C41 beginner chemicals
I'm going to make the step from B&W to C-41 processing and I was just looking for some advice on what kit to get or whether to by the developer, blix, stabiliser etc. separately. At the moment I am considering the Rollei Digibase kit because it doesn't require really high temperatures (my temp control is a bucket of water so this is a serious consideration). How does this kit compare to the tetenal kit for example?
c-41 is DESIGNED to be run @ 100F, NOT lower. You'll risk cross-over and color shifts(in general) if running at lower/non-designed temps.
I've done C-41 in a SINK(aka water bath) loads of times, and it's EASY to get it tempered and maintain that temperature in a ~1F range(+ 1f is better than -1f, etc.) The larger the sink, the less shifting of temp you'll have. If you can't do it in a sink(preferably an enameled cast iron sink, like a lot of kitchens have), use a bath tub. The larger volume of water will aid you in maintaining temperature more consistently.
I've never used "Blix" kits, and TBH, the chemical binding of bleach + fix has been proven to be less archival. If you just "need" stuff done quickly, like if shooting press/newspaper where speed is key, then a blix kit can work fine since you're not looking for exacting results. If you want OPTIMAL results(it seems many just want it done the "easy" way these days), then I'd go with a separate bleach & fix all day long.
You haven't listed you location on this planet, but if you're here in the USA(shipping costs will be high for int'l), CatLabs is now offering a $100 C-41 kit that has separate bleach & fix.
I'd go with that, and it's designed as a smaller volume kit:
If you're in the UK/EU, then there's a 5L C-41 kit from Fuji(notice it's also cheaper than the 2-bath kit ;)):
This is very true, I apologize for forcing this upon you hahaha
Originally Posted by wildbill
Dan, thanks for your advice. I do have a cast iron sink and I agree that a seperate bleach and fix is the way to o. The digibase kit has this and can be bought in smaller quantities. The Fuji kit is 5L and I'm not sure what the shelf life is like.
No it don't, it has Blix.
Originally Posted by luke778899
As discribed in the manual, the digibase kit has a separate bleach and fix solution.
My understanding is that Rollei/Digibase now makes both -- that is, a C-41 kit with separate bleach and fix, and a C-41 kit with blix. The bleach/fix kits are no longer available in the US. You can have them shipped from Europe, but it's not very cost effective. The blix kit is the only one available in the US. Bottom line: Read the product description closely and make sure you know what you're ordering.
Thats the older version; it now has blix.
Personally I'm fine with blix. It shortens the life of the solution but if you use it one shot like the developer this doesn't matter.
Originally Posted by luke778899
If you break the 5L kit down into (1L) sized portions, and then use each "portion" separately, the shelf life can be extended tremendously. Get some BROWN chemical bottles from a chemist(pharmacy), most usually will have them on hand, or can order them for you. Make sure they have vapor-free caps. Fill em up, all the way to the top. If you don't want to fill them up completely, get a can of "canned air", better nitrogen, but anything else than oxygen-laden air as a "topper". Store mixed chemistry in a dark, cool environment and I think you'll be surprised how long you can extend a 5L kit :)
Yes, the digibase kit has BLIX, not separate bleach & fix baths:
I've used Jobo(hand inversion, and rotary), stainless tanks/reels, Paterson(essentially the same as Jobo inversion, plastic reels/tanks), and large stainless "basket" style processing in the past. To me, the easiest and most simple are the stainless tanks/reels, and Jobo rotary processing. Right now I'm using a pro lab, but plan to eventually(when time and living quarters comply) re-start using a Jobo rotary system for my C-41 and E-6 processing, so I regain complete control of my film processing, and no longer have to pay for pushes/pulls ;), both of which I use regularly on both C-41 and E-6.
Basically, I'm saying that DIY color processing, now in this day & age, is SOOOOOOOO simple. It, like changing a diaper, just "takes a little getting used to" :D! Chemistry is CHEAP(even if you do it single-shot, which I prefer, despite the extra cost).
Another thing (I) would recommend: MIX YOUR CHEMISTRY WITH DISTILLED WATER. This takes out potential for pH and hard/soft water issues, but since it's so cheap I figure why NOT use it and reduce your variables ;)? (I just use regular (in-line sediment filtered) tap water for washes on C-41).
Best of luck with your foray into color processing. Take your time, have everything measured out before-hand, and again: TAKE YOUR TIME. Have a good watch/timer, and when getting started, have everything CLEARLY labeled so you don't grab fix(speaking from experience here ;)!)
I used my last batch of Rollie Digibase 4 chem kit a few months back and have been using the Tetenal 3 chemical Press kit. I'm fine with the results of the Tetenal chemistry. The grain seems just a bit more pronounced but for me the change is not that noticeable. Note, however, that all I do is scan. I don't print optically nor do I print (from a scan) over 11 x 14 inches typically.
I have a GE roaster that works well as a water bath but just bringing water to temp in a large pot will do fine for temperature control at 100F / 102F for the length of time it takes to develop one batch. You may need to adjust the temp again before a new batch though, I make the bath about 1F above the temp I need to compensate for ambient loses from the uncovered sides of the bottles / developing tank and loses from pouring. Nothing scientific to determine that, just a WAG and it seems to work. You can preheat your bottled mixed chemicals in a water bath of about 140F to 150F using a 2nd large pot on the stove. After getting the water to 150, put your room temp bottles in the pot so that water level covers about 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the side of the bottles and move them about every minute or so watching the temperature of the developer carefully. You want to pull the chems out before the indicated temp reached your target because it will most likely creep up a little before stabilizing. When you hit your target just place your bottles in the warm water bath and start your developing process. The warm water bath should hold it's temp stable enough to finish the developer and blix steps in the required time without issue.
My last few rolls of C-41 using the Tetenal kit are here. Note that several rolls are pushed 2 stops.