Everything you need for C41 colour film processing
Already process your own black and white film, but want to try colour? Never processed your own film before? Colour film processing is more straightforward than you think. Here’s a list of everything you need to process your own colour film – no darkroom necessary!
With colour film processing you buy all the C41 chemistry together in a kit. The Tetenal Colortec C41 Negative Kit contains all the required chemicals for developing your first colour film; 3-part developer, Bleach Fix and Stabiliser.
If you are already processing your own black and white film you will have most items you need. If you are new to processing you can get almost everything required in the Paterson Film Processing Kit or you can buy the items individually. The items you will need in addition to the kit are Mixing Jugs, Polyethylene Bottles and a large bucket or tub. The individual items necessary are:
Paterson or Kaiser Universal Tanks are both excellent choices. Both contain two spirals and allow you to process 2 rolls of 35mm or 1 roll of 120 film. If you’re planning on processing 5×4 in the future, using the MOD54 Insert, then go for the Paterson Multi Reel 3 Tank.
When using the Tetenal Colortec C41 Kit you will need 4 Mixing Jugs. These are to mix up the Developer, Bleach Fix, Water and Stabiliser. You want a separate jug for each so that the developer doesn’t get contaminated by the other chemicals.
Film processing is time and temperature controlled – it’s paramount to know the temperature of the developer, particularly with colour, where the temperature of the is critical . We recommend the Paterson Colour 12″ thermometer as it is the most versatile, good to use with both black and white and colour developing.
3 Polyethylene Storage Bottles are needed to keep your developer, bleach fix and stabiliser for re-use. 1 litre of the kit can develop up to 16 rolls of 35mm film.
This can be a large bucket, plastic tub, sink or bath; any vessel that will contain hot water. The chemicals should be kept at the correct temperature throughout the development processes and a water jacket will maintain the heat of the chemicals. The larger your vessel the longer the water will hold it’s temperature.
You can use clothes pegs to hang up your film, but the Paterson Film Clips pierce the film to ensure the film doesn’t slip when drying.
This is down to personal choice. It is one way of getting the most water off the film before drying, but also carries a high risk of running “tramlines” down the film. We would recommend a small piece of chamois cloth. Wet, wring out, wrap round your finger and down the film, much softer and less risk. Alternatively, just use your fingers.
This is optional, but very useful as it allows you to process film without a darkroom. Make sure you choose one big enough to fit your tank. We would recommend the 27'x30" Kaiser Changer Bags as the best option.