Kodak Flexicolor C-41 chemistry

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by CorreCaminos, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. CorreCaminos

    CorreCaminos Member

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    Hi y'all,

    I've been using the Tetenal kit to develop C-41 film and I'm ready to move to a separate bleach/fixer process. I've been looking at the Kodak Flexicolor chemistry and searched the forum for information but I haven't found a clear description of the process and which chemicals to buy.

    Could someone describe their experiences with the Flexicolor process. I'm particularly interested in the benefits of one-shot vs replenishing, which products and sizes you'd recommend for 10 rolls/month, and any other insight you might provide.

    Also, Adorama lists two Kodak C-41 developer replenishers (one is labeled simply c-41 developer and the other is Kodak Flexicolor). Which one do you use?
     
  2. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    corre, download the Z131 from kodak to get started, it will answer alot of the basic questions.
     
  3. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

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    If you plan to process 10 rolls a month you should forget about buying small retail sized packages that are far more expensive after adding up. You should buy a larger package that is enough for a year's consumption. Within the entire set of C-41 chemicals there is only one bottle, called Part C of the Developer, that will go bad in a month or two after the bottle is opened. Everything else will last easily more than a year even with opened bottles. Each time I mix and make 10 liters of developer. But I mix it in a concentrate volume. Instead of making it to 10 liters I make it to 2.5 liters and store it in 5 500 ml bottles. This makes it last longer than 2 months. I easily consume all 10 liters in 2 to 3 months. I use the developer one shot. I tried replenishing but it never worked well for me.

    This is the Kodak C-41 developer I buy these days:

    Flexicolor Developer Starter LORR – 8.3gal, Kodak part number: 8485153
    Flexicolor Developer Replenisher LORR – 10L, Kodak part number: 8121857

    This starter costs less than $10 each. And the Replenisher costs less than $100 for one carton with 3 sets (10 lietrs each set) in it. I am not sure the current prices are. Last time I got a deal with less than $300 and many boxes of it.

    This is the C-41 bleach I use:
    Flexicolor RA Bleach Replenisher NR – 5L, Kodak part number: 8255549

    And here is the fixer I use: Flexicolor Bleach III – 1gal, Kodak part number: 8940801

    I also use Kodak's C-41 Final Rinse. I bought a box full of it from eBay for a song. This stuff is cheap too.

    This is where I bought most of my chemicals: http://www.changsphoto.com/inventory...dakprochem.php
    This supplier is located in Los Angeles California and they have warehouses in Los Angeles and Hayward (SFO Bay Area). You should be able to find a similar supplier like that in your city or state.
     
  4. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Concerning replenishing: I don't bother with developer or fixer, but I do use replenishment with the blix, since it's the most expensive part of the process and it lasts a long time. I don't process as much as 10 rolls a month, though; at that sort of volume, replenishment of other components might make sense.
     
  5. Jerry Thirsty

    Jerry Thirsty Member

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    The Trebla Filmpac kit works great. I've been using it single-shot (except the bleach), and found that I can mix up as little as 1/3 liter working strength at a time without any problems. You'll need the kit and the developer starter:

    http://www.labdepot.com/products.asp?dept=180

    My biggest hang-up was the lack of detailed instructions. So I mostly use the Kodak tech pub as a guide and modify it with what information I do have from the Trebla.
     
  6. PVia

    PVia Member

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    Mtjade...

    You mention two developers, one of them being replenisher, but also mention replenishing didn't work for you. So which dev do you use?

    See this is where all the confusion comes from when folks talk about C41...

    Also, the fixer you mention in the post is a bleach product...is that correct?

    I think what all us C41 newbies need is a list of this, this and that...with no ambiguities.

    Plus all the mention of starters, replenishers and plain old dev gets super confusing, as does the Kodak pub.

    Isn't there any place out there with a straight talking guide to C41?
     
  7. DarkroomExperimente

    DarkroomExperimente Member

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    this is exactly why I always got 3rd party C41 chemicals
     
  8. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    It's not hard.
    Developer: Two Categories:single use and replenisher. One you use and toss and the other you replenish. The solution you mix up first is called the "replenisher." You can use this to add specific amounts per roll of film to your "tank solution" to maintain proper activity over time. However, when you first make that tank solution you have to dilute the replenisher slightly and add a "starter" to simulate the seasoned tank.

    There are two types, Developer Replenisher and Developer Replenisher LORR (this means lower replenishment rate, usually for use in larger processors where this is a big advantage.) You should probably get the Developer Replenisher RT and the Starter. I got the 19 liter size because it cost about $25 and will last me till doomsday.

    For bleach there was Bleach III which came prediluted and you replenished if you wanted to. Now I think you have to find the Kodak Flexicolor Bleach SM (small tank size) or order 40 gallons of bleach III for $250. Search for the Bleach III discontinued thread for a link to the new bleach.

    For fix you dilute the concentrate to a replenisher. You then are supposed to add some more replenisher for every roll you process. I just use it and dump it personally.

    The last thing you need is a stabilizer. This serves as a wetting agent and a microbe killer to prevent fungus from eating your film later on and sometimes something to help film from fading. You mix up a replenisher and replenish if you want, I don't.

    There are instructions for the specific times and washes on the kodak website.
     
  9. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

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    Sorry, I forgot how confusing it can be as I am no longer a newbie. There are two ways to make working developer solution. The first is simply making it from a Developer chemical package and the 2nd is making it with Developer Replenisher. However, you will find that Developer Replenisher is more likely available than Developer. The reason is mini labs and pro labs buy only Developer Replenisher to replenish their working developer in their processors. They seldom ever need to make fresh developer. They keep replenishing everyday. So what do they do if they do need to make fresh developer from scratch? Kodak provides a developer starter to do that. You first mix and make a developer replenisher. Then you add developer starter to it. The resulted solution is a standard fresh developer.

    This is why I buy developer starter and developer replenisher. I do not replenish. I use both to make my developer and use it one shot only. Yes, there is a LORR and a Standard Developer Replenisher. I choose LORR version. I believe it has twice the capacity of the standard developer.

    Kodak bleach and fixer also come as replenisher. Labs buy them for replenishing. But you can use them as bleach and fix without adding starters. This is a confusing part too. But there is no need to add starters to bleach and fix replenisher. I reuse bleach and fix. When I feel they are about exhausted I dump half of it and top up with fresh ones. This is in fact replenishing. I think this is why they are called bleach and fix replenisher.

    C-41 processing is really not difficult to do at home. But in order to increase productivity so the you don't wear yourself out you will appreciate to have a JOBO processor to help you. I did with simple reels and tanks for years but eventually took a plunge and bought a JOBO ATL-2300. It was an investment I never regret it. It really enables me to process all the films I shot without wearing me out.
     
  10. PVia

    PVia Member

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    OK, much thanks...

    I'm going to look into this soon, and will try to post a recap before I buy chems...just to make sure ;-)
     
  11. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

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    Pvia,
    At one time Don Bryant assembled all the pertinent C41 documents into one, I have a mirror of it at http://www.eriepatsellis.com/z131.pdf , hope that helps make thing clearer.
     
  12. CorreCaminos

    CorreCaminos Member

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    Thanks for all the replies, which made the process a lot more understandable for me. I'll be ordering the chemicals shortly and giving it a go.
     
  13. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Are you ordering from Adorama?
     
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  15. CorreCaminos

    CorreCaminos Member

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    Yes, I was planning on getting the C-41 chemicals from Adorama. I usually get my supplies from B&H but they won't ship some of the chemicals. Anything I should know about Adorama?
     
  16. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    No, just curious. I've been wanted to try my hand at C41 at home (in small tanks) but always run into the same thing you are. What chemicals to order. When I think I've finally figured it out, I can't ever seem to find a place to order them from that stocks it all. I know Adorama ships, but for some reason I thought they didn't stock all of what I needed...
     
  17. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

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    It's good to hear you guys are going to take the plunge into C-41 home processing. It is really easier than most people thought. Just a reminder here that only the very first step, the color development step, is critical. You will want to time as close to 3 minutes and 15 seconds as possible. But if it turns out to be 5 seconds longer your negative will come out as good as you can expect. You will want to temper the developer at 100 degree F and keep it at the same throughout that 3 minutes and 15 seconds. However, I always temper the developer at 103 - 105 degrees to begin with. My bathroom sink is filled with water at about 102 degrees. My film tank remains in the sink during the development step. At the end of the development step the water temperature usually is a few degrees lower. So my film is practically processed in a temperature starting from about 102 degrees then ends at about 98 degrees. It has never hurt my negatives.

    All the remaining steps can be done with ease. Temperature of bleach, fix and final rinse can be within 80 - 100 degrees. Time for bleach, fix and final rinse is not critical. A few minutes longer than specified in the instruction will not hurt anything. In fact I sometime bleach and fix my negatives for 10 minutes each becuase I reuse my bleach and fix. If my phone rings in the middle of bleaching or fixing I will answer the phone.

    The developer is also the only chemical that will not last. I keep my mixed developer in 500 ml bottles (JOBO bottles) full with minimum air in it. The mixed developer can last over 2 months this way in my experience. But I always mix my developer in concentrated volume. My developer package is supposed to make 10 liter of developer. I always mix it to 2.5 liter and store it in 5 500 ml bottles. Each time when I use it I will take one bottle and add water to make 2 liters of working developer. The unused developer concentrate in 500 ml bottles can last easily over 2 months. I use JOBO bottles because they are know to be able to keep oxygen from breathing through the plastic. Most HPDE bottles are not good for storing developer despite they are brown bottles.

    PE has advised to pre wet the film before the development step. I tried it and liked it too. It helps to bring the film up to the development temperature before the developer is poured into the tank.
     
  18. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Do you do this by hand? I'd like someday to buy a PhotoTherm unit for this, but don't have the funds or the space currently. So I'll be doing this by hand in stainless tanks.

    Also thinking about ordering the Trebla FilmPac kit from labdepot.com. All you need for a ton of rolls for $70 sounds like a good deal to me.
     
  19. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Tim, I'm one who processes by hand in SS or plastic tanks (I've used both). The biggest hassle to this is just setting up the water bath. I don't have a heater for this task, so I regulate temperature by dumping some water and adding more that's warmer or cooler. It takes a few minutes to get the chemicals to the right temperature, so I usually start that before loading the film into the developing tank. With any luck, I'll then find that the temperature in the bath is reasonably close to 100F, so I dump some of that water into the tank to bring the film and tank up to temperature, then adjust and wait for the developer to reach 100F. When I use tanks that permit temperature reading during development, I find very little drift ofter the course of development -- maybe 0.1C or 0.2C at most. The temperature drops more during the bleaching, rinsing, and fixing stages, but as noted above, that's not as critical.
     
  20. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Ok cool. I plan on doing this in a cooler with a fish tank heater. Or something like one. I was just worried about the pouring the developer in and out of the tanks with such a short development time.
     
  21. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

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    Before I bought my JOBO processor I did it with stainless steel tank by hand too. Tempering the developer is the difficult part. The developer temperature gets raised while the water bath temperature gets lowered. It takes a while and there is little control of temperature change. My JOBO processor takes 10 seconds to pour in and another 10 seconds to drain out the developer. This 20 seconds is included in the 3 minute 15 second development time.
     
  22. CorreCaminos

    CorreCaminos Member

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    Ok, I'm ready to order the Flexicolor chemicals. This is the list I've come up with from the comments here and the Adorama website. Could someone confirm this is what I need and point out if I need anything else?

    Kodak Flexicolor Developer / Starter -- Mfr# 1953009
    Kodak C-41 Developer / Replenisher 10-liter -- Mfr# 8121857

    Kodak C-41 Bleach Starter 1 Gallon -- Mfr# 8566796
    Kodak C-41 Flexicolor Bleach III Replenisher 12.5-Gallons, Part A -- Mfr# 8184038

    Kodak Flexicolor Fixer / Replenisher 5-Gallons -- Mfr# 1693837

    Kodak Flexicolor Final Rinse and Replenisher to make 10-Liter -- Mfr# 8136368
     
  23. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

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    You will need Bleach III Replenisher Part B too. You don't need Bleach Starter. You can buy Flexicolor Bleach III Replenisher - 5 Gal #1987924. This is more than you need for 10 liters of developer.
     
  24. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    STOP! two problems. you don't need a bleach started but you will need the part b which is twice as expensive and not sold by adorama. seArch apug for the bleach iii discontinued thread and look for a link to the kodak flexicolor bleach sm. I actually just bought some off eBay for cheap.
    also you want the stabilizer, not the final rinse. i believe the final rinse lacks a dye stabilizer and is intended for washless minilabs. and I would find a good way to measure small amts.
     
  25. Jerry Thirsty

    Jerry Thirsty Member

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    I'm not trying to be pushy or anything, but seriously. You can get the entire Filmpac kit for what that Kodak Bleach Part A costs all by itself. And you don't have to spend hours trying to track down someone selling Part B. (FYI, Calumet lists the Part B 12.5 gallons for $180, but they don't actually stock it).
     
  26. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I've always used C-41 chemicals one-shot, so the replenishers don't make any sense for me. With very new films, the final rinse is supposed to work fine, but with anything more than a year or so old you will need C-41 stabilizer instead. (You can make it easily from formalin and Photoflo.) The developer starter is designed for startup of machine processing systems. You don't need it (or at least you didn't need it two years ago) for small batch processing. The stock solutions last an incredibly long time, although the working solutions deteriorate more quickly.