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Thread: C-41 reuse

  1. #1
    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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    C-41 reuse

    almost embarrassed to ask but I just processed my first roll of color with Unicolor kit and can't find out if you're supposed to toss it out as one-shot or return it to the container and draw off what is needed for the next roll(s)?

    I read where people are getting 12 or more rolls from a liter but at 8oz per roll that can't be done. So I assume you return it to the original container and reuse it?

  2. #2
    Wade D's Avatar
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    I was just looking in to getting one of those kits from Freestyle. Their ad says when reused you can get 8 36 exp rolls from a 1 liter kit. I was just going to start a thread about it when I saw this thread. Are you happy with the way the negatives turned out? The process looks pretty easy, was it?
    Thanks,
    Wade

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    hrst's Avatar
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    You can reuse. There should be instructions for addition of time for developer, but it isn't very much (as C-41 is quite sensitive to developer time changes), a few seconds per roll per liter.

    One-shot is recommended for extreme repeatability but there's nothing wrong in reusing with time increase, it is an approved way to process. The deviations from the standards are low, probably lower than with most minilabs. Very well maintained prolabs are different and if you want to get the same level of quality, you should do one-shot and carefully control time, temperature, agitation, solution injection and drain times etc. In that case, the Unicolor blix kit is not recommended anyway, so just reuse, save money and be happy...

    It is up to you whether you want to take the smallest possible volume (240 ml?) at a time and reuse it fewer times with greater time increases per roll, or mix the used developer in larger amount of "working solution"

    I tend to use 500 ml as a working solution and reuse it up to four to five times, or even more if I don't need guaranteed results. The reason I use more than ~250 ml is that I want to have enough working solution for the cases when I want to develop more than one roll at a time.

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    Ottrdaemmerung's Avatar
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    I've used Unicolor kits. Yes, you pour the developer back into your container and re-use. About hrst's comment above: the Unicolor kits don't specify extending the dev time after each successive roll (or ever), but you'll still get good results. I've gotten around 14 rolls from a 1 L kit, but make sure you stash a few rolls to be developed so that you can do them mostly all at one time: once mixed, the chemicals only last about six weeks and I wouldn't even trust them for a month.
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    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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    Thanks all.

    Wade.
    The only problem I've found after two rolls is with the appearance of residue after the film has dried. The probable cause offered by Unicolor is Improperly washed 5247 films and their solution is to remove ALL carbon jet backing during final rinse. I have no idea what 5247 films are (I'm using Kodak Gold 200 as a learning film) but I suspect my 3 minute wash in running water before stabilizing is not enough. Next roll I will double the rinse time.

    Other than that, I would use the Unicolor kit again but I would like to try the Tetenal C-41 kit next. The process is a breeze.

    My next step will be, as Ottrdaemmerung suggest, to collect a few rolls and process as one batch.

    Thanks again for your responses, it has been a great help.

  6. #6
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Bruce:

    5247 is/was one of the films intended for cinematographic applications. It has/had a "remjet" backing that needed to be scrubbed off the film as part of the process.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

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  7. #7
    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    Bruce:

    5247 is/was one of the films intended for cinematographic applications. It has/had a "remjet" backing that needed to be scrubbed off the film as part of the process.
    So, I guess 5247 is not the problem here. Do you think additional wash time will solve my spotting or is it something else again?

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    hpulley's Avatar
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    I mixed a batch of JOBO/Tetenal/Unicolor 1L dev, blix and stabilizer in January. I developed 24 rolls from then until last week (four months total, kept in cold storage when not in use) when the developer finally became exhausted (luckily I clip tested so as not to ruin film). I mixed up a new batch and am already 4 rolls of Ektar 120 into it, works great but you MUST re-use it to get more than about 4 rolls developed in 1L.

    What kind of spotting are you getting, can you post a sample? Could your water be too hot? I used hot water, around 50C on one roll early on and it had red spots from the emulsion being overcooked. Keep it to at most 40C as per the instructions and it should be OK. Or are you getting milky white spots from the stabilizer/drying aid?
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  9. #9
    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hpulley View Post
    Or are you getting milky white spots from the stabilizer/drying aid?
    Exactly, you've nailed it! Now what causes it? You suggest Stabilizer/drying aid. I haven't used a drying aid so I'm left with Stabilizer. Have I perhaps not washed long/aggressively enough in running water prior to Stabilizer. The instructions indicate 3 minutes at 95-105F which I did. I didn't do any rinse/wash after Stab. Just hang and dry.

    Additionally, the spotting does not appear on the emulsion side but on the film base side.
    Last edited by Bruce Osgood; 04-25-2011 at 04:57 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Additional info

  10. #10
    hpulley's Avatar
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    You don't wash after stabilizer, you need to leave it generally. The stabilizer already includes a drying aid. I assume you mixed it as per the instructions, very simple: just dissolve the stab packet into 1L of water.

    How dry is it where your film is drying? How are you hanging the film? I find if it dries too quickly, before the water drops have a chance to drip off it can be problematic. Used before the spots dry completely I find cotton darkroom gloves and my breath on the base side only can be used to wipe the spots off but once they dry completely you may need to re-stabilize to get rid of them.

    At what temp are you using the stabilizer? It should be room temperature.
    Harry Pulley - Visit the BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE FORUM

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