Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Will Jobo home C-41 processing save money?

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    95
    Post Thanks / Like

    Will Jobo home C-41 processing save money?

    I still occasionally shoot color negs for personal work, and when I do, I tend to shoot, say, 20 rolls of 120 film at once (travel / documentary work). The processing costs add up at the lab.

    So I'm considering getting a used Jobo CPP2 and processing at home. Will this ultimately be a money saver? Let's say I shoot and process an average of 15-20 rolls of 120 every three months (and only process once every three months). Will the chemicals go bad, so that my saved lab fees are dwindling due to wasted chemicals? Are there other factors to consider? I'm assuming the chemicals are fairly cheap to buy.

    thanks in advance,
    ethan

  2. #2
    Senior Member mathomas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,148
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will Jobo home C-41 processing save money?

    Do you plan to scan yourself, or would the lab do that too? If you plan to do your own scanning after developing your own film, I'll just quote an old computer geek saying: "Linux [the computer Operating System] is only free if your time is of no value".

    I had a Jobo offered to me. I turned it down because developing (though admittedly I only do one or two rolls of B&W at a time) is not the hard part. It's the scanning that beats me down.

    Sorry I can't be more helpful. I'm sure others will weigh in with more useful comments.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    35
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will Jobo home C-41 processing save money?

    Hello Ethan,
    Having owned a photo lab for 15 years I would advise against doing your own c41 processing for several reasons.
    1. You will be purchasing c41 chemistry in 1 gallon kits. if you look at the cost of kits And the amount of film they can process I think you will find the chemistry costs alone will be about $3.00 per roll.
    2. after you mix the chemistry there is no way It will last the three months between uses. So you will need to use the entire gallon as saving it for the next session is not feasible.
    3. It can be rather time consuming considering that you must load each roll of film onto a spindle in the dark without kinking it. so even if the processing time is only about 15 minutes the whole process is not all that quick.
    4. I don't know about Jobos but I have used photo therms for processing E6 and The processor did a rotten job of drying the film, we always had to soak the film in photo flo after processing and hang it to dry.
    I don't know what your lab charges but I would think really hard before going out a buying a processor.
    Hope this helps.
    Mike
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    95
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will Jobo home C-41 processing save money?

    Quote Originally Posted by mathomas View Post
    Do you plan to scan yourself, or would the lab do that too? If you plan to do your own scanning after developing your own film, I'll just quote an old computer geek saying: "Linux [the computer Operating System] is only free if your time is of no value".

    I had a Jobo offered to me. I turned it down because developing (though admittedly I only do one or two rolls of B&W at a time) is not the hard part. It's the scanning that beats me down.

    Sorry I can't be more helpful. I'm sure others will weigh in with more useful comments.
    Thanks, Mike. I do my own scanning. I have a drum scanner. There's a steep learning curve to use it, and it can be a pain, but the results are terrific and completely different from what I get with my MF digital back.

    But you make a good point about it only being free if one's time is of no value. And time is what I'm most short on. Really appreciate the input.

    ethan
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    95
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will Jobo home C-41 processing save money?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Z View Post
    Hello Ethan,
    Having owned a photo lab for 15 years I would advise against doing your own c41 processing for several reasons.
    1. You will be purchasing c41 chemistry in 1 gallon kits. if you look at the cost of kits And the amount of film they can process I think you will find the chemistry costs alone will be about $3.00 per roll.
    2. after you mix the chemistry there is no way It will last the three months between uses. So you will need to use the entire gallon as saving it for the next session is not feasible.
    3. It can be rather time consuming considering that you must load each roll of film onto a spindle in the dark without kinking it. so even if the processing time is only about 15 minutes the whole process is not all that quick.
    4. I don't know about Jobos but I have used photo therms for processing E6 and The processor did a rotten job of drying the film, we always had to soak the film in photo flo after processing and hang it to dry.
    I don't know what your lab charges but I would think really hard before going out a buying a processor.
    Hope this helps.
    Mike
    Mike Z --

    This is great info. Yeah, I looked up the chemistry costs, and it seemed to come out around $3/roll. My lab (The Icon, in L.A.) charges $8/roll (processing only), which is completely fair, and I'd like them to stay in business. I used to develop my own B&W film, so I'm familiar with the time involved in loading rolls on to reels, etc. You make a good point about how that time adds up. I think I've made my decision. Thanks.

    ethan

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Reykjavik, Iceland
    Posts
    2,310
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    9

    Re: Will Jobo home C-41 processing save money?

    Hi Ethan,
    I run a small custom lab in Iceland, and I have had experience processing C41 and E6 in a Jobo CPP2. I would agree with Mike that, while possible, it is probably not worth the effort. Tetenal makes some C41 and E6 kits in smaller quantities, so if you do decide to do it, you should look into that route. While I think home black and white processing is an economical and reasonable choice, home c41 processing is more for people who really enjoy the technical side of photography and find the act of processing itself fun. While C41 is not all that tricky, the chemicals are less stable and more expensive than their black and white counterparts, and the process is more finicky since it has to be run at a high temperature and with short developing times (sometimes it can be tricky to get very even development for sheet film or 120 when using rotary tubes and short development times). Given 8 dollars a roll from a real lab, I think it is quite a reasonable expense...

    For what it's worth, I no longer develop color film for people as I found that the costs and effort of manual processing were so high and the possible fees I could charge were so low, that I never once made money doing it. Iceland is a bit of a special case since it is a very low volume/high materials cost market, but if you can find someone who will properly develop your film for less than 10 dollars a roll, I would still think that was a very good deal. With a Jobo, another consideration is that you will not likely be able to do more than 5 rolls an hour. Doing 15-20 rolls will likely take you at least half a day for the processing alone.
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
    My lab is here: http://www.customphotolab.is and on facebook

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    95
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will Jobo home C-41 processing save money?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    Hi Ethan,
    I run a small custom lab in Iceland, and I have had experience processing C41 and E6 in a Jobo CPP2. I would agree with Mike that, while possible, it is probably not worth the effort. Tetenal makes some C41 and E6 kits in smaller quantities, so if you do decide to do it, you should look into that route. While I think home black and white processing is an economical and reasonable choice, home c41 processing is more for people who really enjoy the technical side of photography and find the act of processing itself fun. While C41 is not all that tricky, the chemicals are less stable and more expensive than their black and white counterparts, and the process is more finicky since it has to be run at a high temperature and with short developing times (sometimes it can be tricky to get very even development for sheet film or 120 when using rotary tubes and short development times). Given 8 dollars a roll from a real lab, I think it is quite a reasonable expense...

    For what it's worth, I no longer develop color film for people as I found that the costs and effort of manual processing were so high and the possible fees I could charge were so low, that I never once made money doing it. Iceland is a bit of a special case since it is a very low volume/high materials cost market, but if you can find someone who will properly develop your film for less than 10 dollars a roll, I would still think that was a very good deal. With a Jobo, another consideration is that you will not likely be able to do more than 5 rolls an hour. Doing 15-20 rolls will likely take you at least half a day for the processing alone.
    Stuart -- thanks so much for the insightful reply. Very helpful info. I do intend to continue to process B&W occasionally at home, but I'll leave color to the lab. I value my time, and I'd like to help keep the lab in business as well.

    Thanks again.

    best,
    ethan

  8. #8
    Senior Member PenSon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    259
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2

    Re: Will Jobo home C-41 processing save money?

    Lower temperature and longer developing times. More control over the development ��. 30C temp - development time 8 minutes - bleach fix 6 minutes -for the first 1-4 films.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    449
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will Jobo home C-41 processing save money?

    Quote Originally Posted by epforever View Post
    Stuart -- thanks so much for the insightful reply. Very helpful info. I do intend to continue to process B&W occasionally at home, but I'll leave color to the lab. I value my time, and I'd like to help keep the lab in business as well.

    Thanks again.

    best,
    ethan
    I think you have been talked out of doing your own C41 by misinformation.

    1 litre Tetenal C41 kits will do about 15-20 films and the kit costs about 18 ($30?)

    You don't need a Jobo tank, and ordinary Paterson tank will do fine.

    True enough if you have a pile of film to process you would want to go to a lab, but do you have a pile of film? Who has a pile of film?? Process as you shoot the film, don't let it become a pile....

    Film can be processed at 30c (not much warmer than for B&W) which doesn't affect the results at all and helps with consistency. But even so if you got the temperature out a little bit your film will not self destruct, I have seen some real howlers of mistakes and there is still a perfectly printable/scan-able negative at the end of it.

    If you have a Paterson tank what you need extra that you may not already have are three one litre bottles for the re-usable chemicals, a small washing up bowl to use as a water bath to keep your chemicals in, a fish tank heater that goes above 30c, and a Tetenal C41 kit, that's all.

    It is as easy to do as processing B&W, and with all the freedom to know you can have a roll or two processed and ready to scan within 90 minutes, you don't have to drive into town, and you don't need to wait for the postman.


    Steve

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    63
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will Jobo home C-41 processing save money?

    "It is as easy to do as processing B&W[/U], and with all the freedom to know you can have a roll or two processed and ready to scan within 90 minutes, you don't have to drive into town, and you don't need to wait for the postman."

    Steve
    ****
    Just started doing C-41 this week after thinking about doing it for 6 months. Finally sucked it up, shot some Prova around the yardand fired up the Jobo. After all of my procrastination, it is quite easy to do. I was initially concerned about wasting chemicals but decided to just mix enough for the Jobo tank rather than doing the whole liter. I am using a CPE2 with a lift, which is perfect size for MF film. C-41 is easier than B&W, one process, same times for any film type or speed. With the Jobo, the actual hands on time commitment is <30" if the chems are mixed. From my first week experience, development is a minor time investment compared to scanning and post processing.

    Steve
    Likes 2 Member(s) liked this post

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    449
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Will Jobo home C-41 processing save money?

    Glad it worked Steve, I think it's very satisfying to be able to process your own colour, it gives us lots of freedom.

    As regards my 90 minutes comment, it was an exaggeration but I wanted to make it a reasonable time if people were mixing the chemicals for the first time and going over the instructions ten times and included a drying time. When it's all ready the actual time for C41 in a Paterson tank is similar to the Jobo, maximum with older chemicals is around 40 minutes and around 22 minutes if the chemicals are fresh, these times include pre-heat and rinse.

    Steve

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •