I'm not concerned with "pro" quality stuff at the moment. Cost is my driving concern since I closed my studio (which means no extra play money), and have moved to a new city. I have about 5 or 6 rolls of Porta 400 in 120 that I STILL haven't gotten developed because a) I can't do it myself, and b) I cant bring myself to spend the $60-$70 it's going to cost to develop it all
The Darkroom has been the cheapest I've found at $10 a roll for developing, but that added to the cost of the film
itself comes out to like $15 or $16 for 12 shots on MF.
I enjoy processing my own b&w but have never ventured to try color because I assumed it was impossible due to the cost.
Is it like B&W where you can mix 5L at a time and keep it on a shelf? Or do you mix only what you are going to use?
Oh boy...now you guys are tempting me. I have 2 rolls of Kodak EKTAR color film on their way...... Actually, I should mention when I purchased some amazing color prints at a local art fair I asked the photographer about difficulty of developing color. His answer was essentially what I"m hearing you folks saying.
champion photo chemicals. bulk and large quantites, but dirt cheap per roll, lasts forever.
DIY = cheap in the short run, and if you get a hang of it can be done at ease.
Jobo = clean and easily repetative and predictable work environment but at a greater initial investment.
Enlargers should be had for free, the number of super high end class top of the line dichroic enlargers i have seen in the past short while that were given\trashed is phenomenal. Nobody other then a few fruitcackes here and there has anything to do with them.
I saw a 5000 star color analizer (most likely cost several thousand $$ when new) for 50$ the other, but probably could be found for free.
RA4 in trays can be done, but i think its fairly tricky, and smells kinda bad too. and you have to be in complete darkness, and a few other things come to mind that might be an issue... but - if you get a Jobo you can use it for prints and for film.
According to my experience, mixed C-41 developer keeps about 4 - 5 months when stored without air in a squeezed PET plastic bottle refrigerated. This is probably the easiest way for mixing too, to avoid the need of measuring parts of small concentrates. It is meant to be mixed all at once. If you shoot very little C-41, then this will be a problem, but if you get to shoot a roll per week on average, it will be economical enough. Developer gets a grayish color when it goes bad so this is a good indicator.
Originally Posted by ChristopherCoy
Bleach and fix are simply diluted with water (I mean: no multipart concentrates) and keep very well. The fixer may still sulphur out if stored with a lot of air. I have found that refrigeration helps on this, too, if you have a half-full concentrate bottle that is not squeezable.
Color fixers tend to be cheaper than BW fixers and you can use those for fixing your BW films too, so here is a potential for cost savings and this will help so that you don't need to buy so many different products.
Last edited by hrst; 06-21-2012 at 10:25 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Again we need to debunk the myths.
Originally Posted by krifartida
RA-4 is BEST done in trays. It is the EASIEST process ever, easier and more repeatable than even B&W printing processes. It is a well-engineered process with almost unlimited shelf-life for chemicals, non-toxic chemicals with almost no odor, high repeatability over large temperature swing, etc.
Don't even think about drums, it makes no sense. Some people seem to like them for whatever reason and that's of course fine if you are a masochist, but you don't need to drum process.
The smell is practically nonexistent, and actually is a good one for the developer. Acetic acid stop bath smells a very little bit (same for B&W) and is the smelliest part of the process; you can avoid it if you need to.
If you have done B&W printing in the same darkroom setting, you have no problem getting used to work in complete darkness. Or, if you want, you can get a color safelight. It is very dim but much better than complete darkness.
When I teach people to RA-4 printing, it usually takes less than 2 hours to completely master making good prints, especially if there is some background on making B&W prints. But it works even without such experience.
I want to make an appeal to all of you APUGers:
Please, check the claims and facts you are going to post. Without any hands-on experience on a topic, please do not post the traditional darkroom "hearsay". It does not help, because the chances are, it is very likely completely false, because of the sad fact that 99% of the analog photography "common wisdom" or "hearsay" are urban legends and falsehoods. These rumors just live their own life by being constantly echoed by people who don't check the facts. So in fact, it is BETTER to not post at all, than to forward "common hearsay".
Color film processing as well as color paper processing has always been cheap and easy. It has just been that the abundance of color labs and lack of good B&W labs have caused people to process their own B&W but not color. And then, the reason for the abundance of color labs and lack of good B&W labs is simple; (1) people shoot more color than B&W, so there is more need for color labs, (2) B&W processes are not standardized, color processes are, so it is easier on a commercial level to provide a high-quality standardized process than a high-quality custom process for every film. But some people have made the false assumption that because color is most often done by labs, it would be difficult or expensive or dangerous or whatever to DIY. This is completely wrong.
Last edited by hrst; 06-21-2012 at 10:20 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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You missed one advantage of drums, exceptionally low volumes of chemical usage. An 8x10 Beseler drum uses 70ml of chemistry. That amount can be easily reused four times and process three 8x10 prints or one final one and a number of test strips. 10 liters /70 ml * 3 = 428 prints, not bad for the $60-80 cost of dev and blix.
Real easy and somewhat boring when you have a timer run the motor base, esp when processing at room temp.
Really good advice in this thread. Some experiences of mine to add. I've been doing C-41 for about 3 years.
1) The chemical kits mentioned above are all good. I'd like to add to the list the Kodak Flexicolor Developer / Replenisher, 5 gallon. You can mix this up a liter (or quart) at a time and so far has lasted me about 18 months. Don't be thrown off by "replenisher": this just means that you use the same kit for developer and replenisher http://www.adorama.com/KKFCDR5G.html You aren't likely to be replenishing (to start anyway) so don't worry about it.
2) If Freestyle still sells the digibase kits, they are a good way to get started using excellent quality Fuji-Hunt chemistry. The Formulary also sells a 1 liter kit of all the Kodak chemistry. Save yourself a headache and stay away from the powdered "press kits" because the results aren't all that good. You can do better for the same money.
3) I have found that the quart size PET bottles from Power-Ade work very well. They are made from a heavier gauge PET than soda or water bottles. Quart is a little less than a liter of course but I have always mixed to the liter specs and just used a little less water with no problems. Get the Kodak CIS-49 document about mixing smaller than package size amounts of Kodak chemicals.
4) Once I have mixed the developer and poured into the PET bottle, I always store those bottles in a ziploc bag with the air squeezed out. All of my chemistry is stored in a cool, dark place aka basement workshop/darkroom.
5) You do not have to use developer starter. You can use it but it isn't really necessary. Starter is intended to make fresh solution act more like seasoned, replenished solution.
6) Bleach can get expensive. However, for your first attempts, use the regular C-41 bleach. This is why something like the digibase kit is best. After you get some experience you can go for the C-22 style Potassium Ferricyanide bleach that you mix yourself and is much cheaper. You can research it here on APUG and find plenty of information. It's a little more complicated to use, although not that much, but get a few films under your belt before trying that.
7) You can use the same "color" fixer for b/w and it works very well. Do not use the same batch of fixer for b/w and color films. My b/w films got some kind of crap on them after running color film through the same fixer. Fixer is cheap so this is easy to avoid.
8) If you venture into RA-4 printing, you can use a "color" safelight. They won't help you see very much but I find that mine serves as a point of reference and helps to avoid disorientation in the dark. After about 20 minutes under the safelight, I can see something but not much.
It's really no harder to do color that b/w - in fact maybe it's easier. To me it is relaxing and mindlessly productive which I need sometimes.
Soon you'll be trying ECN-2. Remjet is not to be feared.
You will have fun with this,
All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.
I'd like to echo what hrst said. I find that color film processing is easier and quicker than B/W because of standardized processing. Color printing is also very easy and quick. Getting color balance is easier than on a scanner and since the paper and chemicals are cheap it way more fun as well. By the way, you don't need to do color printing in the dark. That's another urban legend. I've got Jobo Maxilux safelight which does not seem to affect color paper at all, and I find it even a bit too bright for my eyes.
Seem and I being the operative words...