So what's YOUR most economical C41 processing strategy?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by fotoobscura, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. fotoobscura

    fotoobscura Subscriber

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    Right now I'm buying C41 press kits which work *extremely* well if you are diligent with the chemistry (keep them in accordian-style airtight containers and out of light, anal-retentive temperature control, etc). I am on my tenth roll with this kit which cost me about $22. I have consistent results amongst all rolls and see little (if no) fall off between the first and the tenth roll. I feel if I can get ten rolls out of this kit then I am breaking even with negative-only developing at stores which averages around $2.00/roll. Furthermore, obviously, my negatives come out perfect whereas developing at stores (wal-mart, cvs, rite-aid, etc) it's inevitable that I will get scratches, undissolved silver, old chemistry, and general mishandling and contempt of the job (the photo "tech").

    I am about to re-up on this kit unless I am missing something out there.

    So, am I?

    Thanks and cheers!
     
  2. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I'm one more degree of anal on this. I mix my c-41 chems from the raw chemistry, and will do as long as I can still get the components.
    Usually I work on saving up at least 8 rolls of 35mm or 120 before I mix. I used to try to reuse twice for the peak results. Then I pondered replenishment

    I am experimenting on a replenisher, and have been able to stretch this stuff out for 4 months if I am processing every few weeks, but have not done denistometer testing to see how building iodide and bromide levels may be impacting things as time and replenishment goes on. Eyeball density stays good, and the print colours look ok though.
     
  3. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Mike, may I ask you, what would be a guess of the cost per roll without replensihment?
     
  4. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    My local Costco still charges only $1.59 to develop a color roll of 35mm.
    Other sizes I do myself and I figure it's about $1.75 a roll using the Arista C-41 kit or the Rollei C-41 kit.

    I did get 24 rolls from my first Arista C-41 kit -- lasted over 18 months.
     
  5. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Bear in mind this costing does not include the shipping cost of gathering my cache of raw constituent chemicals over the years. I count Canadian and American dollars at par, although in the past the Canadian dollar traded well below its current near par level.

    1L of developer, which I rate conservatively as being good for 8 rolls of film without any replenishment steps, contains $1.15 of chemistry, so cost per roll would be about 15 cents. This is based on Stefan4u's Flexicolor clone formulae post on this site back around 2009.

    Stop bath is dilute glacial acetic, mixed to cost 7 cents per litre, used once, so if 4 rolls processed at once in a 1L stainless tank, it costs under 2 cents per roll.

    Bleach is currently free for me. I am using up some e-6 bleach, found at the 'pick fo free shelf' at my HHW depot.
    Prior of that I used c-22 bleach, which is a ferricyanide and bromide mix, costing me about 15 cents per roll; 2litres of this stuff, with one litre acting as replenisher for the other working litre does 22 rolls.

    Fix is derived from bulk ammonium thiosulfate, and costs perhaps 10 cents per roll, if a litre is used for 15 rolls, which is approching its exhaustion point with c-41 films.

    I count photo flo as free.

    So that put my processing cost for a c-41 film (i.e. the classic 80 square inches) at 42 cents per roll if all solutions I mix are used to capacity.
     
  6. mkillmer

    mkillmer Member

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    I'm not so good with the chemistry (no space, no availability, worried about where to store etc...), so I use tetenal colortech c41.
    In Australia I get them for $44 au for 1 litre kit and $160 (or so) for the 5 litre kit. I prefer 5 litre kits, but our only supplier in Australia (yes, I can only find one!!) has run out. I normally get 25-30 rolls of film per litre before I give up (somewhere between $1 and $2 per roll depending on the availability of the larger kit).
    Recently I tried Kodak Flex SM, it was cheap - $18 for the 3 part dev kit, but I dont like the colours :sad:
    Looks like fuji may be next.
     
  7. fumblingwithfilm

    fumblingwithfilm Member

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    I've been using tetanal c-41 press kit from B&H for ~$20 and have had good results for about 20 rolls, and I've let the developer sit for around 4 months at a time before throwing it out. I'm happy with the $1.00 per roll (including 120), especially now that the local CVS stopped developing film in house. Now it takes them a week to develop for $5. I may try another form though, like the Rollei/Compard Digibase C-41 Midi Color Processing Kit from Freestyle to see how that goes. I'm new to this, so I'm still testing out different methods.