View Full Version : C41/E6 chemicals in bulk

6-May-2011, 07:11
Hi All,
I have been using the Arista C41 and E6 kits for a year or so now with good result. I do find that I want to "push" the capacity of the developer and I usually end up with some crappy final rolls or sheets. After my disaster last night I have decided to switch over to a one shot process and buy the chemicals in bulk to save money and make the proecss 100% reliable. I use a JOBO lift for all of this.

I see the different bulk chemicals ofered by kodak and a few others such as arista. Form looking at what is offered it seems that I need to buy the starter and replinisher for all of the chemicals. I have never mixed chemicals like this but it cant be to hard :0

Any experience with what brands or lines of brands seem to work best and work of to be the best value? Any tidbits of experience?


Robert Ley
6-May-2011, 09:32
Try these guys:http://www.minilab.com/index.asp They are a good place to purchase all the chemicals that you will need for processing film or prints.

I use the Fuji-Hunt c-41 chemistry with great results and I am sure their E-6 chemistry is just as good.
Reusing chemistry is really a false economy as you have found out for yourself it is a waste of money and especially time.

I think that you can even call the Minilab Supply stores tech support and they can tell you what you will need. Mixing the chemistry is no big deal if you can read instructions and have a good set of graduates. some of the chemistry like starters and fix will last a very long time and the big advantage is that you can mix it in quantities as little as a liter.
Good luck and if you need help, PM me.

6-May-2011, 20:11
FWIW, I have been using the Kodak single use six-step E-6 kit for several years now with excellent results. Unfortunately this kit is no longer available but the same chemicals are available in bulk. The initial cost is substansially higher than the kit but more economical in the long run.


Spencer Ladd
7-May-2011, 02:42
I am interested in developing color transparencies and film. The cost of running film at a lab are way too high.

What kind of tanks and development system do you use for E6 and C-41. I ran processors long ago and recall that I need the temperature, specific gravity, nitrogen burst, etc... to be perfect. I also ran several test strips with a densitometer during the day.

How do you control the variables that effect color and contrast in a lab at home?


7-May-2011, 06:45
Thanks for the mini lab link...good stuff!

I have been doing both e 6 and c41 at home for a while now. Until this post I have been using the arista kits from freestyle which work great and are a good value especially for 120 and 35. Not as good a value with 8 x 10 :)

I used a water bath for a while then switched to the meth lab system. http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94945&highlight=meth+lab

That worked great but I still found it a PITA to do hand inversions so I then got a rollerbase which made everything easier. Receintly I got a JOBO lift. It is nice but really not all that much easier than the meth lab/roller base system.

With the arista kits I was able to almost double the capicity of the kit but it needs to be used rather quickly; the E6 seemes to die after about a week once mixed and the c41 is dead within maybe 2 weeks. The trick to either kit is to get enough film to exhasut the amount you have mixed at that time and not to try and spread it out over a week or so.

With 35mm or 120 I could always get a pile of rolls ready then do one quick run. With 810 it is a much slower process to get the exposures and not economical to mix a batch of chemicals for one or 2 sheets. My cost per roll of 35/120 was about $1.85 per roll.

I tried to "extend" a batch of c41 for a few days in the thought that the 4x5s would be OK if slightly color shifted. Slightly would be an understatment! Hence my plan to go with all one shot and but in bulk

7-May-2011, 08:55

I've been using the Kodak flexicolor developer replenisher 19 liters (5-gal) kit (Cat 191-9042) for C-41. 19 liters of Replenisher will make ~21.5 liters of working tank solution which will process 215 sheets of 4x5. The kit sells at the local calumet store for $33.99 + $3.40 sales tax which translates to ~ 17 cents per sheet to develop.

The chemistry in the kit has staying power before it goes bad. For example I first opened the current kit I'm working out of on 1/1/2011 (I mark the date on the box) and last used it on Thursday and there was no color change in the chemistry which would indicate it had gone south. It's part C that you have to watch. The initial color is very light to white amber and Kodak says that when the color changes to a dark tea color to toss.

You'll also need fix which is cheap, developer starter also cheap, stabilizer (cheap) and bleach which is not cheap. I e-mailed Kodak to order the 12.5 gallon Bleach III Replenisher kit. They had stopped making it and didn't have any left in stock but pointed me to their US distributors who might have some remaining. Buffalo Imaging (formerly Changs) in southern California had 3 kits remaining and I bought one. This was a significant cash outlay - close to $300 with shipping - but far cheaper in the long run from what I was paying for the 1 gallon ready-mixed version. My current bleach cost is about $20 a gallon which bring the bleach cost to around 22 cents per sheet of 4x5. You get twice as many sheets out of the bleach and the rest of the chemistry as compared to the developer before exhaustion. Since I process C-41 with a Jobo, I use 1/2 the volume of the developer for those steps as long as it meets the minimum volume required by the tank.

The shelf life of the bleach is very long - practically indefinite. Kodak said 5 years but from the feedback on other forums that's a very conservative estimate. After all, kodak couldn't come out and say indefinite. I mix a 1 gallon working tank solution at a time anmd use it exactly as I used the ready-made version.


8-May-2011, 07:38
Thomas, thanks! That is exactly what i was looking for. I am OK with a higher initial investment if I get better result and less hassle over the long term.