Author Topic: C-41 homemade - easiest color development  (Read 7077 times)

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imagesfrugales

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C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« on: September 18, 2015, 11:38:03 PM »
Developing color negative film is easier that developing b/w film, no matter if you use commercial kits or a homemade developer.
I always was sceptical that color negative development had to be scientifically exact with a temperature regulation of centi-degrees and so on. When I bought my first (and only;-)) C-41 kit I read about developing at room temperature and it worked very fine, it was the so-called digibase kit from macodirect. 3 different concentrates to mix the developer, then bleach bath and fixer bath.

The bleach is still in use, it simply doesn't go down and can be regenerated by shaking with air to re-oxigenate the solution. When the color developer was used up I made a break and again used a lab service. Until I finally bought the missing raw chemicals I needed to mix the developer at home from scratch.

Here's the recipe I found at Apug which has blessings from some highly reputated members there who definately know what they are talking about.

Water (50° C) ........................... 800 ml
Potassium carbonate (anhy) ........ 37.5 g (replaced by me with 29 g sodium carbonate anhydrous aka washing soda waterfree)
Sodium sulfite (anhy) ................. 4.3 g (= bubble-ex for waterbeds here)
Potassium iodide ....................... 0.002 g (2 milligramms!)
Sodium bromide ......................... 1.3 g (replaced by me with pot. bromide 1.5 g)
Hydroxylamine sulfate ................. 2.0 g
Kodak Anti-Cal #3 ...................... 2.5 g (left out because I use destilled water)
CD-4 ....................................... 4.8 g
Water to make .......................... 1.0 l

pH 10.00 +/- 0.03

I didn't use heated water but at room temp and everything diluted fine. 2 things must be stressed:

1st: you need anhydrous soda/carbonate, otherwise you must re-calculate, if unsure what you have in hands make the heating test as explained on my Caffenol blog:
http://caffenol.blogspot.de/2010/03/soda-myth-and-truth_07.html
That's very important, because it affects the pH and the right pH is needed for proper colors. This is a must if you want reliable results, period.

2nd: you need a scale with 0.01 g resolution if you want reliable results. Kitchen scales with 1 g resolution are unsuitable. Such a precision scale is available for about 10 - 20 bucks, $, € or pounds. Have I to say that teaspoon measuring is not allowed ? :-D

All right, we have mixed our developer or have bought readymade kits- I use the old "undestroyable" bleach then and fix with b/w fixer.

Between the bathes I rinse twice with tap water to protect the following bathes. Then rinse as you would do with a b/w film. For the last bath - the stabilizer - I take 2 drops of dish detergent in the last rinse and wipe the film carefully with a folded paper tissue. I get superclean dust- and scratchfree negs that are dry within half an hour.

And here is the best: everything is done at room temperature, every film (brand, speed etc.) is treated the same way, only the developing time is altered according to the room temperature. Agitation 1x every 15 seconds. Here is the ultimate sheet, hanging at the wall of my toi... - ahhh - darkroom:


c41-temp-chart
by Imagesfrugales, on Flickr

x-axis: time (minutes), y-axis: temperature in °Celsius. Forget the writing to the right: no presoak, bleach 6 minutes, fix according to clearing test (twice the time).

Because you treat all color neg films and cross developed slide films the same, it's the easiest procedure imho. Final note: 1 development of 135 film coasts me less than 50 Eurocents, assuming I can develop 10 films with 1 liter. But probably 20 films can be done. I store the developer in a reused dark green schnaps bottle (no plastic!) and spray on a pfffft of lighter gas for oxigene protection.

And now 2 samples:


l-10
by Imagesfrugales, on Flickr


Minto
by Imagesfrugales, on Flickr

« Last Edit: January 27, 2016, 12:16:52 AM by imagesfrugales »

Bryan

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2015, 01:50:58 AM »
I'm very interested, but I already have some questions.  You listed Hydroxylamine sulfate as an ingredient, did you mean Hydroxlamine Sulfate?  I can get Hydroxlamine Sulfate from Photographers Formulary as well as several of the other chemicals.  You also list CD-4, is that available any more?  I'm having trouble finding it.  B&H lists it as No Longer Available and Photographers Formulary doesn't show it on their web site.  They have CD-2. 

Terry

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2015, 03:41:04 AM »
Nice.  Very nice!  Many thanks.

imagesfrugales

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2015, 10:26:43 AM »
Bryan: it's Hydroxylamine sulfate  (NH2OH)2 · H2SO4, the missing "y" surely is a typo. CD means color developer, CD-1 was the first. Today CD-3 is used for color reversal development, CD-4 for color negative C-41. They can't be exchanged afaik. Everything stands and falls with CD-4.

Photographers Formulary dosn't have a single readymade color developer kit? Maybe not the best place for the purpose? The Rollei C-41 kits from Freestyle f.i. are very versatile and not so pricy than many others. But sorry, don't know where you can get CD-4.

In Germany I know of only one supplier named Suvatlar. He's very friendly, but has no web-shop, order by email, details here: http://www.moersch-photochemie.de/content/rohchemie

Terry: thank you
« Last Edit: September 19, 2015, 10:30:55 AM by imagesfrugales »

Bryan

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2015, 05:07:19 PM »
If it's Hydroxylamine sulfate with a "y" then you had it right.  Some of these ingredients may be difficult to get I just need to research it more.  In the U.S. I need to fill out a form for the DEA for some of the ingredients to prove I'm not using it to make illegal drugs. 

Your results look great, that's what got me interested. 

imagesfrugales

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2015, 05:36:38 PM »
Yes, the world is paranoid. Hydroquinone is almost (almost) unavailable here because it's rather toxic, but you can buy it overseas f.i. at PF without restrictions. And yes again, I have the impression that the results with my homemade dev at room temp are better than the lab processed.

Francois

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2015, 09:44:47 PM »
and the strange thing is, hydroquinone is supposed to be the main ingredient in those skin bleaching creams that many black people use... or at least I heard.
Francois

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szabolcs.agai

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2015, 07:19:20 PM »
Fantastic results with natural colours!
I am more on the concentrate dilutions side than on the chemistry though. I barely ever measured milligrams to be honest :)

imagesfrugales

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2015, 09:44:11 PM »
For the 2 milligramm pot iodide you dilute 1 gramm in 1 liter water and take 2 milliliters. But you can't weigh 1 gramm with a kitchen scale, you need a much more precise scale and it doesn't coast much.

Peter84

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2015, 09:29:39 PM »
really interesting!! Although some chems are a little more difficult to obtain, I think the main advantage would be the temperature, as for how I do C41 at the moment that is more hit or miss. That leads me to the next question is there also a home brewed E6 version of this? I was looking for a tetenal E6 kit but was a little dazzled by the price  :o

jharr

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2015, 11:41:43 PM »
Not sure if they sell to individuals or just registered companies, but...

http://acccorporation.com/DYE0000257.aspx

I found that by searching for the CAS# (25646-77-9).
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imagesfrugales

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2015, 06:44:38 AM »
I don't know much about E6, I once tried a fake E6 with bw paperdeveloper and c-41 and got an epic failure. The first developer must be ultra-strong.

If you can't get the raw chems, you still can use the ready mades the same way. For C-41 you don't need a processing machine, no 37.8 °C  = 100.0 °F development and no scientific manner to get great results. You only need a precise scale if you want to mix the dev yourself. Just regard the time/temp sheet and that`s it. Afaik the rigid temp specification is only for the big lab machines, the c-41 process has to be very fast and originally was designed to work without fresh water supply. F.i. the stabilizer bath is the only rinse, you can replace it by a regular rinsing as you do with bw film. Running at 100 °F at home is absolutely unneccessary.

Look at the time/temp sheet again und you will see, that a small temp deviation at 38 °C makes a big effect, the curve almost goes vertical, but not at lower temps where everything is easy.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 06:48:41 AM by imagesfrugales »

imagesfrugales

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2015, 01:31:27 AM »
Update: now the working solution is more than 4 months old and still works fine. The working solutions of the commercial products I used before and made from concentrate were down after 6 - 8 weeks.

Here's an example with a Kodak VR400 (similar to Kodak Gold) exposed at EI 1600 and developed 30 minutes at 22 °C. Agitation about every 30 sec. I didn't count the seconds exactly watching TV in doing so.

Exposed in a Dynax 5 which has a super exact multi segment metering.


christmas market
by Imagesfrugales, on Flickr




Francois

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2015, 02:45:54 PM »
I must admit that I'm pretty impressed so far...
Francois

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Indofunk

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2015, 01:26:15 AM »
I must admit that I'm pretty impressed so far...

Indeed! Indeed!  :D

Wayne

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2015, 11:01:28 PM »
I don't know that I could pick it up on my crummy laptop monitor if it was even there, but I thought Ron Mowrey (Photo Engineer at APUG) has said that lower temps inevitably lead to crossover. I'd be delighting to find out otherwise

imagesfrugales

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2015, 12:09:47 AM »
Sounds interesting, Wayne. PE and Gerald Koch at Apug okayed the recipe I used.

So far I didn't have to apply any tricks for a perfect white balance, the scans just "fell out" of the scanner.

Wayne

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2015, 09:54:40 PM »
Did they OK it for room temp?  I'm not expert, just saying what I remember.

For example Ron says  http://www.apug.org/forums/forum40/101451-benefits-c41-lower-temp.html

"What I describe is called "crossover" in that the blue image is too high in contrast (Yellow dye) and the red image is too low in contrast (Cyan dye). The top and bottom layers do not develop correctly. This could be corrected in PS, but there is no correction possible in traditional RA printing." and ads"

Have you posted this over there?

Also I'd like to see how prints turn out before getting too excited. Doesn't do me any good if its scannable but not printable in RA-4, but others may be perfectly happy with it either way.

imagesfrugales

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2015, 11:50:47 PM »
Hi Wayne, read the first post of your link:

"im into developing my own film and the rollei digibase kits i use are come with instructions for lower temps."

That's exactly the basis for my temp/time chart and it works for me. The original instruction temps go down to 25 °C and I extrapolated them to 20 °C.

Later by another guy: "I did a practical test and posted it in the thread about the Digibase chemicals using the various times and temps they give. The cooler the process, the worse the color. It got uncorrectable, even in photoshop, at 68F. "

Wrong for me for 68 °F or more. I got fine results with the digibase kit at room temp and didn't need PS because my scan prog (Vuescan) already did it. It only substracts the orange mask an inverts the image. I can't see why this couldn't be done with the RA-4 process. But I have no own experiance. What`s different in CMY (RA-4) vs RGB (scanning)? 3 layers (4 for Fuji) - 3 corresponding filters, here and there.

"my room temperature changes between 18°C and 35 °C over the year, so a true "room temperature" process will never be consistent"

Wrong (for me). I developed between 20 and 33 (summer heat wave) °C room temp and got consistent fine results. Of course you have to regard the time/temp chart.

No, I don't discuss on Apug anymore. It's very disencouraging to "fight" with the alpha males there.  I respect them and extracted many great infos there, but only trust my own experiances. That is by far the most important lesson I learned from the www. I don't care if it works for me. Your milage may vary.

Nobody has to trust me. I recommend to try it yourself. It's so easy to make your own mind. But I guess you should make your own trial with a fresh undiltued working solution. See below.



PS: another big advatage of the room temp process is that you should not prewash because you don't need the tank to get the right temp. It already has. So you don't dilute the developer every time with some (maybe 10 or 20?) ml of pure water left from the prewash.  That improves consistancy and durability of the working solution. Imo the room temp process eliminates many sources of error.

PPS: I don't care at all how many people develop C-41 at room temp. But I learned a lot from others and readily share my own experiances.

PPS: since I mix my C-41 developer myself from raw chemicals I have the impression that the quality is even better than the commercial products. Do you know how old the concentrates are which you buy? My working solution is as fresh as possible - and mucho cheapo.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2015, 12:46:41 AM by imagesfrugales »

Bryan

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #19 on: August 10, 2017, 12:48:06 AM »
Sorry to dredge up an old thread but this useful chart on the Freestyle website reminded me of Reinhold's time/temp chart above.  I thought some Filmwasters may find it useful.  One problem I have had is the developer warming up during development.  This is especially a problem with the 20 minute long development time for my Beerenol recipe.  If I use this chart and stay with the temperature of the room I can increase the development time and keep a more constant temperature.  I'm going to give it a try on my next roll.

http://www.freestylephoto.biz/developing-time-based-on-temperature-changes

imagesfrugales

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #20 on: August 10, 2017, 04:17:47 AM »
Here is an online calculator and a time/temp chart, probably the one from Ilford.
http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php?doc=timetemp

But the c-41 time/temp curve is a curve(!) and not linear.

Bryan

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Re: C-41 homemade - easiest color development
« Reply #21 on: August 10, 2017, 05:00:06 PM »
Here is an online calculator and a time/temp chart, probably the one from Ilford.
http://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php?doc=timetemp

But the c-41 time/temp curve is a curve(!) and not linear.


Thanks for sharing the online calculator.  It seems to match up pretty good with the Freestyle chart but it gives slightly faster development times.  Probably not enough of a difference to matter.