlinn Member

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    Tetenal boxes always were black, and matched your descriptions except pictures in the sides, but they have squares/rectangles with some info.
     
  3. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I used Unicolor. But the small, quart sized kits I think had the photos, or at least bright colors. I bought the gallon kits which were pretty plain cardboard with text printed on them.
     
  4. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    I should have mentioned it. I bought the small kits. Unicolor seems to be ringing a bell. Tetenal, not so much, because I recall pretty clearly using a three bath process. Do you recall, Roger -- Unicolor used a three-bath process, right?

    I was told recently by a person who favors Tetenal that he uses it because it is a four-bath process, the last bath being a stabilizer to insure the colors last a long time. I wonder how necessary it is because I've got self-developed slides dating back some 28 years now, and their colors are as accurate now as the day when the slide strips came out of the developing tanks.
     
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  5. RPC

    RPC Member

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    How about Beseler? It seems to me they had a black box and 3-step kit but I wouldn't bank on it.
     
  6. Muihlinn

    Muihlinn Member

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    Tetenal was/is 3 or 6 step process, but 3 were what made them popular. One way or another, it could be any brand and my memory is flacky when going back to the 80's :smile:
     
  7. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    Thanks, guys. Well, Tetenal is described as being a three bath plus stabilizer process, so it's really four baths. Tell you what, if their pricing structures were similar to what they are now, I wouldn't have bought it. The 1 liter kit just costs too much.

    I'm gonna start processing my own slides again. Developing costs have just become too prohibitive, and dang it, I like shooting slides. So I'm gonna give Freestyle's Arista a try, see how it comes out. Maybe if I start doing a lot of it, it will make sense to buy Tetenal in the 5 liter size, but the 1 liter kit just makes no sense.
     
  8. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I used both a six bath (originally) and a three bath (later) Unicolor.
     
  9. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    I took the plunge this morning and ordered Freestyle's Arista E6 1-pt. kit and decided to give their Unicolor C-41 kit a try as well. My local camera shop just shut down their processing lab, so now I have to go to a pro lab to get my C-41 medium format film developed (I already have to use the pro lab for my E6). I have a couple of exposed rolls of 220 that I need to get processed. So now, the cost of getting two rolls of 220 developed (no prints) at the pro lab more than pays for the Unicolor C-41 kit, which should allow for at least four rolls of 220, probably more.

    I guess I'll find out soon enough whether I like the Arista E6 kit. If not, I'll just suck it up and spring for the Tetenal 5-liter kit.
     
  10. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    My kits arrived today. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get everything sorted -- I still have a few items to pick up before I'll be ready to start mixing the chems.

    I was reading through the Arista instructions just now, and sure enough, their directions have caused me to raise a question. It has to do with the agitation method they describe. They mention inverting the tank twice, then vigorously inverting it back and forth for 15 seconds. And then the directions state to continue the previously mentioned agitation every 30 seconds. So, is this correct? Am I really supposed to vigorously agitate the tank for 15 seconds every 30 seconds? This just seems excessive to me. Or am I supposed to do the two gentle inversions every 30 seconds, and not repeat the vigorous agitation, which might have been meant for the beginning of the process only?

    When I develop black and white, I gently invert the tank back and forth for about 5 or 6 seconds every minute or so. So, doing a couple of inversions every 30 seconds makes sense, but not shaking the hell out of the dang thing for 15 seconds every 30 seconds. Am I right?
     
  11. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I don't know, but I did plenty of Unicolor in my Jobo with continuous agitation and it worked fine.
     
  12. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    Yes, but continuous agitation in a Jobo is just a gentle roll. Not shaking the hell out of it. Do you use the same continuous agitation in your Jobo for black and white?
     
  13. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Coolman,
    I've used that arista kit with great results.
    I used a Nikor stainless tank so agitation was a bit less aggressive than what I do with my plastic leakresistant :smile: Patterson rig. (although I am not agressive... i just use the 4-5 inversions per 30sec depending on contrast of the roll)

    I'm sure you could adjust your first bath agitation to suit the contrast of the roll if you are lucky enough to shoot the entire roll in similar lighting conditions.
     
  14. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Yes. I used to use the slower speed for film as originally recommended (I have the older CPE2, not the CPE2+) until I saw some slight unevenness in skies and read that they later recommended only the faster speed for roll films. I now use that. I use the slower speed for sheet film. The later CPE2+ only has one speed, apparently somewhere in between but closer to the fast one.
     
  15. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    Thanks for the feedback, guys. For a noob like me, every bit helps. So Bruce, to increase contrast, I take it you agitate a bit more aggressively? A couple of my rolls of E6 have been sitting around for a while now, and I don't recall specifically what's on them. So it's best I guess if I shoot for a middle of the road contrast level.

    Okay, so I take it that the directions for the Arista kit were worded unclearly. My take is that one should follow the directions as written for the initial agitations, but that for subsequent ones, to leave out the aggressive to-and-fro action for the balance of the developing time. This is what I originally thought they meant, but the wording is really unclear. At any rate, that's what I'm gonna do, and we'll see how it turns out. :smile:

    I hit a stumbling block in putting together my kit today. I went to one of this town's last two real camera shops, hoping to find a graduated cylinder and one-liter bottles for the Unicolor kit. The Arista kit I bought is the small, pint-sized kit, and they didn't have any pint sized bottles either. I did score a digital thermometer at Harbor Freight, tho, so things weren't a total loss. Frustrated by the bottle situation, though, I went to my local Kroger and figured I'd just buy some drinks in the bottle sizes I need. Heh. When's the last time you tried to buy a 16oz size juice drink or whatever in plastic bottles? They're all 16.9oz now (500ml). I finally found some chocolate milk (yum!) in 16oz bottles. Finding 1 liter bottles wasn't so hard. So now I have over a gallon's worth of drinks I have to consume before I can use the bottles. :blink: Once they're empty, I'll spray paint them black, and I'll be good to go. I figure I can have the chocomilk knocked off by tomorrow afternoon, no problemo, but the three liters of diet soda are gonna take a bit longer, so the C41's just gonna have to wait a while yet.

    As for a graduated cylinder, I'll just make do with what I have, and probably order a couple in different sizes from the internet. Really, the Arista probably won't even require it. But I'll be able to measure the Unicolor kit more accurately if I have a halfway decent one.
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Don't spray paint your containers - just keep them in a darkish place. The inside of a closed cupboard or a Rubbermaid tote will do fine.

    In most cases, you don't even have to do that, as most of the chemistry isn't sensitive to normal light levels.

    Clear containers permit you to monitor the contents without opening them.
     
  17. cooltouch

    cooltouch Member

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    Too late, I already sprayed them. About monitoring contents, yeah that occurred to me. SO I'm gonna take some thinner and wipe streaks down the sides of each bottle. That'll let me see the levels. I'm planning on storing them inside the styro cooler I use for the bath, so with the lid on, things will be nice and dark.