New to color processing, obvious question, hard answer to find

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by FowlerRising88, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. FowlerRising88

    FowlerRising88 Member

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    Alright I am the president of the Photo Club at our university and we are finally making the leap to color processing(C-41). We will not have color printing but will scan them into our computer and print them on our large format photo printer. For simplicity and space we are going to be using the Unicolor powder kit(makes 1 liter) and will be stored in accordion style containers to minimize oxidation. My question is that after using for example the developer on one roll of film, is the developer discarded or added back into the unused developer. I also am wondering this with the blix and stabilizer. It seems like a very simple question but I have not been able to find that simple answer.

    I hope someone can clarify this for me

    Many thanks
     
  2. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    It may be useful if you make your location clear, i.e. United Kingdom, USA, Netherlands etc.

    Tom
     
  3. wclark5179

    wclark5179 Member

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  4. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    There are two methods for running C41. First is to reuse the chemistry the maximum number of times, which is three uses. The first use you use 3'15" for the developer, the second time you use 3'30" and the third 3'45". This method is designed primarily for first time C41 users who are paranoid at saving money. After a while, however, one realizes that the primary issue is quality of the product. This method involves using developer one shot, bleach twice, and fix once or twice. It assures quality and to be honest it doesn't really cost that much.

    I recommend using distilled water to mix your stabilizer. It removes the gunk issues.

    You will find that powder kits, while useful as introductory kits or visiting south africa and need to process film to mail to newspaper kits, are not cost effective nor provide the best quality. I personally recommend using Kodak chemistry. You mix up a gallon of developer at a time and decant it into glass bottles--usually the one liter size. I typically mix fix by the gallon, stabilizer by the liter from distilled water, and bleach comes ready made.

    PS. Don't use accordion bottles. They're terrible--worse than normal plastic bottles. They are made of low grade permeable plastic.
     
  5. FowlerRising88

    FowlerRising88 Member

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    Tom, I am located in the US, northern New York to be exact.

    wclark5179, that was the first place I checked, couldn't find anything helpful
     
  6. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I would steer clear of any kit that uses a blix. Not only is the modified process not as archivally sound, but these kits are actually more expensive than the Kodak chemicals last I checked. Paying more for worse negatives makes no sense at all. I don't understand why this stuff can stay around, but the Kodak stuff keeps getting cut back more and more.

    What is wrong with using the honest-to-god Kodak chemicals? You can mix them up 5 L or 10 L at a time and use them one shot, save the chemicals and use extended development times in subsequent runs through them, or mix up replenisher, and use them replenished.

    Are people really only processing one roll at a time? Makes more sense for people to get together in groups to fill a liter container, then dump the liter of developer.
     
  7. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    If you are happy with Unicolor then fine but if you are a club and intend to do quite a lot of C41 processing, you might want to consider the costs of Unicolor v Kodak. If I were a large volume user instead of an occasional user as one man and a darkoom then I think that Kodak's pedigree in C41 would tempt me to try Kodak.

    It sounds as if the kit may use a blix and not separate bleach and fix and it is powder. Have a look a various threads here but there is a body of opinion that says that powder is not ideal for C41 and secondly that blix isn't as good at producing as archivally sound negs as bleach then fix.

    Just some thoughts on research that you might want to carry out and then discuss with members of your club.

    pentaxuser
     
  8. FowlerRising88

    FowlerRising88 Member

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    2f/2f and pentaxuser: We are not a very large club and the use of a three component developing process is for simplicity for people who in some cases have never worked with any film, be it B&W or color. Another reason is we are very limited in space. Having several gallons of chemicals mixed up is not easy to store in our situation. Lastly we are not a high quantity processor. This is our first foray into color development and we would most likely loose the chemicals to oxidation before we use them up. If there is strong interest from the rest of the club we can upgrade to a full chemistry set from a larger name manufacturer.
     
  9. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I would recommend using the stuff as 1L for the first run- 4-35mm or 2-120, or 2-220 works with 1L in my stainless reels and tank set up. When I use my paterson reels I can load 2-120 end to end on the same reel and then can thus do 4-120 at once per litre.

    I would recommned using the used stuff route within a week of the first run of it.
     
  10. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    By all means get started with the easier kits. I just found them annoying shortly after starting with them. If you have the money and don't need perfect results go for it.

    You can mix up one liter sizes from the larger chemistry kits BTW.
     
  11. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    There are three methods with home processing in roller or hand tanks.

    1. One shot method. The best for raw quality and consistency.

    2. Replenished method. Second-best for raw quality and consistency. Good idea if you are processing a crapload of film all the time. Might be a good idea if the club shoots enough!

    3. Reuse method. This is the method you listed...except the times you named are wrong, and you can run three extended times after the initial batch, not two. The first time is 3:15. The second is 3:23. The third is 3:28. The fourth is 3:33, If my memory serves me correctly.

    When you need to go to the next time is as follows:

    After every:

    12 rolls 135-12
    5 rolls 135-24
    4 rolls 135-36
    8 rolls 110-24
    3 rolls 120
    1 roll 220
    10 sheets 4x5
    2 sheets 8x10

    ...per liter.

    The oddball to me is the 220. Why can you do three rolls of 120 before having to add time, but only one roll of 220?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2010
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    If you are a really small club, quite honestly, this venture doesn't make a lot of sense to me. The main benefits of home processing are that you can save a lot of money, and obtain very high-quality negatives. With not many people in the club using the chems, the first advantage is lost. With a blix process, the second advantage is lost. At that point, going to a professional lab at about $8 per roll process only would be the better route.

    After hearing your last response, I still recommend the Kodak chems, and mixing single-liter batches instead of 5 L batches like I suggested previously. You can do this by using tiny graduates for exact splitting of the concentrated chemicals. Surely the storage of the bottles can be figured out by a club of enterprising photographers.

    P.S. Ignorance and inexperience are good reasons to do something, not good reasons to not do it. That way, the ignorance and inexperience are eradicated...which would be your club doing some real good for its members!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2010
  13. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    It's fun though. The better idea is to try RA4 printing.
     
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  15. Tom Taylor

    Tom Taylor Member

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    Your useage seems to parallel mine. I use Kodak Chemistry exclusively and suggest that you look at the following:
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/27583-REG/Kodak_1919042_Flexicolor_C_41_Developer_Replenisher.html
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/27592-REG/Kodak_1953009_Flexicolor_C_41_Developer_Starter.html
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/27600-REG/Kodak_1693837_Flexicolor_C_41_Fixer_.html
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/27567-REG/Kodak_1987924_Flexicolor_C_41_Bleach_III.html
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/71464-REG/Kodak_8566796_Flexicolor_C_41_Bleach_Starter.html
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/218301-REG/Kodak_1925254_Flexicolor_SM_C_41SM_Tank.html

    Since you are a small user like me, download "Preparing Smaller-Than-Package-Size Amounts of Kodak...from Kodak's website (CIS-49) and the Kodak Pub on processing. When preparing, keep in mind that once preparing the replisher (page 5), you then prepare the working tank solution from the replenisher you just prepared (page 8). For example, I processed 3 rolls of C-41 on Monday for which I needed only 860ml of replisher instead of 1L. So just do the math.
    BTW I use a Jobo CPA processor
     
  16. hrst

    hrst Member

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    Unmixed concentrates can keep better than you might think. If you are worried, you can put the concentrates for the developer to a refrigerator. According to my experience, it will last even a year that way.

    I would encourage you to use the "official" chemicals even if you don't use it all before it expires. They are still so cheap that you save money compared to lab, even if you had to dump half of it, and processing film by yourself is a good experience and gives usually better results. It may even happen that people start shooting more when it's cheap and quick to process! That's the experience at our club.

    And, about the number of baths; These blix processes seem to ask for a stop bath and wash, at least when re-used as you want, and then you have the same number of baths.

    I'm "R&D Director of Development" at our photo club :D. Our club is also very small. In 2007, we went into world of color and started using Tetenal C-41 and Tetenal E6, the "shorter" versions. The possibility to process these films made people shoot them much more than before. Now we use cheaper and better Fujihunt C-41 and Kodak E6 chems. It costs 1 EUR per roll, one-shot with unrivaled quality in rotary Jobo. Can't complain. If you are going to use traditional inversion tanks though, one-shot gets more expensive (like $3 per roll or something; not so much still!) and you can reuse to get it at $1 per roll. But, if the gallon of chemistry does seem too much to be used in a year or so, better to do one-shot from the start than to save it first by reusing and then finally dump the unused stuff.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2010
  17. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    If you use a tank or rotary processor, with a prewet to bring up the temperature, (recommended) it is nearly mandatory to throw out the developer after a single use! This is due to the dilution introduced by the carryover of pre-rinse water as most people are sloppy in draining the tank or tube. OTOH, you can mix used developer with fresh and continue with the time increases mentioned above if you are very very careful.

    The bleach and fix (separate steps recommended) can be replenished by adding fresh solution to the used solution as you go. Same with the final rinse.

    PE
     
  18. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

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    I just spin the drum dry for a while whilst the bath gets up to temp. The body heats up with the water jacket remaining around it for most of its movement so I'm assuming the film inside and to a lesser extent the air will get up to temp also (?)
     
  19. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    When you said "tank", were you talking about a hand inversion tank?

    How sloppy = sloppy? Are you sure most people are sloppy? I am very neat, myself. :D
     
  20. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Nick;

    I have never found that to work well for me. But, if it works, use it! OTOH, do you have a reference set of negatives for comparison. I do.

    PE
     
  21. nick mulder

    nick mulder Member

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    I did on one occasion photograph my macbeth chart here ... No drastic color shifts, but then shooting Fortia to Astia - color schmolor ! :smile:
     
  22. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Any process with a prewet that may allow carryover of water into the developer by bad technique.

    PE
     
  23. Tom Taylor

    Tom Taylor Member

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    Which of the Kodak C-41 concentrates goes bad after opening?

    I just checked the old 5 gallon concentrates with the new one I just purchased. With the exception of Part C, the color of the cemistry is the same. Part C, however, has turned a shade of light amber and a black residue forms around the caps thread. Would keeping Part C in the refrigerator after opening delay the oxidation?
     
  24. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Part B of the color developer. If it is darker than Tea, then it is probably bad.

    PE
     
  25. Tom Taylor

    Tom Taylor Member

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    Ron,

    Are you sure it's Part B and not Part C? I just rececked my bottles and only Part C has undergone a color shift - from a light yellow to a light amber. Also a black residue forms on the outside of Part C's cap threads upon opening.
    Would refrigeration retard oxidation?

    Thanks,

    Thomas
     
  26. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Tom;

    Thanks for the catch!!!!!

    For C-41 it is part C. For RA it is part B. In my C41 kits, part C is in glass bottles for extra protection.

    Sorry for the error.

    PE