Getting started in Color
After being a long time Black and white printer and developer, i have decided to try my hand at color. I first decided it intolerable to allow careless stores to develop my film in some machine and then get them all dirty and ruined with their hands. So my question is, what are the components of a color developer? Can i mix one up from stock chemicals or should i just buy a premixed one? Is all i need for C-41 processing, a color developer, bleach, fixer (the same i use for my B and W?)?
"The fact is I could state and support the statement my frames are never tilted. You see, choosing the horizon line, the horizontal edge as a point of reference, is arbitrary. You can use a vertical edge just as arbitrarily." - Garry Winogrand
I'd highly recommend you start with some ready made kit to get the hang of it. Color development is a highly standardized process, very unlike B&W, so there is no point in mixing your own stuff except potential cost savings. Once you can get the process dialed in you can start to replace individual batheswith your formulation, otherwise you'll never be able to find out why one batch of home brew chemicals didn't work. Just too many variables ...
C-41 chemicals can be mixed from raw chemicals, but CD-4 is at least a "special" component not available everywhere. There are formulas for developer but they may not be perfect. On the other hand, Kodak/Fuji C-41 chemicals are SO cheap that just buy them.
I highly recommend also to print color -- that is, RA-4 process. It's an easy step if you are already familiar with BW printing. Buy Supra Endura paper while it's still available...
That is ye starters kit for doing your first roll. All chemistry is included in powdered form. Mix it on up and follow the directions included and it will work quite well. I recommend mixing the stabilizer with distilled water.
These are instructions I wrote in an article a while back. Most chemistry can be ordered online from Adorama if you're in the US. The hardest one to find is the Bleach after Kodak discontinued the hobby size one gallon a while back. I typically hunt ebay and buy it for cheap when it comes up as it doesn't really go bad.
There's one on RA4 printing when you're ready. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
For $20 that doesn't seem too bad. What is it going to cost him/her on the print end for say 8x10?
Makes 1 Liter Does 12-16 35mm Rolls Per Liter
A million years ago I had fun at home with gel filters on an Omega B600 making color prints in a drum rolling it on the floor. The kit was from Freestyle and was C22.
Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand
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Kodak C41 works well. The product names can be confusing. They change the packaging from time to time, which changes the part numbers. Here is what I use:
Developer: Flexicolor developer replenisher, catalog #191 9042. Mix everything together in the kit to make 19 liters of developer replenisher. Comes in three parts. Mix in the order specified.
Bleach: Flexicolor SM tank bleach, catalog #882 4690. (2) bottles at 2.7 liters each. Total of 5.4 liters of bleach, ready to use with no dilution. (Any time you see "SM", that means the stuff is pour-and-use. No mixing.)
Fix: Flexicolor fixer and replenisher, catalog #198 3550. One bottle mixes with water to make 5 liters.
Rinse: Flexicolor final rinse and replenisher, catalog #854 8067. One bottle mixed with water makes 47.3 liters of final rinse. This final rinse does not contain formalin or formaldehyde. Other Kodak products are called "final rinse and stabilizer", and do contain these ingredients. They are more toxic, but do protect the color negatives from bacterial and fungus damage.
There are similar products with a LORR designation. I do not have any of this chemistry yet. This is low replenishment rate chemistry, and is supposed to need no washing.
There's a C41 "theory" that after the chemistry has reached its "capacity" you can merely extend the development time by 15 seconds and then another 15 seconds and use it twice more through capacity. 4 rolls of film becomes 12 and so on. When I first began processing that was my goal too. I wanted to squeeze every ounce of life out of my chemistry because the extra was wasted. That works just fine, but you're not guaranteed good results. After a while I decided that the chemistry was very cheap (when you buy from kodak) and I'd be willing to pay $2 to use one shot developer and fix for a roll which had 6 pictures I wanted to print. Just my opinion. I also have about 5 years worth of chemistry downstairs (including about 6 gallons of Bleach III and a gallon of Bleach SM)
RA4 printing is far far cheaper than inkjet. I can run 16 to 40 16x20 prints at $1.75 a sheet through $20 of chemistry leaving the final costs (at worst) at something like $3 a sheet. Inkjet paper starts at $2.30 a sheet. Have you ever bought inkjet ink? I haven't, but a few milliliters costs $15 and you need 9 of those to run inkjet printers..
Analog printing also has a true glossy finish. Glossy inkjet paper varies with the amount of ink piled up on it, whereas chromogenic paper has the dyes inside of it. I use all glossy paper and when I need matte I can spray a finish onto it.
BTW bleach sm requires only 60 seconds to bleach the film instead of the 6:30 required by bleach III
The developer is the most sensitive chemical. I use a syringe and graduated cylinders to measure small amounts of parts A, B, and C. I make a liter of developer/replenisher at a time. This is simply using a calculated proportion of the mixing instructions on the box. I also use a butane refill to displace the air in partly filled bottles of chemistry, to make them last longer in storage.
I prefer to mix up a gallon of working solution and decant it into glass bottles. I find that even plastic bottles when fully filled will protect the chemistry quite nicely. Avoid accordion style bottles; they're worse than ordinary plastic photo bottles. Their plastic is apparently very low grade.