Your Color Process

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by brianmichel, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. brianmichel

    brianmichel Member

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    So I've learned my lesson of letting C-41 chemicals sit for a while and then trying to use them. I think I'm going to wait till I have a bunch of rolls and process them all at the same time before mixing up new stuff.

    I was just curious to see what everyone else's process of processing was. Do you all wait? Maybe you have a better way to store chemicals. Let me know!
     
  2. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    I usually batch them up as you are proposing.

    I have some C41 developer mixed up from 2 months ago that I haven't got around to using. What was your bad experience letting chemicals sit?
     
  3. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I scratch mix 1L at a time, and usually wait until at least 4 rolls are on hand ready to process before mixing; my scracth mixed stuckk, even kept in the fridge, does not perform well for more than two weeks after it has been initially used; it has lasted a month without use, but poops out extra fast after the filrst use. Ideally I try to process eight rolls per litre, with a push to 3:30 on the developer for the second batch of 4 films.

    The bleach and fixer in my process last almost forever for me (at least 6 month), so this is what drove me to hand mix the developer as I go.
     
  4. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    I use everything one-shot in a jobo, so reusability is not an issue for me. I've used C41 developer up to about 3 wks after mixing it without problems, even after it has discolored. I'm not sure I'd RE-use it at that age, though.

    I store it in glass bottles.
     
  5. brianmichel

    brianmichel Member

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    Please see the attached image as to what I experienced. Now the chemicals I used had previously processed 2 rolls of film without problem, but they've been sitting for about 3 months probably and this is what I got. I realize this picture is over exposed as it is, but note the cast as well.

    I think the blix and stabilizer are probably fine, but the dev is fried it seems.
     

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  6. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    brianmichel,

    I think you need to be more explicit about what you're doing, since it's possible to interpret your comments in several ways, and a reply to one interpretation when you're doing something else might just lead to confusion, wasted effort, or whatever. Specifically:

    • What sort of C-41 are you using? Kodak chemicals? A third-party commercial kit? A mix-it-yourself formula? Some combination of these? Separate bleach and fix or a single blix? (Your final post suggests blix, but I want to mention this explicitly since blixes don't keep well, once mixed.)
    • What sort of chemicals are you talking about -- unopened bottles of commercial chemicals; opened but unmixed bottles; mixed and diluted but unused solutions; or mixed, diluted, and used solutions that you intend to re-use a few times? Effective keeping times go down as you move down that list.

    FWIW, my experience is mostly with home-brew formulas for developer, but I use commercial bleach and fixer (not blixes). I mix up the developer at 2x strength, which improves the keeping quality of the stock solution. I find that this lasts for at least a month or two without any noticeable degradation, although by two months the solution has darkened noticeably. I haven't performed sensitometric tests, so it's quite possible that my 2x concentrate's properties have changed slightly by the two-month mark. Once I dilute it down to a working strength solution, I do not attempt to re-use it. I have used Paterson's C-41 developer before they discontinued it, and as I recall they recommended re-use. I found that the stuff deteriorated pretty quickly (in a matter of a week or two) once diluted to working strength. I prefer the consistency of a single-use solution, so that's how I use mine.

    My understanding is that Kodak's C-41 developer comes in two or three bottles that are mixed together at time of use. I don't know precisely how long that would last before mixing, but it ought to be a while. It should therefore be possible to use Kodak's developer in a one-shot manner without saving up rolls; just dilute however much you need to process whatever you've got in hand, be it one roll or twenty.

    As for bleach and fixer or blix, I've tried two or three blixes and I didn't like any of them, so I switched to separate bleach and fixer. I've used Kodak and Silver Pixel bleach and noticed no differences between them. Most of my fixer has been Kodak, but I recently mixed up some from a home-brew recipe on the Internet when I unexpectedly ran out of the Kodak fixer (I thought I had another bottle, but I was mistaken), and it seems fine, too. Separate bleach and fixer last a good long time (months at least). Blixes are inherently unstable, though. PE has posted about this extensively in the past, but I don't have any URLs handy. Certainly a 3-month-old mixed blix is suspect. You might try taking your negatives and running them through fresh blix (or separate bleach and fixer). Unfortunately, C-41 bleach is fairly expensive. I use mine in a replenished manner, according to directions in a Kodak publication. Basically, for every 36-exposure roll of 35mm or equivalent, I toss ~70ml of bleach and add that much bleach replenisher. This helps keep costs under control.
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I suggest that the best work flow in the lab for E6 and C41 is single use developer if you are using a tank or drum. If this means saving film to use the developer to capacity, do it. But...... Do. Not. Keep. Used. Developer. The aeration and prewet tend to degrade developer performance with multiple uses.

    PE
     
  8. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    Well I don't know why you guys bother developing colour 35mm yourselves.......you can get the neg up to 36 exposures developed why you shop at Tesco for 99p, if they are not busy they will do it in about 30mins. Also Morrisons will dev and up to 27 6"X4" prints for £2.69 (2 day wait tho').
    Ok you might get a few spots here and there if you are unlucky but easily touched up in say Photoshop.

    Tesco developing of superia 200
    http://i304.photobucket.com/albums/nn172/chakrata/chris834.jpg
    http://i304.photobucket.com/albums/nn172/chakrata/chris820.jpg

    I could put up shots done by Asda or Boots as well which are just as good.
     
  9. kevs

    kevs Member

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    I think it's more about doing it for oneself and gaining control of the process than saving money - kind of like growing your own potatoes. And I don't think they have Tesco, Morrisons or 99p in the US or Canada. :rolleyes:

    I could be wrong though.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 20, 2009
  10. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    On average, my results are better than most minilabs here and sometimes better than the best professional labs.

    PE
     
  11. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    Same reason we shop farmer's markets instead of the big chains. Same reason we go to Whole Foods or Wild Oats market for the rest of our needs. On average the food we prepare ourselves tastes better and is free of preservatives and packaging adjuncts. Think organic!
     
  12. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    ****I think it's more about doing it for oneself and gaining control of the process than saving money***

    Well we all have different hobbies, but I would have thought getting a great shot is the most important thing for a photographer.....for me after spending decades doing colour dev and chemical printing, I just want an easy life.
     
  13. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Hey, its my hobby. I shoot the film, I mix the c-41 home brew, process the film. Cut the colour paper (short rolls from photo processors are a cheap source, and colour paper is cheap) , Mix the RA-4 home brew, load it into the rehabbed from the dead tabletop roller processor, find the colour fitering and expsure, do a contact sheet, then start to bang prints out. Others like the colour more; my heart is in b&w, but not always the people I am doing work/hobby shooting with.

    I'm with Maxwell on the food front too. On Monday I was up til midnight finishing off tomotos sauce, after buying a bushel of roma tomatos at the market on Sunday. That day I made and pressure canned 8 quarts of spagetti sauce, 13 pints of 'chili sauce' (pickled pepper, onoins and tomates) 12 half pints of diced capsicum/bell peppers, and 5 quarts of peaches in light syrup. I finally did my own modifications to the poorly working LP conversion kit for the former propane turkey roaster burner, and now can reduce tomato sauce in na hour, where it once took 6 hours.
     
  14. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    I have recently transitioned from "save money" to "get good results." I had an idea that I would replenish and reuse and whatnot with my developer but then I realized that C41 developer is really cheap. I buy it in 19 liter packs. I think I'm going to start using one shot for better control. I'm at the point where I like most of my shots and I don't shoot film quickly. I don't mind spending money to process the rolls because I know that they're good. I'm working on pinpointing my temperature accuracy as well. Though it's always a quest for perfection I've never had a bad roll.

    Just FYI if the container is topped off I've had developer keep for 6 months.

    It's fairly easy to mix up small quantities of Kodak C41 developer. They give measurements. It's a bit of a pain, but you can do it using syringes. Just round it when they say "11.738 mL..."
     
  15. ahock

    ahock Member

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    I'm using Jobo CPA processor and Kodak C41B chemical.
    I prefer dry prewarm and double fixing.
    Here is my procedure:

    Dry pre-warm 45 minutes
    Developer† 3 minutes 15 seconds
    Stop† 2 minute*
    Bleach‡ 8 minutes
    1st bath Fix¶ 3 minutes
    2nd bath Fix¶ 3 minutes
    Wash 9 minutes*
    Stabilize approx 1 minute
    Dry

    † developer and stop solution are fresh made. Stop solution is making with Acetic acid glacial 20ml and Sodium Sulfite 10 g dissolved in 1 liter.
    ‡ Replenishment rate of bleach solution is ~ 25ml/ film(all kind of films, Kodak recommended replenishment rate is ~8ml/film, I triple this ).
    ¶ 1st bath fixer solution replenish by second bath fixer. Second bath fixer replenish by fresh solution. Replenish rate is 60ml/film
    * wash with replace water 6 time(1 liter each, ~38 degree C) every 1 minutes 30 seconds. I also prepare extra warm water with a titanium aquarium heater.
    **developer maximum capacity is about 4 films (all kind of 135 and 120)


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    result:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/33560329@N04/tags/jobocpa/

    I write down everything at my web page(chinese):
    http://kienhock.blogspot.com/2009/04/c41-development-at-home.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2009
  16. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

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    Get good result is why I develop my own films. I don't care if it is more cost effective or not. I am willing to spend $200 - $300 in one shot for purchasing bulk C-41 chemicals. Usually such one shot cost will last me more than a year or even a couple of years depending on my processing volume. My time is free for myself. I have endless fun in doing it. I use a Jobo ATL-2300.
     
  17. Excalibur2

    Excalibur2 Member

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    ***Get good result is why I develop my own films***

    Well if using an expensive inkjet for prints or chemicals in a dark room OK? But can you see the difference on a computer screen from home development and from a lab/store (well ignoring the few scratches etc you sometime get from a lab/store)?
    Lets face it a scanner and photoshop are an equaliser.
     
  18. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    An equalizer? No, but perhaps a substitute for real photography. Proper exposure, processing, and good printing entail much more skill than the digital alternative, in my opinion.
     
  19. bob100684

    bob100684 Member

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    Its true they entail much more skill, but in our web based world the film scanner is sometimes a useful tool to present your work to far more people than could have seen it if you simply had prints displayed.
     
  20. Richard Harris

    Richard Harris Member

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    I would agree with PE use single use chemicals and mix from the concentrates each time. I suggest buying some good glass pipettes so you can mix the small quantities accurately. I use a jobo processor and in the smallest tank 170ml of mixed chemical is all that is needed. That can mean just a few mls of each component. Accuracy is paramount, if you can achieve it then no problem. I have just developed 1 film, 1/2 an hour ago. Perfect results. It is important that you look after your concentrates though. PE and I have just posted on a thread about PART C C41 regarding this. And APUG is full of advice on this subject.
     
  21. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Richard;

    To be precise, I sad "single use developer". I use the remainder of the chemistry to the limits specified by EK and then I replenish. So, my bleach, fix and stabilzer are not single use.

    PE
     
  22. mtjade2007

    mtjade2007 Member

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    I used to mix and make 500 or 1000 ml of C-41 developer at a time out of a Kodak gallon developer pack. It worked well initially but toward the second half or less than half of the gallon pack there were often problems that would force me to abandon the rest unused concentrate. I found it more practical by simply mix the entire gallon pack first. But instead of making 1 gallon of working developer I made it to 1 liter then store the liter in two 500 ml bottles. Each time I just took one such 500 ml bottle and add water to make a 1/2 gallon working developer. I would process the films that I have accumulated enough to use all the entire half gallon. The result was always great. The unused 500 ml mixed concentrate can last easily a month. This way I would not waste any developer and the result was always as good as expected.

    I am doing the same with my c-41B developer 10 liter pack. Instead of mixing and making 10 liters I make it into 4 liters and store it in 4 1000 ml Jobo bottles. These bottles are very good. They keep the mixed concentrate easily for 2 months. When I process films I use one bottle at a time to make 4 liters. I use up all 4 liters each time. There is no waste of developer and the developer is always in fresh condition.

    The C-41B developer (replenisher) I bought came with 4 packs in one box. Each pack makes 10 liters. Last time I checked the price was less than $100 for the box. So it comes out less than $25 for 10 liters. But because it is a replenisher I also bought starter for it. The result is it comes out to be something like 14 - 15 liters of developer (out of 10 liters of replenisher). The starter is very cheap. So my cost is less than $25 for 15 liters of developer. I have to use up all 15 liters at a time. I always have enough rolls to process anyway so I don't waste any at all. One box of this C-41B developer replenisher turns out to be about 60 liters of developer for me for less than $100 and it is more than enough for me for a whole year I think. It is cheap so I use the developer only one shot. The result is very repeatable and always excellent.