When C41 Chemistry Fails / Expires?
Old 12-24-2017   #1
the.ronin
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When C41 Chemistry Fails / Expires?

What C41 chemistry nears or is at exhaustion, do you see a gradual deterioration in image quality or is it more dramatic like an entire roll of film being completely exposed literally from end to end?

I think I def used it past recommended shelf life - if I had to guess I'd say I've had the Unicolor 1L chemistry stored in accordion bottles maybe for 3-4 months and developed around two dozen rolls. But the last rolls which I developed about a month ago seemed fine to me without any degradation. (Not sure it's any indication, but the Blix bottle was nearly impossible to open.)

I'm troubleshooting a roll of Ilford XP 400 I just developed and found the entire roll exposed. I can't imagine it is the camera since the entire roll was completely exposed. I'm using a newly acquired Nikor tank in great condition and can't see where it might be leaking any light. I also recall specifically zipping my changing bag securely when reeling the film. So the one thing I'm not clear on is if the chemistry might be bad.
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Old 12-24-2017   #2
Hogarth Ferguson
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When I have pushed my c41 kits past their recommendation, and past what I normally do, which is about 30 rolls, the grain just gets huge.

this was the last roll, number 40, from a kit before I dumped it.
Green by Hogarth Ferguson, on Flickr
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Old 12-25-2017   #3
brbo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the.ronin View Post
I can't imagine it is the camera since the entire roll was completely exposed.
"Completely exposed" meaning completely black?
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Old 12-25-2017   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brbo View Post
"Completely exposed" meaning completely black?
Completely exposed (everything black) can only be from light before development (and a fair bit for rolled film the get the whole roll). Completely exposed (but with clear edges) can only be from overexposure in camera. Completely clear is the film having never been exposed to light, or you but in the BLIX first.
I think the OP means clear.

Edit: one other thought, if the BLIX is exhausted totally then the unexposed silver won't be removed, making it look totally exposed to light. The BLIX is also the first to go in the powder kits, it's a pretty unstable compound, whereas a partially exhausted developer will just look underdeveloped and can be compensated for by increasing the time.
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Old 12-25-2017   #5
Ronald M
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Keep pushing chemistry because it is so expensive. Film and work to get the image on the film do not count and you can always go back for a reshoot.
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Old 12-25-2017   #6
rolfe
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I use Kodak Flexicolor chemistry. When the developer starts to go bad from age, it turns from light amber to dark amber. Use at this point results in completely blank film.

I don't know what the symptoms are from exhaustion from reuse...

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Old 12-25-2017   #7
the.ronin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelwj View Post
Completely exposed (everything black) can only be from light before development (and a fair bit for rolled film the get the whole roll). Completely exposed (but with clear edges) can only be from overexposure in camera. Completely clear is the film having never been exposed to light, or you but in the BLIX first.
I think the OP means clear.

Edit: one other thought, if the BLIX is exhausted totally then the unexposed silver won't be removed, making it look totally exposed to light. The BLIX is also the first to go in the powder kits, it's a pretty unstable compound, whereas a partially exhausted developer will just look underdeveloped and can be compensated for by increasing the time.
You are right. I'm sorry for the confusion. It is completely CLEAR. Here is a pic of a segment I cut out ...



I definitely did NOT put in the blix first though. Could it be that the developer went out and so the blix is the only thing that took to the film? Not a pro photographer here just a hobbyist and this is the first time this has happened to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rolfe View Post
I use Kodak Flexicolor chemistry. When the developer starts to go bad from age, it turns from light amber to dark amber. Use at this point results in completely blank film.
Ah ok ... yes, mine has gone to a very dark amber. The thing is I developed 2 rolls last month and it was not much lighter and the pics came out fine. I probably pushed it with this C41 kit. Thank you!

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Keep pushing chemistry because it is so expensive. Film and work to get the image on the film do not count and you can always go back for a reshoot.
LOLLL passive aggressive much?? I'm just noodling with my Leica CL man this aint a job for me.
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Old 12-25-2017   #8
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Gradually. I'm using JOBO C-41 1L Press kits sold by BH. Last time I quit from previous one it was 20+ films.
Current was mixed on July 20th 2017, this is from roll eleven on previous week:
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Old 12-25-2017   #9
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It's very unlikely that the developer was that exhausted without the BLIX being fully gone.

Was the leader black or clear?
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Old 12-25-2017   #10
the.ronin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelwj View Post
It's very unlikely that the developer was that exhausted without the BLIX being fully gone.

Was the leader black or clear?
I had snipped the leader in the dark bag. But the entire roll of film from end to end, top to bottom was clear like the section pictured above. So was this bad developer, bad blix, or something else entirely?

I do plan to dump my chemicals and pick up another Unicolor kit tomorrow.
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Old 12-25-2017   #11
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Your developer is bad but it's possible your blix is good. I've written quite a bit about this on the forum and you might want to research it.

Developer oxidized by contact with air and through the chemical reaction that reduces the exposed silver halide to metallic silver. Processing film is a reduction oxidation process. As the silver is reduced the developer is oxidized. This redox reaction has nothing to do with air, it's an ion exchange. I have a degree in chemistry and fifty years as a commercial photographer so I'm pretty savvy on processes. Your developer is dead.

As to the blix, bleach must be oxidized to work properly. When I had a large studio and lab we bubbled air with an aquarium pump and air diffuser through the bleach constantly to make certain it was fully oxidized. If the bleach is depleted or not oxidized you'll have leucocyan dye formed which results in color crossover.

Reading how people run their c41 and looking at the results most post they wouldn't know if they had a problem or not. Not trying to insult anyone but a number of members are encouraging extremely sloppy practices in the interest of saving a few dollars at least until their chemistry fails all together. It seems to me that this defies logic to buy Leicas and Leica glass because of the optical quality then skimp by using depleted chemicals resulting in color issues and worse. Whether it's a job or not it's a matter of pride in ones images. Not trying to insult anyone, just an observation.
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Old 12-27-2017   #12
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Great info x-ray. I'm not sure it's so much about saving cash as it is the convenience - at least for me. You bring up great educational points. Indeed had I not spent the bulk of my life studying business (so I can buy unnecessary things like Leicas LOL), perhaps I would have been able to dedicate some more time learning about chemical reactions and the oxidation properties of ions. But for now at least ... I think I'd just like to have fun.

So developer bad. Check!
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