Contax 645 and a C-41 film from hell

Lisbon is not a big city but when it comes to develop C-41 120mm film, I can think about 4 or 5 places where I can get the job done. Some of those places take about a week, some take about two weeks and some take about an hour.

A few months ago I was asked to shoot the “making of” of a session for a magazine. That means I was only there to capture some behind the scenes moments.

I did the job, left the film in a “pro” lab and two days later the film was ready and this is what I got. Two shots I could use after a long cleaning work in Photoshop. I gave up on the rest. Things like this pisses me of.

After this all my color films travel 600km into the hands of a friend and excellent professional. Some of you might think that 600km is not that far but we are talking about Portugal which is 850km long!

My friend Raúl delivers immaculate negatives well developed and well taken care of, without a spec of dust or stains of any kind.  He is an example of someone who takes real pride about what he does. I admire and trust him for that.

Take a look at his place in the beautiful city of Oporto.


Fairly decent clean negative

The other decent clean negative

The other decent clean negative

Untitled-19Screen shot 2013-11-06 at 11.28.50 PM


Untitled-21Screen shot 2013-11-07 at 9.36.16 PM


Untitled-20Screen shot 2013-11-06 at 10.10.52 PM

  1. jeremy north said:

    The Contax 645 is my favourite camera. What a pity these scans were not made with the same care and attention as the photographs!
    Why did you not return them to be re done?

    • Jeremy, I scanned the film myself, some of the hairs and dust came off after a second wash of the negatives at home, some of the stains didn’t.
      The whole film had these pinhead white spots all over. I’m an experienced Photoshop user and it was hell to get rid of it even with all the usual filters.

      Next Saturday I’m going to Oporto to buy some C-41 chemistry and give it a go at home.

  2. I know the feeling – dust spots from drying films in the bathroom. Really frustrating.

    • I admit I have an almost pathological obsession with dust and stains. I don’t mind if it is my own doing on my personal stuff but when it comes to work it’s very frustrating.

  3. Chris said:

    Hello Cooking film.

    I really like your blog. Love the pictures too. For what it is worth I am delighted you use film. I can’t afford a Contax 645 but my best buddy has one (above). My standard films are Tri-X and Tmax stand developed in dilute HC-110 for an hour. I develop my own film, OK, BW is easy. In the past I have developed colour, temperature and timing is critical, but apart from that it is also easy. The thrill of removing your own negs from the developing tank is rewarding. You must have a go! I am visiting relatives in Lagos this December, I am bringing stacks of film with me.

    Keep up the good work!

    Best Regards

    Wye Photography

    • Thank you for stopping by my friend and thank you for such kind words.
      I’m now the proud owner of a C-41 kit! Still in the box though but I will plunge into the world of color developing very soon.
      There’s nothing like controlling the process ourselves. I will make a lot of mistakes I’m sure, but every mistake will be my own doing and I will learn from it.
      Step by step I will get there. 🙂

      Lagos? I have family in Lagos! Such a cool place with the most beautiful beaches in Algarve even in the winter. If you have never been there I’m sure you will love the place.

      Thank you again for the kind words.

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