List of chemical items to purchase for C-41 and RA4?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Jedidiah Smith, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

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    This may seem very elementry and like a dumb question, but I was looking at the huge array of Kodak chemicals for C-41 processing at B&H. Basically, I'm asking this because I don't want to buy the wrong thing - shipping to Alaska is going to be the largest factor in cost, and returning something would double that! :wink:
    So...has anyone made a simple list of all the required Kodak chems to buy for starting up C-41 processing and RA-4 printing? The C-41 will be for use in a Phototherm, which I believe is a one-shot processor.
    RA4 will be printed in trays until I can get a processor shipped up here.
    Also to anyone that gets these chems shipped reqularly - do you know who has the best shipping rates? (Of course, I will compare B&H, Adorama, Calumet and Fresstyle if no one knows - but why invent the wheel if I don't have to:tongue: ).
    Thanks for your time,
    Jed
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You should be able to buy the chemicals in kit form for home use.

    Ian
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Is there a local mini-lab? Best way to save on shipping is to wander over and ask nicely if they'll add your stuff to their order. Both the Kodak and Fuji minilab stuff can be used outside of the machine.

    Upsides:

    Usually much cheaper then the kits

    No shipping if you buy locally

    Cons:

    Larger sized. I think the smallest jugs tend to be 1 gallon.

    B&H lists some minilab stuff on their site so you can look at that to.

    What do you need?

    C-41 Dev
    C-41 bleach
    Fix

    You'll want to add a stop

    RA-4

    Developer and Blix.

    Various choices exist. I'd try and avoid anything that needs a "starer"
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    If it needs a "starer" :D

    Nick's suggestion is exactly what I do in the UK. My supplier splits up the Tetenal minilab packs (which do need a starter for RA4). As he says this way the chemicals are far cheaper than a kit.

    The starter is need because the developer is designed for replenishment, so if used fresh isn't properly balanced. It's no big deal adding it.

    Ian
     
  5. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Jedidiah,

    This document should help with C-41: http://www.kodak.com/global/plugins/acrobat/en/service/Zmanuals/z131_03.pdf

    This document should help with RA-4: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/j39/j39.pdf

    Having said that, I would like to second the recommendation that you start with kits. You will have enough to do to maintain the temperatures (necessary for C-41) without having to create your own kit. RA-4 kits have received good reviews in the past and learning to adjust the color pack will supply sufficient challenge to start.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

    Neal Wydra
     
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I never use a starter for film or paper. I use the RA-RT developer replenisher for paper and for C41 I use the developer straight. I've published the part numbers here before.

    And, don't forget the C41 final rinse (or stabilzer for older films).

    Kodak does not make a paper kit. All chemicals are sold individually. I thought that they had discontinued the C41 kit as well.

    PE
     
  7. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I agree with others about kits -- they're far and away the easiest way to get started, since they (theoretically) contain all you need, and the lists of [carl sagan voice]billions and billions[/carl sagan voice] of minor variant chemicals at B&H or the like can be confusing. (Sometimes adding stop bath or final rinse/stabilizer to a kit is useful or necessary, though. Stop bath you've probably got, but if a C-41 kit doesn't mention it, add some final rinse for newer films or stabilizer for older films to your order. If in doubt, use stabilizer, but be aware that it contains formaldehyde, so treat it appropriately.) Unfortunately, kits are often pricier than buying individual components, and AFAIK neither Kodak nor Fuji makes C-41 kits any more, at least not sized for home darkroom use. This means you may need to use third-party chemistry if you go for a kit. Third-party C-41 kits usually (always?) use a blix rather than separate bleach and fixer, which is a disadvantage.

    Alternatively, try calling a retailer rather than placing an order via the Web. That way you'll be able to discuss your needs with a salesperson who should be familiar with the specific products the retailer stocks. If you're ordering by Web, Freestyle and Adorama have less confusing lists of color chemicals than B&H or Unique Photo. Of course, the downside is that the less confusing product lists are also less complete, but they've got the things a home darkroom user would need.

    More broadly, for C-41 you need C-41 developer, optionally a stop bath, either a blix or separate bleach and fixer, and either final rinse or stabilizer. Separate bleach and fixer are superior to a blix, in my experience.

    For RA-4 you need RA-4 developer, optionally a stop bath, and an RA-4 blix. Most kits have just the developer and blix.

    For both C-41 and RA-4, developers and blixes are often shipped in multiple bottles; you mix them together at time of use. If an ad mentions "part A" or "part B", be sure you get all the parts. Some third-party products ship single-part concentrates rather than using multiple bottles. This is more convenient, but I suspect that shelf life suffers.
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Single part or two part developer kits are much less stable and have shorter shelf lives.

    Powder blixes and bleach then fix solutions are less effective than liquid kits for very technical reasons.

    PE
     
  9. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

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    Thank you for the comments so far, and especially for the link to the Kodak PDFs. I understand the ease of a kit, but it has been a long time since I've shot color negs (been on a chrome kick for over a year), and I want to standardize on Kodak films (I just like their color balance better than Fuji for negs - or at least I used to when I shot them) and paper, and would like Kodak chemistry if possible.
    I think that means there is no kit for what I want...I will have to purchase separate bottles.
    I realize that for the film, a separate bleach and fix is better - does this not hold true for the RA4 prints? Is a blix ok for them - I see many have suggested that.
    Thanks again,
    Jed
     
  10. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    For paper, a blix is fine.

    PE
     
  11. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

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    Jed, Kodak's cheapest C-41 chemicals are all individually packed for making 1 gallon working colution. But the bleach and the fixer although make 1 gallon each they have twice the processing capacity of the developer. So you may want to buy two developer (make 1 gallon each) and one bleach and one fixer.

    I have found that reusing the gallon sized Kodak developer to be a bad practice. Kodak says you can reuse by increasing development time. But I have found that it tends to mess up the color balance and increase grain. I have abandoned reusing of developer after losing a dozen rolls of 220 negatives.

    Buying minilab sized C-41 chemicals from local minilab supplier is where I get my C-41 chemicals now. Huge capacity and yet not too expensive. Yields excellent negatives always. BTW, I use a jobo automatic processor. Sometimes I shot images of about half a dozen rolls of 220 in one weekend. The jobo processor processes them in one evening for me. By midnight time all rolls are dried and sleeved ready for scanning. The minlab sized chemicals are still too large for me though. But price wise it is still cheap enough for me in the long run.
     
  12. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

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    PE, thank you for the confirmation on Blix for the RA4.

    MTJade, thanks for the heads up about the chems. I'd really like to do Kodak chems if I can get them shipped up to me. I'll keep that in mind about purchasing devloper in a 2:1 ratio compared to bleach and fix. Those are the kinds of tips that really help later on! :wink:
    As an aside, I never re-used developer on B&W negs, and wasn't really thinking about doing it with color - the chance of ruining my negs just isn't worth saving a buck, if you know what I mean...I do appreciate the info, though! Now I'm even less tempted to ever try it.
    Great info here for me, thanks to all,
    Jed