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Film, developing chemicals and equipment........

Saturn V

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Hello...
Im new here, I hope Im posting this in the correct place ?
Im looking at getting into 35mm colour film photography and developing my colour own photos.
Ive watched many hours of vidioes of this on you tube.
As I understand it, I need a developing tank which I know I can get off Amazon, and then two chemicals, 1, a developer and 2, a "blix" (I think thats also called the fixer.
Im just really confused about where to get these from, when I try to Amazon it, I think its bringing up the black and white option which I belive to be different chemicals......
If anyone can recommend what I need to get and where from I would be very greatful .......
Also im looking at using Kodak Colorplus 5 Pack 200asa 36exp Film from amazon its working out about £5 per roll, is there anything better or cheaper that you could recommend from anywhere.

Thankyou.
 

BrianS

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You need a C-41 developing kit.


If you plan on developing just negatives and scanning- will need this and a tank.
For enlargements- will need a color enlarger, paper, and chemicals for that.

As you are new to this- I would suggest starting out with Black and White film, then you can use a Developer and Fixer.

 

Saturn V

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HI thanks for the information, I looked at the link and I think that is in the U.S.
Im in the U.K. and im struggling to find a supplier over here that can do the colour (color) chemicals....
 

BriPriUK

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Hi
AG Photographic sell colour chemistry

CLICK HERE

Good luck, it's not easy to get right!

Brian P
 

Saturn V

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Thanks a lot.....
 

Trevor Gale

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I'm afraid I'm going to have to post my reply in 2 different sendings, since after writing what I'll admit is a fairly large response I encountered an error when I went to post it - the character count is more then 10,000! So I do hope any moderator doesn't see this as some kind of spam or whatever, and I hope it appears as a readable response. My apologies otherwise.

For many years I've worked in my own darkroom both in black&white and colour (C-41) using (amongst others) AMALOCO chemicals however I'm not sure if you can obtain these over there in Scotland. For all the developing you need a tank and I've many of the Paterson models in different sizes, some for one roll of film, some for two and some for four. They have an easy-to-load 'spiral' that's easy to use in the dark.

Colour processing and black&white processing are different processes and use very different chemistry: the exception to this is the Ilford black&white film which is based on a C-41 emulsion (XP2) which they introduced so that it was easy to get 'black&white' film developed in the high-street labs using their 'normal' (i.e. color-chemistry) processes, since those high-street shops ceased working with black&white film years ago and if they had an ordinary black&white film from a customer they'd send it off to another lab for processing and it would take ages!

For black&white processing there are many different developers available for different properties - as there are also many different types of film. Some are intended to produce the finest grain possible, others are for the highest film speed, still others are for high contrast even to the extent of orthographic film which again (e.g. AGFA ORTHO) is best developed with an ortho high-contrast developer.

You express a wish to start off with colour processing, however simply for the benefit of building up experience I would suggest you begin with black&white processing first, since there are many 'deviations' (and also many faults or mistakes) that you can easily see and understand as you go along. A bottle of Rodinal (lasts for years!) or a bit of Kodak D-76 developer to make working solutions and some diluted (1:9) acetic-acid for a stop solution followed by the fixer step, using for example Ilford's RapidFix).

For colour C-41 the important thing is the temperature of the chemicals, especially the developer. Basically there's 3 steps in many colour C-41 film processing methods: developer, bleaching, and fixing. However there are packs of chemicals where the bleach and the fix are combined so that you end up with a 2-step process - but to optimize the process and the life of the chemicals I recommend the rinse step between the developer and the bleach-fix.
Therefore in addition to the tank, the odds and ends like scissors, the chemicals themselves, you will need containers or bottles to put the working solutions into, and also a thermometer which you can insert into the water and easily read. The C-41 'kits' you'll be able to buy will be concentrates which you dilute with clean water at the amounts the instructions state. You will also need a way of bringing these working solutions up to temperature and keeping them there - most likely a heated container of water into which you place the bottles of solution. Don't forget that the tank will also have to be kept in such a bath, at least during the developing step, otherwise the tankful of film and chemistry would cool down during the step. It is not a good idea to simply heat the working solutions to a higher-than-required temperature to compensate for this cooling-down, that will affect the operation of the chemicals upon the film and maybe the film itself since you would be subjecting it to sudden changes in temperature between steps. The bottles of concentrate which you buy are not put into this heated bath.

For AMALOCO it's 38 degsC, the developer for 3.5 minutes with intermittent agitation, followed by an optional but recommended rinse, followed by the bleach-fix "monoblix" for 7 minutes but a couple of minutes longer if the solution has been used a couple times before is also good. That's followed by a comprehensive wash using tepid water, then running water into the tank (the top of which of course can now be removed).

Before unspooling the film from the tank spiral it's useful to pour in a finishing hardener which provides a degree of protection for the resultant negatives and also helps prevent drying smears from being left on the negs.

There's also TETENAL C41 kit that's still available now, in 1-litre and 2.5-litre kits which are very similar to the AMOLOCO kit and is good for processing 10 - 12 rolls of 35mm or 120-roll film. In both cases the bleach and the fix are combined.

Hopefully this continues in part 2 of my response!
 

Trevor Gale

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This should be the second part of my response:-

You mention that you are effectively 'starting out' - here I'd very strongly suggest that whether you are going to start out with black&white or colour processing, the very best thing to do first is to start practicing using the materials you will be using in the darkroom (or changing bag + tank if that's the method you're going to use to load the film). If you'll forgive me here I'll tell you that watching hundreds of YouTube videos on the subject, while useful, is nothing like actually going through the process yourself even once, so here goes:-

Get hold of some out-dated or otherwise cheap film that you can waste.

First-off, in daylight or room lighting, in the open, practice opening the 35mm canister or running out the 120-roll paper and detaching the film; practice cutting the leading edge of the film so that there's a nice clean vertical cut (that makes it easier to load it onto the tank spiral).
Next, practice loading the film onto the spiral (you could use the 'one-hand/other-hand' method where , while holding the spiral with both hands, you use the fingers of one hand to glide the film into the spiral for half a turn, then the other hand as you reverse the spiral - (it becomes natural and it's a lot easier to do than to describe, don't worry!).
Now, once you have all the film reeled into the spiral, drop it into the tank and seal the top of the tank on. Physically, this is the most critical part of the process, once your film is in the tank you'll be working in the light, though I always use slightly subdued light when I work as it's easier on the eyes.

After doing this a few times, you'll get an idea of the best place to put things (scissors, the tank, film, chair, table) for when you work with the film in the dark. So the next thing to do (I really do recommend this, it's a good learning way, the same way as I once learned how to move position on a darkened stage in theatre I was acting in with the props but that's another story!) is to perform all of those steps in the same place with your eyes shut, not even a wink open, not even a flutter! That will tell you immediately if / where you have any problem with the procedure or the set-up (e.g. too easy to drop the film!).

From here, it's time to try for "almost-real" - do the whole lot in the darkroom or the room where you're going to be doing all this work - with the lights switched off and the door firmly closed, not even an ant's eye's worth of light around. Do this a few times and you'll be set to start off.

When you're going to start doing 'the real thing' before you do anything else it's time to mix and prepare the chemicals well in advance of loading any film into the tank. Give significant time to allow all the working solutions to come up to the correct temperature - use the thermometer to check, but don't put the thermometer into the developer solution, rather use the heated bath water itself and once that is up to temperature allow another 1/2 hour for the chemicals to warm up. You could also use a separate bottle of water, the same size as the bottle of working developer solution and put into the heated bath near the dev bottle, and check that for temperature as it will have heated up roughly at the same rate as the developer.

Here I will add that it's very important to make sure that the room where you're going to handle your film for this process is free of dust and other particles that might be floating around, for otherwise it is a certainly that while your film is drying later on it will attract these duct particles which will stick to the negatives and prove nearly impossible to remove without damaging the negs!

Once all the chemistry is ready you can proceed with your first roll of film (take some pictures of things with known colours and surroundings so you can easily examine and evaluate the results when you either print or scan the negatives). Obvously you'll follow the steps descrobed above, in the dark, and end up with the film on the spiral which is in the tank with the top secured safely on tight. Now you'll be able to work on in reasonable lighting.

The first step is to develop (some people will use what's called a 'pre-rinse' of pure water at the developing temperature for 60 seconds or so, but it is not strictly necessary). Take the working solution of developer and pour it into the tank steadily, not slowly but also not so fast as to spill, until the solution just appears at the opening in the top, and start your watch or timer for this step. Every 45 seconds, rotate the tank for 15 seconds so as to agitate the solution inside (many Paterson and like tanks have a spigot which you can use to rotate the spiral inside the tank, it's light-tight so no worry).
Once the required time has elapsed, take the tank and pour the contents back into the developer working solution bottle and close that bottle. Immediately go to the next step - either the pre-fix rinse or straight to the bleach-fix - otherwise you'll be leaving active developer on the emulsion of the film. Pour in the rinse or bleach-fix in the same way as you did with the developer and place the tank back into the bath.

After the bleach-fix step is complete (if you used the rinse between then you will have to go onto the bleach-fix step after the rinse) then it is time to comprehensively wash the film in the tank. To do this more easily it is fine to take off the top of the tank - the film is developed and fixed now so nothing more is going to happen with light getting at it, there's just negatives on that spiral - start off with tepid water, rotate the spiral in that water, repeat a few times, and then you can go on with running water into the tank at room temperature. You may or may not end the process with the hardener solution I mentioned above, whichever is the case it's not time to take the spiral out of the tank and unreel the film carefully and attach it to a clamp to hold it vertically to dry. A weight clamped to the bottom end of the film (negatives) helps to prevent it 'curling up' as it dries off.

The last part of your question concerned the choice of film to use, and here there are 3 more types of film as there are photographers - photographers have a set of films which they find the best since sliced bread, but then there are also (1) users/viewers who think a different film could have been better, there are people (2) who have been photographed who think they would have looked better on another kind of film, and there are films which specialist photo shops (3) will tell you are the best film that's ever been made.

If you ant my honest opinion, since I have actually used a number of different colour negative films, the finest and most forgiving film whilst providing fine grain and excellent colour rendition at a reasonable film speed, is Kodak Portra 400. If you are going to shoot your films in bright light outdoors all the time then there is also Kodak Portra 160 but that will give slightly more saturation in my opinion. Both are still available in 35mm and in 120 rollfilm sizes.

I do hope all this has been of some help in answering your question, I offer my apologies if you already have all the knowledge which I've encompassed in this reply, but please don't think that this is the end of the story where film processing is concerned: film is still a lively product despite the common public use of digital cameras, which I also use, and film currently provides a number of attributes which digital sensors cannot yet achieve, it is still used by many well-known and respected professionals and they would not be doing so if there weren't a good reason for it. I wish you all success with the experiences I hope you build upon, and don't be afraid to send in some of your results to this forum even if it is for the purpose of enquiring how to better a result which didn't meet your intentions.
 

Saturn V

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
33
Photography Experience
Beginner
Photo Editing Experience
Beginner
Edit my images ?
No
This should be the second part of my response:-

You mention that you are effectively 'starting out' - here I'd very strongly suggest that whether you are going to start out with black&white or colour processing, the very best thing to do first is to start practicing using the materials you will be using in the darkroom (or changing bag + tank if that's the method you're going to use to load the film). If you'll forgive me here I'll tell you that watching hundreds of YouTube videos on the subject, while useful, is nothing like actually going through the process yourself even once, so here goes:-

Get hold of some out-dated or otherwise cheap film that you can waste.

First-off, in daylight or room lighting, in the open, practice opening the 35mm canister or running out the 120-roll paper and detaching the film; practice cutting the leading edge of the film so that there's a nice clean vertical cut (that makes it easier to load it onto the tank spiral).
Next, practice loading the film onto the spiral (you could use the 'one-hand/other-hand' method where , while holding the spiral with both hands, you use the fingers of one hand to glide the film into the spiral for half a turn, then the other hand as you reverse the spiral - (it becomes natural and it's a lot easier to do than to describe, don't worry!).
Now, once you have all the film reeled into the spiral, drop it into the tank and seal the top of the tank on. Physically, this is the most critical part of the process, once your film is in the tank you'll be working in the light, though I always use slightly subdued light when I work as it's easier on the eyes.

After doing this a few times, you'll get an idea of the best place to put things (scissors, the tank, film, chair, table) for when you work with the film in the dark. So the next thing to do (I really do recommend this, it's a good learning way, the same way as I once learned how to move position on a darkened stage in theatre I was acting in with the props but that's another story!) is to perform all of those steps in the same place with your eyes shut, not even a wink open, not even a flutter! That will tell you immediately if / where you have any problem with the procedure or the set-up (e.g. too easy to drop the film!).

From here, it's time to try for "almost-real" - do the whole lot in the darkroom or the room where you're going to be doing all this work - with the lights switched off and the door firmly closed, not even an ant's eye's worth of light around. Do this a few times and you'll be set to start off.

When you're going to start doing 'the real thing' before you do anything else it's time to mix and prepare the chemicals well in advance of loading any film into the tank. Give significant time to allow all the working solutions to come up to the correct temperature - use the thermometer to check, but don't put the thermometer into the developer solution, rather use the heated bath water itself and once that is up to temperature allow another 1/2 hour for the chemicals to warm up. You could also use a separate bottle of water, the same size as the bottle of working developer solution and put into the heated bath near the dev bottle, and check that for temperature as it will have heated up roughly at the same rate as the developer.

Here I will add that it's very important to make sure that the room where you're going to handle your film for this process is free of dust and other particles that might be floating around, for otherwise it is a certainly that while your film is drying later on it will attract these duct particles which will stick to the negatives and prove nearly impossible to remove without damaging the negs!

Once all the chemistry is ready you can proceed with your first roll of film (take some pictures of things with known colours and surroundings so you can easily examine and evaluate the results when you either print or scan the negatives). Obvously you'll follow the steps descrobed above, in the dark, and end up with the film on the spiral which is in the tank with the top secured safely on tight. Now you'll be able to work on in reasonable lighting.

The first step is to develop (some people will use what's called a 'pre-rinse' of pure water at the developing temperature for 60 seconds or so, but it is not strictly necessary). Take the working solution of developer and pour it into the tank steadily, not slowly but also not so fast as to spill, until the solution just appears at the opening in the top, and start your watch or timer for this step. Every 45 seconds, rotate the tank for 15 seconds so as to agitate the solution inside (many Paterson and like tanks have a spigot which you can use to rotate the spiral inside the tank, it's light-tight so no worry).
Once the required time has elapsed, take the tank and pour the contents back into the developer working solution bottle and close that bottle. Immediately go to the next step - either the pre-fix rinse or straight to the bleach-fix - otherwise you'll be leaving active developer on the emulsion of the film. Pour in the rinse or bleach-fix in the same way as you did with the developer and place the tank back into the bath.

After the bleach-fix step is complete (if you used the rinse between then you will have to go onto the bleach-fix step after the rinse) then it is time to comprehensively wash the film in the tank. To do this more easily it is fine to take off the top of the tank - the film is developed and fixed now so nothing more is going to happen with light getting at it, there's just negatives on that spiral - start off with tepid water, rotate the spiral in that water, repeat a few times, and then you can go on with running water into the tank at room temperature. You may or may not end the process with the hardener solution I mentioned above, whichever is the case it's not time to take the spiral out of the tank and unreel the film carefully and attach it to a clamp to hold it vertically to dry. A weight clamped to the bottom end of the film (negatives) helps to prevent it 'curling up' as it dries off.

The last part of your question concerned the choice of film to use, and here there are 3 more types of film as there are photographers - photographers have a set of films which they find the best since sliced bread, but then there are also (1) users/viewers who think a different film could have been better, there are people (2) who have been photographed who think they would have looked better on another kind of film, and there are films which specialist photo shops (3) will tell you are the best film that's ever been made.

If you ant my honest opinion, since I have actually used a number of different colour negative films, the finest and most forgiving film whilst providing fine grain and excellent colour rendition at a reasonable film speed, is Kodak Portra 400. If you are going to shoot your films in bright light outdoors all the time then there is also Kodak Portra 160 but that will give slightly more saturation in my opinion. Both are still available in 35mm and in 120 rollfilm sizes.

I do hope all this has been of some help in answering your question, I offer my apologies if you already have all the knowledge which I've encompassed in this reply, but please don't think that this is the end of the story where film processing is concerned: film is still a lively product despite the common public use of digital cameras, which I also use, and film currently provides a number of attributes which digital sensors cannot yet achieve, it is still used by many well-known and respected professionals and they would not be doing so if there weren't a good reason for it. I wish you all success with the experiences I hope you build upon, and don't be afraid to send in some of your results to this forum even if it is for the purpose of enquiring how to better a result which didn't meet your intentions.

Thankyou for taking the time to reply in such an in depth manor ......

I think I am starting to make some progress.....

I have developed 4 times now, 3 times with Ilford film from 2006....

And once from some new film, I was amazed at the difference this makes.....

I agree with you totally about hands on experience, I an getting more comfortable in the bark bag, and with the timing of the chemicals each time I go through the proccess .....

This is an example of some of my first developing that I did......
_MG_9862.jpg

That was with the old Ilford film.....

This was the most recent ones, with the new film.....

100.jpg


103.jpg

I think Im getting there....slowly.....

Im enjoying the learning process

Once again thanks for your reply to my post....

Kind regards.......
 

Trevor Gale

Old Hand
Premium Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2017
Messages
692
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Advanced
Photo Editing Experience
Beginner
Edit my images ?
Yes (recommended)
I'm glad to see you've made a start and done so using black&white, here is where you can learn a great deal more than just plunging into colour in my opinion. I see you've already some measuring flasks for the working solutions (rear to the right in image #1) which is also good. Image #2 shows you what kind of detail you can look for in the neg - but I see just a small trace of a 'streak' or a slight scratch across where the rear curtain is - this might just have been from unreeling the negs from the spiral, and some black&white film is actually quite delicate hence the importance of handling. Please, I do hope you don't mind my pointing out what I see, no intent to offend or discourage. On the third image, great flour! Makes me want to go and make some home-made bread again! On the right-hand edge of that neg, did you by any chance unintentionally finger it before it was dry? Because I can see what might be two finger prints on the image, but that can also come from the film being very sensitive before it's dry.
Keep it all up - there's a great deal to learn and a lot of experience to build up but the reward is supreme I assure you.
 

Saturn V

Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
33
Photography Experience
Beginner
Photo Editing Experience
Beginner
Edit my images ?
No
I'm glad to see you've made a start and done so using black&white, here is where you can learn a great deal more than just plunging into colour in my opinion. I see you've already some measuring flasks for the working solutions (rear to the right in image #1) which is also good. Image #2 shows you what kind of detail you can look for in the neg - but I see just a small trace of a 'streak' or a slight scratch across where the rear curtain is - this might just have been from unreeling the negs from the spiral, and some black&white film is actually quite delicate hence the importance of handling. Please, I do hope you don't mind my pointing out what I see, no intent to offend or discourage. On the third image, great flour! Makes me want to go and make some home-made bread again! On the right-hand edge of that neg, did you by any chance unintentionally finger it before it was dry? Because I can see what might be two finger prints on the image, but that can also come from the film being very sensitive before it's dry.
Keep it all up - there's a great deal to learn and a lot of experience to build up but the reward is supreme I assure you.

I don't mind your comments on my pictures at all, I appreciate any critique....

Thanks for taking the time....

All the best....
 
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