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Developing C-41 Color Film w/ D-76 B&W Chemicals


iKokomo New Member
1
11 Jan 2018 3:56PM
I have never developed film before and I have read that it is best to start off with black and white developing because it is easier than color.

I just bought a large lot of vintage film cameras (over 50 cameras) to clean and sell and there are a lot of half-used rolls of film in them that I will finish using and I want to learn how to develop them. In the lot, there were developing tanks, thermometers and the like.

My question is they are all color C-41 film.
Can I use my D-76 B&W Chemicals that I just got to cross-prosses and develop these?

If yes, are there any specific instructions or issues that I need to be aware of that may be different from developing black and white film?

Also, for people that have done this for years, any tips and tricks you would like to pass along?

This would be my first roll of film ever self-developed and I am excited!! Smile

Thanks for your help!

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Philh04 Plus
12 1.4k United Kingdom
11 Jan 2018 4:41PM
Chances are that yes it will work, however the chances of achieving a useable (scanning or otherwise) negative are pretty slim.

You will be better off obtaining normal Black and White film.

It isn't cross processing BTW, that would be C41 processed in E6 chemicals or vice-versa.

Tips... good timing, and agitation technique...

This sounds interesting. Who knows what images might be on these rolls of film?
I agree with Phil about the chances of success being slim using B&W chemicals, especially for a beginner.Smile
Why not just have them done by a lab?

Cheers
Alan
woodlark Plus
13 540 1 United Kingdom
11 Jan 2018 8:10PM
I have been collecting old cameras for 3-4 years now and have also amassed 50 plus. Some with film in and some that I have shot with. I have never sent any of the film away as I to have been wanting to develop myself. Just this week I have bought lots of darkroom equipment so hopefully in a month or two I will be processing the film. I cant wait to use all the different cameras.

Please keep in touch and let us/me know how you get on.

Karl.
Snapper Plus
13 4.3k 3 United States Outlying Islands
11 Jan 2018 8:25PM
There's some info on this topic on Flickr.
Dave_Canon Plus
11 1.3k United Kingdom
12 Jan 2018 10:40AM
I did home C41 processing for many years. You would not be surprised that I used C41 chemicals. There are three stages similar to B&W but there are differences. The first process is the developer which is similar to B&W. The second process is a wash which is probably more critical than for B&W as it is important not to contaminate the third process. The third process is a bleach/fixer. It does remove any remaining light sensitive silver halides but it also links the silver oxide in each layer to the colour dyes (within the film) which is how we end up with colour. Temperature control is vital for C41 processing. In the latter years of C41 processing I stopped film processing but continued C41 colour printing. I just took the films to Jessops for processing as it was not worth the effort.

So despite my year's of C41 processing, I think Alan's advice is sound; use a Photo Lab. If you really want to get into C41 processing yourself, get a new film and practice on with that first.

Dave
12 Jan 2018 10:42AM
C41 films are intended to be developed at 100 degree Farenheit for 3 min 45 sec, so the film won't come to any harm when you process at 68 degrees Farenheit. Never try it the other way round because the higher temperature will strip a the emulsion from ordinary mono films as I learned the hard way!

D76 is aa good as any developer.

You need to be aware that a colour film will remain mono because the colour couplers won't be activated. Also, contrast will be a little higher because the C41 process removes the silver from the film but mono fixer doesn't.

As for time? If you can't get the dev time, the classic method is to do a clip test where you correctly expose a few frames, cut them off the roll and develop them separately. Dry the clip before you check the density and modify the development time until you get it right. It shouldn't take many trials.
12 Jan 2018 10:45AM
I would cut a piece of the film under darkroom conditions and test process this it will give you important information on how to develop the rest of that film in the camera, also remember that colour film requires a different coloured light to that of B&W film unless of course you are going to do it in complete darkness. I am trying to remember back to the 80's when i developed mine, i think B&W was red and colour was amber but check on that.
12 Jan 2018 11:42AM
It's many years since I developed film and then it was only BW. From what I remember the film MUST be loaded into the developing tank in total darkness, either in a darkroom or using a light sealed changing bag (the red safelight is only safe when processing paper prints which have a much less sensitive emulsion than film). Using D76 at 20 deg C with an 8 minute development time may work to give a black and white neg on C41 but as others have said, you need to experiment first!
12 Jan 2018 12:13PM

Quote:also remember that colour film requires a different coloured light to that of B&W film unless of course you are going to do it in complete darkness. I am trying to remember back to the 80's when i developed mine, i think B&W was red and colour was amber but check on that.


NOOOOO!

Film development MUST be done in total darkness or a light-tight development tank, with the exception of orthochromatic lith film which can be processed under a red safelight.

Those safelights refer to printing and not film development.
12 Jan 2018 12:18PM
When it comes to development time, as a rule of thumb, development time needs to halve for a 10 degree Celsius temperature increase. or double for a 10 degree drop.

You could try D76 at the usual 37.8 degree Celsius but the development time would probably be inconveniently short. In our old lab, we did C41 in a deep-tank line and in total darkness.
Philh04 Plus
12 1.4k United Kingdom
12 Jan 2018 12:18PM
Have been doing some more research into this...

It seems to be agreed that the development time will be longer for C41, only experimentation can determine the optimum time. It is also agreed that the contrast will be lower but with a finer grain structure and a greater tonal range.

This chart is for XP2 (a chromogenic B/W film that is normally processed in C41 chemistry) that gives a rough idea of times. XP2 processing times in B/W dev

The other factor is that the resultant negative is only suitable for scanning due to the dye in the base (Photographic paper is not very sensitive to the orange/red end of the spectrum).

The results will be interesting but I certainly would not recommend trying this if you have no experience of processing and would certainly practice using standard B/W film till you are familiar with the process and importantly what a good negative looks like. Only then would I look to doing some clip tests in order to determine the optimum dev time for your film.
Phil, by changing development time, we can vary the contrast as well as effective ISO.

I've just remembered that, when my old school housemaster switched from C22 to C41, he used to develop his C41 films at the same temperature as the old C22 because it gave a more convenient process time. It was also easier to maintain the lower temperature when doing his processing in the kitchen sink. I can't remember the details.

The C41 process was designed for professional use. We used deep tanks that sat in a thermostatically controlled water bath and many labs used machines. Higher temperature gave shortened process times which reduced the labour costs.

I'd invest in a complete roll for clip tests. You could set the camera to P for professional, set the drive to continuous and expose the whole roll at an "average" subject.
Philh04 Plus
12 1.4k United Kingdom
12 Jan 2018 1:23PM

Quote:Phil, by changing development time, we can vary the contrast as well as effective ISO.

I've just remembered that, when my old school housemaster switched from C22 to C41, he used to develop his C41 films at the same temperature as the old C22 because it gave a more convenient process time. It was also easier to maintain the lower temperature when doing his processing in the kitchen sink. I can't remember the details.

The C41 process was designed for professional use. We used deep tanks that sat in a thermostatically controlled water bath and many labs used machines. Higher temperature gave shortened process times which reduced the labour costs.

I'd invest in a complete roll for clip tests. You could set the camera to P for professional, set the drive to continuous and expose the whole roll at an "average" subject.



Err and the point of your post is...?????

I am very familiar with processing/chemistry and methods, using individual tanks/ deep tanks (48 rolls of 120 at once) and dip and dunk machines (E6, we had no use for C41)... so a bit of wasted effort William Tongue

What is relevant is when the OP becomes familiar with processing and what a good negative looks like for scanning (Because of the dye printing onto traditional paper would probably be a non starter) then a series of clip tests would be in order.
12 Jan 2018 1:41PM

Quote:NOOOOO!

Film development MUST be done in total darkness or a light-tight development tank, with the exception of orthochromatic lith film which can be processed under a red safelight.

Those safelights refer to printing and not film development.



ahh yes, its just me getting veryold Smile

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