C-41 stand developing

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by earlz, Mar 31, 2018.

  1. Hi, regarding, "if the differences can be easily eliminated in post..."

    They can't, easily. Let me be more blunt about this. If I were to photograph perhaps a half dozen people of different complexions, and wearing various colors, and then earlz stand-developed the film and either scanned the film or sent it to you for scanning, then it would most likely be beyond your capabilities to "adequately" (whatever that means) color correct the images. In fact, if you had to get the clothing color close to "correct" to "save your life" or some other dire-sounding consequence, your best chance might be to seek out all of the individuals and ask to see all of the clothing in question. Or perhaps rephotograph them.

    Regarding, "or [the differences] are so small that they can't be noticed unless compared side by side on optical prints...does it matter?"

    In my view, the differences will not be small. I mainly use the example of optical prints so that I don't have to specify a bunch of requirements for the scanning setup and final viewing on a monitor.

    In my experience, for someone to really appreciate how good they, or their systems, are, I think they need to see side-by-side comparisons with some sort of industry standard, or other benchmark. If their system or skills are not too good, then this is likely the eye-opener that immediately stops all of the arguments. Their response might be along the order of, "Oh, now I see what you mean." My guess is that is how this thread would end if the OP took their film to a well-qualified pro lab for a comparison. But maybe not, who can say for sure?
  2. Actually, in a serious professional setup with significant volume, the normal routine is that the film is processed in what we call the "tank solution" or "working tank solution." As film is processed, smaller quantities of a "corrective solution" known as "replenisher" are added. The net result is that the tank solution always stays close to an "ideal" makeup as specified by the process designers.

    The size of the tank tends to damp out the effect of individual rolls (heavier exposure tends to "use up" the developer more). If "trends" are seen, as measured on "process control strips," then slight adjustments in the replenishment rates are made to keep things close to "aim."

    In my view, the extended use of the developer is just a method using to make a certain brand of chemicals seem attractive to hobbyists. Or perhaps, in the good ole days a press photographer might overuse such a developer 'cuz this is all they've got. If you don't mind your process fluctuating around, this sort of thing is probably tolerable. But I don't think you'll find any professional lab working that way.

    I would make a slight change in your wording, from "as exacting as possible" to "as exacting as reasonable" (or perhaps sensible). You want your product to have some level of quality, but at some point it's not cost effective to go any farther. If someone is meeting the time and temperature tolerances spec'd by Kodak, for example, there is probably no sensible reason for tighter control.
  3. Fair enough on the wording.

    BTW, as far as replenishing goes-I tell the lady at my local lab to not run my E-6 until she has enough to make replenishing and bringing things up to spec worthwhile. Often times, I bring enough in one batch to do that, but I'd rather wait a couple of days than have her waste chemistry on one roll or run it in less-than-optimum conditions. Fortunately, they do a fair bit of mail order business-a lot from other labs-so I think that brings in enough E-6 to keep the line viable.
  4. To me it makes more sense to just develop film properly to begin with, and have good negatives, than to have to go in and try to fix them in "post". Just doing it right to begin with (it's not that hard) and you will always have the best quality negatives with the minimum difficulty for optical printing or digital use.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
  5. Makes sense to me, a shorter hotter process would be harder to get right just by time-motion standards. If you don't have automation to help and you don't have it every action down to reflex you're going to have variation in when actions happen. It increases portion that is the error. Looking at your images and scanning color film myself I'd recommend running your curves on the individual color channels to get your color balance right instead of trying to just white balance it. Also, negatives are already a very low contrast medium and stand development would tend to reduce contrast even further. On one hand, this probably reduces the chance of actually losing information to differing development rates, on the other it means your pulling an image from an even smaller portion of the brightness range of your "scan". I don't know if it's enough to posterize but you still might benefit from even a Pacific Image/Reflecta or Plustek film scanner if you find gaps in your histogram (and you can stand the time commitment of a scanning process).
  6. Processing C-41 by hand and getting consistency at the proper times and temps is not difficult. I (and many others) have been doing it for years, and I check my results with a densitometer for accuracy. In the past I got worse consistency from labs.

    You simply cannot process C-41 at low temperatures for longer times and get quality results. For one thing you get crossover as discussed earlier and it would be difficult if not impossible to correct for this accurately with software as well as time consuming. In addition, the DIR and DIAR dye couplers used in the film and process simply do not operate properly at low temperatures to give proper color correction of dye impurities. That too, would be extremely difficult if not impossible to correct with software. That is why 100F is used instead of 75F which the old C-22 process used (before the newer dye couplers), and was what engineers wanted to use originally for C-41, but found the couplers worked best at higher temperatures.

    I'm not saying don't do it, just be forewarned.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018

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