Best Strategy for 2L-at-a-time C-41 Developing
I haven't developed C41 in about a year, and back then I used the large size Rollei kit. It worked very well for me, so long as substituted the Kodak final rinse. It is not as economical to buy 4 mini kits (which is all Freestyle has right now), and I need to fill an 8-reel SS tank. I am not looking for Arista/Tetenal/Unicolor or anything that uses a blix rather separate bleach and fix, and I'm phobic about buying hundreds of dollars of high-volume Kodak concentrates that may go bad before I use them.
I've searched the forums (and Kodak's PDFs) about the Flexicolor SM F1 + F2 kits, and haven't found much definitive hands-on information regarding volume and shelf life. How much concentrate is there, and how long will they keep (unmixed)? Together they are about $100 and supposedly can run 200-ish rolls before the F2 part needs to be replaced (am I reading that right???).
What other solutions to this problem have you guys come up with? I REALLY want something simple, although that is starting to seem difficult. Any US-based source for the medium or large Rollei kits?
Buy the smallest C41 Flexicolor and RA4 kits that PDISUPPLY.COM (Rochester, NY) has. (NO, I don't get a commission.) I use the RA4 RT (Roller Transport.) developer/replenisher I use fixer and potassium ferricyanide but you can use their respective blixes. Keep the blix components separate in their respective containers. You should have NO problems with these components EVEN IF they start forming particles with time. Honestly, I have used these after years of storage.
Store the developer concentrates for the C41 Flexicolor in either glass or PET plastic FILLTED to the rim. I think that the Part A of the FLexicolor does NOT have to be airtight so you can keep it in its original container.
For the RA4 RT developer store the Part C in either the original container or GLASS. PET plastic will corrode with this highly alkaline product. Parts A and B MUST, MUST, MUST, MUST be stored AIRTIGHT in either PET plastic or glass. Get glass marbles to take up the slack. For TINY quantitites get 50ml liquor bottles or tiny glass bottles and get really small marbles (arts and crafts stores) to take up the slack. (NOte: PEPSI soda bottles have sheer sides without embossed design: these are PET plastic and can be slighly squeezed to let out air: leave no airspace.) These chemicals won't go bad and you won't spend hundreds of dollars. But WATCH OUT for the paper: that is the Achilles' Heel here. Even with simple refrigeration it starts to go bad after about a couple of years. Buy only enough paper to last a year and store it cold. - David Lyga
NOTA BENE: see my post (today) on extreme C41 dilutions.
Last edited by David Lyga; 12-30-2012 at 04:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Thanks David, but I can't figure out the Kodak naming schemes, and don't know what to buy. According to the PDI site, I'd have to spend quite a bit to get much larger quantities than I need. I had it figured out a long time ago, and then products started disappearing. I think I need a simplified kit unless there are stable, low-volume individual components available. Any specific hands-on info on the SM F1 and F2 kits would be very useful. I'm also putting out feelers to a few dealers regarding the Trebla kit. Seems really quite cheap for what you get.
I do not need RA-4 chems.
Sorry about that. I had not looked at their site for quite a while since I have still so much. The smallest Flexicolor developer they have is 4X5 gal or 20 US gallons for over USD100. You live in NYC: doesn't B&H sell 5 liter sizes, even if they have to order it.? You could easily pick it up.
Seriously, this is getting difficult and the 'writing is on the wall' about future availability. None of us know what is going to happen, but B&H, I think, still has listed on their website small sizes of C41 chemicals. - David Lyga
What happen to the Kodak color kits at the Photo Formulary? I was unable to find them there.
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Fotch the world is, indeed, coming to an end. (Still, I refuse to get a gun.) - David Lyga
B&H has nothing in stock except a 25 gallon bleach, unfortunately, so I might as well order online and have everything show up at my door.
I emailed PF yesterday to ask about the kits. If I recall correctly, they were quite expensive and not very high capacity, which is why I went with the Rollei. The Rollei was a good balance - a little pricey compared to buying the high-volume Kodak, but simple, good, and still much, much cheaper than a lab. And no blix!
Worst case scenario, I could buy four mini-Rolleis and get 40 rolls for $100. Not terrible, but I'd like to do better.
I wonder about the logic. 20 years ago, there was a lab on every street corner, so the market for 4x5Gallon kits, was huge, now there are maybe 10 major labs and a few dozen smaller ones, so the market for those large quantity packages has got to be tiny, certainly a lot smaller then say the market for a 5x1L kit would be.
Originally Posted by David Lyga
See my Blog at http://clickandspin.blogspot.com
The greatest advance in photography in the last 100 years is not digital, it's odourless stop bath....
Are these ok to use at home in small quantities, and can I find instructions to mix for 2L at a time (and fill the concentrate bottles with gas or marbles)? I would buy Kodak or Fuji final rinse, as it is cheap and readily available.
Unique also carries the Kodak "SM Tank" chems, which are lower volume. Tell me if I have this right:
If I get five of the 2L dev kit, one each of the 10L bleach and fix, and a handful of the final rinses (I'll have to look up the capacity, but for $3 each, who cares), and I use PE's posted Kodak chart recommending up to 3 re-uses per batch (with extended dev times) of 36-exp rolls, that's 8 rolls per 2L x 3 re-uses x 5 bottles of developer = 120 rolls for $190 shipped. Not terrible.
Last edited by cbphoto; 12-31-2012 at 05:35 PM. Click to view previous post history.