Develop your Color Film at Home - Shopping List

Film Photography Apr 26, 2021

I regularly get asked what kind of equipment is required for developing color film (C41) at home. So I thought it is a good idea to put together a list of things I would recommend getting started with!

This list is based on my personal experience with developing color films at home for roughly a year now. It's exactly the gear I use for my home development sessions.

In the following, I will link to a German online shop called Fotoimpex Berlin. I bought all my development equipment there. No affiliate links, no sponsorship, nothing. Just a personal recommendation! Of course, you can buy your stuff wherever you like!

Development Tank + Reels

I would recommend getting a development tank for three rolls of 35mm film. This size allows you to develop three rolls of 35mm film at the same time while utilising the whole litre of chemicals included in most kits.

And of course, you need three reels as well!

PATERSON Film Developing Tank 3x35mm without Reels - analogue photography
Paterson System 5 drip-free film developing tank Very good film developing tank from Paterson in England. Patented large rubber lid that really seals itself to the tank. ...
AP plastic spiral for tank - analogue photography
The film reels are of very high quality and operate with ball bearings. Width can be adjusted for medium format or 35mm film.

Changing Bag

A proper changing bag for loading your film onto the reels.

PATERSON Changing Bag: 70,0x70,0 cm - analogue photography
Paterson Changing Bag The on-the-road darkroom Irreplaceable for large format, high-speed, and for roll-film users who want extra light protection when inserting film in ...

Temperature Control System

You need to keep the temperature of your film and chemicals at 39°C during development. So you need a way of controlling the temperature! I personally use the CineStill Temperature Control System.

CINESTILL CS “Temperature Control System” TCS - 1000 - analogue photography
Developing film at home just got a whole lot simpler with the CineStill TCS-1000 Immersion Circulator Thermostat. Whether you are developing black and white, color ...

Storage Bottles, Measuring Cups & Funnels

You also need some bottles storing your mixed chemicals. Please use proper bottles for storing your chemicals!

For easy pouring you'll need some funnels as well!

FOTOIMPEX Wide-Mouth Plastic Chemical Bottle 1000ml White - analogue photography
These bottles are made for storing your lab-chemicals best was possible. Because of the large opening, they are easy to fill. The plastic is manufactured in multiple ...
KAISER Funnel - analogue photography
The Shop for analogue photography. Stocking more than 3.000 items for photography. Fast shipping and excellent customer service are always included. Downtown store in ...
ADOX Measuring cup 1000 ml - analogue photography
High-quality Adox measuring cup Graduated measurements in milliliters and liters This measuring cup has three water level markings with information about dilutions to ...

C41 Chemicals

I personally use the kit from CineStill! I think it's easy to mix and use. So far I did not use any other kit. So I don't have a proper comparison.

CINESTILL CS41 Color Simplified Quart Kit - analogue photography
Processing your own color film doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive! This liquid chemical, two bath processing kit can be used at a variety of temperatures with ...

Things which make your life easier

A proper thermometer for checking the temperature of your chemicals.

PATERSON Colour Thermometer - analogue photography
Large, professional thermometer for color processing. Precise enough to measure exactly 38.5 °C. 30 cm long. 15 to 65° C. Mercury-free.

A film retriever for preloading your development reels

AP Film retriever - analogue photography
Film retriever to pull the film out of the cartridge if you wind it back to far. The only model that we’ve found that really works. Three plastic “lips” are pushed into ...

Film clips for drying your film

AP Plastic Film Clips (Pair) - analogue photography
Film clips to hang films. The bottom clip is weighted, both clips have small plastic spikes so that the film hangs straight. The hinges are also from plastic (and ...


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