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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    How many uses out of color chems?

    Hello,

    I'm thinking about trying to develop some of my own color negs or maybe slides in 4x5 format. Although, when looking through B&W and FreeStylePhoto, I noticed the chemistry seems fairly expensive for the small amounts of working solutions. Is this chemistry able to be reused, as opposed to the b&w chemistry that is normally one shot?

    The reason I'm asking is, if its one shot, it seems it would be fairly expensive to develop my own 4x5 in BTZ tubes.

    Regards,
    Martin

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Italia
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    Depends on how you do things. I replenish bleach and fixer.

    The kits do tend to be expensive. It's better if you buy each component on it's own. But then you have to put the effort into figuring out which one to get.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Yes, all chemistry, including b/w is designed to be reused up to the capacity of the solution. The exception is b/w film and paper developers that are used diluted with water to make working solutions.

    If you purchase and E-6 or C-41 processing kit...you can develop several rolls or sheets of film, over a period of a few weeks before the kit becomes unusable. In general, it is only the developers that have shorter solution life, and the other chemicals, the bleach, fix, reversal bath, etc., have a longer life.

    For my small commercial operation. (I just process what I shoot), I mix up a 3.5 gallon sink-line for E-6 about once a month. I replenish the bleach, never replacing it. Sometimes, if I have had few sheets to process, then after a few weeks, I will just mix up new developers only, continuing to use the other chemicals. It is hard to be specific in answering your question as the larger quantity you mix up, the longer it will last in general. If you just mix up a quart, then of course, you probably could only process maybe a dozen 4x5 sheets and the developers would be exhausted, or maybe not, it depends on how quickly you use it. But, one thing is sure...all color chemistry is intended for reuse up to capacity.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2005
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    I re-use color developer (Paterson Photocolor II) once -- that is, I put two 35mm (generally 36-exposure) rolls through 275 or 300ml of solution. The instructions for this developer indicate it can be re-used three or four times, IIRC, but I'm erring on the side of caution. Once diluted, it tends to go bad in a couple of weeks, so depending on quantities, film area, etc., you might want to save up your film and process a bunch of it at once. The Paterson developer keeps for a few months in its undiluted form, at least in full bottles. In partly-full bottles, of course, it goes bad faster. I'm thinking of getting an inexpensive vacuum pump (discussed briefly in another thread here on APUG recently) to help extend the life of developers in bottles. Sadly, the Paterson chemistry has been discontinued. I'll probably either switch to Kodak C-41 developer or use a mix-it-yourself variety. Incidentally, I've also tried the mix-it-yourself NCF-41, which is a divided developer for C-41 films with a claim of long shelf life. In my experience, it sometimes works well, but it often produces thin negatives and occasionally produces odd colors that I've not been able to correct in scanning or printing, so overall I don't recommend it. A pity, since the claim of long shelf life is a big draw.

    FWIW, I once used Paterson's E-6 kit ("Chrome 6," I think it was called). I had little luck re-using the developer, though; I suspect it went bad in just a couple of days. I'm now using a Kodak E-6 kit one-shot. This is expensive compared to the Paterson kit, but it's been much more reliable, and it's still less expensive than sending my E-6 film out for processing, assuming the kit doesn't go bad before I'm finished with it. (I've been using this one kit for a few months now, and so far it's been OK. Obviously I don't shoot a lot of E-6 films.)



 

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