Quote Originally Posted by Truzi View Post
Coincidentally, I'd been shooting some black and white the past few years for exactly the reasons you mention.
Since 2010, due to a bad experience with a large pro-chain in my area, I've slowly been working towards printing and processing both B&W and C-41 (and maybe some ECN-2 in the future). It's taken longer than I intended, but I am almost there, and will be doing C-41 this year. Also, the wonderful information here on APUG has shown me that color is not that difficult to hand-process.

I do have some equipment, and over the past few years I've processed some B&W in the bathroom; 35mm, 120, and 4x5 negs from a lousy pinhole I made from a cigar box. I've yet to develop the Harmon direct-positive paper I exposed in the pinhole box.
I have some fresh B&W paper and chemicals (and expired liquid paper developer - it was cheap, so if it's useless it's no great loss). I just received a Rollei Digibase kit, which is waiting for me to expose enough color film to not waste it. I still have to work out a tempered bath - I'm an aquarium heater away from processing color. I know I will mess up as I learn, but as I say; In chess, you don't learn by winning. I don't want to ruin good film, but will need a baseline. Thus, I will include a roll of fresh C-41 with a few expired rolls each time I run a tank.
Well, that is very good to hear. What I did when starting out with C41 was to expose three absolutely identical (tripod, fixed scene including white paper, all primary colours and some human skin, fully manual flash exposure, etc) test rolls with bracketing from -1 to +4 stops on some Portra. I sent one to a pro lab that I trusted, developed one myself immediately and developed the third roll about 4 months later to check how well the chemistry was keeping. They all came out identically and they all print the same on RA4. If you do a similar test, that ought to tell you a lot about how well controlled your process is.

PS: RA4 printing is no harder than B&W printing (though the colour-correcting skills are a bit different) if you have the gear on-hand. Much cheaper, too.