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Quick reminder: Tetenal C41 is dead simple
Old 04-10-2010   #1
martin s
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Quick reminder: Tetenal C41 is dead simple

I know it's mentioned occasionally, but some people need a little push. It's really, really easy. As easy as black and white, but somehow a little more straight forward - I'd actually consider C41 black and white film, too. I worked for me the first time I tried it.

With the 1l kit from Tetenal (about 20 Dollars) you can officially develop up to fifteen 35mm films, but according to Petronius you can squeeze out about twice as many.

You buy the kit with 6 bottles and mix them according to the manual in 3 1L bottles, which - I find - is easier than dissolving powder in water. You end up with 3 liters of chemicals (Developer / Blix / Stabilizer).

Now the major difference compared to black and white, you'll have to heat the chemicals to 38C, which requires a precise thermometer. This is no problem at all, even without a Jobo. This video shows the process really well (no rinse after stab. though).

It's faster than black and white (about 12 minutes for the whole process) and you don't have to experiment a lot, the first roll came out perfectly for me.

It should be possible to get 30x 120 films out of 1L, that would put one film at about 50 (Euro-)cents.

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Old 04-10-2010   #2
btgc
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Do you use different sets of jugs to avoid potential contamination? Another contact has written how simple it is.

Also, are not C41 chemicals more toxic compared to B&W or this is wrong assumption?
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Old 04-10-2010   #3
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I use three clean 1L Jobo bottles. I was told they are more toxic, but I don't see an issue with that. I simply don't dump them in the drain and take extra care not to get any chemicals on my skin, which is quite easy. No issues yet.

One common misconception I forgot to mention: the temperature doesn't have to be 38C for all three chemicals, only the developer should be at 38C. You warm up the others as well so they stay within a certain range (30-40C I think, nothing to worry about). And since you only develop for 3-4 minutes I wouldn't worry about the developer cooling down either (in a reasonably warm room).

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Old 04-10-2010   #4
Borghesia
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I use(d) the excellent Amaloco K54 C1 developing set. This is a liquid 1 lt. set containing already 4 small bottles which can officially develop 6 films per little bottle + 1 lt. Blix.
This in my opinion was the easiest C41 kit, and cheap also.
It's a pity that Amaloco seized to exist.

If my last box K54 is done, I also have to choose the Tetenal kit.
Do you know if the 5 lt. box is easily to divide into smaller batches, so that the unused chemicals can stay on the shelf ? Or is it a hassle.
Tetenal C41 is a powder developer isn't it ?

BTW to keep you liquids at 38C look for a simple Jobo TBE tempering bath, this works for me.
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Old 04-10-2010   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Borghesia View Post
Do you know if the 5 lt. box is easily to divide into smaller batches, so that the unused chemicals can stay on the shelf ? Or is it a hassle.
I think it says in the manual that you can divide it into separate batches. Should be easy, it's liquid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Borghesia View Post
BTW to keep you liquids at 38C look for a simple Jobo TBE tempering bath, this works for me.
I do have a Jobo processor for developing color, but sadly not where I live right now.

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Old 04-10-2010   #6
martin s
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That's the kit:



Now you mix the bottles as paired on the picture and use water to fill it up to a liter, ..



Now you fill up your sink with hot (!) water...



And you wait until the temperature of the developer is at 38C, usually you can squeeze in an episode of TED. For example the one about pollen.
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Old 04-10-2010   #7
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I use a digital thermometer, was about 15 Euros at our equivalent of Frys. Works well, I guess you're supposed to meter the temperature of your baking meat with it.



Temperature is up, now you drain the water and get going. Fill in the developer, 10 seconds of continuous agitation, every 30 seconds another 4 inversions. After 3.15 minutes you dump the developer back into the bottle, next the Blix. Same as with the developer, but 4 minutes. Once that's done, you wash the film. I use a hose for this...



Three minutes later you use the stabilizer (1 minute, 10 second agitation) and you're done. No washing after that, just hang up the film and let it dry.



Again, check out the Youtube video. Very easy to follow.

Cheers, Martin
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Old 04-10-2010   #8
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I really want to do colour but the comments about more toxicity have put me off in the past. How important is ventilation? I currently do black and white in the bathroom with the window open, is that enough for safety?
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Old 04-10-2010   #9
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I ate a sandwich while developing, let's talk in a week or two.

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Old 04-10-2010   #10
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Was that with the window open?
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Old 04-10-2010   #11
Borghesia
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I think only the stabilizer is a bit toxic. When I pour that stuff in, I do that in the garden or at the sidewalk at my front door :-)
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Old 04-10-2010   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeroeseight View Post
Was that with the window open?
Yes, I do enjoy my meals with the window open. Especially on such a nice day. No seriously, I have no clue how toxic this stuff is. It doesn't smell nearly as bad as fixer, though, but I'll ask the next time I'm in the shop.

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Old 04-10-2010   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeroeseight View Post
I really want to do colour but the comments about more toxicity have put me off in the past. How important is ventilation? I currently do black and white in the bathroom with the window open, is that enough for safety?
Unless you should be a formaldehyde allergic, proceed like you'd do with black and white.

Most current colour chemistry is no more dangerous than black and white - i.e. perfectly harmless unless you drink it or take a bath in it. Strictly speaking, colour is more poisonous, as you theoretically could do either safely with some black and white chemicals. But as all photo chemicals might contain less harmless contaminants, you'll live longer if you treat b&w and colour chemistry alike.

There is a trace of formaldehyde in C41 rinse that it absent in black and white, but we're talking 0.5% here, which is below the threshold even according to the rather formaldehyde paranoid EU safe workplace regulations, unless you should happen to work all day in the final rinse room of a large scale lab.

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Old 04-10-2010   #14
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I found it very necessary to give the films enough blix time, especially when using it for more than the recommended number of rolls.

Speaking about toxic substances: The toys we played with in the late 60s might have had more of them than the C41 kit. Im really messy in the lab and get skin contact with the chemicals quite often; up to this moment my behaviour is still ...ahem... normal.

By the way, great workshop photos, martin!
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Old 04-10-2010   #15
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I have used tetenal chems, and they seemed to work quite well for me despite me being completely new to the process at the time. But I prefer the fuji kits, just because it has separate bleach and fix.
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Old 04-10-2010   #16
John Robertson
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I think the "authorities" have made people paranoid about "toxicity" I've processed my own films ,monochrome print and reversal and colour print and reversal for nearly 50 years without any such problems. Obviously you do not eat and drink whilst processing, but that is just plain comon sense and hygene. My cats have not developed a third eye or any thing B-))
I even used Cibachrome regularly, my cesspit has not suffered in any way.
Tetenal E6 is equally easy and excellent to use.


P.S. Martin S your processing set up mirrors mine almost exactly!! B-))
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Old 04-10-2010   #17
Juan Valdenebro
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The kit is great... I used it for cross processing slide film, and it's the best way to control results with extended development for more saturation and contrast, both of them well received for that look... A lot better than using labs, (a lot cheaper too...) because their way to do it is making film go slower through their machine, but there's no real consistency there... With tanks we do whatever we want, and we really know what was done... About temperature, depending on season, I control it with ice cubes or hot and cold water in a big bowl to place the tank: easy. Controlling temperature manually is very easy...

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Old 04-10-2010   #18
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I started doing bw a long time ago but haven't done it in years out of sheer laziness so I don't think I'll start with C-41
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Old 04-10-2010   #19
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I got some funky colors from cross processing Kodak 5071 slide film last week, but the shop told me their lab had announced they would not cross anymore because of contamination of baths. Now that their volumes in C41 are dropping X-processing apparently is something they want to factor in.

So, this thread is bookmarked now, its arriving at the exact right time and I'm all up and ready to try this at home, looks easy as pie indeed.

OP: Thanks a bundle!
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Old 04-10-2010   #20
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Great post, thanks for the photo-walk through Martin!
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Old 04-10-2010   #21
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Additional ignorant question: tanks needed for both B&W and C41, or is swapping okay?
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Old 04-10-2010   #22
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Just wondering, do you need to use a separate developing tank for colour and b&w?
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Old 04-10-2010   #23
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I use the same tank for both.
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Old 04-10-2010   #24
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How do you dispose of the chemicals afterward?
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Old 04-10-2010   #25
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I have both the c-41 kit and e-6 by unicolor. iIused the e-6 with successful results. The manufacturer is only 20mins from my house so I was able to talk to the owner myself. He said the most important part in keeping the temperature spot on is the developer.

You should follow their instructions because they have time and tested them. I used a patterson tank for the e-6 the developer was at 102 f before pouring into the tank. The other chemicals were in a hot water bath. My other chemicals were off about 3-4 degress and I didn't have a problem. It is really cool when you see e-6 transparencies developed.
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