First post so I hope this is in the correct format.
Im looking to start processing my own colour neg film due to the lack of pro labs in the UK.
I have processed Ilford XP2 in small tanks before and used the dip & dunk process at college. I note there are a number of c41 chemicals available and they go from a two bath to a four bath process. can anyone tell me what the differences are and which one is the best to go for.
Best start is read thru the sticky post at the top of this forum. There are recommendations for UK suppliers IIRC.
The tetenal C41 kit is an excellent choice, and gave me great negatives every time. I process E6 and tetenal have reliable chemistry from what I have found. 4 bath kits use a separate bleach and fix, and stabilizer. Tetenals '2 Bath' kit is really 3 bath with the stabiliser.
Bleach and Fix vs Blix has been a common debated argument on here... If a blix is working properly it will not produce a difference that is visually different from using separate bleach and fix, although proper equipment might be able to detect retained silver, the fix part will though properly remove all silver halides so will not present a problem with regards to stability. My only experience has been with the tetenal kit, but it worked like a charm for me, although i had a faulty blix on one of them, but they replaced it.
Maintaining temperature at 38 C (100F) is a piece of cake with a good thermometer and a water bath to preheat the bottles and tank.
I am a mix from scratch guy, but if I could find a developer pre packaged that would be great too.
Some of the DiY dry develpper chemical components are getting hard to source without a ton of paperwork as even a company, and cannot be mailed any more, at least in North America. The great war on drugs and terrorism looks down on some of the restrainers that are basically hydroxyl amine (ie nitrated) sulfuric or hydrochloric acid salts. Not quite techinically correct, but you get the idea on why they might be viewed as suspect.
Bleaches can be replenished, and bleaching goes to completion and going a bit longer wont hurt. They last a very long time stored partially used. Mine like on three years now, with periodic replenish and safe disposal of the overflow effluent.
Fixers also can be replenished, and you cannot over-fix a c41 film. They die when they sulphur out, or become saturated, which is no different from B&W fixes, although the pH is likely different from the average b&w film fix.
Since you're in the UK, you have easy access to the Fuji 5L kit from Ag Photo, or the Rollei kits. Get one of those. Instructions are in the FAQ in my signature.
The major point to make is: get a separate bleach+fix kit, not a blix kit.
I don't think there is much wrong with a blix for personal use, and i doubt it would affect image stability, if anything traces of silver would increase it because bacteria or mould could not grow, this is a strength of B/W film! I have tried separate bleach and fix and blix for E-6, no visual difference, even projected. Yes special equipment could probably pick it up (i cannot spell the name of what is used), but my work is visually pleasing to me and others who see them... hence i use a blix, it is easier to manage one solution rather than two. A blix will not keep as long however. I got two months out of one in an airtight bottle. Stay away from monoconcerntrate ones, you are looking for trouble! Bleach will keep almost indefinitely! I use mine to exhaustion though, if you are not using the chemicals much, go with a separate bleach and fix for the sake of keeping properties.
If there is any other reason why a blix should not be used do mention it though!
Great. Many thanks for the responses. A separate bleach & fix it is.