Developing Colour Negative Film at Home

So I’ve finally taken the plunge. After about a year of developing my own black & white film at home, I’ve decided to try my hand at developing colour film. The process is generally the same, with the exception of temperature control. With black & white film, there is much more leeway with temperature tolerances than with colour film. If the temperature is off, more than 0.3°C in either direction, you will start to notice colour shifts. Not too big of a deal, since this can be fine tuned in post-processing, but it still requires extra care. In some respects, it’s easier than black & white as there is one development time for all films, whereas, developing times for black and white vary depending on film stock and ISO rating.

Black & white film is generally developed at 20°C (68°F), which is roughly room temperature, so all the chemicals are ready to go and remain at that temperature during developing. With colour film, the chemicals, (the ones I’m using anyways), need to be 37.8°C (100°F), so bringing them up to temperature in a hot water bath is required and keeping them at temperature is the real challenge. I invested in a digital probe thermometer which provides much more accurate results then my dial thermometer.

I had thought about using the Unicolor C-41 kit, but eventually opted on trying out the Rollei Digibase C-41 MIDI kit I got from Argentix in Quebec, since I had bought a bulk roll of Rollei colour negative film anyways, and I heard that the temperature tolerances were a bit more lax with this kit.

My first try developing was crazy. I was flustered, and not very organized, but I guess I got lucky as the photos turned out pretty good. I did another roll last night, and was much more organized in my workflow, and again got great results. It wasn’t until I was returning the chemicals to their storage bottles when I realized I had mixed them up. Not a big deal, it just means that I have to pick up some more fixer and stabilizer. Anyways, below are some of the results from my first two attempts.

Taking a Break From Cutting a Christmas Tree//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsOmemee Santa Claus Parade//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsWeekend in Toronto//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLunch Hour Photo Walk//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLunch Hour Photo Walk//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsLunch Hour Photo Walk//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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