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  1. #1
    keyofnight's Avatar
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    Minimalist C-41 Setup?

    Right now, I've got a very simple B&W setup: Adox Adonal, Formulary TF-5, and…um…Photo Flo. These chemicals have been working out for me: they're easy to use, versatile, easily acquired, etc.

    I've been trying to decide on a similar C-41 setup, but I'm having trouble picking chemicals that'll serve similar functions. I guess I just have a few questions about C-41 chemicals in general.

    I've heard good things about the C-41 "press kits" (Rollei/Digibase, Tetenal/Unicolor, etc.), but I've also read that the bleach, fix, and stabilizer included in such kits will all outlast the developer—so, it sounds like I could save money by figuring matching up the chemicals myself, using replenisher, etc. The entire setup sounds complicated.

    Here are a couple questions: Can I use TF-5 on C-41 films? Is the stabilizer necessary? What's the simplest setup I can put together with the best quality?

  2. #2
    Athiril's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keyofnight View Post
    Right now, I've got a very simple B&W setup: Adox Adonal, Formulary TF-5, and…um…Photo Flo. These chemicals have been working out for me: they're easy to use, versatile, easily acquired, etc.

    I've been trying to decide on a similar C-41 setup, but I'm having trouble picking chemicals that'll serve similar functions. I guess I just have a few questions about C-41 chemicals in general.

    I've heard good things about the C-41 "press kits" (Rollei/Digibase, Tetenal/Unicolor, etc.), but I've also read that the bleach, fix, and stabilizer included in such kits will all outlast the developer—so, it sounds like I could save money by figuring matching up the chemicals myself, using replenisher, etc. The entire setup sounds complicated.

    Here are a couple questions: Can I use TF-5 on C-41 films? Is the stabilizer necessary? What's the simplest setup I can put together with the best quality?
    If you want one concentrate for all fixer, start with a colour fixer that has the right pH for colour work, over here Kodak E-6 Fixer is really cheap - http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...plenisher.html

    Stabilizer isn't necessary unless you want to cross-process E-6 in C-41 as a regular occurence, I'd probably recommend stabilizer then.

    If you want a single wetting agent for all films (B&W + C-41), I'd probably go for Tetenal Mirasol 2000, it has fungicidal and anti-bacterial properties which is of benefit to C-41 film.

    I'd pretty much would just assemble a Flexicolor/Flexicolor LORR kit.

    Dev Replenisher+Starter
    Bleach III Replenisher (quantities may be expensive)
    Fixer Replenisher

    Otherwise you could look for smaller bleaches such as SM bleach or C-41Ra bleach, and get the bleach regenerator which would be economic.

    Or mix up an EDTA bleach and get the regenerator. Also the regenerator may be a working bleach in itself (though I think the pH would somewhat low to use straight up possibly).

    MSDS of regenerator lists:
    15 - 20% Acetic acid (64-19-7)
    5 - 10% Ammonium bromide (12124-97-9)
    5 - 10% Ferric ammonium propylenediaminetetraacetic acid (111687-36-6)
    1 - 5% Ammonium nitrate (6484-52-2)


    Sorry to over complicate things! The other thing to do is just get one of the kits and replenish the developer if you're up for that!
    Last edited by Athiril; 12-11-2012 at 03:01 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3

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    It is possible to buy the components of the Rollei Digibase C41 kit separately - I've done so when I've accidentally wasted one of the components. This can help to achieve a consistency in life-span. I bought mine from Maco Direct in Germany, shipped to the UK.

  4. #4
    Terry Christian's Avatar
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    Minimalist C-41 Setup?

    I'm on my phone so I can't look up and reference it, but David Lyga has posted before about using store-bought color developer, and then preparing a potassium ferricyanide solution for the bleach and using regular B&W fixer. I haven't had the opportunity to try it yet. Maybe he can chime in and enlighten us about his process.

  5. #5
    keyofnight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athiril View Post
    Sorry to over complicate things!
    lol…it looks like it's going to be pretty complicated either way.

    Alright, so here's what I'm getting so far:
    • Stabilizer is unnecessary. (After more research, it looks like modern C-41 films are engineered not to need it…but there is a higher risk the dyes will fade if you don't? I don't know if any of that is true.)
    • If I use a fixer with the right pH for color, that fixer will work just as well for black and white.
    • I have lots of options for bleach. (;

    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Christian View Post
    I'm on my phone so I can't look up and reference it, but David Lyga has posted before about using store-bought color developer, and then preparing a potassium ferricyanide solution for the bleach and using regular B&W fixer. I haven't had the opportunity to try it yet. Maybe he can chime in and enlighten us about his process.
    Interesting! I did a cursory search for David Lyga's method & advice. He seems like an interesting person, and his method seems very interesting as well. I've put together a quick list of his recommendations from various threads.

    The only problem is that I can't find any examples of the results. I guess a lot of people don't take his advice (or give thanks)? I'll keep looking.

  6. #6

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    I use the Rollie/Digibase C41 kit. It comes complete with bleach fix and stabilser. I have no problems with it what so ever and it is cheaper than the equivalent Tetenal kit. Just get your temperatures and times accurate and there should be no problems.

  7. #7
    RPC
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    I would suggest not trying any alternative types of processing until you do it the official way first. Then you can compare them.

    As far as fixer goes, Kodak C-41 fixer is cheap, just about the cheapest you can get, and can be used for b&w film and paper as well. Very economical.

    Final Rinse is used with today's films in place of the old Stabilizer to prevent fungal growth.

    It all may seem complicated but it is not really, if you don't mess with the regenerators to start with. Just developer, bleach, fixer, final rinse. See the sticky at the top
    of the page in this forum for more help on finding chemistry.

    Lastly, mixed color developers can have a long life if you store them properly. If stored in glass or high quality plastic containers filled to the top, they can last years.
    The key is minimizing oxidation. I reuse bleach and fixers 2-3 times.
    Last edited by RPC; 12-11-2012 at 11:38 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  8. #8
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    I can understand your request to mirror the same simplicity you have with your black and white set up, but I strongly suggest you stick with the plain vanilla processing of the Jobo (it's marketed under Unicolor as well) kit which contains the basic 3: Developer, Blix and Stabilizer to make 1 liter to process about 12 rolls. Regarding stabilizer, I have had situations where I failed to use it and my negatives wound up with various drying spots and other issues. Once I included the stabilizer, no problems. The Tetanol is a great kit and I've had much success with it. The Rollei Digibase also gives excellent results but they have some quality control problems; several times kits have been received with leaking containers. It's been replaced by the shippers but no one needs that kind of aggravation. Suggest you mix with distilled water just to insure consistency. With the Jobo kit you still have the simplicity you're looking for but you're going to have to keep 3 separate chemical bottles to store your solutions. I'm basically pretty conservative in terms of my chemicals: black & white stays with black & white and color stays with color--that way, when things go wrong you can track down the problem pretty easily.

  9. #9

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    "I would suggest not trying any alternative types of processing until you do it the official way first."

    Agreed!

  10. #10
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    Simplest cheapest way is to buy a complete kit to start out, e.g. Fuji or Rollei. Yes, the bleach+fix has greater capacity per litre, so in some cases you can then go about buying the individual components.

    Assembling C41 from individual Kodak items is an expensive hassle as you need to buy huge quantities and the quantities generally don't match at all in their capacities.

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