C-41 Processing on Jobo
I'm getting ready to start processing color film on my Jobo rotary processor. The Kodak data sheet recommends a premixed developer, bleacher, fixer, and stabilizer. I don't believe B&H or Adorama sell the premixed developer. This leads me to think that amateurs are taking a different route.
My questions are: 1) what chemicals are people using for C-41 rotary processing, 2) how does the quality obtained by using press kit chemicals compare to professional processed?
you aren't the first person to ask this:
I use rollei digibase from freestyle.
I use the Kodak developer (http://www.adorama.com/KKFCDR5G.html). I also use Kodak C41 fixer, and CPAC bleach. No idea how it compares to the press kits. This works just fine in a Jobo.
I use the Kodak Flexicolor SM developer (1756337). You can get the case that has 6 sets of 3 small bottles. Each set of 3 bottles makes 2 liters. I keep the case in a cool basement for around a year and mix 2 liters at a time and use it fairly quickly when I mix it. I usually develop around 6 rolls per 500ml of developer (two batches of 3 rolls - run first batch at 3:15 minutes and the second at 3:30). If reusing, do two batches in one day - the oxidizing effect of the Jobo CPP (or CPA) will shorten the life of the developer quickly.
Use straight Bleach III. It has twice the capacity of the developer so don't sweat it. I use 500ml for 4 batches of 3 rolls.
Flexicolor fix. I use this particular fix for color AND black and white. It is cheap and works well 1:1 for both types of film. Heed warnings to not mix the fix between the two processes. Mix and use separately for each process.
Quality of press kits v. Kodak (or other) liquid chemicals: I cannot see any difference, but the press kits mix the bleach and fix steps (they call it blix) so I hear the chemicals do not last as long. I'll bet if you mix and use it to capacity at one shot you would not see a difference either.
1) Kodak color chemicals are getting hard to come by in smaller quantities. This may not be a good time to adopt the chemical processes of the Yellow Father, given the press lately. Once I go through this last case of C-41 developer I may jump to the C-41 offerings of Rollei:
It is going to be more expensive ($1.00/roll) but it would be better than buying in larger quantities and having to dump expired chemicals
2) Capacity guidelines I have given above work for me. They may not work for you or others.
3) Starters are not needed for one (or two shot in succession) processing. Starters "season" the new developer to make it consistent in a production environment.
Hope this helps. Look into what Photo Engineer has to say on this board. He is a former Kodak engineer and shares his considerable knowledge of color processes.