View Full Version : Water stains on C-41

Christopher Barrett
1-Nov-2014, 09:01
I've just processed my first batch of C-41 using Jobo 3005 drums and Unicolor chemistry. I have a few water droplet stains on my negs. I plan on rewashing them in the stabilizer to see if that clears things. I've read that the Kodak stabilizer has Photo-Flo in it. The Unicolor definitely does not feel like there is any wetting agent present. Should I add a little Photo-Flo?


Daniel Stone
1-Nov-2014, 09:28
It won't hurt it.

you can also mix your wetting agent/final rinse with distilled water, if you want to be extra careful


Gudmundur Ingolfsson
1-Nov-2014, 09:31
Are you sure those are water droplet stains and not developer splashes on your negatives. I tried for a long time to develop sheets in C-41 in the JOBO 3000 series tanks. 4x5 5x7 and 8x10. Sometimes those would be OK but there were too many misses. Even with presoak. The developing time of 3:15 is simply too short for an even development in C-41 of a big sheet. An other thing also: Those big sheets are so expensive that it is not worth the risk to play a russian roulette with the processing. I can recommend labs in a private message if you need addresses.

1-Nov-2014, 20:05
Anybody know if C41 developer would respond to diluting the developer and developing for twice the time? (same temp)

Christopher Barrett
1-Nov-2014, 20:10
Yeah, that development time seemed freakishly short. The directions for the Unicolor chemistry gave times for 5 different temps, though, so I ended up doing 5:45 @ 95. Earlier I rewashed my negs in Stabilizer + PhotoFlo and then squeegeed them. They dried without spots this time.

1-Nov-2014, 20:27
I've used both the Rollei and Tetenol C41 kits with zero issues processing Portra 4x5 sheets in a 3010 (CPA and CPP processors). I do believe the Unicolor kit should work fine. Try the processing temp at 38c at 3:15. Also, make sure you wash your film properly. I wash outside the Jobo in a 4x5 film washer. Then I go into stabilizer. If none of that works, try Rollei or Tetenol. I find C41 processing easier than processing b&w film.

1-Nov-2014, 20:42
Not a good idea (re diluting).

Daniel Stone
1-Nov-2014, 23:59
Pre-soaking the film has also aided in giving me MUCH cleaner and consistent results for ALL processes, especially C-41.

I use (2) 30sec pre-soaks @ 100F. Especially for sheet film. Also make sure that your drum rotation speed isn't too fast(I generally slow the processor down below the "film" speed).

I haven't had any issues w/ developer becoming diluted due to the pre-soak baths. However, I only use the chemistry for 2 runs before dumping it(developer only, bleach, fix(I do not use blix), and final rinse are all re-used until they reach the saturation point).

Developer is mixed with distilled water, as is final rinse. All steps are run at 100F, including washes(in this order: 2-1min baths, 2-2min baths, 1-1min bath)

Sounds like a lot, but if you can get everything set up before hand, and have a 2L beaker of your wash water in a separate heater/tempering bath outside of your processor, then it's quite simple. However, practice makes perfect, and it takes 4-5 runs to get yourself worked out.

But with all the fuss involved, I know that my negatives are processed EXACTLY as I want them. I know they're washed EXACTLY to the way I want them washed(aka beyond Kodak's own "standards"), and I save money on the cost of processing. However, it's not as convenient time-wise as dropping/mailing off the film to a lab.
Slide film I now outsource, but C-41 I do 2-3x/yr in big batches. If I need a faster turnaround time, I'll use a lab, but rewash/final rinse the film at home(per stated specs above) to insure that my film is clean.


3-Nov-2014, 01:50
I find myself rewashing after the stabilizer with boiled (and cooled) water with a surfactant. It's probably not a good idea for longevity of the negs; next batch of chemistry I will mix the stabilizer with boiled water. I process manually, but ran into the same issue. BTW, I use the Rollei kit and process at 25C so the dev times are a lot longer which leaves more room for error. Both sheet film and smaller formats come out fine and I have developed many many rolls and sheets with this kit. I think I've done perhaps 20 rolls and over 10 sheets with this kit and it's only now starting to degrade.

Daniel Stone
3-Nov-2014, 08:38
Distilled water is pretty much the purest form of water you can get.
Simply boiling water will NOT remove the dissolved minerals from your water, it will only kill bacteria and organic material that might be present in your water(and some bacteria can even withstand boiling temperatures!).

Distilled water can be purchased at most supermarkets, or at-home distillation units can be used if one chooses to go that route.

Wash water can be sourced from the tap(if you so choose), but for critical stages(chemically speaking, like the developer and the final rinse), I've found 100% happiness in using distilled water for those processes.


3-Nov-2014, 13:29
Simply boiling water will NOT remove the dissolved minerals from your water
Yes, it will, to an extent large enough to do away with staining issues I used to have. The water where I live is apparently quite hard to a large extent due to dissolved calcium bicarbonate, which precipitates to a large extent when the water is boiled. Obiously, distilled water would be even better, but more costly and contrary to your assumption cannot be purchased here at supermarkets - not even at most, but actually at none. Since boiling eliminates the problem, tap water isn't chlorinated where I live and residual hardness after boiling is not a practical issue in film development or washing, I have no need for an energy-hungry distillation unit. As they say, your mileage may vary and I suggest to experiment.

Btw, deminiralized water may be available at lower cost than distilled water and particularly for washing (but also for other steps unless you're exceptionally ehm...cautious [anal]) will be just fine.