However, many people succeed to produce excellent results following as close as possible the C-41 classic protocol. They already have experience on that, and they found themselves ways to control temperature and time with precision.
What disadvantages may I point to Dignan's 2-bath developer?
The first one is that you have to fight the color shift to magenta and low saturation. In my tests I came to the conclusion that you may reach better colors with a higher pH at the 2.nd bath. Dignan proposes a Potassium Carbonate bath at 5.3% with 0.5g/L of Potassium Bromide and Donald Quals suggest you may replace it with Sodium Carbonate, 4.3% of monohydrate, somehow easier to find. I prefered Potassium Carbonate like proposed by Dignan. On the other hand, Potassium Bromide require longer developing time, the suggested 6 minutes are not sufficient, you have to give much more. Because over-development will not occur, to be in the safe side I always let 30 minutes. And Potassium Bromide may be replaced with common table salt, 4g/liter.
For quite a long time I used Sodium Carbonate at the second bath and made color correction by digital post processing. But one day I tried to mix some drops of Sodium Hydroxide and I got very saturated colors without magenta shift. Then I discovered the original recipe and started using Potassium Carbonate.
The second disadvantage is the grain, I gave priority to the color shift but now that I am satisfied with the color, I started fighting grain. There is not much information about grain in C-41 process. No wonder because the development is standard, deviations to it are not allowed, if you get grain using classic C-41 developer kits, buy another one or change the film or the film speed. Many people report that over-exposure will lead to less grain, but with split developer I couldn't get any improvements.
Then I started thinking: why does grain form in C-41? The final image has no silver, so the grains are not due to silver grains but to dye spots. But the dyes form where silver was developed. If silver is developed without huge grains, dye spots will also be smaller, I thought. So, why not using Sulfite in the second bath as silver solvent, preventing silver grain/dye spots?
Yes! This supposition has been confirmed. I used following formula for the second bath:
5% Potassium Carbonate (50g/liter)
2% Sodium Sulfite (20g/liter)
0.4% Sodium Chloride (4g/liter)
Please enlarge picture to appreciate grain:
|Developed without sulfite|
|Developed with sulfite|