I love film and I mainly shoot with a variety of analogue camera, but labs in London are quite dear, so I’m always on the lookout for cheap ways to develop my negatives.
I started going to a cheap lab in Brick Lane called Eyeculture (you can read about it here), but I became incresingly frustrated by the two day wait to get my medium format negs back.
After a while I found another lab, close to Aldgate East, that develops medium format on the same day for the amazing price of two pounds a roll, but unfortunately the negatives weren’t well looked after and I ended up with scratched and dirty negatives most of the time.
To be sure to have good speedy results at an affordable price, I decided to start developing my negatives at home.
I have been developing black and white negatives for a while now and I feel fairly comfortable loading my films in the changing bag and mixing chemicals, but I’ve never been too accurate with the procedure (agitations and temperature) because the process is quite forgiving and you can experiment with it.
On the other hand, colour processing is a standardized procedure that requires accurate temperature control and I was a bit worried about it as I am a bit messy and disorganised.
Then I’ve watched the video below (it’s really long, but totally worth watching if you think that C41 processing at home has to be super accurate) and I understood that it’s not so complicated and that I should put my fears aside and give it a try
Full of hopes I went to my usual film/chemicals pusher, Process Supplies, I bought a 1 litre C41 kit by Tetenal and I read gazillions of discussions on flickr regarding processing colour film at home.
My first experiment was a disaster because I didn’t agitate the tank enough and some areas of the film didn’t get developed (plus the camera used to shoot the film suffered some light leaks)
It does look kind of funky in some pictures tho 🙂
The second time I had a similar problem because there weren’t enough chemicals to cover the whole film and I was still too sloppy with my agitation method.
Finally I decided to agitate as I normally do when processing black and white film and tadaaam, success!
I would recommend to every photographer who shoots film and he’s concerned about money and the quality of his negs to give home processing a shot, it’s quite easy (it took me three attempts just because I’m proper slow eheh) and you’ll save lots of money and frustration.
You only need a changing bag to load the film(but you could do as well in a darkened room under the duvet), a tank, some spirals, the c41 kit (you can get it in 1 litre or 5 litres, the second one being the most cost effective), a thermometer, a washing up bowl and a kettle.
If you are interested I would recommend to read the following instructions/discussions, they’re quite illuminating
If, after reading all these instructions, you still have doubts, don’t hesitate to ask me anything in the comments: I know that it’s quite intimidating to process colour at home and I’m happy to help as much as I can.