How hard is it to develop color film?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Grandpa Ron, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. Grandpa Ron

    Grandpa Ron No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Years ago I use to develop black and white film. Develop, stop, fix and wash. It was pretty easy in a little developing tank. But, I never tried color film.

    Now it seems you can get a roll scanned to a CD fairly cheap.

    I was curious how hard it is to develop Color film


     
  2. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    it's not hard to develop . just harder to scan IMO. you can get a C41 press kit for less than 2 rolls developed and enhanced scan. You can usually develop 8-10 rolls from a press kit, have read people saying more. the chemicals don't last very long on the shelf once mixed so save up the color rolls and develop them in a batch of 8 rolls. temperatures are pretty important so follow the instructions. it will save you money for sure. the average cost of sending out with enhanced scans is around 15 a roll, not including shipping news and CD back to you.
     
  3. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Color is pretty much the same, but far more demanding in terms of temperature. And there's very little lattitude when it comes to over- and under-exposure. You can't push or pull it.

    Shelf life is more limited compared to B&W. If you don't use it soon, it will 'go flat' fairly quickly. So shoot and batch your souping.
     
  4. Dave442

    Dave442 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I never bothered to develop color film other than a couple rolls of color slide film. Just never seemed like something fun to do with the stronger chemicals and having to keep to the specified temperature.
     
  5. greybeard

    greybeard Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have never seen the point in developing B&W or color print film and having it scanned. If I'm going to go to the trouble of shooting and developing print film, I want an enlarger and print it myself like I did 35 years ago.
     
  6. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    1. There's about a gozillion different ways to develop b&w film. YOU can choose the developer, the temperature, the time, the agitation etc etc etc. A commercial lab, even a custom one, will not have anywhere near that many options.
    2. Economics. You aren't required to have a full-blown darkroom. You can use a closet or bathroom to transfer the film into the tank. Or use a dark bag. If you still want wet prints, you might be able to rent a proper darkroom for a while.
    3. Scanning to digital gives you quicker and easier editing.
    4. It's fun to soup your own film.
     
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  7. dennybeall

    dennybeall No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's not that hard if you have the right equipment. The right equipment ain't cheap and the process is picky so it was never worth it to me.
     
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  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    There are several benefits to a hybrid system. Scanned film allows one to edit the image in daylight, using precise tools that are easily regulated. Instead of doing crude dodging using wire stems with little circles or cardboard or tufts of cotton on the ends of the stems, one can use an adjustment brush that's precisely variable, and which has the advantage of having intelligent auto-masking, so it's easy to dodge even complicated figures or shapes with the computer determining what is "subject" and what is "background", with amazing results. Same with burning in...instead of a piece of cardboard with a jagged-edge hole cut into the middle, one can burn-in using a computer "brush" with the same edge feathering options...Same goes for applying contrast,sharpening,color,saturation,etc.. using the computer tools...

    Instead of making one print that has multiple complex dodges and burn-ins that require hand-written notes, one can make a master print file, correct all types of flaws, do retouching on the original image (pimples,tooth whitening,skin smoothing,dust-bunny removal,etc), and have a truly "perfected" image file to work from.

    Instead of ONE, single negative that can not be replicated well (a duplicate or inter-neg can be made if one has the right equipment), the digital file can be replicated multiple times, and sent to various locations for safe-keeping, if needed.

    Retouching and spotting of dust and scratches is soooooo much better with the computer than my old Spot Tone dyes and sable brushes were.

    I dunno...I think that inkjet prints nowadays look as good as wet darkroom prints, or better, in most cases. I think it's far easier to make a good print from a digitized image than it is from a negative...the tools are just better, and more-precise, more-adjustable, and it can all be done with numerical,perfect repeatability, in daylight, with the manipulations instantly visible, not visible only AFTER the print has been made, washed,and allowed to dry, and without need to compensate for the "dry-down effect" on wet darkroom B&W prints.

    But...with electronically-stored images and inkjet printing, there's no smell of Dektol print developer, and no smell of acid fixer either...and no safelight illumination...it's a rather sterile process, and one somewhat devoid of mystery and magic, which is why darkroom work is, I think,so,so satisfying.
     
  9. Grandpa Ron

    Grandpa Ron No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for the information.

    While the scope and methods in photography are endless, it all comes down to what the individual objective is.

    I am currently working on a pinhole camera project which will involve a lot of cut and try experimenting. So on a roll of 24 frames, I may get only a few "keepers". Once I have a sufficient number of keepers, I will determine how to get them printed. A digital format is the most likely as I already have the viewing methods.

    Since EBay supplied me with 4 rolls of Fuji 200 speed color film for $10.00 delivered, I seemed like a good place to start.
     
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I have sometimes thought of a pinhole camera that uses cut sheet film holders at the rear standard...as an easy way to shoot several frames at one shooting session, rather than needing to constantly go back to dark to change the film.

    I suppose it would be cheating to use a view camera and a pinhole, and not an oatmeal canister and taped-in film...
     
  11. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Color film is easy to develop! I find it no more difficult than black & white.

    The simple trick is using a water bath to maintain your chemicals temperatures consistently.

    Get a small tub (any tub will do!), put your chemical bottles in the tub, mix hot and cold water to 41c and fill the tub so that it's near the top of your bottles. The tub water will cool off (the chemicals are cooler and that will drop it a couple of degrees) and boom, bob's your uncle, you simply put in the the chemicals for the required (short) amount of time, and that's it. Do not use photoflow at the end, that is a bad thing.

    I recommend the Film Photography Project's C41 kit, it comes in small doses, in powder form for you to mix, and it comes without the heavy box so shipping is cheaper.
     
  12. Grandpa Ron

    Grandpa Ron No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Darrel,

    Way, way, way down the road is my 4x5 view camera for pin hole use. There are far to many variables to establish first.

    Yup, oat meal and shoe box cameras are fun projects to tinker with but not too convenient.
     

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