Newbie here. how do I develop Kodak C-41 110 film at my house. Which low cost equipment do I need to

Discussion in 'Kodak' started by Chris, Dec 3, 2003.

  1. Chris

    Chris Guest

    I am a newbie here. I was needing to develop my own Kodak 110 film
    C-41 processing. I don't know much about chemicals to develop film.
    Where can I find free information on a darkroom. Which size of a room
    do I need to develop 110 C-41 with low cost equipment. My bedroom size
    is 11' 6" x 12' 0'. The area of my bedroom that I am
    going to process film is going to be enclosed 4' long and 5' wide
    darkroom so no light can get in the enclosed area. Is it safe for me
    to be in my room and sleep in my bedroom without being exposed to
    chemicals from the darkroom in my bedroom with a dark room a foot or
    two away? Could I develop C-41 process Kodak 110 film without a
    costly minilab? Can all the basic equipment fit on a table in a 4' x
    5' area in my darkroom? What will be the cheapest way to develop C-41
    Kodak 110 film in my darkroom? Will 4' x 5' be enough space for a
    darkroom? If C-41 color process is too hard for a newbie, which black
    & white film for antique or new cameras would be best for a beginner
    to develop film? After the film has been developed, how do I make a
    make a b&w or color picture on a print? Could you explain to me step
    by step how to develop C-41 110 film and how to process b&w film.
    Thanks for taking the time to read this message.


    Chris, Dec 3, 2003
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  2. A trip to a bookstore or library is in order.

    Developing C-41 film to get negatives is relatively simple, but there's
    little reason to do it yourself if trustworthy minilabs are nearby. The
    film is processed in a lightproof tank, so you need darkness only for a few
    minutes, to load the tank. A 110 tank may be hard to find nowadays. So
    might a minilab that does 110.

    Making color prints by traditional means is very challenging. (Budget $1000
    for equipment and months for learning how.) I recommend scanning the
    negatives and making the prints with a computer. Again, some ingenuity
    might be needed to handle 110 -- you might have to rig some kind of
    cardboard mask to make a 110 negative fit into a 35mm film holder.

    I do my own black-and-white darkroom work and find it very rewarding. Color
    enlarging, on the other hand, is in my opinion almost obsolete, replaced by
    the computer. The reason is that when you make a color print or
    enlargement, you're juggling 6 layers of photographic emulsion (3 primary
    colors in the negative and 3 in the print) and there is likely to be *no
    way* to get them *all* to do what you want. With black and white, you're
    only working with 2 layers, and the challenge of coordinating the print with
    the negative is rewarding and fruitful.
    Michael A. Covington, Dec 3, 2003
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  3. Or some web searching. Ilford has a very nice booklet that you can download
    on developing Black and White film at home. There are others too.
    C-41 chemistry is expensive and needs good +-1F temperature control, if not
    better. If you were going to develop several rolls of film a day, it might
    be worth it to do it at home.

    Black and white processing on the other hand is different. The chemicals
    can be bought as powders or liquids, last a relativly long time, and are
    cheap. Temperature control is not really necessary as long as all the
    solutions are about the same temperature and you accurately measure the
    developer temperature and compensate accordingly.

    Some developers work in a narrow range of temperatures, such as 68-70F,
    some work in a much wider range, such as 60-85F or even farther.

    That will definately be a problem. 20 years ago, 110 carriers were available
    for almost every enlarger. Now they would be hard to find and may have to
    be custom made. This may not be that difficult, if you take a carrier
    designed for mounted slides and make a mask. Cardboard would be ok, metal

    However it may be a moot point. Discussion recently on other newsgroups
    left me with the impression that 110 film was near impossible to find.
    The major producers have stopped making it, and those places that sell it
    are selling off old stock, or have gotten it from more obscure producers
    in C-41 color only.
    I would protest that statment, but not too loudly. At this point you can
    get a decent digital camera for the price of a decent color darkroom,
    the cost of feeding it is much lower and the learning curve is much longer
    for color printing.

    If you want to learn a dying (but not dead for a long time to come) art,
    and have months of time, and many thousands of dollars for chemicals
    and paper, then go for it.

    HOWEVER, I suggest that you get a 35mm camera, as the negatives will be
    easier to print and the cost will be minimal. If you spend $1000 on a
    used color darkroom, and $3000 in supplies, a $200 camera is a trivial
    Much of the reward of printing black and white is to be able to work under
    a safelight and see the print magicly appear in the developing bath.
    Color deveopment all occurs in almost darkness and by the time you can
    look at a print, it's all over.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Dec 3, 2003
  4. Chris

    Mike Guest

    How come I read about people who claim that with room temperature RA-4 chemicals, and with tray processing, that color
    printing is actually easier than B&W??

    I'm close to ordering some Tetenal chemicals to try color printing, but then I read opinions like this that make it seem
    like a lost cause and a waste of time!
    Mike, Dec 3, 2003
  5. Chris

    Eric Guest

    I thought 110 was gone too, but then I was at the local mega-grocery-store
    last night and saw that they stock tons of 110 film, in current packaging and
    emulsions. Strange.
    I think a lot of people underestimate how difficult it is to do good work
    in the digital domain. Sure, you can take snapshots and print them out and
    have them look ok, but for serious work to high standards, it's not just a
    point and click thing. There's a ton of work and skill involved. I find it
    somewhat more frustrating/challenging than darkroom printing, actually, but
    that may be partly because I can't afford the top of the line equipment
    that might make it easier.
    I don't think it's really that hard. RA-4 paper is dirt cheap and you can use
    a Tetenal room-temp RA4 kit which work decently. I learned to print color neg
    on an old crappy condenser enlarger wiht a stack of CC filters and a single
    8x10 print drum and base. Today you could get all that stuff for $150 if you
    peruse the want ads. Learning to evaluate and adjust color filtration takes
    some practice, but it doesn't take more than a couple days of fooling around
    before you can get results at least as good as the local minilab would do.

    Yes, I agree. Unless you're doing it for the fun of using weird old cameras,
    there's no reason to use 110. It's a tiny negative and you can probably only
    find a single emulsion, the cameras are almost all fixed focus and fixed
    exposure with questionable optics, and finding a suitable tank, film holder,
    and enlarging lens would be difficult and hardly worth the trouble. These
    days, when everyone is dumping their old SLRs, you can get a nice old
    Minolta or Olympus 35mm camera for next to nothing, even on Ebay if you must.
    Eric, Dec 3, 2003
  6. Chris

    Nick Zentena Guest

    I'm not having any trouble maintaining temps with normal temp Ra-4
    chemicals. I think that's a non-issue. My problem is getting the filtration
    right. Right now I'm leaning towards putting the analyser in the closet and
    trying to do it the old way.

    Nick Zentena, Dec 3, 2003
  7. chemicals, and with tray processing, that color
    I haven't a clue. Maybe they're comparing color printing with a color
    analyzer (exposure meter) to black-and-white without a meter.

    I use a Beseler color analyzer as my black-and-white exposure meter for
    enlarging. It works very well.
    Michael A. Covington, Dec 4, 2003
  8. Chris

    Mike Guest

    How do you do this? I have a color analyzer (well, I need to figure out a way to reattach the fiber optic probe to the
    little magnetic head with the mirror...hopefully glue works :)

    Do you use some kind of milk-glass to diffract the image such that you get an averaged exposure reading?
    Mike, Dec 4, 2003
  9. way to reattach the fiber optic probe to the
    an averaged exposure reading?

    No. I do spot metering. I've calibrated the meter so I know what will
    print white, mid-gray, black, and the various shades in between.
    Michael A. Covington, Dec 5, 2003
  10. Kodak has a good soft cover book on Building Your Own Darkroom. It will
    answer those questions. I do not know of any spools designed for 110
    film size, but I may be wrong. Also I am not familiar with enlargers
    with 110 negative holders. But, using say a 35 mm enlarging lens and
    making your own 110 size negative holder, I don't see why you couldn't
    print the film with, say, a Beseler C23.
    You can use your bedroom for portions of the process requiring no light
    - as when film is taken from the film holder. But I would seek to find
    a reel capable of taking 110 film, so the rest of the process could be
    done in a bathroom or kitchen in normal light. On the printing side,
    you may have more trouble unless you use a drom processor.
    Yes. Even if you can't find a 110 size reel, you can tray develop the
    How big is the table? How are you going to provide for washing of film
    or paper.
    Homebrew the chemicals. See Bill Laut, "C-41 and RA-4 Homebrewing" this
    newsgroup, August 1999.
    Yes, in theory. Some people actually do it in less space. But how it is
    set up really matters.
    It is not, but learning on B&W has fewer pitfalls.
    Kodak Tri-X has generally been considered the most forgiving of films.
    This requires an enlarger and print developing chemicals. I think you
    need a book like, Grill and Scanlon, "The Essential Darkroom Book".
    Easily available.
    Read Grill and Scanlon.

    Francis A. Miniter
    Francis A. Miniter, Dec 5, 2003
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