The standard way to process color photographic film (in the US, at least - the photo shop here wouldn't touch a roll I got in Germany because it didn't say C-41 on it, though it was exactly the same film). The exposed film, containing three layers (RGB) of silver halide crystals & color couplers, is developed, reducing the silver halide crystals that have been exposed to light to metallic silver. During this process, the surrounding color couplers are transformed into dye (of a color opposite that of their layer, ie CMY). Bleach is then used to change the silver into a form which is then dissolved by the fixer. Finally, the film is rinsed to remove all traces of the silver and you have a negative.

the C-41 developing process

The C-41 is a photographic process that develops color negative film (i.e what you usually buy when you buy film). The result of this process is that the film is resistant to light, and it can be printed onto photographic paper.

The process involves a series of baths (First Development, Stop, Fix, Bleach, Colour Development, Bleach and Fix bath) , designed to "burn" the grain to the film (developing), and to make sure the film doesn't react to light (fix)

The resulting negative has an orange mask (that is why processed C-41 film looks orange), which makes it easier for the printing machines to copy from the negative to the paper.

There is no difference in process whether the film to be developed is 135 (35mm), 110 or APS film

Other processes:


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