Help on developing a workable C-41 home process
Last year, I tried to wrap my head around what C-41 products to buy in order to get started with home color negative processing. I did a bunch of research, read through the forums, and I put together an analysis of what was available to purchase and the pros/cons. I decided that using Kodak chems were the way to go, and then I tried to buy some. After a few more days of reading and trying to figure things out, I threw up my hands and gave up on color for a while. I am now interested in trying again to get a home c-41 process going.
After that preamble, here is what i want to know:
1) Can anybody provide a shopping list of products that can be shipped within the US? I would like to hear from people who have done so in the last 6-12 months and started from scratch. Many of the posts to APUG and elsewhere talk of buying one or two pieces, but not a whole kit.
2) What is the practical difference between the various Flexicolor lines (SM, LORR, etc) in the context of home use?
3) The Kodak publications here and here (pg 7) are in conflict in regard to which products to use. Can anybody shed light on this?
4) I am using a Jobo, and it is my understanding that I will be using these chems one-shot. I keep seeing that the bleach and fix can be used multiple times, but I can't really get a sense of the practical capacity of those two. Kodak has conservative numbers in z-131, and some people state that the bleach and fix can be stretched out quite a bit more. Can anyone shed light on that?
5) I am very fond of Kodak's publications in almost every other area I have looked into, but the Flexicolor pubs (Z-131) are confusing and (for my purposes) very limited. Are there more than those 6 docs, and if so, where are they?
Many of the people who post here have gained their knowledge by working in labs, by going to school to learn darkroom techniques, and by having many years of experience with film and development. Many answers to questions on the forums are formed as either admonitions to beginners to do a little research before asking a question, or as advice from a very experienced pro to a less experienced pro. I fit neither of those categories. I read as much as I can before I post, but I have no practical experience with color development beyond a few rolls I ran through a press kit last year. There is a ton of information on this forum and others, but from a beginner's perspective, it is very confusing to take that information and turn it into a workable process without spending a great deal of money to make mistakes that could be avoided with certain information.
Thanks in advance for any help.
Not sure how much help this is, considering your considerable research, but I have been getting great results with the Rollei-Digibase kit from Freestyle photographic ( http://www.freestylephoto.biz/66016-...ll?cat_id=1001 ) and I don't do one-shot...I develop a bout 18 rolls of medium format per 1 liter batch ( you can make a little more than 2 of those with the kit I linked to.
In short, beautiful results for very little money.
Years ago the Dignan Newsletter published the Kodak formulas for the C-41 process. The formulas do not contain any chemical that is not readily available. I processed many rolls of film using them. The formulas may be in the APUG archive.
Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 07-23-2011 at 03:26 PM. Click to view previous post history.
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Get the JOBO Press Kit. Shippable anywhere and it comes in one box.
I buy Kodak SM C-41 chemicals from Photo Finishers Supplies, Inc. I get a case each of Developer #KOC1756337, Bleach #KOC8824690, Fixer #KOC8462681, and Final Rinse #KOC1925254. No starter is needed and instruction for use can be found from Kodak on tech sheet CIS-211. I paid $250 for a case of each including shipping. This has processed hundreds of rolls and sheets in a Jobo processor. It is easy to get and easy to use. It has saved me hundreds of dollars versus having a lab process this film.
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Here is an alternate location (from Kodak's website) for the Kodak tech sheet:
“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!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
It took me longer to write the original post than it did to order the chems. After quite a bit of confusion, I am feeling a bit sheepish regarding how easy of a thing it ended up being. Thanks so much for your reply.
The suggested Kodak chemicals are perfectly fine.
Just in case someone is not able to obtain these specific chemicals, some general suggestions:
*) Avoid all-in-one-kits; for a home user it can be reasonable to single-use the developer, but single-use of bleach and fix would be plain stupid (both un-economical and un-ecological). So you either waste stuff or you end up with unused components.
*) Avoid Bleach-Fixes for C41. They are unreliable, overly expensive, and also un-ecological.
*) The only thing you REALLY need is a usable C41 developer. Unmixed and protected from air (and light) it is quite stable (in fact, only the developing agent itself is prone to degradation), so there is no problem buying larger quantities. Exen mixed developer (stored properly) is quite stable; one could try to mix it as 2x concentrate for improved keeping.
*) Other components can come from alternative sources: Ferricyanide bleach can be made up at home following simple protocols from the internet. And any near-neutral pH BW fixer (not too acidic) can be used for fixing.
And, BTW: There are many variables in home C41 processing; you will have to optimize the process for your own needs (add or cut a few seconds), and it is a good idea to have a film developed by a good lab as a reference.
I'm glad I could help. It actually took me a long time to do the research of what to buy and then to find a place that would sell and ship it all at reasonable prices. I'm happy to pass along that information to others doing this kind of work. I know I just bought their last case of Fixer a couple weeks ago, so hopefully they got more in to fill your order quickly. You can call them and they will physically check on their stock if needed. They have been very helpful to me.
Originally Posted by thelawoffives
I second Julian's comments re Rollei Digibase. Just ran my 1st roll and am just so happy!
Originally Posted by Julian Russell