Warning up front. I am obsessed with junkyard cars evidently.
I very recently started developing color film at home. Tried it once to prove to myself I could do it.
Hold on folks. One could make the theoretical argument that in addition to the advantages of no wait time develop when you want to one could say that it is starting to make a bit of economic sense also. Especially if scanning is factored in.
Cinestill Cs41 development chemical kit costs $29.99. Color film development is $5 a pop at my local camera shop which is beyond reasonable for those who have no desire to go the DIY route. But multiply that by the 9 rolls I have developed and we are at $45. $15 more than the kit. And I still have rolls of film to go. Up to 15 more if done before the chemicals expire. So if one used the kit fully that would be the equivalent shop development cost of $120 all in. Or roughly $90 more than the Cinestill kit. That nearly pays for the Cinestill TCS1000 heater/mixer dealie.
Film scanning is $10 a roll at my local camera shop. With that my good old Epson V600 has long paid for itself over the last few years. With just these 9 color film rolls alone, not counting the B&W film I have also developed recently, it is on its way to paying for itself yet again at $90 saved.
All that being said cost is not the reason why I enjoy developing my own color film. Shooting film as a whole could hardly be put forward as an exercise in budgetary practicality. But within the artificial relevance construct that is film photography, there are other reasons that motivate me more.
- Impatience. Finished a roll yesterday, Sunday. Shop does not open until Tuesday. With a one day typical turnaround I would get negatives back on Wednesday. Mailing it out would take even longer with no local camera shop chit-chat. Here I shot the film Sunday and developed it that same night. In the comfort of my own home with no additional travel time.
- Added therapy. If shooting film is therapeutic, developing and scanning film is even more so for me. While developing film is not all that hard really focus is rewarded. I once tried to multi-task while developing B&W and it almost went really badly. Due to the forgiveness of B&W development I fixed it, but a bit more concentration is needed where color film is involved. This makes for a great distraction.
- Hit it Ms. Jackson. Control! For better or worse how well or badly it goes is 100% dependent upon me. Granted this brings a risk of disappointment if things go badly, but it feels great when things go well. From the moment the roll goes into the camera to the moment when that film scan comes up on the screen, it is all you and I find that very rewarding.
On to the photos.
This go around I used Kodak Portra 400. While at the camera shop a while ago I wondered aloud what color film to use and more than one person blurted out Porta 400. So I bought some Portra 400. It has been a while since I used it,…
…but they were right to suggest it.
I really cannot say enough good things about this camera. Had the G1 and its significantly more expensive sibling, the G2, and the G1 did it for me. Have compared this camera to another camera with a bit of a cult following.
Have also owned camera from more sought after brands…
but the G1 does it for me. Stellar image quality, solid build, great ergonimics, solid AF, no miss metering… Ok. I’ll stop myself since the camera is not the point here… other than to say one could spend a whole lot more money and not take a a better picture. And if you take AF off of the table Contax has another camera with the same advantages for much less spend than this. <ahem> Task at hand and all that…
Developed at home.
Once again the negatives came out great using Cinestill CS41.
On to the photos.
Nothing Earth-shattering. Just some images to burn through a roll of one of my favorites films. And as mentioned above I swung by some old cars on display outside of a junkyard. Also managed to get a few shots of my son while I was at it. In short good fun. Here are all 37 images (G1 squeezes out an extra frame consistently) including a shot with a strange aberration in frame (User error. Was reaching a bit.). Not sure what happened, but I kind of like it anyway.
Result? Same as last time. A film I already like with additional surface area had to be a win and it was.