Reusing Tetenal C41 chemicals

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by nick_ventura, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. I have been using this kit since the beginning of the month and just developed my 5th roll. The 4 previous rolls i used the recommended developing time of 3 min 30 seconds and blix at 6 min. For the 5th I used 3min 45 sec and blix at 10min. Is that going to work for the next 2 films? Then increase to 4min for films 9-12. But what about films 13-16? Should that be at 4min and 15 sec or will it be exhausted by then? I am confused because it doesn't go that much into depth and I haven't found a straight forward answer online. Thanks
  2. Nick, you may be interested in my experiences with these kits. Tetenal C41s are, in my view, wonderful - and cheap in Australia, less than A$40 for a standard kit good for, so Tetenal says, 12-16 rolls. In actual use, I have been able to do better than that, but I would say with great caution that it is best to not abuse the kits, and push your luck (or films) too far beyond the advised number of films (16) plus one or two.
    How I do it, in numeric point form, as follows:-
    1. I use a Jobo processor, in my case an old Autolab I've had for 10+ years. The one with the coffee filter heating system. Nothing ever goes wrong with it, but when it does, out it goes, into the trash. Finito.
    2. I buy the one liter kits, which currently cost me just under A$40 each. A bargain!
    3. I mix lots of 250 ml for processing in one session. I never keep the chemicals, not even overnight. I always process what I have to, and then ditch the chemicals.
    4. I do four 35mm or 120 rolls of my most important C41 rolls first. Use the Tetenal booklet provided with the kit and calculate 1-2-3-4. In my case, I do two rolls at a time, and do 1-2 at the standard time of 3:15, then 3-4 at the #3 time of 3:45.
    5. I then, with great caution, process one more roll of usually expired film, often as not 120 I've shot with my Rolleiflex 3.5E2. I have a big stock pile of Fuji C41 color negative films I purchased as a lot in Indonesia in 2006. I would never ever use this film for crucial stuff, but often as not what I shoot with it usually comes out fine, tho it may need a bit of fiddling with in LightRoom.
    6. I have never used the 250 ml mix for more than five rolls, tho friends who also process with Tetenal C41 kits say they have often gone 1-2 rolls beyond. At their (and your) own risk. In my case, not worth it.
    In 2006 I paid A$1 per roll for abig (100+ rolls) stock of Fuji C41 films from an Indonesian photo studio that was closing down. I've kept the film frozen and take it out in lots of a few rolls as and when I need it. So far, so good with the quality, tho some Proplus II I bought in Indonesia in 2011 (35mm) and have also kept frozen, has not fared as well as the 120 and shows signs of some (minor) color degradation. Nothing I can't fix in post processing, but there you are.
    Hope this is useful to you. The keyword here is "caution". Don't go overboard. Film used to be cheap but is now more expensive, whereas the Tetenal C41 kits have not really gone up in price very much in the past eight years. I treasure my images, and I prefer to not put them to risk by overworking the chems.
    Blix times get way out of whack as you process. For roll #4 in my 250ml mix, it's like, 15 minutes. But the Tetenal book clearly states you can use all chems other than developer for indefinite times, meaning I could blix for half an hour and it won't affect the end result.
    Tetenal is by far the best. I used Kodak kits for years, and I would now never, ever go back to them. Kodak always had odd calculations for mixing chems and I could never work them out to my satisfaction, tho I have to say I've never destroyed any films in using them, but they were "fiddly" to use and I am much, much happier with Tetenal. Long may the kits continue to be available.
    But then you may not be doing rotary!! In which case, I would limit my processing to 12 rolls per kit, and use a small aquarium and a fish tank heater, and do 1-2 at roll 1 times, 3-4 at roll 2 times, and 5-6 at roll 4 times. In 500 ml of solutions. Then chuck the chems. Err on the side of caution, as I've already said. Likely you will be OK with the results.
    Hpe this helps. Also hope I haven't confused you too much.
  3. How many rolls depends on the film size (area per roll).
    I believe the Kodak number is three 135-36 rolls for 236ml.
    E6, last I knew, was two 135-36 rolls for 236ml.
    You get a lot more 110-24 rolls in 236ml.

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