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  1. #1

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    Getting back into film. No one develops anymore! What to do?

    I just bought a 35mm SLR and a Canon 50mm f2.5 Macro lens and a bunch of professional low ISO films (Velvia 50, Ecktar 100, Ecktachrome, Portra, and a few others) and it's time to get back into film.

    Calling around it seems like it's difficult to get developing done these days (we live rurally). I don't want prints but I'd like negatives for scanning.

    So far here are my options:
    1. Walgreens (Fuji Frontier I believe-Not sure if they develop slide film) about $8
    2. Walmart (Send out) about $7
    3. Send it to Dwaynes or North Coast Photo $4-7 plus shipping
    4. Do it myself (unsure of the cost)

    I put 4 as the last option and maybe it should be but part of me says do it yourself.

    Having it developed is the easy way out. But should I expect good results? Any comments on the listed developers?

    If I go with option 4 (develop it here), I don't know much about the chemicals. I have no doubt I can do it (done B&W) and I mix dyes and colorants for my instrument finishing regularly. I can work a gram scale

    But what is the most cost effective way. I don't want to setup a permanent dark room. I have a small house so I'd need something I could take into a bathroom and setup/teardown quickly.

    I've seen home made chemical setups such as this:
    home-made-c-41-chemicals (Google it)

    And I've seen kits at stores.

    I don't really want to pay the kit costs. I'd like to have a system that will keep for months at a time and I would like to not be tossing expired product.

    Is there a good cost effective system for the home developer (say 3 rolls per month)?

  2. #2

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    hi 777funk
    walmart sends out to dwaynes ... so you will
    save yourself the shipping if you send out through them.
    i was going to start to home process my c41 + e6
    but i don't want to deal with the chemistry .. not the mixing
    or using, but dealing with the afterlife of it ... having to deal with the disposal.

    good luck !
    john
    im empty, good luck

  3. #3

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    If all you want is negatives, you don't need a darkroom. You can use a changing bag to open the film canisters and load them into the developing tank. Since most modern tanks are light-tight, you're all set to start developing. As far as chemicals I use D76 for black and white but it doesn't have a long shelf life(measured in months), if that's important then I would use something else like HC-110 it has a long shelf life(years if kept in full bottles). The cost of developing B/W film is pretty cheap, I get my supplies from Freestyle Photography and I'm thinking it puts me back about $25 if I'm out of everything and need to restock. I've never done my own E-6 or C-41 and I don't have any experience with other B/W developers. Hope this helps.

  4. #4
    keithwms's Avatar
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    I would suggest starting with b&w and just see how you fare with doing that yourself. Then once you feel comfortable with that, try c41. It's just like b&w but with some extra temp controls. You can also do E6 yourself but it is definitely not as sh*t-simple as b&w. It takes careful timing and temp control, so I wouldn't begin with it if you are brand new to DIY film developing.

    In principle, all of the kits can be aliquoted so that you can do small batches; you'd just need a good scale and measuring beakers to do that.

    Let me suggest starting with a b&w staining developer kit like liquid wd2d+, which comes in two bottles, has exceptional shelf life, and can be mixed in very small batches without needing to dissolve any powder.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  5. #5
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    i was going to start to home process my c41 + e6
    but i don't want to deal with the chemistry .. not the mixing
    or using, but dealing with the afterlife of it ... having to deal with the disposal.
    My problem is with the shelf-life and expense of color chems. As I recall color chems need to be used within a week or two - and I just cannot commit to a schedule. So my color goes to the labs. I have some friends in LA so I tend to send to them.

    I have no problem mixing chems in April and using them in October. So B&W fits my lifestyle. I wouldn't dream of having a lab process it for me.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    hi 777funk
    walmart sends out to dwaynes ... so you will
    save yourself the shipping if you send out through them.
    i was going to start to home process my c41 + e6
    but i don't want to deal with the chemistry .. not the mixing
    or using, but dealing with the afterlife of it ... having to deal with the disposal.

    good luck !
    john
    Thanks! So I'd guess the c41 and e6 at Walmart (Dwaynes) is decent quality then?

    Probably not worth messing with color developing myself?

  7. #7

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    It's worth trying your local Walgreen's for C-41, I think. Some do a good job, some don't---it's worth testing them (with an unimportant roll) in case the quick turnaround is useful for you.

    Color developing usually requires careful temperature control---that's the main thing that keeps me from doing it.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    It's worth trying your local Walgreen's for C-41, I think. Some do a good job, some don't---it's worth testing them (with an unimportant roll) in case the quick turnaround is useful for you.

    Color developing usually requires careful temperature control---that's the main thing that keeps me from doing it.

    -NT
    I'd think a Crock Pot with a Rheostat would do a pretty decent job at maintaining 100F for a set period. Actually an easy way to get a rheostat with a plug on it would be a Router Speed control. They're about $15-50 depending on what store. Harbor Freight Tools has them for $15 occasionally. I'd think this plugged into a crock pot with no lid should be easy to hold 100F.

    What keeps me from doing it is the chemistry shelf life. Maybe dry chemicals (powder) would last longer?

  9. #9

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    I bought a Tetenal /Jobo 1 liter C41 press kit, seems to work well , 5 films done in the last 2 days. It is powder and mixes up easily, store it in 500ml recycled water bottles. A plastic basin sitting in the sink makes it easy to maintain 100F, float the chems in it and just add a small shot of hot tap water every couple of minutes. I have a floating thermometer in the basin.
    Bob

  10. #10

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    I found that Costco near where I live does a good job. They charge about $4.19 for C-41 24 expourses.

    Jeff

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