Pull Processing C-41…Am I totally crazy?

Why would anyone pull C-41? Aren’t the times and temperatures ultra critical?

Well, one might do it to experiment and see what happens. The Unicolor/Tetanol instructions give times for push processing (but don’t really recommend it), but the general consensus seems to be that shortening the time, or lowering the temperature would cause horrible problems, though I’ve developed at temperatures as high as 103 or so and as low as 100 or 101 without any problems at all.

So when I discovered that I’d shot most of a roll of 200 speed Digibase at EI 50 (after a failure to reset the ISO after shooting the Polypan F), I panicked a bit, then decided that the film probably had the latitude to handle 2 stops of overexposure across the board, and then I decided to go ahead and try to pull it… Why not?

Here are my times:

  • Soak: 2:00 above 102F
  • Develop: 2:40 at 102F, agitations at 0:40, then 4 gentle inversions every 30 seconds
  • Blix: 6:30, agitations at 30 second intervals
  • Wash: 2 minutes
  • Stabilize: 1 minute

tl;dr drop development time to 2:40. No further changes.

Other than a slight loss of contrast in the reds of the bricks and some of the leaves in this one, and some very slightly altered colors in the rest of the roll, it worked fine.

That was the trickiest one to get, but the scans from most everything else was relatively easy to process in Capture One, with maybe a tiny bit of extra tweaking of r/g/b levels, and maybe even forays into the white balance panel (actually, I found that using the color picker to select the area between sprocket holes gets pretty close, and clicking around a bit in the base areas gets white balance very close: this is very different from white balance in Lightroom, and had I found it earlier, my color might be a bit more accurate…)

My darling wife came out as adorable as ever.

Early morning bokeh balls are bouncy and colorful.

The shadows went a bit magenta in some, and I couldn’t pull it out without losing the color in the sky, but still not bad.

And some shots just came out beautiful…

Alhamdulillah my experiment worked!

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