Which C41 kit for a first timer, and other noob questions
I'm comfortable with developing B&W at home, and would like to try C41. As a C41 noob, I'd appreciate some advice. If it helps, my colour processing will probably be sporadic - there could be a week between films, or maybe a month or two.
AG seem to be the convenient source for me in the UK, and they offer the Tetenal and Rollei C41 kits. So far as I can see, the main difference is that the Tetenal has a combined bleach/fix, while the Rollei has separate baths. Which is the better approach?
Does one kit give better results than the other? What about consistency of results over time, and the practical number of rolls one can expect for comparable volumes of solution (1L, say)?
Assuming a good rinse after each use, can I use my Paterson tanks and spirals for C41 and B&W without risk of cross-contamination?
Do I need extra storage bottles? It's hard to tell from the photos, but it seems that the developer comes in several parts in small bottles, so I assume that needs a bottle for working solution. The other liquids are in larger bottles - are they already at working strength, or will I need bottles for those as well? Do the bottles need to be dark, or are the 1L translucent plastic ones at AG okay? They will be stored in a cupboard which is only opened when processing film.
Is the temperature/time rigid, or is there scope to adjust one to suit the other?
Is it best to make up a full litre of working solution, or can smaller volumes be used (presumably with an adjustment to the number of rolls that can be processed)?
Is it neccessary to add time as solutions are reused roll by roll?
Can the stuff be used one-shot?
Are the cans of gas that prevent oxidisation considered a neccessaity?
Thanks in advance for any guidance!
"Is it neccessary to add time as solutions are reused roll by roll?" Yes as that's how tetenal kit works, as there's no replenisher (the 'starter' is mixed in already).
"Can the stuff be used one-shot?" Yes, but that increases cost per roll significantly.
"Are the cans of gas that prevent oxidisation considered a neccessaity?" No, when I had a Tetenal kit I only mixed the concentrates up as I used them, the raw concentrates lasted me over a year this way just fine until I used them. Same with Kodak Flexicolor. For replenished stuff, I just keep the bottle full - I use glass bottles.
"Is the temperature/time rigid, or is there scope to adjust one to suit the other?" Tetenal has a lower temperature process specified that is longer in case the 38 celsius development (3m 15s) is uneven due to the short processing time vs your ability to agitate it suitably.
I make up smaller volumes, actually I use 1.5L working solutions now, but when I started I was mixing up 500mL at a time from a 5L Tetenal kit.
"Assuming a good rinse after each use, can I use my Paterson tanks and spirals for C41 and B&W without risk of cross-contamination? " No problem.
"AG seem to be the convenient source for me in the UK, and they offer the Tetenal and Rollei C41 kits. So far as I can see, the main difference is that the Tetenal has a combined bleach/fix, while the Rollei has separate baths. Which is the better approach?" Blix is more convenient for the beginner, separate bleach and fix is better and will last longer iirc.
"If it helps, my colour processing will probably be sporadic - there could be a week between films, or maybe a month or two."
Mix it up as you need it, the concentrates won't go off waiting.
There is a now 30 page thread on Rollei Digibase. Worth having a look. Make notes from those posts which contain processing info and keep them. The Digibase kit has a good reputation on APUG as you will see and it looks to be the most economical kit as well.
It has the added advantage of a separate bleach and fix. Opinions vary on whether blix is as good but why take a chance when blix kits seem to be more expensive.
If Digibase didn't give good reliable results Matt at Ag wouldn't sell it.
if the OP does mind. I'm also a noob to c41.
I was wonder about film times I have Fuji, Kodak & Spectra. I was wonder do the times change for each of these they're all around the ISO200.
Is there a chart somewhere to find out?
The C41 process uses a common developer time for all brands and speeds.
Originally Posted by trishwalsh
This is one of the coolest things about C41, you can toss any and/or all your C41 films into a single tank and develop them together.
Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
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With the Tetenal blix kit you need 3 bottles, one for developer, blix and stabilizer, all the same size (1L for the 1L kit obviously 2L for the 2L kit). You should mix it all up at once and simply pour the solutions back in the bottles (careful not to mix them up as blix in developer ruins it) afterward. I find the 1L kit will process 24 rolls at least over a few months of having them mixed up, no need for nitrogen, even at room temperature.
Using it one shot would be quite expensive as you'd just get at most 4 rolls done per litre! Non-replenished it lasts a long time and for many rolls.
The Tetenal 1L kit does not mention adding time. I add a little bit of time as the kit gets older, especially for blixing as it goes to completion but don't add much or you can accidentally 'push' the film and blow out highlights if you didn't actually underexpose the film.
I find plastic Paterson tanks hold the temperature well along with keeping them in a little water bath (otherwise they lose a bit of temperature over time). 39C for 3:30 development is good and I use a 1:00 pre-soak as recommended to get the tank up to temperature, also at 39C.
Thanks for the responses, folks. I've read throuigh most of the Digibase thread, and I think I'm leaning towards that rather than the Tetenal one. Main reasons are that Digibase seems to be happier with not increasing dev time as the working solution is used, and looks to work out cheaper per roll. My only concern at the moment is the occasional issue of bottles leaking in the post.
Today I just got a Rollei Digibase kit (from Freestyle Photo in the US) no leaks or anything. My first kit I got didnt leak either. So out of two kits ordered, no leaks. While my 2 orders account for nothing in the grand scheme, my experience has been good re not leaking.
The most important technical reason I use Digibase is that the bleach and fix are separate. I do a lot of experimentation and having a bleach an fix seperate allows better control than a blix.