Don’t develop ORWOcolor (ORWO color) in C-41

3 Feb

ORWOcolor in C-41 is murder.

ORWO color destroyed

ORWO color destroyed in C-41

It is confirmed now.
Do not develop  ORWO or Svema films in C-41 chemistry.
It worse than a crime again humanity. I did it and feel sorry about destroying a film – but I did because I was deceived.

Orwo color developed in native chemistry

Orwo color developed in native chemistry

Orwocolor film test – the catastrophe and an official confirmation of long standing suspicions disproved or rather proved.

Four experiments were running concurrently
I sacrificed an ORWO Orwoclor NC 19 film for C-41 process.
I ran a test drive of Ihagee Exa (success, the Saxon photographic machine…. works, sounds like the name for a company Saxon Photographic Machine Works – )   Die Sächsische Fotografische Maschinenwerke , no does not sound good).
I test a Ferrania film (Solaris, 12 exposure roll)
and I put a strip of Tasma film to see how it behaves in Caffenol. Not bad.

I’ve been hearing fairy tales and stories of people developing ORWOcolor and Russian Svema film stock in C-41 chemistry.  What I saw were the scans of images that were grey, brownish and had almost no color in them, these were all ugly   monochromes or at best bichromes.  Colors looked weird but perhaps the film just went back, I thought, or who knows what happened to it. On the other hand intelligent people said in forums that the developer (CD1, CD2 and CD3 – CD is color developer, and the ORWO and Soviet Svema used the oldest one CD1 which is N,N-Diethy1-1,4-Phenylene Diamine Sulfate while C-41 has CD4 which is (3-Methy1-4-Amino-N-Ethyl-N-(2-Hydroxyethyl) Aniline Sulfate(Monohydrate) and should work similarly – or so I read.  They don’t. ORWOcolor and Svema films should be developed in their own chemistry and not in the C-41 soup.

DO NOT develop ORWOcolor or any pre CNS Agfacolor or Russian Svema color films or anything else that traces its origin from the old Agfa negative color films in C-41 chemistry.
Not just the emulsion might melt – it might – you will destroy the film.  You will get no colors but garbage. The film that those people develop in C-41 is just butchered, senselessly, the  deceived lomography herd is of course the most vicious sect committed to destroying good stuff with their guiding principle of the worse but really, really save the film either as a memento – keep it in refrigerator for future use – or process it in the “native chemistry”.

ORWOcolor (non C-41) would be compatible with a range of other films like all Soviet color Svema, British Ilfocolor, Japanese Sakulor (pre 1980s) and all Agfacolor films up to CNS.

Contact me if you want to process old film or want to do it on your own and need chemicals.  But please don’t butcher it in the C-41.


18 Responses to “Don’t develop ORWOcolor (ORWO color) in C-41”

  1. Andre May 9, 2012 at 11:47 #

    Hi, I just required a ORWO NC19 exposed film. I was about to develop in c-41 when i saw your page…..
    Do you have some info on the chemicals needed for development and the process specifics?

    thanks in advance, Andre

    • photoroobit May 9, 2012 at 16:55 #

      Andre, are you in Holland? Two options – buy a kit online (shop on Ebay) but get also like four more rolls of film because one is sufficient for processing about five rolls. Send film to me for development (in a couple of months, I don’t have time for it now). Buying chemicals separately would set you back about 400 – 400 euros (I mean raw chemicals, and minimum quantity is like a 1 kilo for some chemicals) and would be sufficient to develop like over 1000 rolls of film. Dank u.

      • Andre May 10, 2012 at 00:21 #


        Yes I’m in Holland, close to Amsterdam.

        Ok, I’ll look for akit on ebay or send it to you in a while.

        Groet, Andre

  2. vytautas ambrazas November 21, 2012 at 02:35 #

    Those are superb colors!!! I’m extremely impressed!!! I will be asking you for help developing ORWO films, if I may.

    • photoroobit November 23, 2012 at 14:54 #

      Sure, if you happen to be in Lithuania then look around for old developing kits for negative color film, either those from the ORWO or the Soviet stuff, They are quite rare so if you’d have find a huge stash then let me in, I’ll contribute to the acquisition. Otherwise, I would of course be happy either to develop film for you or later out together a do-it-yourself kit using Agacolor/Orwo formulas but the minimum batch I would mix the stuff is probably a liter which is safely enough to develop 10 rolls of film, any smaller quantity gets tricky because the measurements get too miniscule. Those ready chemistry kits were for half a liter as much as I know but supposedly ORWO made industrial 5 liter kits as well. Thanks

      • lance aram rothstein December 6, 2012 at 01:11 #

        Hi. I’m in Belgium and just found some SVEMA DS-5M (does that mean “masked”? And if so, what is that? And is this the same as DS-4?

      • photoroobit December 6, 2012 at 01:55 #

        I know you, well I think I do, I saw your pictures on flickr and the film stuff you sell on Ebay, I am designing (almost done) an exotic film website – one can sell film through it as well.

        Did you find lots of it? A stash? A 20 ft container? Or just a roll?
        I’ll ask how is it different from DS4, but I can say that is fairly rare, probably very rare because I’ve never seen it. It is a day-light balanced film, that was manufactured until 1987 (probably from the late 1960s until 1987, I’d find out), in its youth it was an ISO 40/DIN 17 speed film and of course you can only find how fast or most likely slow it is now by taking a few bracketed exposures.

        It has to be developed as old Agfacolor film, there are many compatible processes, one is Orwocolor C5168.
        It is supposedly masked. It has a counterpart for artificial light, LN5 (I guess LN5M would be the masked version). Coincidentally I am going to develop a few rolls tonight – my LN5 expired in 1971 so I do not expect much.

      • lance aram rothstein December 6, 2012 at 01:26 #

        Hello, I’m in Belgium and I just got ahold of some SVEMA DS-5M. Does the “M” stand for “Masked?” And if so, what does that mean? Is it the same as DS-4? How shall I develop it? Thanks. ~ Lance

      • lance aram rothstein December 6, 2012 at 03:24 #

        Hey, Cool! I can’t wait to see your site. I have about 50meters of this film. I shot one short roll of it today at about iso 25 and dropped it off at the lab for C-41 processing just to see if it’s any good at all. Could I buy (or trade for) a good developer kit from you?

  3. Jedrek February 9, 2013 at 02:37 #

    Hi! I have developed Orwocolors earlier (slides and negatives in 5166/9165 process), but I guess I will be needing Your help 🙂 Few days ago, I bought a full can (55m) of Orwocolor NC-3. If I`m correct, it was made in the 1970`s (the emulsion number starts with 74…) and it`s an 19 DIN UK cine film. I suppose the actual film speed will be less than 6 ASA (around 1-3 DIN) for that material.

    But let`s get to the point 🙂

    Your photos on Orwo materials look brilliant, do You modify the chems (i.e more sodium bromide) or the dev. times (a bit longer)?. It`s a shame to waste the material for experiments.


    P.S. C-41 materials can be developed in 5166 with very good results, I did it with Fujicolor 100 and VX200 solution, Agfacolor CNS (35 years expired) also comes out great in orwo chemistry. I guess thtat color negative materials are downwards (ONLY!) compatible 🙂

    • photoroobit February 10, 2013 at 15:24 #

      Witam, Mmówię trochę po polsku, ale dlatego, że pan zaczął pisać po angielsku, to odpowiadając będę po angliesku! Thanks for stepping by. No, I hadn’t modified the formula in anyway, it is the standard Orwocolor – there are three Orwocolor processes, so it is one of them, there are several other processes like old Gevacolor which are all supposedly compatible. I’ll try to investigate this a bit deeper though. Now there is a gentleman (I think he is an American who lives in Belgium), he is a good photographer and he is a film enthusiast,, he developed Soviet DS5M film in C-41 and the results he obtained were fabulous – considering the fact that the film is ancient and the chemistry is not native his results were just incredible, just eye popping, but although folks claim it cannot be done and I just wasted a roll of film on experiments, it seems that some people get decent results from C-41 chemistry with older emulsions. Now I have a few boxes of Czech or then Czechoslovak FOMA kits for processing color paper, as I understand the formula uses CD2 instead of CD1 but in all other respects it seems to be quite similar to the stuff used for color film. Do you have an idea if I can develop old color film with perhaps diluted paper chemistry? Those chemicals are similar. I will try processing C-41 film with old style chemistry. The problem with it that C-41 is still cheaper than old Agfa/Orwocolor style prescriptions. I myself think that we are about to see the end to color film and perhaps there is space for boutique small scale production run of non-C-41 color film that can be made either by the Foma in Bohemia or perhaps by the Slavič in Russia (they’ve got no facilities to package film for retail, so it has to be produced in bulk there and then taken to be cut to the desired length and packaged at some other location. Finding cassettes might also be a problem). Congratulations on getting that can of Orwo, we can swap film if you wish. Thanks. Dzięki .

      • Jedrek February 10, 2013 at 16:18 #

        Dzień dobry 🙂

        I should have chemical recipes for Fomacolor slides or papers. I think I had it in one of my old books (I have many recipes, even for soviet slides and negatives). I`ll take a look in the evening. As for paper developers used with films – I think yes, but watch out. Fotoncolor F11 (developer for polish color papers) is very similar to Orwo C15, but it has less bromide (1g instead of 2,5) and more sodium sulphite (4g instead of 2). Both disproportions might cause purple fog. Tommorow I`ll be making the chems, I`ll try give less sulphite and more bromide.

        C-41 is a mess, requires to high temperatures and 90% of labs just don`t want to hear about developing Orwo in their machines.

        I couldn`t find Your e-mail anywhere – I have a good book (polish) about color chemistry scanned if You`re interested 🙂

        Удачного дня! 🙂

        P.S. CD-1 (T-22, TSS) and CD-2 (T32) can be swapped. If You have a recipe with with CD-1, You can give 150% ammount of CD-2 (CD-2 is weaker). Should work perfectly 🙂

      • photoroobit February 11, 2013 at 00:16 #

        dziękuję! I’ll get to this tomorrow. I wrote back three times (!) and every time something happened and I lost it. @*$%&@P! Yes I would love to see read the Polish color processing book. One thing that I find odd that we would be certainly speaking in Polish by now if we were speaking, actually talking instead of writing back and forth – unsuccessfully in my case. I also collected a ton of formulae or “recipes” but more on that tomorrow. My email address is I’ve got CD1 not CD2 but the Bohemian stuff is already premixed and I want to utilize for old Soviet color film, it is so old that I am sure nothing could hurt it though I thought want would happen if I develop it in developer that was originally intended for processing color paper. Jeszcze raz spasibo i dziękuję!

  4. Tomasz February 15, 2013 at 22:30 #

    Skoro ktoś już tak z Polskim zaatakował….Jedno tylko mam pytanie…Czy jestem w stanie wywołac kolor svema 8mm dostępnymi w sklepach fotograficznych srodkami….
    nie do konca zalezy mi na tym zeby uzyskac jak najdoskonalsze kolory..zalezy mi zeby zobaczyc co zostało zarejestrowane na tasmie przez mojego ojca dawno temu..Z gory dzięki za odpowiedz.

    Ps Jezeli to realne prosze o podpowiedz czego najlepiej konkretnie uzyc


  5. LEVINS Photo October 29, 2013 at 18:33 #

    I have a stock of fifteen Orwo NC12 in 120 format and i would love to process them the correct way. Is there some Kits available left ?
    Thanks for answer

    • LEVINS Photo October 29, 2013 at 18:34 #

      NC19 and NC21… sry

      • photoroobit November 27, 2013 at 22:09 #

        sorry I did not read the blog or have any access to it (it was dormant sort of) – of course you can process your NC12 – is it NC12? I’ve never heard of that film. Want to swap some for NC19?

    • photoroobit November 27, 2013 at 22:11 #

      May be / no(t) – I have to take a look. I could mix a kit for you. You want to shoot all 15 or just one for starters? Where are you located and are you sure those are NC12, I hadn’t seen those.

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