C41 Developing - updated

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Craig
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#1
As usual there are a lot of conflicting views on the internet about how long C41 chemicals can last. I don't mind buying in bulk but I don't get through a huge amount of film, on average a roll a week and averages about half and half black & white to colour. I would also like to make it as economical as possible though without the chemicals going off.

How long is the real world shelf life of the various chemicals?
Storage? Some people mix up the whole lot from concentrate, squeeze the air out and freeze the developer, does that work?

I may get a better understanding if people were willing to share how they manage their own C41 chemical use/storage?

Also, a lot of my usual online shops are out of the Tetenal kit (I know about the shutdown, reopening etc) where are people getting their chemicals from?
 
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#2
I buy the 2.5l tetenal kits from Morco. I mix it as 3 lots of 750ml which is enough to cover 2 rolls of 35mm or 1 roll of 120 film at a time, allowing for the reduction in dev volume as you use it. I use each batch of 750ml to develop around 10-15 films, and stored in plastic bottles with the air squeezed out the working solutions seem to last 6 ish weeks ok (ive exhausted them by that point anyway). The opened bottles of concentrate (tightly capped with air squeezed out) last me about 3-4 months. The odd time i havent used the 750 ml up within 6 weeks, when i come to mix the last batch the concentrates dont look great so i've binned them. I'm not sure of the official figures but i've used about 10 kits now over the last few years and all have been consistent to the above for me at least.
 
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Lee
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#3
I get mine from Firstcall Photographic.... from memory I get the 1L kit(although I also get the 2.5L kit). Make it up and store it (in the concertina bottles). My made up solution lasts longer than 6 weeks, but saying that I also use XP2, so when it gets near to exhausted for colour film, I can still develop XP2 in it. My opened unmixed chemicals have still been good a year later. I guess it depends on how/where it's stored.
I've never heard of freezing developer.
 

Asha

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#4
I've never heard of freezing developer.
What???!!! ...I'm surprised, it makes for gorgeous lollipops ...BLIX is even better :wacky::LOL: (@steveo_mcg

As for C-41 chems.

I used the Tetenal kits ( 1 litre) which, when the solutions were made up would last about 2 months.....The developing time increased as more and more rolls were developed and it became clear when they were becoming exhausted simply by under exposed and muddy results in the negatives.

Like any developer, any life span indication is a guideline only and always best to use as fresh as possible.
Using chems that are "beyond" their best is very much false economy in so far as stuffing film and even more importantly the loss of images can be frustrating and upsetting.
 
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#5
I am 3/5 the way through a Fuji Express 5L kit - I mixed the developer as directed to 5L and then decanted it into 5x1 litre PET bottles, 4 went into a freezer section of a dedicated fridge/freezer (only used for film and chemicals as C41 contains substances that can cause allergic reactions and one suspected of being carcinogenic). The litre in use is kept in the fridge section along with bleach, fixer and stabiliser concentrates that I mix up to 1 litre as required. I warm the cool dev at low power in a microwave to bring to about 35C before putting bottle to equilibrate in Jobo water bath. Bleach, fixer and stabiliser working solution I store at ambient temperature.
 
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Craigus
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#6
Thanks for the information chaps. I will have a look for a 2.5l kit I think and some extra bottles for storage.
 
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Craigus
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#7
Just developed my first two rolls. I don't think I stuffed anything up though I felt more panicked than I thought I would as I wasn't using any sort of heating control and I forgot to measure the Blix out into a jug at the right volume about 30 seconds before I needed it, but got there just in time fortunately.

So apart from that minor scare I think it all should be okay. Eager to scan them now. I may upload an image later this evening if I get to it.

Sincere thanks, though, F&C forum. You lot are the only reason that I started doing this!

<3
 
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Craigus
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#8
I posted a pic in the film shots thread, it shows some colour banding on the edges of the frame.

It is perhaps not the best example to be asking this about as it was shot on Agfa Vista that is a year expired, but this roll was on the top of another roll of ColourPlus in the tank, that roll has no colour banding, so I don't think it is a result of temperature issues when developing.

Any thoughts?

Wimbleball Lake
by Craigus89, on Flickr
 
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