Tag Archives: c41

Bleach Bypass processing

I was idly reading through the I Shoot Film forums on Flickr yesterday on the way home, when someone mentioned a process called “bleach bypass”. I’d heard of it before but didn’t really understand how to do it, or what the effects would be. A few clicks later and I realised that it’s actually pretty simple if you’re already set up for C41 and B&W development.

When I got home the sun was still out, so I threw some cheap film (yes, I still have stacks of expired Ferrania 200) into my trusty Yashica and headed out to take some local shots as the sun was setting. The light meter on the camera was telling me that it was quite bright, which I didn’t believe (sunny 16 at 7.30pm in the UK in April?!) so I increased exposure slightly – in hindsight I should have trusted the meter as a lot of the shots were quite overexposed.

Yashica Minister II <- My trusty Yashica Minister II


Normally with colour development I use the Tetenal 1l kit, which is a 3-bath system – colour developer, “blix” (a mixture of bleach and fixer) and stabiliser. To do the bleach bypass I had to replace the blix with a B&W fixer (I use Ilford rapid fixer 1+4). I also added an extra rinse between the developer and the fixer as I didn’t want to contaminate my fixer.

One thing I struggled with was temperatures which no-one seems to discuss – the colour developer works best at exactly 100F, but I don’t normally use the fixer at those temperatures. However, I know from reading that you’re supposed to keep temperatures roughly consistent while developing as film emulsion doesn’t react well to sudden temperature changes, so I decided to heat everything (including the rinse water) to around 100F before starting.

I ended up with this recipe:

  1. Colour developer for 3.45 minutes @ 100F (mine is quite exhausted)
  2. Rinse for 4 minutes @ ~100F
  3. Ilford Rapid Fixer 1+4 for 4 minutes @ 100F
  4. Rinse for 4 minutes @ ~100F
  5. Stabiliser for 1.5 minutes @ ~100F

Next time round, I’m going to rinse the fixer for much longer – I realise I normally do this for 10 minutes with B&W and I’ve ended up with a lot of gunk on the negatives, so maybe this is why.


As the negatives dried I was glad to see some recognisable images coming through with patches of colour, so at least it vaguely worked. However, scanning them as normal colour negatives proved problematic – the scanner really struggled to find the images, and even when it did it was unable to get the contrast right – I’ve never had this problem before with the scanner so I’m guessing the extra silver in the negative must really be confusing it.

In the end I found some hints on the web suggesting scanning as colour positive, then inverting and adjusting in Photoshop – this worked brilliantly, using “auto-tone” in Photoshop to bring out the colours.

The Results

The end results are.. well.. you decide! I’m quite pleased with them for a first attempt, although I think I can do better. Many of the shots were over-exposed, and the bleach bypass enhances the over-exposed parts as well, so they didn’t work very well. However, some worked just fine, and the grain is much finer than with my colour-film-in-black-and-white experiments.

Here they are – streaks, fingerprints, dust and cat hair included for free:

The Horsebridge Masts Harbour Huts Starvation Point Steps

– click on the images to see higher resolutions on Flickr.



It worked! My first home-developed film…

So, I’ve got some water streaks, especially towards the bottom of the film where it was hanging (these might rinse out if I could be bothered to put it back through some Photoflo solution) and a few random development artefacts but on the whole I think this is a real success! The random colours are what the scanner decided they should be – I like them that way so I left it – these are unprocessed 1200dpi scans straight off the Epson V500 using Epson’s scanning software.

I’m really pleased with the Yashica too – it was well worth the effort of fixing it, and maybe worth a bit more of my time to get it working more reliably.


I’ll put higher resolution scans of the best ones up on Flickr later in the week when I’ve got more time – right now it’s way past my bedtime (plus I think Lynne will kill me if I wake her up with the scanner again) and I have to go to work in the morning!

For reference here’s the recipe I used, a hybrid of many different ones I found on the web. The film is supposedly Ferrania 200 (I guess Solaris), rebadged as “Capital Plus”, but in theory all C41 films have the same development time as long as you shoot them at the speed on the box so this should be pretty generic:

  • Presoak in water (3 mins warm 35°C, 2 mins 20°C)
  • Develop 1:50 APH 09 (6ml in 300ml) for 15 mins at 20°C. Agitate 15 times slowly to start (30 seconds) then 3 times every minute by slow inversion not twisting
  • Stop with 5 water rinses and agitation
  • Fix (Ilford Rapid Fixer 1:4) for 5 mins (agitate for 30 seconds then at intervals, not critical)
  • Rinse many times with running water, for at least 10 minutes. 
  • Final rinse use a few drops of photoflo (wetting agent)
  • 2 hours drying time, hanging in the bathroom


Developing C41 film in Adox Adolux APH 09 (Rodinal)

If you know anything about film developing you might be confused by the title of this post – C41 film is the standard colour negative film most people are used to (stuff like Kodak Gold, for example), while Rodinal is a classic (very old formula) black-and-white film developing fluid.

So, why do this? Furthermore, why on earth did I choose this as my first ever attempt at self-developing a film?!

I’ve been getting into film photography for the last couple of months. I think I’ve run out of steam with my digital stuff for the moment – I’m sure I’ll go back to it soon and I still rely on it for anything “important”, but I seem to have stagnated in terms of subject matter and style – I can’t see anything different in my pictures from this year than last year, or the year before. So, I’ve bought a random selection of very cheap film cameras from eBay and I’ve been putting various random films through them, with substantially varying results! I’ve also bought a big box of ultra-cheap C41 film (re-badged Ferrania 200), mainly so I can test out all these cameras without wasting too much money.

Getting C41 film processsed is still surprisingly easy and cheap, even in this digital age – my local Tesco Extra does development (process-only) in under an hour for less than £1, and corner shops like Kodak Express and Snappy Snaps will do it quickly enough, although they charge a bit more. However, none of these places will process black-and-white film on the premises, they all send it off. That means it takes longer, and in most cases costs more. For this reason, I’ve been thinking for the last few weeks about learning to develop my own black and white film – lots of people seem to do it with great success, and it gives you a lot more control over the whole process.

My plans have been brought forward by the fact I managed to completely snap a film inside one of these old cameras – a Yashica Minister II that has definitely seen better days. Although I’ve mostly managed to get it working (including clearing lots of bits of broken glass from inside the rangefinder!) it’s still a bit flakey and the rewind sticks sometimes. So, when it stopped mid-rewind I gave it a bit of extra pressure. It turns out that the gearing ratio must be tremendous as I’d actually reached the end of the film, and the extra pressure tore the film down the middle!

This left me with a quandary – I couldn’t wind the film back into the canister as it had snapped near the end of the film, so there was no way to even get it out of the camera without exposing the whole lot, losing all the pictures, let alone get it to a development shop. Around the same time, almost purely by chance I came across the Colour Films Developed In B/W Chemicals group on Flickr, which gave me my answer. After an awful lot of research on the web, I decided that Rodinal (or a Rodinal-based developer) was the way I wanted to go for black and white, and it seemed to be fine for the occasional C41 development too. Of course, developing C41 in Rodinal gives you black-and-white negatives, not colour.. except that occasionally Rodinal does develop a tiny bit of some of the colour as well, so we’ll see what happens.

This has all happened quickly – I broke the film on friday night (trying to finish it up so I could take it in for development on Saturday). On Sunday I ordered all the chemicals and equipment, which arrived today (Tuesday), and this evening I’ve developed my first film!

I’m writing this as the negatives are drying – so far it looks like the development has worked a treat – the pictures look clear and sharp to the naked eye, which is doubly good news as it means the Yashica is working well, otherwise they’d be wrongly exposed. But, the final proof will be once I get them on to the scanner.  Watch this space!