It’s been about 2 years since I last developed colour film at home. Although I’ve always been happy with the results, I could never fully get behind the extra time it took to setup and get the chemistry up to working temperature. With black and white film, developing temperature is at 20 degrees Celsius, which is basically room temperature. There is a lot of forgiveness with black and white if the temperature is +/- a degree or two. With colour film, the temperature needs to be within +/- 0.5 degrees Celsius or shifts in colour can begin to occur. For the amount of time I actually shoot colour film, it just wasn’t worth it.
Then I started to acquire more and more colour film, either through finding a whole lot at a gas station, or buying cheap expired film at a photography show. From a financial standpoint, it just made more sense to purchase a C-41 developing kit and do it at home. Since the chemistry usually has a very short shelf life, the plan was to shoot and stockpile film to develop. The kit I’d used before (Rollei Digibase C41) was no longer available through Argentix.ca, so I ended up purchasing the Unicolor C-41 kit through BuyFilm.ca and it was at my doorstep in a couple days. Mixing the chemicals from powder was super easy (only had to mix 3 instead of 4 with the Rollei kit), and only the developer and blix need to be brought up to 38.9 degrees Celsius. I now use an aquarium heater bring the chemistry up to temperature and maintain it, which is a lot easier and more reliable.
With colour film, all films get developed for the same amount of time. In the case of this kit, it’s 3:30 minutes, which makes it easier than black and white as you can mix up different film stocks in the same developing tank. The process of pouring chemistry into the developing tank and agitation is the exact same as black and white, but in general, it’s a lot faster. This kit has renewed my faith in home developing C-41 and I highly recommend giving it a shot.