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fatihayoglu

Questions on C41 development at home

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Hi all,

So I’m thinking to start to develop my C41 at home and use Tetenac Colortec kit and some Kodak Gold films to try with 10 or so.

 My questions are;

1) I know C41 is very sensitive on temperature and it is 38C. However Tetenal has also development scheme for 30C. So now I’m thinking 30C only because it is more controllable is I cant adjust 03:15 and subsequent timings for each batch that precisely however adjusting 08:00, 09:00, and so forth for each batch is more doable. What are your feedback on this? Has anybody tried cooler setup?

2) on agitation, Tetenal instructions are for rotary tank however Fuji hunt instructions which are the exact timings are for small tanks. So should I constantly agitate my films or should I do like BW films, 5 sec at each 30sec?

3) On reusing the developer. As C41 developers are re usable and higher ISO films has more deteriorating effect on the developer, let’s say my first batch of 4 films are ISO400 films, how should I change the developer timings for the subsequent batch? Or let’s say my first batch is ISO100, but next batch will be ISO400, what should I do for the 3rd batch?

many thanks,

Fatih 

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Hi!

I would recommend searching for 'C41 at home' on youtube - there are plenty of demonstrations on how to agitate. Regarding temperature control, I heard great things about Cinestill TCS-1000 or you can go with Sous Vide which does pretty much the same: you put the bottles in a tub with the unit, set the temperature and wait for it to do it's thing. I am also building a little setup for developing and definitely getting one of these.

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Posted (edited)
33 minutes ago, Dmitry Belyakov said:

Hi!

I would recommend searching for 'C41 at home' on youtube - there are plenty of demonstrations on how to agitate. Regarding temperature control, I heard great things about Cinestill TCS-1000 or you can go with Sous Vide which does pretty much the same: you put the bottles in a tub with the unit, set the temperature and wait for it to do it's thing. I am also building a little setup for developing and definitely getting one of these.

Alright so I have 2 agitation options on Youtube;

1) Agitate with a stick for the full first minute and then 5 sec at each 30 sec

2) Agitate with a stick for the first 1 sec and then Inversion 4 times at each 30 sec.

Which one? :)

Edited by fatihayoglu

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Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, fatihayoglu said:

Alright so I have 2 agitation options on Youtube;

1) Agitate with a stick for the full first minute and then 5 sec at each 30 sec

2) Inversion 4 times at each 30 sec.

Which one? :)

I'm no expert, so I will let more experienced members correct me if I'm wrong: but my understanding is that agitation/inversion is a matter of preference - they both should work. With inversion however, you do still need to invert right after pouring for about 20-30 seconds, then carry on with 4-5 inversions every 30 seconds (making sure to tap the tank to get rid of possible bubbles before letting it sit)  I am personally planning on going with inversions as to me it seemed like the most preferred way people are recommending.

Edited by Dmitry Belyakov

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52 minutes ago, Dmitry Belyakov said:

I'm no expert, so I will let more experienced members correct me if I'm wrong: but my understanding is that agitation/inversion is a matter of preference - they both should work. With inversion however, you do still need to invert right after pouring for about 20-30 seconds, then carry on with 4-5 inversions every 30 seconds (making sure to tap the tank to get rid of possible bubbles before letting it sit)  I am personally planning on going with inversions as to me it seemed like the most preferred way people are recommending.

Any feedback on temperature on reusing the developer?

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Posted (edited)
55 minutes ago, fatihayoglu said:

Any feedback on temperature on reusing the developer?

I haven't got to reusing the developer just yet. But I believe the temperature should stay the same and you simply increase the development time. 

UPDATE: I just found this link I had bookmarked while doing my research. They talk about Unicolor C41 Kit, but that should give you an idea: How Many Rolls? Adjusting Dev Times For C-41

Edited by Dmitry Belyakov

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2 hours ago, Dmitry Belyakov said:

I haven't got to reusing the developer just yet. But I believe the temperature should stay the same and you simply increase the development time. 

UPDATE: I just found this link I had bookmarked while doing my research. They talk about Unicolor C41 Kit, but that should give you an idea: How Many Rolls? Adjusting Dev Times For C-41

This is good but my question is more around if we have higher speed films ie ISO400 or if we do any push processing. As an example, Fuji Hunt kit starts with 0315 for all films, however if the first batch would be ISO400 film, second batch would have longer development time than if the first batch would be ISO100.

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1. You can do it in lower temps, but it gives the best results at the recommended 39ºC temp. Even deviating a degree or a couple seconds at the recommended temp, will yield a better colour balance than being on the spot at the extended times of a low temp regime.

2. You could do either. Follow the instructions for small tanks. I do 5 seconds (i.e. 2-3 inversions, or spinning the agitator stick) every 30 seconds in small tanks. It works fine. 

3. There's instruction on the kit saying how to adjust time. Depends on the quantity as well. If you're using a 1L kit (i.e. pouring back the used developer into a 1L bottle with "fresh" developer), every subsequent film will need less percentage of increase, compared to using say 500ml. I mix my dev in 500ml batches, for every subsequent film I give +4% more time. If I mix it in 1L batches, for every subsequent film +2%. I count ISO400 films, as 1.5 film each. That is, if I develop 2 ISO400 film, I adjust my times as if I developed 3. You could count them as 2 if you want, to make your life easier and be on the safe side. But check the instructions on your kit to calculate things precisely. 

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2 hours ago, giannis said:

1. You can do it in lower temps, but it gives the best results at the recommended 39ºC temp. Even deviating a degree or a couple seconds at the recommended temp, will yield a better colour balance than being on the spot at the extended times of a low temp regime.

2. You could do either. Follow the instructions for small tanks. I do 5 seconds (i.e. 2-3 inversions, or spinning the agitator stick) every 30 seconds in small tanks. It works fine. 

3. There's instruction on the kit saying how to adjust time. Depends on the quantity as well. If you're using a 1L kit (i.e. pouring back the used developer into a 1L bottle with "fresh" developer), every subsequent film will need less percentage of increase, compared to using say 500ml. I mix my dev in 500ml batches, for every subsequent film I give +4% more time. If I mix it in 1L batches, for every subsequent film +2%. I count ISO400 films, as 1.5 film each. That is, if I develop 2 ISO400 film, I adjust my times as if I developed 3. You could count them as 2 if you want, to make your life easier and be on the safe side. But check the instructions on your kit to calculate things precisely. 

That’s great mate thanks a lot 

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Posted (edited)

I used to do C41 and E6 with Jobo CPE that rotates back and forth constantly. For me it is more consistent than manual agitation. YMMV. I didn't notice any bad effects on grain patterns, certainly not something to worry as the first order effect. I think if you have the machine, it should be the better choice than whatever manual agitations. 

I think C41 and E6 are "standardized" process that do not like creative variations (speaking in the normal sense). This is very different from non-C41 B&W. Don't ask me why. I've tried "grey" magic tricks (saying it black magic would be offensive), such as PMK, highly diluted Rodinal in stand development,  mixed chemistry, etc.. They all offer some interesting special effect, but now I prefer more "standard" process such as Kodak D76 or HC110 in Kodak recommended concentration and time. My point is, it's better to start with "conventional". 

 

   

 

 

Edited by Einst_Stein

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Posted (edited)

I'm at risk of stating the obvious but the Tetenal kit comes with and instruction booklet that answers all the processing questions including how long to extend the times. Stick to what that says and don't be swayed by tweaks to the process or other opinions. 

As regards the temperature I process at 30 degrees and use a fish tank heater in a bowl of water that also holds the mixed bottles of chemicals and also my Paterson tank with the film loaded. When all is up to the same temperature you can start.

Don't bite your nails over the warnings about perfect temperature or technique. Yes, perfection is to follow the instructions to the letter, however you really won't notice with any slight variations and you need to make a massive mistake somewhere not to get something usable on the film. So if you have a power cut and the water cools or the postman rings the bell it won't be a catastrophe (unless you have to go down 44 floors to collect your parcel).

Edited by 250swb

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5 minutes ago, 250swb said:

I'm at risk of stating the obvious but the Tetenal kit comes with and instruction booklet that answers all the processing questions including how long to extend the times. Stick to what that says and don't be swayed by tweaks to the process or other opinions. 

As regards the temperature I process at 30 degrees and use a fish tank heater in a bowl of water that also holds the mixed bottles of chemicals and also my Paterson tank with the film loaded. When all is up to the same temperature you can start.

Don't bite your nails over the warnings about perfect temperature or technique. Yes, perfection is to follow the instructions to the letter, however you really won't notice with any slight variations and you need to make a massive mistake somewhere not to get something usable on the film. So if you have a power cut and the water cools or the postman rings the bell it won't be a catastrophe (unless you have to go down 44 floors to collect your parcel).

Hi Steve,

yes the kit comes with the manual and I have reread it multiple times and also other kits manuals as well. They are pretty much similar in terms of timings reusing etc. My confusion was around the temperature as only Colortec suggest lower developing temperature and if it has a worsening effect on colors. I have decided to do it at 38 as recommended with the help of a heater.
But main issue is about reusing, all the kits assumes the user using constantly same ISO film. However as a beginner, first I’d like to start with ISO200 films and then develop Portra 400s Ektar100s that I have shot and waiting in the fridge. The manuals are not clear in terms of developing various ISO films with the same kit although higher ISO films weaken the solution faster.

Cheers,

Fatih

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Posted (edited)

As far as I can see the lower temperature makes no difference at all to the colour. Like I said, there is enough leeway in the technique so that by the time you have exhausted the kit it makes little or no difference if you have mixed low and high ISO films during processing, it is only if you have predominately processed high ISO films (or push processed) that you would throw the chemicals away sooner. I think you'll get to the theoretical time to throw the chemicals away whatever the ISO is and be thinking 'these must be good enough for a few more films yet'. And they will be, but that is where the cliff edge is, it's an unknown area beyond the safe 'use by' limit in the instructions. Either way the chemicals don't suddenly fail so perhaps until you get the hang of them photograph a test chart on each film to compare the first and then last to see if any difference in colour is creeping in.

Edited by 250swb

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2 hours ago, 250swb said:

As far as I can see the lower temperature makes no difference at all to the colour. Like I said, there is enough leeway in the technique so that by the time you have exhausted the kit it makes little or no difference if you have mixed low and high ISO films during processing, it is only if you have predominately processed high ISO films (or push processed) that you would throw the chemicals away sooner. I think you'll get to the theoretical time to throw the chemicals away whatever the ISO is and be thinking 'these must be good enough for a few more films yet'. And they will be, but that is where the cliff edge is, it's an unknown area beyond the safe 'use by' limit in the instructions. Either way the chemicals don't suddenly fail so perhaps until you get the hang of them photograph a test chart on each film to compare the first and then last to see if any difference in colour is creeping in.

Thanks Steve, so for the first few tries, I will stick to given use by charts, which is 12 rolls for ISO400 and above or 16 rolls for ISO200 and below, both at 38. At least this way if I do a mistake I can narrow it down faster and also have an understanding what an optimal result should look like should the development go smoothly. 

In the future, probably I can process first Portra and Ektars and towards the end continue with Gold etc.

On another question, all the instructions are given for either 1lt solution or 500ml. However my tank (if you'd recall) requires 600ml solution. Do you think I can pour 600ml back to the bottle once I develop first 2 rolls, where 400ml fish solution is, mix them and then develop another couple of rolls with the same duration for the first couple rolls? If that is not clear, what I mean is (fresh unused 1lt solution); develop 2 rolls with 600ml at 03:15, pour the developer back to the bottle where 400ml fresh developer is and develop another 2 rolls with mixed developer again at 03:15?

 

Many thanks,

Fatih

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3 hours ago, fatihayoglu said:

However my tank (if you'd recall) requires 600ml solution.

You always pour back to the fresh one *and* adjust times. The adjustment of times assumes that you pour back to the rest of the developer. You will still have to adjust times. If you think about it, it makes no difference if you use, say 600ml and pour back to the rest 400ml, or used 1000ml in the tank. The total chemical "suffers" the same degree of exhaustion. It's like using 2 spoons of sugar in a cup of tea, and pouring it back in the teapot with the rest of the tea that has no sugar, versus using 2 spoons of sugar in the whole teapot. In either case, when you pour a cup of tea from the teapot, it'll be the same sweetness.

 

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1 hour ago, giannis said:

You always pour back to the fresh one *and* adjust times. The adjustment of times assumes that you pour back to the rest of the developer. You will still have to adjust times. If you think about it, it makes no difference if you use, say 600ml and pour back to the rest 400ml, or used 1000ml in the tank. The total chemical "suffers" the same degree of exhaustion. It's like using 2 spoons of sugar in a cup of tea, and pouring it back in the teapot with the rest of the tea that has no sugar, versus using 2 spoons of sugar in the whole teapot. In either case, when you pour a cup of tea from the teapot, it'll be the same sweetness.

 

Ah, tea helps always, now got it. So again, I am sorry but trying to understand this well so I won't have a disappointment. In my case, using 600ml tank and Tetenal, they quote 03:15 for the first 4 films, 03:30 for the next 4 film, etc., because I will be using 2 rolls each time, should go roughly as 03:15, 03:22, 03:30,...? I know very well I won't be able this precise but let's assume I am :)

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First 2 films: 3:15

Next 2 film: 3:22

Next 2 films: 3:30

Next 2 films: 3:37

etc.

As you can see, this is mostly academic, that's why Tetenal doesn't bother publishing compensations in 2-film increments, but go for 4-film increments. 

But in general, that's how it works: for 1 liter of chemistry, for every next *batch* you develop, count the number of *films* that you have developed so far, and do an increase of 2*(number of films) percent.

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That’s great thank you very much. And I’ll count 400+ as 1,5 which is also what roughly Tetenal says as 16x ISO200 films or 12x ISO200 films

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I use as much developer as needed usually on the basis that a smaller amount is faster to pour out of the tank before the next chemical which in turn is faster to pour in. However as giannis says ultimately it's not an issue about saving chemicals.

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