C41 Colour Development for the First Time

  Yashica 124G

I am not new to home development, and have developed black and white films on and off, mostly off, since I did a City and Guilds in Photography back in 2003.

The Drive for Home C41 Development

Back in September 2017 a fellow film photographer I followed on Twitter was de-cluttering, and one item she gave away was a Tetenal C41 developing kit. I say give away, Isabel did something much better than that. Isabel gave away an item a week from randomly selected Twitter followers who registered an interest in each item. Then if selected, the winner made a minimum donation to a charity of their own choosing. This was not an issue for me, some charities are close to my heart and I make regular donations, but a charity did get ‘extra’ that month because of Isabels kindness.

It has taken me the best part of 12 months to build up the courage to use the kit, after all, many say how difficult it is with the criticality of the development temperatures. Pffft. I had previously bought chemical bottles and measuring jugs, I just needed to get on with it.

A couple of YouTube videos later, the utility room sink was full with water, the bottles full with the chemicals mixed up, and at a not very scientifically controlled 32 degrees. I had chosen to do the development at 30 degrees, following the instructions supplied. The development takes longer at this temperature but I thought maintaining 30 degrees would be easier than the other recommended temperature of 38 degrees.

Maintaining Temperature

There is much around the internet about the use of sous vide type devices to maintain the perfect temperature, but in my rudimentary experience, this is completely unnecessary unless you are a professional, or aiming for 100% professional results. I waited an age for the temperature to cool down from 32 degrees to 31 degrees before starting the development, figuring there may be loss of temperature as I pour from bottle to jug, to developing tank. During the 20 minute development and bleach/fix process, the temperature reduced only to 30 degrees. The final step of stabilisation is not so temperature critical anyway. Bish bash bosh, job done! My only advise would be to prepare the chemicals in bottles and the water in the sink, and allow the temperature of the water to warm the bottles and contents accordingly.

A recently purchased large developing tank allowed me to develop two 120 films at the same time. Following the instructions was straight forward, and despite there being three steps to black and whites two, the process really is no more difficult. If you are considering giving C41 processing a go, then go for it.

This film was an expired Fuji PRO 400H, and photographs taken on a Yashica 124G.

The Results

King Street, Manchester, 2018
King Street, Manchester, 2018
Tib Street, Manchester
Richmond Street, Manchester, 2018


Gallery of All 12 Frames

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