View Full Version : Processing Colour, C41, Easy?

Morgan O'Donovan ~ MOD54
5-Jul-2012, 02:58
So i'm throwing this out there, processing C41 at home is easy.

What do you think?

Here is a new short film showing my workflow from shooting to printing, well digital printing.


In the next few weeks i'm going to make a more detailed short on the actual process of developing your own C-41, as part of a demo i'm doing at Silverprint.

It would be interesting to have peoples thoughts about processing their own colour film.

Any thoughts, musings or mumblings you have let me know. I can then construct a video that will actually help.


Morgan ~ MOD54.

5-Jul-2012, 05:42
No more difficult than b+w. Temp control is the only hurdle. I believe there are several videos on the web covering it well so that may be a place to start.

David Higgs
5-Jul-2012, 06:11
I develop all my own C41 (and E6) - as you say it is easy

5-Jul-2012, 06:20
Tetenal baby... the 5 liter kit is all liquid kit and mixes easily ... i wish i could do a movie like that... experimented with mod54 over JOBO ... mod54 is no beter than JOBO except in one category... its cheaper a lot cheaper. Kodak Ektar film seems to do beter at this kind of work flo... with Tetenal contrast like Velvia and it scans better than other films... in my opinion :-)

5-Jul-2012, 06:26
WOW about time Morgan welcome to the LM.... I have done some extensive testing with the mod54. I only have one complaint, Well actually two related... my mod54 came unglued in shipping... had to glue it back together before i could use.... little flimsy i am afraid if i drop it; it will break ... needs more heft or thinker plastic... but i use mine a lot... sold the JOBO


Morgan O'Donovan ~ MOD54
5-Jul-2012, 16:32
Hey Mike,

Sorry about that, I would like to say that out of the 1000 that i've made i think yours might be the only one. They are all hand made by me, so there is some human error!

But back to the thread-

Glad you guys are finding c41 easy, but i think alot of people are afraid of doing it. My mission this month is to try and show that its not that hard.

Anyone in London should come to a little demo i'm doing at Silverprint at the end of the month 26 th July, if you would like a run through of colour processing.

Has anyone tested bad practice? like the temps being all wrong, etc? if the bath is too cool how much affect does it have?

At the moment i'm using a two stage dev kit, which is fine, but quite contrasty, any thoughts?



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5-Jul-2012, 19:41
NAW not a bad one i think .....glued it back together and i was up and running

LOL LOL "tested bad practice" made a few mistakes in processing... Tetenal is very forgiving in my experience. little bit of color cross over ... spots.... i have seen a few problems with processing error.... nothing i did on purpose.... lol...

try Ektar .. it is contrasty but alot like Velvia when scanned ..Ektar is also a T grain film scans well because of this.....

Brian Ellis
5-Jul-2012, 19:59
I looked at the shooting film. Is it supposed to run at warp speed?

Light Guru
5-Jul-2012, 22:03
The the temperature aspect is really the only part of color film developing that can be difficult.

I just ordered one of these to make the water bath much easier to control.


David Higgs
5-Jul-2012, 22:24
Hey Mike,

At the moment i'm using a two stage dev kit, which is fine, but quite contrasty, any thoughts?


I'm using the Fuji Hunt kit and am getting really good results, consistent, long latitude negs

6-Jul-2012, 00:15
E6 and C41 is really easy in a Jobo. I use a jobo atl 2300 and Kodak Flexicolor chemistry.
C41 is a bit more forgiving then E6. You can correct for minor errors in printing or scanning.
I like the Kodak chemistry because you can buy it in large quantities, they are always consistent, last a pretty long time and its not a Blix, separate Dev, Bleach and Fixer.
In the cubes your cost per ml drops significantly, just a thought if you do a lot.

6-Jul-2012, 04:52
Processing c-41 at home is indeed easy. Processing c-41 at home and having that process be verifiably in control is next to impossible, even with a jobo. So long as you don't run control stips, go ahead... do it at home - you're doing a bang-up job and getting negs with full latitude.

6-Jul-2012, 05:22
Tetenal in a Jobo rotary tank, as easy as it sounds.

6-Jul-2012, 14:53
C-41 and even E-6 is EASY!!!!!!

I have done E-6 for years!!! Easy as falling off a log!!!!

RA-4 is also easy, once you learn how!

Oh, and I aint got no snobbish Jobo!
Just a good ol' manual SS tank!

6-Jul-2012, 15:02
Maybe one day i will give color processing a try, i know it will not be difficult at all as long i can have a temp controller, but the hard/difficult part for me is to get the chemicals to be shipped to my part of the world, and thanks Morgan, just before yesterday say yesterday i got that Mod54 from one friend who live in my country but he is from UK and he was there last 2 weeks and came back few days ago carrying that Mod54 for me as i told him.

Hope i can shoot LF more now, Mod54 will make it much easier and more fun for me to process 4x5, i hate trays processing and BTZS/Combiplan are just alternatives that i can't depend on all the time.

10-Jul-2012, 01:31
Processing c-41 at home is indeed easy. Processing c-41 at home and having that process be verifiably in control is next to impossible, even with a jobo. So long as you don't run control stips, go ahead... do it at home - you're doing a bang-up job and getting negs with full latitude.

I have run control strips for C-41 and E-6 and they fall within the process tolerances, are repeatable and within the densitometer (Xrite 811) error rate.
They have been consistent from batch to batch and i have even had Kodak verify them a few times.
Its relatively easy to keep the processes in control, its all about consistency.
I do all color as single shot (i do replenish E6 bleach), that can be very consistent from run to run.

Everything from the choice of chemistry, timing, jacket and wash water temperatures to mixing the same way each time.
I use good quality graduates, serological pipettes and a variable pipette 0-5ml for the starters.
The last 2 are really great for measuring small liquid volumes and keeping everything consistent.
Make sure not to cross contaminate between the chems. You can run into weird problems that are hard to track down.
For reference, the 1st wash in E6 is the most temp critical of the washes. To hot it will go warm, conversely to cold and it will go cooler.
It can be a source of annoying color shifts that are hard to track down. I always leave the water running just a little to keep the water controller active and the pipes warm.

It does take some trial and error to dial it all in but once you get the hang of it, there should be no reason for it to not plot in control.
The developer time, rotation speed (in my jobo 50 RPM for LF and 75 RPM for 35mm and MF) and temps might be different from the published specs.
I use Kodak chemistry for both E-6 and C-41, it gives superb results and you have a support line in case of problems or questions.

An interesting observation, when i switched from the Kodak single use E6 kits to the AR cubes i noticed a few things.
1. The chromes came out brighter (better Dmin) 2. Control strips plotted correctly 3. Dmax was also improved. 4. They also looked better in the midtones.
The main difference between the individual components and the kits is that the starters are incorporated but are separate for the individual components.

I never used the tentenal kits but that might be why a control strip wont work. Kits that use Blix might not work well with a control strip meant for a full line.
Also using rotary tube or hand processing can oxidize (developers mostly) the chemicals quickly. I found that single shot is the best way to go to keep everything the same.
I remember the Kodak kit said you can reuse it a few times and gave a scale to adjust the dev times. I tried it once and it didn’t produce a good chrome.
It might be that reusing the kits saves money but at the expense of some quality.

10-Jul-2012, 06:23
The problem with home processing c-41 lies in the comparatively small quantities of chemistry used, the 3:15 developing time, the large amounts of aerial oxidation inherent in the jobo processing technique, maintaining the high temp of 100 degrees and maintaining the requisite quarter-degree fahrenheit tolerances Kodak calls for. Even if you conquer four out of five of these variables, you're still nowhere near the consistency of a properly maintained Refrema with its gaseous agitation and baths that hold 100x the amount of chemistry of a home process. The resultant variances will show in your results. Maybe it's not enough of a processing error to bother you but it will be there. E-6, on the other hand is a little bit more forgiving.