Fuji Hunt X-Press C41 chemicals – instructions

I’ve recently started using the Fujifilm C-41 Film X-Press Kit to process my colour negative film, to replace the Digibase C41 kit I’d previously used. I’ve been quite happy with the results so far, although more time is needed to establish whether there are any advantages over the Digibase kit.

Anyway the point of this post is that I lost my copy of the instructions which were included in the kit; I searched around the internet for a copy and couldn’t find an “official” source but did find a scanned copy, which was unfortunately a little difficult to read. So I distilled the main points, missed out the non-English language variants, and made my own table, which I thought I would publish here as a reference in case anyone else has the same problem.

Fuji Hunt C41 instructions

 

If you prefer a PDF version, click here

While I’m posting, I may as well show a few examples of images developed with these chemicals. All the images below were shot at St Abbs Harbour on medium format Portra 400 in a Fujifilm GA645Zi, developed in the Fuji kit with a Jobo CPE-2 processor, and scanned on an Epson v700 with ICE dust-removal turned on, and polished in Adobe Lightroom.

2015-8-30, GA645Zi, Portra 400, Fuji Hunt C41, St Abbs, 015

Harriet J

St Abbs harbour

2015-8-30, GA645Zi, Portra 400, Fuji Hunt C41, St Abbs, 008

2015-8-30, GA645Zi, Portra 400, Fuji Hunt C41, St Abbs, 001

Abstract painting2015-8-30, GA645Zi, Portra 400, Fuji Hunt C41, St Abbs, 007

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21 comments

  1. Those photos look really good! You’re the third person I’ve seen online to process his/her own C41. I’m intoxicated by the idea but keep not pulling the trigger.

    • Jim, providing you can accurately control the temperature of the colour developer, then it isn’t really any more difficult than B&W processing. I use a Jobo CPE-2 processor for temperature control, but it’s possible to do so with a water bath.

    • I’ve started developing my own C41 at home using the Fuji kit and second Kevin’s statement that it isn’t hard.

      I use a nine litre “Really Useful” box as my water bath, which also handily contains the bottles and Paterson tank for storage. I use a Novatronic submersible heater. Do some dummy runs until you get the setting on the heater right – markings are for (very) rough guidance only. Once it does what you need it to, don’t touch it again.

      Accurate temperature control is only needed for the developer, the subsequent stages work anywhere between 30 and 40 Celsius, although it does no harm and aids consistency to keep it all at or very close to the same temperature. Invest in an accurate thermometer that reads up to 50 Celsius. Even then, the rather alarming 37.8 +/- 0.15 Celsius specification is a bit over-tight and is really for developing shops with large machines. The much smaller thermal inertia of the home setup makes such precise control almost impossible, but I find that you can get away with anything between 36 and 40. My practice is to pour the developer when it reaches 38 and then switch off the heater. It’s worked so far…

      Other than a heater, precision thermometer and possibly plastic box, if you already develop your own B&W you’ve got everything you need.

      I would add that in some ways it is easier than B&W – there is only one standard developing regime and all C41 films work with it. You can develop different films in the same tank. I have developed Ilford XP2 black-and-white film alongside Kodak Portra at the same time in the same tank with no ill effects on either film. Bear in mind that C41 was developed to give consistency when the film was developed by non-specialist staff, it’s a VERY robust process.

      If you’re in the habit of using a one-shot B&W developer such as Ilfosol, C41 development can actually be cheaper per roll too.

      Pull that trigger, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Plus Boots won’t lose your film any more…

      • Thanks for your comment Eaun – some good tips there. Before I got a Jobo I loaded the tank and chemicals into a washing-up tray and used hot water, adding more as necessary until the developer was close to 38C, and as you say not worrying about the other chemicals. The main problem I had with this method, was that the bottles floated so didn’t get as much contact with the hot water as I would have liked.

    • Hi, sorry for the delay in replying. Yes – the instructions advise that you will get as many rolls from the bleach and fixer as you do from the developer, although others have suggested you will get 2-3 times the number of rolls through the bleach and fixer.

  2. Following your recommendation I have just picked up Fuji Kit, and am truly grateful for the above info. As I don’t get through film very quickly and the mixed solution shelf life isn’t very long I am planning on only mixing 500ml at a time. Using the developer as a one-shot seems excessively wasteful, how many rolls of 120 would you develop before discarding with a smaller quantity like that?

    Thanks for any advice you can offer a C41 newcomer

    • Hello Graeme, the answer depends upon the film format (35mm or 120), number of exposures (24 or 26 for 35mm), because the greater the surface area of the film in the tank, the more the chemicals get used up. Also, faster films (400-1600) use up the chemicals faster.

      As a rough guide, according to the Fuji recommendations, you should be able to get 8 films out of each 500ml batch. However, if all the films were 120-format films of ISO400 or above, then 4 films per 500ml would be achievable.

      I know that many photographers exceed these amounts, and presumably the manufacturers build a degree of safety into these recommendations, but I prefer to play safe and stick to these guides. If, like me, your developing is occasional, going above these numbers will increase the risk that the chemicals degrade because of time rather than over-use. I keep a spreadsheet recording the dates the chemicals were used, the films developed, and notes of any problems.

  3. This is really interesting, thank you. I’ve been developing B+W for a few months now and fancy having a crack at at colour now. Like others, I don’t get through a huge volume of film, so shelf-life is a big concern for me – I don’t want to waste lots of it!

    Once the chemicals have been mixed into a working solution, how long do they tend to last – in terms of time, not rolls – before you’ve got to discard them? I watched a YouTube video once that said that they were good for only a few hours.

    • Hello Alex. It certainly hasn’t been my experience that the chemicals need to be used within a few hours; my records show that the longest period between the first and last rolls out of a 500ml batch was six months !

    • With some products, a repackaged version may be obvious due to, for example, identical descriptions or packaging. The Fuji Hunt product is not obviously the same product as Digibase in such ways, and there are also differences in the way the chemicals are made up; Digibase includes a “starter” which is added to the colour developer but the Fuji Hunt kit does not.

  4. Great article, Kevin – thanks!
    I’ve read this is the best chemistry available out there for home use and I am tempted to try it. The problem is I shoot only a few rolls now and then and I’m worried about shelf life. I’m used to BW development but only developed 5 rolls of C41 film with the Digibase kit a couple of years ago and they were long expired so, I couldn’t even attest to the results color-wise.
    So, I’d like to ask you about the shelf life of the concentrated chems in their original bottles once they’re opened; do you have any idea?
    Thanks 🙂

  5. Nuno, as I noted in a previous reply, I have previously used a batch over periods of up to six months … but having said that the Fuji Hunt kits come in 5 litre size which is going to take a long time to get through. You could perhaps use the Firstcall pre-diluted packs for your first attempt. See http://www.firstcall-photographic.co.uk/firstcall-c-41-prediluted-kit-3x-500ml-softpack/p5157. These are the Digibase product re-packaged.

    In fact, I am currently using a combination of the Firstcall pre-diluted developer with the bleach and fix from Fuji Hunt pack – this works no problem. The reason I am doing this is that I spilt my remaining Part C bottle for the Fuji Hunt colour developer, but had plenty of the Fuji bleach and fix left.

  6. Spoke to the First call guys and ended up buying the Fuji Hunt kit and they mentioned checking you out in our conversation, as I was using the Tetenal kit before. So I am asking a dumb question before breaking open the kit and developing in anger. My first batch is going to be some Portra 400, 2 of XP2s and 2 of Ektar 100, 11 in total. The above chart that you have produced is great and better than the worn out photocopy received in the kit:). The final table for the 400 asa films states 8 rolls per cycle and times for 4 of cycles and a capacity of 32 rolls. Does that mean I can get only 32 400 asa films per 5 litres?

    • Hi Mark, You raise an interesting question. First, these are the figures quoted by the manufacturer and I don’t have enough experience with the kit, using all the different combinations of film speed and size, to validate the manufacturer recommendations, It does seem strange to me that it should be possible to develop 72 35mm * 36 exposure ISO400 films but only 32 120 films at the same ISO. After all, the film area of a 120 roll isn’t all that different from the film area of a 36 exposure film. So I have to wonder if there’s a mistake in the Fuj info. The best advice I can give is, when you get to higher numbers of films through the chemicals, you proceed with caution and perhaps develop a single film and see the results before putting 3 or more films together in a tank.

      More generally, there are folks on the internet who delight in seeing how many rolls they can process over and above the manufacturer recommendations. I prefer not to push these things too far but the recommendations are probably conservative.

  7. Hi there, thanks for all the useful information. I’m using Tetenals C-41 kit to process my 120 negs. Would you say its worth switching to the Fujifilm developer kit? I’ve also heard Kodak has a kit that is supposed to be good but seems harder to find in the UK, anyone out there with any knowledge? Thanks

    • Hi Ahmet, you should get longer shelf-life from the Fuji Hunt kit, but I couldn’t prove that the resulting images are any different – it is a standardised process after all. I’ve never seen the Kodak kit.

      • Hi Kevin. I have now used the Fujifilm Xpress C-41 kit to process 18 120 Kodak Portra 400 rolls with my Jobo CPE2+. My initial observation is that the Fuji chemicals are much more consistent than the Tetenal especially with the second tank of 6 rolls. With the Tetenal I would start to see some miss colourations when doing the second tank of film with the first batch of chemicals. The Fuji process requires a little more work, when mixing the chems and processing, than the Tetenal mix but it seems the results are worth it so I will continue using the Fuji from now. Hope it helps anyone out there wondering about the two brands.

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