Simplest, highest quality, and least expensive C41 option is the Tetenal or Fuji Liquid kit, which includes the essential, and required, stabilizer. Your BW chems are for BW, dont bother trying to jerry rig something to sort of work. Do it right, and get the Tetenal or Fuji chems.
I'm looking at the prices here (Aus prices for local stock, but B&H is similar, but cheaper for some things, different bleach options and sizes etc). Though your 5L tetenal kits in the U.S. are fairly inexpensive.
$88 for Dev Replenisher, $11 for starter (20L of replenisher, and 500mL of starter iirc, which uses 50mL per litre of dev iirc)
$253 for 8L of bleach (which is used straight, not diluted).
$187 for 8L of fixer (again used straight, though probs can be diluted for longer times)
Flexicolor Developer LORR Replenisher (makes 10L of replenisher, working solution is more diluted than rep, so about 13.1L if used as one shot), replenished is around 25-35mL per 35mm/36exp or 120 roll iirc. So a few hundred rolls capacity.
LORR Starter: $12.95 (1.2L of starter - a lot of starter, which uses 30mL per litre of dev iirc)
Flexicolor Bleach III - 10L (working solution), $68.16 (cant see this on the website, but it's on the system, and have confirmed that it's still supplied to Australia with the new Kodak local distributor) - the Kodak Cat code for this is #6600258, so if someone doesn't have it, you can give them the Cat Number to order it for you (which they can do if they have other Kodak stuff as they have a Kodak account).
Flexicolor Fixer - $41.82 (50L working solution)
Kodak E-6 Fixer $6.25 (10L working solution iirc) (I use this at 1+4 for T-grain films)
Mirasol 2000 250mL LC (used at 1+400) - $6.60
By comparison the Tetenal 5L kit is $112.29 which has a stated capacity of 60 films (but that is with reuse and extended times with reuse that degrades over all image quality, and is also a combined bleach and fix - not as good as separate!). Also the times/reusage rate for the Kodak stuff is the same, so you can treat them the same, but get more capacity out of the Kodak stuff per $ no matter which way you go, one shot vs one shot, reuse vs reuse, or the the highest capacity with consistent quality: replenished.
vs $140.76 with Kodak stuff
Kodak also has a guide for mixing smaller quantities right here - http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe...is49/cis49.pdf
It is pretty much the same story with E-6. Fuji is large quantity and expensive. Kodak is inexpensive and low quantity.
It's generally just the bleach that seems to be hard to find (find listed that is) on retailers sites.
There's multiple bleach options on B&H I'm looking at, plus they also sell Bleach Regenerator cheaply too.
It looks like everyone either buys a kit or looks for bulk Flexicolor chemistry. Cool. I'll probably do one or the other—because I'm a noob and it's good to start where others have started (so others can help you out).
However: when I started this thread, however, I really did want to know if it's even possible to get as simple a setup as we can get developing B&W. David Lyga seems to have the most interesting minimal setup: Flexicolor + Sodium Carbonate for a cost effective developer solution, Potassium Ferricyanide for bleach, and any ol' Fixer. I'd like to know about others—no matter how unwise it is. (It's good to know this stuff, right?)
Thanks for the cost breakdown. There's a fairly large photo supplier in downtown Seattle that sells Photoflo (along with all kinds of Kodak film). I'll see what they can do about getting me the chemicals (especially the bleach) I want for under $150. So many places seem only to ship cases of bottles (not individual bottles)—maybe I can convince the local shop to help me out. (;
Originally Posted by Athiril
Minimalist C-41 Setup?
keyofnight: That's why I mentioned Lyga's method, since it seems to be the least expensive option. I plan to try it sometime, although without the sodium carbonate, since I'll be developing at regular dilution and temperature.
But as far as the kits go, I like the Rollei Digibase kit. It adheres to C-41 standards (bleach & fix instead of blix), and the liquid concentrates make for indefinite storage and the mixing up of however much you need.
Have you run into any of those terrible quality control problems?
Originally Posted by Terry Christian
No harm in knowing this, no. But remember the earlier caveat about trying the official process first.
Originally Posted by keyofnight
If you use a ferricyanide bleach, you absolutely must use a stop bath, preferrably a clearing stop bath, and wash between developer and bleach or a stain will occur on your film. So going that route adds complexity.
Minimalist C-41 Setup?
If you mean the issues I've heard of regarding people getting spoiled/leaky developer parts in new Digibase kits, then no. I've always ordered my kits from Freestyle and I've never run into a problem. Your mileage may of course vary.
My one caveat about the "mini" kit is that it makes a lesser volume of stabilizer, so you may have to roll your tank instead of inverting it to ensure proper coverage of the film. And of course, with any kit, the reuse schedule of the various chemicals varies widely, so be conscientious of that.
No problems here either. I think when Freestyle first started offering the kits, there were problems with poorly sealed bottles. In any case, even if nothing leaks, check the Part C of the developer. If it's dark or black, it's bad.
Dump the stabilizer. Not only do they give you too little, but it leaves gummy spots when drying (my experience mixing with distilled water). Kodak Final Rinse is ten dollars or so for enough concentrate to make ten liters. Totally fuss free -- super clean negatives and the concentrate lasts indefinitely.
Originally Posted by Athiril
What? No one mentioned the Tetenal C41 kit from BH for $20???? Or the liquid, concentrated version from Freestyle Photo???