your tips for drum development of C-41

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Wayne, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    Post em here. Equipment recommendations. Your method of maintaining temps if you don't have a Jobo. Preferred chemical kits. Single shot or reuse, of what/which? Tricks of the trade. Sheet film tips earn bonus points. You might specify if you are very casual and unpicky or very serious and selective about your C-41 results, if you please.

    Me, I'll be using a Unicolor drum on a Beseler roller base for 4x5, once I get started, because it's what I have. But I'm interested in moving up someday. The Jobo 2551 with 2509(n) reels intrigues me for developing 8-12 sheets at once but its not in my budget now. I think I can even use it on my Beseler base.
     
  2. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

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    Sure you can use the 2550 multitank 5 on the motor base, but you will have a hard time controlling temp with that setup.

    The budget option choice is the mod54 for sheet film, and then use the same paterson ptp116 with roll film reels for anything else, Morgan the inventor of the MOD54 posted several youtube vids on "how to" c-41 with the MOD with nothing more then a kitchen sink. This is more of a lo fi style for c41, as results will vary, from user to user, chemistry kit to another, and from run to run, as it is hard to duplicate the exact same temps and times with this method.

    If you want more consistent results, with less trouble shooting, down time and mystery artifacts to diagnose, you want to go rotation, in a temp controlled environment. while a Jobo processor is a simple and ready made way to achieve exactly that, there are MANY other ways to do this with endless APUG and LFF threads on the subject.

    All c-41 kits are not equal, and a liquid, single part mix, long lasting system is what you want, one shot is always best to minimize the chance of contamination. One drop of bleach or blix in even a very large container of color developer, will make the whole batch unusable.
     
  3. Kilgallb

    Kilgallb Subscriber

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    I use a unicolour 4x5 drum four sheets at a time on a unicolour roller base. I find 3oz of developer and blix one shot works reliably. I rinse one minute in the drum then store in an old Yankee tank until all are finished, usually a dozen. Washing is 5 minutes in the Yankee tank.

    Temperature control is by placing the 3oz of fluid in a small graduated cylinder and placing it in a larger container with hot water. I monitor the temperature closely and pull when it reaches 92F. By the time I pre-rinse the small quantity is at 90F.

    I stabilize in a tray at 25C.

    Oh yeah, I use the unicolour dry chemical kit from Freestyle.
     
  4. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    See the C41 howto in my FAQ, link in my signature.

    Always prewash. Don't use blix if you can at all avoid it. If you must have blix, make sure it's a kit where the bleach and fix parts are not mixed together until you use them, use them up fully and discard them within a day or so.

    For 4x5, I use a 3010+CPP2. You will NEED a water bath. Doesn't need to have a powered roller, you can hand-roll a tank on a pair of submerged bearings but your arms will tire as C41 calls for CONSTANT agitation.
     
  5. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    I'm getting the Unicolor kit for my first couple rounds, because it's powder and cheap and comes in 1 liter size. If I get serious, and I probably will, I'll probably use Kodak chems. I guess I shouldn't worry about Blix too much for the first couple tries. Since the Unicolor Blix part B creates an endothermic reaction when mixed, I presume the fix is in there. Can it be mixed separately?

    I don't see myself rolling a drum in water all the way through the process, so I'll have to use another method like Kilgallb. I read about one person who aimed a hair dryer at the drum as it rotated on a motor base, but I think that would take some testing and doesn't seem like the best idea anyway. I'd like to hear about some of these other aquatic methods.

    Your FAQ is coming up 404, polyglot.
     
  6. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Oh shit.

    It looks like my website has been hacked and deleted, including all the FAQ content. Not happy.
     
  7. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    OK, my website is re-uploading now. The FAQ content should be all back; there are currently ugly warnings at the top of the page and they should be gone soon too.

    So you should be able to read my dribblings about C41 now.
     
  8. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    Whats the minimum volume of C-41 per sheet, or per 12 sheets, in a 255X tank?

    I've been searching threads on c-41 for many days and still came away with many questions. This is why I started the thread to gather this info in one place. Maybe you can mention a few of the "MANY other ways to do this" so I can research them further. I've only seen a couple-the hair dryer idea, hand rolling in water on bearings. I don't count preheating the drum as a temperature "controlled" environment since the temperature is always dropping. But thats what I'll probably be using at first.




     
  9. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    Great writeup poly, thanks!
     
  10. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

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    You need about 50ml per sheet of 4X5 of C-41 developer, for the 2550 you will need a min of 640ml of liquid in the drum when processing 12 sheets which is just over 50ml.

    C41 is a very forgiving system. While the system calls for very exact temp control, and continuous agitation, you can manage just fine without either of those things, though like i said above - you will have a hard time matching results or keeping any type of consistency without a proper, mechanical system that regulates temp/agitation.

    The simplest method is to use a sink/bucket filled with water at needed temp. for the 3:15 minutes of dev time, the temp shift is meaningless (dev cna shift +/-3 degrees and stay within tolerance)
    You will agitate with the tank floating in the water, or agitate with short breaks to submerge the tank and help maintain the temp.

    There is never a need to pre wash c41, blix temps can be off +/- 10 degrees and stay within tolerance, stab (or wetting agent) does not need to be tempered in any way.

    You should check out our C41 (still out of stock at the moment), and contact me directly, and i can send you the manual for the kit which should answer many questions for you.

    If you do get serious with C41, and i hope you will (such an easy and fun process... :smile:), you will eventually want to get a processor with a lift to make life easy.
     
  11. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Jobo Drum Capacities - that tells you how much you need to cover all the film in the tank. You also need to think about developer capacity which is about 16 rolls/L (64 sheets/L) of working solution with most professional-grade C41 chemistry (Kodak, Fuji, Rollei, etc). So with 12 sheets, you need at least (12/64)L=188mL and you will exhaust the chemistry in one go. Clearly 188mL isn't going to physically cover the film, so you use the tank-minimum instead.

    If you're processing the developer to exhaustion by extending times (like the Fuji kit does), then you would make up a 750mL batch and use it 4 times to process a total of 48 sheets, which is 3/4 of 64 sheets just like 750mL is 3/4 of a L. If you're doing replenishment, then you make up a 1L batch and after each process, replace some fraction of it according to how much film you processes. 12 sheets is 3 rolls and at 50mL/roll replenishment, you would take 150mL of fresh developer (without starter) and top that up with 850mL of reused developer then use that 1L for the next batch.
     
  12. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    I was with you most of the way before my brain numbed with calculations, but the bottom line question I have about the Jobo drums is, can they be considered economical if they require reuse of the solution in order to meet the minimum capacity? Is it a good economy with good reliable and consistent results, or is it a bad econony with savings coming at the expense of consistency? I was never satisfied with results when partially reusing Ilfochrome chemicals, although it suited others. And that's my only experience in reuse of color chemicals, so I'm wary of total reuse. .

    Although I'd like to do more than 4 sheets, Kilgallb's 90 ml per 4 sheets @ one shot use is much more attractive to me right now, assuming that gives me results I like.




     
  13. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

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    If you get a 5L kit, liquid, then all the elaborate calculations above are not needed.
    Use Developer as one shot, straight, mixed as per instructions in the box, at minimum stated of Jobo tanks (or any other you will use, though Jobo's are pretty economical), and you will still achieve the max capacity of the developer (if running 6 sheets at least per run).

    I am not sure what the results of using the ciba tanks are, but i know many folks use them and are happy, that is not say the results are "good" or meet any kind of specific guideline.

    C-41 is usually *** processed at 38.4C, which is about 101F, and to make things easier most manufacturers will mark at 100F or 38C. Dev time is 3:15, for starting point at that temp.

    Even if you will still have some dev capacity left, its worth that little bit of "waste" to make sure you have the same perfect results time and time again. One shooting the Dev is the way to do just that. Bleach Fix or Blix can be re used with no ill effects, and you can always re blix as needed if its dead, but even then, with any kit you buy, you will have X3 the amount of blix material compared to the amount of dev you have, even if used to exhaustion.
     
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  15. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Omer, does your kit's instructions tell how to extend the time when re-using? Because of the size of my tank I will have to use at least a liter of fluid for each step. This would be for 12 4x5 sheets or 5 35mm so one-shot would be prohibitively expensive.
     
  16. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

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    What drum are you using?
     
  17. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    There is no model number on it that I can see but I believe it is a 2336 from pictures on the web. It has 2 2021 reels for 4x5. For 35mm and 120 I have the older white reels that stand away from the wall of the tank by a couple cm. They are tight enough to the core that they don't slip. So it pretty much requires the center axis be covered with liquid.
     
  18. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

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    I do not have any documentation for the older Jobo tanks, but if you will be using it for rotation, with the 2021 reels, you only need the total amount of liquid inside the drum to be higher then the highest point the film will be loaded, which is not much at all. For roll film this might not be the case, and you will need more chemistry to cover the entire surface.

    The instructions on our kit only have general info RE re use, and we have only tested one stage re use at + 10% per liter (about 3:45 for dev) and found no significant difference in density. We did not test any further.

    For you though this might be worth while testing with some test rolls and see how far the material can be re used before exhaustion.

    In short - while the 2021 reels and tank you have might be ideal for pretty much anything, it might not be the ideal tool for C41, with roll film, due to the high volume needed. For that all i can say is the the Jobo multitank system (2500), covers that problem, and gives you exact(and fairly economical) numbers for either 4X5 (2509n reels), 35mm and 120/220 (2502 reels). The cost of buying the equipment should be weighed against the cost of chemistry needed over time with the current tank, but thats just my opinion.

    I hope this answers your question.
     
  19. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Yes, very helpful. Thank you.
     
  20. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Pretty sure that's not true. C41 dev capacity is 16 (Fuji) to 20 (Rollei) rolls per L, which is 64 to 80 sheets per L. The most efficient Jobo tank for 4x5 I think is the 3010 ($$$) which needs about 250mL per 10 sheets fully loaded. If you one-shot with that tank and the minimum fluid quantity, you're getting about half of the developer's rated capacity.

    If you use 2509s, it's worse (6 sheets in ~300mL).

    Seriously, reusing C41 developer is not a problem and does not cause consistency issues. I find it works nicely if I replenish it - I have a 1L working solution of Rollei and replenish it at 50mL per roll that goes through it. No time adjustment required and it's exactly the same process that pro labs use and for which the C41 process was designed. Just make sure you keep the working solution completely air-free in a good bottle between sessions and refrigerate it if it's going to be there for a while (more than a couple weeks). I've kept a Fuji working solution for 4mo in a fridge and it worked identically before & after (I did 3 identical test rolls to measure developer life).

    You can reuse the bleach+fix about twice as much as the developer, so definitely don't one-shot those. Bleach is expensive! You can buy a Fuji 5L kits, use 1/2 or 1/3 of the bleach+fix, then just buy Rollei bulk developer (cheap) to use up your remaining bleach+fix capacity.
     
  21. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    This is good to learn. My local store sells C-41 chemicals separately, both Kodak and another brand in consumer and commercial sizes.
     
  22. langedp

    langedp Member

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    I'll add my procedures since they vary some from the previous posts:

    - I use Kodak's Flexicolor chemistry exclusively and follow their instructions verbatim. The chemistry is getting harder to find but it's still possible to obtain here in the States from the minilab supply houses like Liberty, Unique Photo, etc.
    - I process in a Jobo Autolab 2300. I've used Jobo CPA's and CPP's in the past. This level of automation in the 2300 allows very repeatable results which is critical in C-41.
    - I monitor everything with Kodak process control strips and measure with my Macbeth densitometer. You really can't know if the process is running properly without control strips. Many will say they don't need this and have never had a problem. Point is, how do you know if you don't measure? As you can see with this point, I'm pretty serious about my C-41 results. You don't have to do it this way, but the process will wander on you if you don't measure and you can't tell by looking at the negatives until things are WAY off.
    - I process sheet film primarily but also do some 120 and 135 roll film. Sheet film is 4x5 and 8x10. The 4x5 sheet film is processed in 3010 Expert drums and this works out OK. I used to use 3005 Expert drums for my 8x10's but have abandoned them in favor of a 3025 Expert drum lately due to uneven developing in the 3005. I know this may sound a little crazy since the Expert drums are supposed to be the best, but actually Jobo themselves warned against developing times less than 5 minutes in a rotary process. The C-41 development time is 3:15 and at 100 degrees F this development is very rapid. I've found that the chemistry has a hard time covering the entire sheet of 8x10 film in the first revolution or two of the 3005. The result is density variations across the 10" width of the 8x10 negative. And yes my processor is very level as is the drum. I'm very anal about that too. With the 3025 and two sheets of 8x10 I no longer have this issue. This problem only exists with the short development time of the C-41 process. B&W with its cooler process temps and longer development time causes no such issues and I use the 3005 Expert drum for my B&W work.
    - I heat the chemistry to 38.4 C and use a 5 minute pre-heat but no pre-wash. Kodak and Jobo do not recommend a pre-wash. I use the slightly warmer 38.4 degree chemistry to compensate for the cool down that occurs when it first enters the drum. This was empirically derived using the process control strips. You can actually measure the density reduction of the slightly cooler developer if you don't compensate for this cool down effect.
    - I use the developer one shot and follow Kodak's capacity specifications which are not as generous as some have listed in this thread. I can't speak for the Fuji kits but Kodak specifies 3 8x10 equivalents per liter of developer so that's what I use. I don't re-use since Kodak discourages that for rotary processes. Too much oxidation I believe. Bleach and fixer can be re-used once. Also, the Jobo drums list the volume required to cover the film, not the volume required to properly develop that film. So for the 3025 Expert drum and two 8x10's I use two-thirds of a liter. One of these days when I have extra time (laugh) I'll do some testing with process control strips to determine what the volume threshold is before performance degradation occurs. Until then I stick with what works. I'm not doing my own processing to save money.
    - Download Kodak's tech sheets on C-41 from their website. There is a significant amount of technical info there and there are some notable differences in the Kodak specs from what has been posted in this thread. Not saying those other posts are wrong, just that the inventor of the C-41 process has published a great deal of technical info on the process and I do my best to follow it. In my younger days I ran a C-22 line in a large commercial lab and so was familiar with most of these procedures already. Adapting them to home darkroom use is fairly straightforward since Kodak and Jobo publish information on how to do it.
    - Since you asked what others do, this is what I do. You don't have to do it this way. My procedures may be more complicated than some want to tackle. No worries. C-41 can be done very simply and without measuring and without tight temperature control. The results can be quite satisfying. They won't be as repeatable as they could be and the negatives may not always be developed as well as they could be but you can still print them. In the end, just get started and progress as far as you're willing to go. You'll be fine.
     
  23. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    langedp -

    Be assured that your experiences are valued as much as anybody else's. Laostyle17 and I are going to do a dry run over Christmas with some c-41 that we really don't care about, but the second time through will be his wedding with my daughter. I never really expected to shoot my own daughter's wedding, but this better work, or he's going to have some real shitty wedding pictures.

    I will be using either Jobo plastic on a Uniroller or stainless sitting in the constant-temp water bath.
     
  24. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    You're down again, in case you didn't know.

    I'm getting: Fatal error: Call to undefined function import_request_variables() in /home/polyglo2/public_html/wiki/lib/config.php on line 10



     
  25. anikin

    anikin Subscriber

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    langedp,

    How do you run the control strips in your JOBO? Do you run them in a separate pass in 35mm drum/reel, or do you add them to your sheet film drum, or something else? I'm thinking of adding control strips to my flow but not sure of a best way to do it.
     
  26. langedp

    langedp Member

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    A couple different ways depending on the drum I'm using and what control strip I happen to have. C-41 control strips come in several different formats. 35mm full frame and a smaller (narrower) format that I can't recall the name of. My current batch is the 35mm full frame strips. These can be put on a Jobo reel and run in a 1500 series tank. Assuming the process conditions are the same as your sheet film this works pretty well. I'll do this first to see where the process is and make sure the chemistry is still in good shape before running a bunch of film.

    The most reliable way is to run it in the same drum as the sheet film so that it sees the same process conditions as the sheet film. This way it sees the same agitation, temps, and developer exhaustion rates as the sheet film does. With the 3025 expert drum for 8x10's, I slide the strip in between two of the sheet film guides. I'll do this from time to time to make sure density and contrast conditions aren't drifting on me.

    If you're using 3010 or 3005 expert drums it's a little harder but not much. I put little tabs of black plastic electricians tape on each end of the control strip. Insert this in one of the tubes on the expert drum and stick the ends down. The ends of the strip where the tape is don't get developed but the area where the control patches do. It works fine. If you're using 2800 series drums you can use this same method.

    The 35mm full frame strips are a bit long for the 3010 4x5 drum so in this case just running it on a reel with the 1500 tank will get you going.