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  1. #1

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    C-41 Newbie: Storing Tetenal Press Kit Mixed Chems?

    I apologize in advance if some of this stuff has been posted previously.

    My school (OCAD) doesn't seem to have a place to develop C-41 on our own, just B/W film. So being the curious child I am, I wanted to find out how to do it myself. I read through many threads here and was inspired to DIY my own colour film. I already know the process. I have the paterson tank and reels.

    Probably will order the Tetenal 1L Press kit for now and see how that works out.

    My only concern is chemistry life. I'm only comfortable doing 1 roll of B/W at a time right now, so the same goes for colour. I know C-41 chemistry goes bad fast, though I've seen people extend chemistry life with tolerable results. I'm willing to tolerate colour shifting and all that. This is just me being experimental :P

    Should I mix ALL the chemistry or just a little? The tetenal instructions tell you how to mix the whole 1L but I don't think i want to do that. How would I mix lesser quantities? Just use less powder/water?

    I'd say I'll be doing 3-4 rolls a month to start things off. Then maybe after a dozen rolls, mix a fresh batch.

    So what's the best and cheapest way to store the chems so that they are airtight? It's not absolutely critical for me to get the perfect results like you would from the lab using flexicolour, so I don't care if the chemistry slowly expires. I just don't want my chemistry to drop dead fast. I'd say I plan on using this for 6-8 months.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    I'd check how many films 1L will do. It is likely to be only a few. As powder it will last a long time, maybe indefinitely, but unfortunately you cannot divide the powder to do say 1 film at a time. So once you make up the 1L of liquid then divide it into bottles which hold enough liquid for one film only and try and fill the bottles completely so there is little or no air present.If you can't fill the bottles then use Protectan gas to prevent air getting to the liquid

    6-8 months may be longer than the developer will survive but as long as the quality isn't important then it will be interesting to see how it goes. Please share your experience with us

    You might be better with the Digibase C41 minikits if there are available where you are. It would seem that they last for quite a long time.

    Manufacturer's shelf-life times tend to be very conservative but once your developer passes its shelf-life time then it might be worth "wasting" developer by doing a clip test( cut a few frames from the film ) to check its strength before devloping the rest of the roll.

    Frankly from a film processing economics aspect and given your film usage it might be cheaper and better to use a reliable mini-lab.

    pentaxuser

  3. #3

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    Thank you for the reply

    I agree that a minilab would be better economic wise. Thing is good reliable C-41 in the GTA is dying. When I'm downtown at school I know of only 2 good places nearby I could walk to (Eight Elm and Downtown Camera). I think Blacks and Henrys do it too, but I'm skeptical as they're shifting to digital. I hear they send their stuff out so it takes longer. Still, if I was shooting seriously for an assignment or fineart, I'd obviously get my negs done at Eight Elm. I want someone that still takes analog photography seriously.

    However, at home in Mississauga (I'm closer to Oakville actually), I don't know anywhere (except the local shoppers drug) that will do develop only, and do it well. I don't know if im crazy, but sending my film to drug stores sounds a little sketchy! In any case the home c-41 thing is mostly for kicks right now. I'd like to see how convenient it is to do it right without leaving home. I'm trying to get in the habit of shooting way more film than I do to make it worthwhile. I already do alot of RA-4 printing at OCAD, but I think I'll just scan my negs digitally at home.

    I checked out the digibase kits, but I'm not sure if they can be bought in Canada. Finding C-41 of any kind in Canada is pretty much a nono at this point, so the choices I have are probably only powder kits (Unicolour from Freestyle, and Tetenal from B&H). *sigh* I wish Kodak packaged 1L flexicolour kits. With the whole customs thing though, I'd probably incur some serious hazmat issues if they were to be shipped in liquid form.

    ANYWAYS here are more questions.

    Is it bad to use more developer than is needed for 1 roll of film?
    How much exactly do I need?
    Will any bottle do for safe chemical storage, and can they be stored in room temp? Or should I freeze them?

  4. #4

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    No it isn't bad it just wastes the developer.
    Depends on film and tank size and whether you intend to use inversion development or rotary. A Jobo tank in a Jobo rotary processor needs only 140mls for a 35mm film but 240mls for inversion.

    I'd use a brown bottle with a screw top. Room temp will be fine. Don't freeze

    Incidentally if you intend to do inversion development then experiment first with a water bath set at at least one degree C more than the C41 developer and ensure that after each inversion cycle you place the tank back in the water to maintain the C41 dev temp. Do it all with water to check that temp is maintained. C41 dev temp is critical. Once you have got the temp right and can maintain it for the dev cycle then use the C41 dev.

    Best of luck

    pentaxuser

  5. #5
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    Mississauga closer to Oakville eh? Sounds close to me; I'm in the Sheridan Homelands neighbourhood near Erin Mills and Duindas.

    Pleased to hear you are on the OCAD track. I wish I had the will to pursue arts when I was younger, but my present engineering career certainly is steady and pays the bills.

    I home process C-41. I find that it works best when I mix 1L, and have 4 35mm films to process in it at once (steel tank and reels).

    I could mix it to lesser quantities but I mix from powders (from raw constituent ingredients), and the margin of error grows as I try to measure lesser amounts.

    I have reused developer, but try to not let it go longer than a couple of weeks after I have first used it if I want mostly reliable results. I have tested black mungy looking developer that is used and over two months old, and it still will deevlop a film, to good density, but I have not taken the time to calibrate what the colour shifts and other downfalls this may present.

    Paterson tanks are great, but they do risk aerating the chemistry more than a Nikkor type tank. If you do C-41 in a Paterson and plan on re-using the chemistry, use the spinner stick, rather than putting the lid on and inverting it. Spinning can also be carried out while the tank sits in a tempering water bath.

    C-41 developer can be kept in full glass bottles, and yes, the fridge does slow down oxidation. I would not recommend freezing; you risk some ingredients precipitating out. Glass bottles filled quite full is best for developer; plastic containers and not totlally full works fine for stop, bleach and fix.

    Get in touch by sending a PM or another post. I can get you started in C-41. I have heaps of gear and chems around the basement.

    The bleach I mix gets reused to about 25 rolls per litre to exhaustion (gets too slow), and the fixer goes out to about 16 rolls or more before it gets close to silver saturation.
    I one shot with 10mL of glacial acetic acid per litre for stop bath usually , but could set you up with an indicator stop bath that could be reused to make your life simpler.
    my real name, imagine that.

  6. #6

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    Oooh. Clarkson Village, down by the lake!

    And it's never too late to pursue the arts, and its easier with stable income because the supplies can get expensive!

    Anyways, thank you for your help and advice so far! Yes I was intending to use the Paterson tank, standard agitation process, similar to how I would do with B/W. From my experience, my only quall with the Patersons is that during inversions (B/W) I notice some of the chemistry drips out of the tank. Is this normal? At OCAD though the developer was tossed after single use so it wasnt too bad, but I figure with C-41 this minor loss of chems each time can be problematic. How would I keep the air out of the bottles if this occurs? I heard people added water but that would weaken the developer would it not?

    But this spinning stick, I have no clue what you mean! I take it you don't have to invert if you use one? If so, I would prefer this method so i can keep the tank in the tempered bath during the process just to be more consistent with the temps. And to prevent loss of chemistry.

  7. #7
    kb3lms's Avatar
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    Although it works OK, I am moving away from the Tetenal powder chemistry because I don't really care for the blix. What I have done successfully is to mix the liter of devloper and freeze half of it. I've had no problems with freezing. But agreed that you can't freeze just anything. I've used four of these kits and froze the developer with three of them. And, I do keep the other chems in the fridge when not using them. I can stretch about 6 months out of them.

    You can put about 5, 36 exposure 35mm rolls through the developer. When it goes bad / exhausted I have found that it goes all at once so I would recommend not pushing your luck on capacity.

    Mike, what are you mixing up for a bleach? I'm thinking of mixing up a Potassium Ferricyanide bleach.

    -- Jason

  8. #8
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    Well for mix DIY bleach I have in the past used with good results a C-22 bleach. It is fast, but the big guns moved away from it because of its heavier environmental hit.

    I mixed it as 80-90g of K Ferricyanide and 20g of K Bromide per litre. It does films in 2:30 when fresh.

    I would actually mix 2L at a time, and add 45mL fresh solution per roll to the working solution as a replenisher so I could keep the time constant. I would consider the working solution as saturated/exhausted after adding a full litre of replenisher, so about 23 rolls per 2L. It could be used longer with longer times.

    It is possible to watch by pulling the lid of the tank and lifting the reels after the film has been in the bleach in incandescant a few minutes, provided you use a stop and a rinse after the developer. Do rinse before using this bleach, because there are no pH buffers with just kFerri kBr.

    When doing bleach time visually I would bleach for a minute after I could no longer see an image, and treated it like fixer; when it takes twice as long to bleach then when new, consider it time to start a new batch.
    my real name, imagine that.

  9. #9

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    Yeah, I hear a seperate bleach-fix process is better. The Rollei kit looks alot more appealing, but I doubt they'd ever ship chemistry in liquid form across the border

    So if I use the spinning stick method (i figured it out, how could I be so stupid), I know the blix farts out some CO2. Do you need to wear a mask/gloves for C-41?

    So say the instructions dictate you agitate 4 times every 30 seconds (just throwing an example out there), how would that translate in rotations?

  10. #10
    kb3lms's Avatar
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    Thanks! That's what I was planning on and you have confirmed that it should work.

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