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  1. #1

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    Souping color for the first time this weekend... scared!

    Hello All!
    Ive recently went all film, and just shot my first portrait session using 3 rolls of 120 BW (acros and HP5) and 4 rolls color (C41...400H and the new Portra). I have full plans to develope my own BW (I have an enlarger as well) and I bought a kit from BH to do my own color (eventually). I understand that temp contol is the big issue with doing C41, so I found a Jobo TBE 2 Tempering Box on ebay and I have that now. So, as far as I know I have alll that I need to do color in house (I have a C41 kit)...

    I have concerns though about doing it. These shots are pretty awesome, and Im stoked to see them but I dont want to screw it up... and at the same Id rather NOT send it out (even if cost is about the same).. I like the idea of having the control of the WHOLE process..

    SO , heres my question. Can any one please tell me what things I should be extra cautious about that I dont ruin this? What steps are crucial? Ive seen some youtubes and I understand how to do it, but Im scared... haha

    Any advice please?

  2. #2
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    Be critical of the temperature of the developer and the time. Process times for color include a 10 second drain time, so developer should be processed for 3:05 + 10 seconds of draining totaling 3:15 developing time.
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  3. #3
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    c-41 the only real biggie is time/temp/regular agitation for the 3:15 or whatever your kit says to use for the colour developer.

    Check your thermometer against others, and work on establishing one as a reference, and not regularly using it.

    Don't be stingy with the rinse water where it is called for, and keep it's temp within 2-3C of the process temp.

    I do a separate bleach and fix, and tend to rinse between them, just to make the fix last longer. If you have a blix, well that is not an issue.

    Bleaching in c-41 is to completion, so just don't forget to agitate per the kit's instructions here. Same thing in the fixer.

    If really afraid, grab a chep drug store 35mm film and shoot the neighbourhood in a hurry, and use that as your first test roll.
    my real name, imagine that.

  4. #4

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    Before I processed my first batch of color (was E6 first, C41 came later), I did a test run with an empty developing tank and my storage bottles filled with water. This allowed me to get a feel for keeping the chemicals at working temp (using a teakettle and an cooler...fancy) and the choreography of my pours, agitation, etc. When it came time do a batch for real, I had already discovered and corrected a few pitfalls in my procedure and was much less terrified of screwing things up. Best of luck!

  5. #5

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    So if Im very militant about temp and timing, I should be fine?

    I

  6. #6
    Ottrdaemmerung's Avatar
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    Yes indeed. Color can be scary for newbies, but it really isn't any harder than B&W. Line up your chemicals so you're always ready for the next step and not wasting time. And if you're using a blix kit freshly mixed, be advised that blix is smelly, nasty stuff. Use gloves, and burp the tank frequently after you pour it in: the gas can cause the tank to leak while agitating, or even pop the lid off. It'll calm down after a few uses.
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  7. #7

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    If kits are around $20, why do people say that processing 120 in C41 is not worth it? The cheapest Ive found per roll of 120 sent out is around $7 or 8... so as long as I can do 4 rolls of 120, Ive certainly at LEAST broke even..
    Dont the 1 liter kits work for 5 or 6 rolls at least?

  8. #8
    Ottrdaemmerung's Avatar
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    Actually you should be able to double that: 12-14 rolls before exhaustion, as the package says. The developer tends to die about 6 weeks after mixing if you don't exhaust it first, though, so it might be best to hoard up your exposed color film.
    (Some folks have made the developer last longer through careful storage, but I've never had that much luck.)
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  9. #9
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    Working with a tank that allows the developer to fully fill the tank works to extend the developer life. If not, I tend to spin agitate _paterson tank) ratehr than invert agitate to minimize the amount of air I drive into the liquid.

    I also pre-boil and cool the water (usually reverse osmosis, sometimes distilled) used to mix developers, so as to drive off dissolved gasses ( oxygen specifically ) so that they don't work on oxidizing (reducing) some of the developing agent before I let them get to work on the film, where i want them to reduce the exposed halides to elemental silver.
    my real name, imagine that.

  10. #10
    Ottrdaemmerung's Avatar
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    Great tips, Mike, thanks! I'll try those next batch.
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    "Embrace the negative with absolution, your final positive reward." --IQ, "The Province," Frequency

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