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  1. #1
    Terry Christian's Avatar
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    C-41 bulk chemical advice/critique

    Okay, folks, I finally jumped in with both feet regarding buying bulk C-41 chemicals rather than the smaller press kits and such. This past spring, I visited a small camera shop a few states away that was supposedly about to go out of business and I noticed they had bottles of C-41 chemicals, in addition to E-6 and RA-4. So, last weekend when I was there again, I came prepared and bought some C-41. I had my doubts as to whether I was buying the correct stuff, and whether the concentrates weren't too aged, but C-41 wise I bought every different chemical he had, so I had no further options, as you'll see in my list below. I mixed them up using the proportions on the bottles and Ian Mazursky's spreadsheet from the sticky thread. And they worked! Huzzah!

    All are Kodak Flexicolor, to make 10L, except the bleach & bleach starter. The designation "RA" notwithstanding, all are marked for use with film.
    Developer/Replenisher LORR, Part A
    Developer/Replenisher LORR, Part B
    Developer/Replenisher LORR, Part C
    Bleach Starter
    RA Bleach Replenisher NR
    RA Fixer/Replenisher
    Final Rinse/Replenisher

    The directions on the bleach starter bottle are for use with Bleach III Replenisher, but I substituted the RA Bleach Replenisher NR I'd bought instead; I figured the difference was just an update in the product.
    I had no developer starter, so I omitted it.
    I knew it was important to store the mixed developer in a glass bottle instead of plastic for storage purposes and the only one I have handy is a 750mL, so I scaled Mazursky's proportions down to fit. Everything else I mixed up into 1L plastic Datatainer bottles.
    I don't have a JOBO and I have no intentions of running a replenishment system. Like I did with the press kits, I'm just mixing up a small quantity and using them until they're exhausted by use or age, and then mixing up more as I need it.

    So far I've processed six rolls in this batch, most of it Kodak Ektar and rebranded (Walgreens) Fuji Superia. I've made sure to be generous with bleach and fix times, about five minutes and six minutes, respectively. The medium format roll looks the most consistent. With the two 35mm rolls of Ektar I've done so far, I've had to do some Photoshop sweetening and color correction, but those were done last. I'm more concerned about some of the highlight blocking I'm getting and the way light green tones, like grass, are being rendered.

    The entire batch so far is here, and the shots are presented in order of development: http://www.flickr.com/photos/otterda...7631836715211/
    Don't mind the first two shots. They were on Fuji Superia 800 and that roll was pretty wild.

    I'm putting this out there so that if I'm doing something completely wrong with these chemicals, or could do it better, I can get some critiquing. I'm sure this can also help others who have thought about switching to bulk chemicals make the plunge, too. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2

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    I use the same developer that you use and you definitely need the starter with that. The starter is pretty cheap - about $9 for a bottle. The part number is 8485153. One bottle will last you many years.

    The RA bleach uses starter. The part number is 8566796. That should be the same as regular bleach starter. Use 880 ml of replenisher and 120 ml of starter to make a liter.
    The RA fixer is mixed at 500ml of concentrate with 500ml of water to make a liter of replenisher. It requires no starter.

    The processing times are:

    3:15 developer 30 sec initial agitation, 2 sec of agitation every 15 sec thereafter
    6:30 bleach 30 sec initial agitation, 5 sec agitation every 30 sec thereafter
    1:30 wash
    6:30 fixer same agitation as the bleach
    3:15 wash
    1:30 final rinse 30 sec initial agitation, then let sit

    Keep the developer at 100 F
    the others can be used at 75 F to 105 F

    I use a nikor stainless tank to process all of my film. It's pretty easy to do. I just did 6 rolls of Ektar today.
    For the first wash, I fill the tank, agitate 20 times and empty it. I do that 3 times
    For the second wash, I use the same procedure with only 10 agitations and keep refilling until the water is clear. Usually about 8 - 10 refills.

    With that developer, there will be replenisher left over when you mix the tank solution. I set it aside and replenish the developer as I'm going along during a session. I don't save the mixed chemicals after a session.

    I hope that helps.

  3. #3
    Jeff L's Avatar
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    I set an email to Champion Photo chemicals to see if they had small (home) sized Flexicolor C41 kits. They don't, but offered the mixing/dilution instructions if I wanted to use C41 bulk chemicals in small spiral tanks. I didn't ask them to send it because I wasn't going to buy chemicals in that quantity. I found them to be helpful if you're interested.

  4. #4
    Terry Christian's Avatar
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    C-41 bulk chemical advice/critique

    ctsundevil: I kinda figured I'd need that starter, even though the shop owner said I'd only need it if I had a JOBO. He didn't have it in stock anyway. I ordered some just now from Adorama. Thanks! I've been doing the same process as you, including wash steps, so I'm hoping that starter will even out some of the inconsistencies.

    Jeff L.: I'll look into Champion, thanks!

  5. #5
    David Lyga's Avatar
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    Just a note: I use PDISUPPLY.COM for color chemicals.

    I have the 25 gallon size of Flexicolor Developer/Replenisher and mix my working solution from the concentrates. I keep the concentrates in PET plastic bottles, filled completely, adding glass marbles to take up the slack. No problems with storage this way. - David Lyga

  6. #6

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    I use the same developer too. I think it is called C-41RA LORR developer replenisher. Each box comes with 4 packages in it. Each package makes 10 liters of C-41 developer replenisher.

    You may want to mix 10 liters at a time because when opened the part C will be exposed to oxygen and will begin to oxidize and go bad in a couple of months even it is recapped tightly always. I have tried to mix partially, such as 1 liter, at a time. I found it very difficult to mix precisely. And before I used up all the juice the part C has gone bad. I ended up wasting almost half of it any way.

    So I now always mix the entire part A, B, C and water but not to the full 10 liter, rather to 4 liters (2.5 time concentrate) and store it in 4 jobo's liter sized bottles. Jobo bottles are the best plastic bottles for storing developer. Don't use regular HDPE plastic bottles. The concentrate tends to last longer. With almost no air in the bottle I can keep it for 2 - 3 moths.

    When it's time to use it I add water and dilute it to the 1:1 strength. At this point it is not a developer yet. It is really just a developer replenisher. I then follow the starter direction to make a working developer by mixing the replenisher, some starter and some more water. This produces a developer that works just like every C-41 developer. It has worked very well for me this way on a Jobo machine.

  7. #7

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    The C-41RA LORR replenisher and regular non RA developer replenisher are different. According to Kodak tech pub, the RA replenisher has twice the replenishing capacity than regular non RA replenisher. In simple words, if it takes 10 ml for a regular developer replenisher to replenish it will only need 5 ml of RA version of the replenisher for a same volume of film processed. For this reason I believe it is the best for Jobo rotary processing. I don't know what makes it twice the capacity. Maybe after adding starter and make it a working developer it becomes a same developer with no extra strength.

  8. #8
    Terry Christian's Avatar
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    Because I mentioned this thread on another thread about C-41 developing, I thought I'd post a photo of what the ancient Flexicolor bottles look like.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9

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    Current stuff looks almost identical to those bottles. ;-)



 

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