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andym91

C 41 home developing

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Hi all

 

I've been developing B&W film at home for over 20 years and am very comfortable with the whole process with different films and chemicals.

I've decided to jump into color developing at home as well as it seems fairly simple with the C41 process.

So have a few films exposed (2 Portra 160 on Rolleiflex and 1 Portra 160  on a Leica ) and will develop them in the next day or two.

 

Question....Any big DO's and DONT'S  before starting out?

 

I get the temperature sensitivity and am not too concerned there, but for those of you who do this regularly, any tips?

 

thanks in advance

 

 

Andy

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There isn't much to it really. Keep dev temperature as close to 39ºC as possible, dev as many rolls as you can at a time to maximise the capacity of your chemicals, and keep the chemicals (especially the developer) as much oxygen free as you can if you want them to last more than 3-4 weeks. Ideally get some heavy gas spray, like Tetenal Protectan, which can extend the shelf life considerably (5-6 months). Also don't mix more than you need (say half a liter) from concentrates if you don't plan on developing much.

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Wine preserver spray cans are another option for keeping chemicals fresh. Follow the C-41 instructions meticulously when you start.

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Go for it, I was in the same situation, with 50+ years of B&W development under my belt, but never bothered with C-41. I am about to discard the chemicals, they are close to 8-10 months old, and about 6 or 7 rolls developed. It's a piece of the proverbial (P#$s), like others have said. Temp is something to consider but I am usually close to the temp and guarantee it has "changed" while processing, with no real detriment to the results. I try to start about a degree over, and allow it to cool during the development. It's quite a robust system, don't sweat it.

In my case I am "a roll every now and then" sort of colour shooter, and home development isn't suited to this. If you have 6 -8 rolls all set to go, then it would be better. Part of my reason was sending rolls out to be processed was starting to cost, postage both ways, as well as the processing costs. I have a local company that I can drive to and get them processed, but it's a two or three day turnaround, and I got annoyed with some of the rolls coming back "dirty". I raised it with them a couple of times, but eventually figured if I want dirty negs I am capable of doing this myself, so bit the bullet.

Have fun.

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I've been developing E6 and C41 for years, it's no more difficult that black and white as long as you control the temperatures.

The only issue you may have right now, depending where you are, is finding chemicals, in the US most places are sold out, Freestyle has a 1 gallon kit but that's it.

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Thanks to all for comments.

i am in germany and have the chemicals at home.

will do the first rolls today, quite exciting actually!

keep you posted how it goes

thanks again

andy 

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Posted (edited)

Just follow the instructions, it's as easy as processing B&W. To get the chemicals to the correct temperature I use a water bath of a simple washing up bowl and a suitable fish tank heater, drop the chemical bottles in there half an hour before processing and everything is ready to go.

Edited by 250swb

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I used to use the Tetenal C41 and RA4 chemicals. They work at the same temperatures as B&W chemicals and keep well. I still have some and will use them one day. The C41 is in powder form so will keep for years, but as said you need a few rolls of film ready to make it worth mixing it up. I used to use Jessop's (UK) C41 which was good for just developing one roll at a time. The RA4 seems to keep well right down to the last dregs, I use Tetenal Protectan spray in the bottles.

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