Ever since starting to home-develop C41, I’ve been following this protocol:
CD: 3.5 min
Blix: 6min
Wash: >5min
Stab: 1min
Wash: >5min (last wash with PhotoFlow)
Hang to dry

But recently, I was idly reading the Unicolor kit’s directions and noticed that it did not list a wash step after the stab. This lead me to a Google search, which turned up lots of Flickr/APUG discussions flamewars threads that pretty much seemed to unanimously agree that the C41 stabiliser includes ingredients that work on stabilising the colors in the film, as it dries. In addition, it has surfactants included in it so PhotoFlow is not needed. So one really should NOT rinse off the stab afterwards, or it essentially loses its effectiveness. There are also indications that modern C41 emulsions do not need to be stabilised, but since I don’t think I’ve ever used color film from this century, nor do I plan to, stabilisation is something that I should really think about.

So I tried 2 rolls (one C41, one xpro’d E6) where I pulled the film right out of the stab, squeegied it between my fingers, and hung it to dry. The results? BRILLIANT colors, but mineral drying marks EVERYWHERE. Here’s an example, straight off the scanner, no corrections:


The first point about the colors is not really apparent in this particular shot (I’m using it to highlight the drying marks, not the colors), but at any rate that point may have to be discounted, because:

a. This is from the batch of “stored outdoors in a desert” Sav-On Ferrania rebrand. So even though I do have other rolls from the same lot sale to compare it to, there’s no guarantee that this particular roll was part of the same batch as the others, and no guarantee that it was stored similarly.
b. I’ve just recently started using (again) my Epson V500’s auto-color correction. So the other Sav-On rolls I’ve processed were scanned without Epson’s color correction algorithm (and instead with my own “Indofunk color correction algorithm” which I’m sure is horrible 😀 )
c. These shots were taken in sunny California, where the colors are just more brilliant than in snowy NYC.

Basically, I’m left with a batch of film that has way too many drying marks. Conclusion? I’m going to go back to rinsing after stabilising, but I’m just going to do a quick dunk in water + Photoflow to remove the surface gunk from the stab.

What are your experiences? Let me know in the comments below.

Postscript, 6/28/16: I’ve stopped using stabiliser altogether. It’s supposedly only “required” for older film emulsions (the type that I usually use) to prolong the life of the stored negatives. I don’t particularly care about the shelf life of my negatives, and I love reducing the number of steps, so out goes the stabiliser. I should revisit my non-stabilised negatives compared to my stabilised negatives in a few years and see how much it really affects shelf life.