Speedibrews Celer -41 Kit for Colour Neg Processing

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by pentaxuser, Nov 11, 2006.

  1. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Anyone had any experience of using this kit? It is sold by Silverprint and seems to be about the only economical kit for low volume users as it is in powder form.

    Silverprint's website recommends a maximum of 4x35mm films from the 600ml kit but the Speedibrews overview section carried by Silverprint says up to 8 films.

    It's not clear whether each kit is 300ml of developer and 300ml of blix hence the reference to a 600ml kit or 600ml of developer and blix. It is a room temperature kit but doesn't specify what room temperature is. No doubt this is covered in the instructions.

    I must admit I have never come across a room temperature C-41 kit before and I am left a little uneasy about whether there might be any drawbacks to such things as longevity of negs.

    If it is only 4 films then it's not particularly cheap at about £2.20 per film but at least you can be sure of its keeping qualities in that a kit stays in powder form until needed.

    Can the powder be split in half to process say 2 films to extend its life? If not then how long might it last in liquid form?

    I have e-mailed Michael Maunder himself as he invites one to do so on the Speedibrews website but I may wait a while for an answer.

    Equally a call to Silverprint with these questions is in order but there's nothing like getting user experiences, should of course anyone out there use or have in the past used this kit.

    Thanks.

    pentaxuser
     
  2. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Whilst I know Michael from my days in the Woking P.S., and have used most of his products, I have not used this one. If he says it will do a job I think you can rely on that. You must not try and split the dry packs, the chemicals are not evenly distributed in the bags, so you will get uneven results.
     
  3. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Thanks Dave. Unfortunately that's what I thought. It seems a little strange that Silverprint should "downrate" Michael's products by 50%. It could of course be just an error in typing or interpretation. Silverprint who obviously endorse Speedibrews products would have no reason to contradict him. Since the issue of Silverprint's rudeness I have looked very carefully at its website and whatever else might be said about its approach to the customer I am absolutely convinced of Silverprint's honestly and intergrity in its approach to giving customers an honest deal.

    As you know Michael Maunder can you say what the chances are of me getting a reply from him?

    Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    All C41 films are very thick by comparison with B&W films. They also do not swell easily due to being designed for high temperature processing and scratch resistance. The incorporated DIR couplers and the iodide effects are designed to work at high temperatures.

    Therefore, all attempts to process at room temperature usually run into a diffusion problem causing severe mismatches in color reproduction as a function of layer order. The chemistry is designed for 100F (38 C) processing and does not work well at lower temperatures.

    Generally, when the bottom layer is properly developed, the top layer is overdeveloped. If you add ingredients to repress the top layer, you mess with the color reproduction, and so it goes, on and on in a vicious circle trying to fix one problem after another.

    If you go the other way, and add ingredients to push the bottom layer, then the top layer is still overdone and you again fall into the same loop. It is like trying to squeeze a baloon full of water without breaking it, but with a handfull of needles.

    BTDT.

    Good luck.

    PE
     
  5. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I've not used it, but I do have some comments. FWIW, most powdered C-41 kits I've seen are sold as "press kits," presumably because press photographers find it easier to carry around powders than liquids.

    Assuming 300ml of working solution per roll, getting four rolls from a 600ml kit would mean two uses per 300ml, and eight rolls would mean four uses. Re-using C-41 chemistry is possible, but the quality may drop a bit with each re-use. Personally, I've never tried more than two uses per ~300ml.

    In other kits I've seen, the volume specified has always been per item (a "500ml kit" is 500ml of developer, 500ml of blix, etc.). I can't promise the same is true of the one to which you refer, but I suspect it is. If not, that'd mean twice as many uses per 300ml.

    Few or no C-41-type mixes work well at room temperature. I've seen some that claim to work at a variety of temperatures, but the instructions usually say they work better at 100F. The only exception I know of is NCF-41, which is an unusual mix-it-yourself divided developer. Unfortunately, my experience with it is that it's a rather hit-or-miss formula -- sometimes it produces very nice negatives, but almost as often it produces underdeveloped negatives. The bottom line: If the instructions give you options, use the 100F developing procedure.

    PE knows a lot more about this than I do, but my hunch is that a room-temperature process would be more likely to result in color shifts, thin negatives, or other problems that are obvious from the start than to produce good-looking negatives that fade faster than they should. That said, older C-41 films require a stabilizer as a final step, and some C-41 kits omit this stabilizer. Newer films can use a "final rinse" instead of a formaldehyde-containing stabilizer. If you buy a kit without a stabilizer, you should probably buy some, or perhaps a final rinse product if you're using newer films that you know don't need the old-style stabilizer.

    Generally speaking, this isn't recommended because you're likely to get uneven separation of components. If you absolutely must do it, be sure the powder contents are well-mixed before you proceed. You could also save up your film until you've got enough rolls to use up the entire kit at once.
     
  6. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Thanks all for the answers. Unfortunately no-one replying has used this kit which is a pity as I have two supplementary questions that now arise from having received the kit.

    In case there are others in the U.K. considering Celer 41 let me now expand on what the kit instructions say before asking my question. Can I also say that I'd welcome those with knowledge of C41 such as PE and others who haven't used this kit to also reply as I suspect that good answers to my question may not depend on having actually used the kit.

    Overall the kit instructions are well written and easy to follow.The kit seems very versatile. So what do they say?

    Well, it is in fact the kit is designed for use at normal C41 temperature of 38 degrees C but can be used as low as 20 degrees C.

    It makes 600ml of developer and blix which as others suggested in this thread was likely to be the case.

    It gives instructions for push processing and covers film capacities. In a tank with 300ml it will process 3 films before throwing the dev away so 600ml will process 6 films. Using all 600ml each time then 8 films can be developed but if the films aren't done one after the other then the part used dev has a storage of only 2-3 weeks which is short. I'd be unlikely to shoot say 7 more film in a 2-3 week period if I had only one to develop at the start.The alternative is to split the unused dev into smaller bottles filled to the top and use as two or more portions.

    In the case of my JOBO tank this could be usefully broken down into 4 x 150ml portions and assuming that each 150ml would process 2 films, this would give a maximum processing capacity of 8 films.

    The kit says that up to 8 films can be processed in 600ml so I would assume that instead of processing 8 films one at a time in the same used 600ml of developer that 2 films processed in 150ml and then dumped would not be a greater strain on the developer. This is one film in unused dev and one in the same used once dev.

    Is my logic sound here as I am now asking 300ml to do 4 films instead of 3 films as per the instructions, albeit 2 out of the 4 films get fresh dev. Whereas if I use 300 ml each time then only one film gets fresh dev but presumably the other two are processed in less exhausted dev than the 2nd and 4th film using 150ml in two portions?

    It must all depend on how the chemistry works and that's where I need answers. If each 150ml has to be one shot then this gives me 4 films only whereas 300ml twice will give me 6 films and 600ml once will give me 8.

    The kit's instructions go on to cover development of B&W chromogenics such as Ilford's XP2 Super and even normal B&W without of course the use of the blix! In fact it claims that ordinary B&W films rated at their box speed give very fine grain in this kit and mentions Tech Pan 2415 as a particularly good combo. It suggests that 10 mins is an average time but it is a question of you finding the optimum time.

    Anyway now to the other part of the instructions that give me some concern.

    Clearly the designer of Celer 41 had in mind customers who didn't possess a rotary processor. Under these circumstances the instructions say a time of 3mins 15 secs for dev using 15 sec continuous agitation initially then 5 per 30 which I assume to mean 5 agitations per 30 secs which equates to at least 5 secs or a little more per 30 secs.

    So for non rotary processing hand agitation wouldn't be continuous but conceivably might be more vigorous.

    The instructions go on to say:Rotary Systems are easier to us and normally need 25-30% less development time.

    Taken at face value this means that in a rotary processor, which normally calls for the same 3 mins 15 sec in other C41 makers' instructions with continuous rotation, now only needs between 2 mins 17 secs and 2mins 27 secs in Celer 41 with continuous rotation?

    This seems a very short dev time which I have never come across before. I am worried that the film may be greatly underdeveloped. On the other hand if I stick to a time on or close to 3 mins 15 secs then as this is some 48 secs longer than recommended the film could be way over developed.

    I managed to overdevelop a film once in, I think, Paterson developer for about an extra 30 secs and this gave difficulties in printing but it was still possible. However this is 48 secs more not 30 secs

    So short of getting an answer from the kit's designer which I haven't managed to get what would be your advice as to how I proceed in terms of development time?

    I suppose the safe answer is to shoot a 12 frame film of unimportant shots then use the recommended time of 2 mins 27 secs and see what happens but that certainly will hold things up.

    On the lesser issue of film capacity would you: A. Play absolutely safe and use 150ml as a one shot and do 4 films
    B. Use 150ml as a two shot and try 8 films with 4 portions
    C. Use 300 ml as a two shot and do 6 films with two portions.

    This last question is somewhat academic as I haven't got 8 films to do but should I ever have, it would be nice to have opinions as to whether this is 2 films too far.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this and double thanks to those who have the time to reply.

    pentaxuser
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Here is an answer from a guy who designed one generation of Kodacolor Gold.

    That time is too short for proper 'normal development'. It is, as I stated before, a diffusion problem. For a thin B&W film, you could indeed do what they say, but for a thick color film the result would probably be severe crossover due to mismatched curve shape. There is no easy answer to get to room temp development or shorter development times.

    It took us years of development to get the match between film and developer to work. Then, each new generation of film had to be designed to fit that C41 process.

    BTW, neither Fuji nor Agfa have ever had to design a film and process from scratch. All processes existing today for color products are based on Kodak research. I doubt that this company could do the level of R&D necessary to make this work properly. It may work with one film, but not all.

    The bottom line is this. If you use the kit do the following:

    1. Use a Jobo or similar drum at 100 F.

    2. Presoak the film to get to 100F.

    3. Throw away the used developer.

    4. Use 3' 15" at 100F.

    That should work. At the worst, you will give the film a slight overdevelopment. This is much better than thin negatives.

    PE
     
  8. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Thanks PE. To be fair to the Celer 41 designer I believe that his feelings indicate that if the user wants safest processing then he should do all you have said except for the rotary processing time, having read the instructions several times.

    The only way I suspect I am going to get to the bottom of his reasoning for the rotary processing time reduction is if he favours me with a reply.

    He meets with the owner of Silverprint as he still does the kits for Silverprint instead of selling them himself. He is now semi-retired. So maybe an answer will be forthcoming via that avenue.

    If he decides to stop producing then the product will vanish unless Silverprint can persuade him to sell the know-how and presumably teach someone else to make it.That's likely to depend on the demand for it.

    Judging by the number of APUGers who use Celer 41( none so far it appears) then the demand may not justify any action by Silverprint should he totally retire.

    To keep the record stuck in the same groove " Times are worrying for low volume U.K. colour enthusiasts"

    pentaxuser
     
  9. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I've only just picked up this thread again, so apologies for not replying earlier. I haven't seen Michael Maunder for several years. I thought that he had retired to the Channel Islands to indulge in his passion for astronomy, and had given up the production of chemical kits. I should address your question to Martin at Silverprint in the first instance, if you haven't already done so, and ask him to relay your question.



     
  10. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Thanks Dave I suspect your second reply and my latest to PE may have crossed in the e-mail as they say. My conversation with Martin at Silverprint elicited the facts about Michael Maunder as in my reply to PE. It seems he does the business for Silverprint as and when they require fresh stocks but he's not getting any younger. I wasn't sure if he makes up the packs in the Channel Islands and sends them to Silverprint or travels across and does it at Silverprint.

    As far as the future of Speedibrews is concerned it's a bit like Ilford being only Simon Galley and us relying on him to produce all the goods when he is already way past retirement age.

    Can you imagine APUG's reaction? Well this is a good analogy. It seems to me that Silverprint might persuade Michael to sell the Speedibrews secrets and train someone to carry on but of course it has to make good business sense or at very least be a break even which Martin uses to boost Silverprint's reputation for an allround service with knock on benefits.

    Michael's address is certainly the Channel Islands and I think the e-mail address I got from the Speedibrews site must be OK otherwise the mail should have come back as undelivered.

    As you say the leverage to get an answer is probably best applied via Martin.

    Pentaxuser
     
  11. Photo Engineer

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    Just FYI, films at EK are made to fit the developer, not the reverse of course.

    Therefore all films fit one developer. But, I have designed up to 12 developers that gave the same results with one color product, but when I changed emulsion #s of the same product I got 12 answers even though the two emulsions matched in the product developer.

    This whole area in color is a mine field. B&W can be the same.

    PE
     
  12. chorleyjeff

    chorleyjeff Member

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    To digress slightly.
    I have been using Paterson liquid one shot C41 developer. According to the instructions with the developer each 100cc of diluted developer ( 1+2) will develop a 35mm or 120 film ie 300cc will develop 3 x 35mm films albeit with extended times. Quality seems OK to me - far better than scratched films from High St minilabs.
    Question is will the extended dev times reduce quality and is this dev suitable for all C41 films. I have done some films this week but have not yet been able to print them. I can't read colour negs at all well but the XP2 looks OK.
    Cheers
    Jeff
     
  13. chorleyjeff

    chorleyjeff Member

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    I should have mentioned in my previous post that I have used Tetenal C41 tabs which I liked because they included stabilisor but they seem to have disappeared from the market. Anyone know whether they are still produced?
    I get the feeling though that small kits of C41 are doomed and I'll need to learn how to mix chemicals but with rather more accuracy than when I mixed my own D163 about 45 years ago!
    Cheers
    Jeff
     
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  15. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    As you use a developer, it has a buildup of oxidation products, halides and restrainers. Extending the development time will often get the curve shape back up to normal, but at the same time the sharpness, grain and color reproduction may gradually deteriorate. This is called seasoning, and the best way to overcome it is replenishment.

    If you do use a developer over and over again, it will be ok for a short time, but will eventually yield degraded results.

    The old stabilzer is about 3% formaldehyde solution with a drop of Photo Flo 200 in it. The new stabilzer is proprietary and cannot be used with older films. The old stabilizer can be used with all films AFAIK.

    PE
     
  16. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    The report of Michael Maunder retiring to the Chanel Islands was reported in a copy of Mono magazine. I contacted him and he replied stating he had been retired for many years and what did people think he was doing all that time?
    He is currently in New Zealand until December observing the transit of some planet. (Mercury I think). He is still making photo-chemical products for Silverprint and Retrophotographic.
     
  17. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Keith If he is in N Zealand I could wait a while for an answer to my question about the reduction in dev time for rotary processing and Silverprint could wait a few weeks for anymore kits.

    I am still hoping that someone has used Celer 41 and can tell me about their experience of dev times.

    I must admit I hadn't expected to see a comment about a 25 - 30% reduction times for dev if using a rotary processor. Other than that everything about it seems as per other C-41 kits. OK the blix is a little shorter than Tetenal or Paterson but I could live with giving the Celer -41 blix a little longer to make sure.

    I have just read the Paterson instructions again. Interestingly it gives the same hand agitation pattern as Celer-41 and the same time of 3mins 15 secs. It makes no mention of rotary processing at all. It hadn't registered with me that it didn't cover rotary processing. So when I used Paterson I just gaily went ahead with rotary processing at 3 mins 15 secs and made no reduction allowance for rotary processing. The negs were fine.

    So ignorance was bliss as it were. This and PE's advice to stick with 3 mins 15 secs makes me a little more confident about ignoring any reduction for rotary processing but a statement from someone to the effect that he/she rotary processses with Celer-41 at 3 mins 15 secs without any detriment would still be helpful.

    pentaxuser
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I would like to point out one uncertainty that has been bothering me.

    If a C41 developer is to work at lower than 100F, then it must be designed with higher activity. I'm uncertain how the average films will react to that, but as I said, overdevelopment is better than underdevelopment.

    Also, even development becomes more difficult with shorter times.

    Good luck.

    PE
     
  19. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I have turned up a couple of things as a result of my searches. The Paterson dev which as I understand it, was made by Champion,covers development down to 90F and up to 104F. The range of dev times is from 2mins 40secs to 5 mins 55secs. These are all for a hand agitation of first 20secs( Celer 41 30 secs) then 5 secs every 30 secs( same for Celer 41)Both Paterson and Celer 41 state that the choice of processing temp does not affect neg quality but Paterson says that it may cause some change in print filtration. Both directly or by inference indicate that having found the "right" process, you should stick to it for consistency and certainly in explaining the step by step process Celer-41 uses the 100F which by definition is standard processing

    Tetenal doesn't give a range as such but does say that "Processing should be done at 86F if standard development at 100F produces uneven results" Dev times increase to 8 mins. It doesn't give any clue as to why 100F should produce uneven results or why 86F will fix it.

    It then describes rapid development at 113F. This is one shot only and takes only 2mins. So I'd assume that at 113F something happens to the dev that makes it unsuitable for using again whereas at 100F you can re-use the dev.

    I have only ever used Tetenal to do 2 films consecutively but the instructions suggest up to 4 with no change in time. 5 litres of working solution will do 60 films if the ISO is 400 or greater and 80 if 200 or less. I presume this part of the instructions apply to mini-lab type processor but at 2-4 films per 250ml in a small JOBO tank these figures seem comparable.

    The 5 litre Tetenal kit would be very economical if there was any chance of me going through that amount of films in the 12 weeks that opened concentrates last.

    Interestingly Tetenal specifically mention only rotary processing.

    So it would appear that a number of kits will operate at other than 100F but only Celer 41 seems to cover temp as low as 68F.

    pentaxuser
     
  20. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    If color balance changes, then the speed relationships between the layers have changed. If those change, then contrast changes as well as color rendition. This is not a position that I would want to be in! Something is going wrong regardless of the fact that you can do it over and over and over.

    The film was built to a daylight balance and if that is upset, then the entire scheme of things internal to the film has gone awry. I suspect that the tests that the developer designers used, or the types of films they tested were insufficient to reveal the nature of any problems.

    With a daylight exposure, all 3 layers should have matched speeds and matched contrasts with the same shoulder and a fixed aim dmin. If it does not, then the masking does not work and you see crossover in the prints.

    I would not tolerate that when I ran my processes nor when I made my own coatings. It messes with the pictures that I worked so hard to get.

    BTW, a badly designed blix can mask this type of problem by leaving a lot of silver behind, which reduces color saturation to the point where the problems seem to go away.

    PE
     
  21. simulatordan

    simulatordan Member

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    Hello pentaxuser,

    I haven't used the kit you are refering too but, there is another powder C41 kit made by novadarkroom.com called NovaProSpeed 41. It is a 1 litre kit to process up to 12 films with temperature and time details including pull/push.

    I have used this and have a couple of kits at home; I wait until I've got sufficient films to use a full kit. I think its about £11.50 + pp.

    Regards Daniel
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2006
  22. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Thanks Daniel. Yes I've used the Nova Press Kit as it is called. Also very good but once again the issue is shelf life once mixed and the Nova kit is for 1 litre which does 12 films as you say with Nova says no increase in time for each film. I threw away the instructions after finishing it but presumably it must cover re-use. My Jobo tank will do 2 x 35mm for 240ml of dev. As one shot this is only 8 films but at one re-use this is 16. I can't make the maths add up but this may be covered in the instructions. I forget what the Nova kit says about shelf life once the powders have been dissolved into liquids.

    May be you can tell me. The reason I am seeking a small powder kit is to avoid the waiting until I have 12 films to develop.

    Celer 41 is the smallest kit I can find. Paterson 500ml if you use hand inversion agitation which is what Paterson expected the users to do actually fits the bill almost as well. At 1:2 and say a 300ml tank, it's a 5 film developer.

    Alas Paterson colour dev is no more and even Nova who have some old Paterson stock only have the Paterson 1 litre kit. The ideal would have been a Paterson 250/300ml ml dev container.

    Ther'es a prize for someone who can devise a powder kit that allows the user to divide the powder into 1/2 film portions at a time.

    Of course you'd have to pay more proportionally for such small packs than for the larger but if Nova and Celer can make up powder for 600ml and 1 litre kits respectively, you'd think that smaller kits would be possible.

    The demand or lack of, may of course make it an uneconomic proposition. However given that there can't be much demand for Press Kits for out in the field photogs as the Press are all digi, I wonder whether Nova would consider smaller kits. Depends who make the 1 litre kits for them I suppose.

    Martin of Silverprint hinted that he had had discussions with Nova's boss about the future of amateur colour processing. I wonder if such ideas of small kits ever came up.

    pentaxuser
     
  23. Petzi

    Petzi Member

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    Tetenal and Jobo make small C-41 kits. The Jobo kits are made by Fuji.

    Tetenal make a small 2 bath kit in powder form (item #102222) for 6 - 8 films, a 2 bath kit for 5 liters in liquid form (item #102228), and a 3 bath kit for 13.5 liters (item #102234)

    Jobo have a 3 bath kit for 5 liters (item #9240)
     
  24. chorleyjeff

    chorleyjeff Member

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    What are your thoughts about quality of the negs please?
    Cheers
    Jeff
     
  25. simulatordan

    simulatordan Member

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    Hello Jeff,

    I was very happy with the results I got. Some of the films were Ilford XP2 shot at 200 asa, others were mainly Fuji Superia 100 and 400.

    It was possible to reuse the chemicals more than once; this is true of other C41 kits I have used but, usually with a time increase in the development stage.

    I'll get the instructions from one of the kits I have at home and see if I can get the relevant bits together for you by tommorow.

    Regards Daniel
     
  26. chorleyjeff

    chorleyjeff Member

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    Thanks Daniel
    My thoughts are to split the 1 litre into 3 parts and use each for 3 films and storing the unused dev. in small sealed containers ( probably 500cc each) to get over the problem of short shelf life of part used developer.
    In the meantime I'm using up my Paterson C41 dev. and cursing the day production ceased!
    Cheers
    Jeff