Confusion over Bleaches, Fixes, Stabilizer for C-41 vs ECN-2 vs E-6

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by StoneNYC, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    So I'm at the "mixing my own chems" stage, and I have a little confusion over the different bleaches, fixers and stabilizer baths that exist.

    I've thus far only worked with blix's that were Pre-made kits from Arista / jobo / etc

    I do know that BLEACH is not Clorox... But that's about all I know.

    I also THINK there is a difference between bleach for E-6 and bleach for C-41 and the old guys never get confused even though they aren't labeled "E-6 Bleach" but to those of us newer to the game, it's really confusing.

    Also, is the ECN-2 bleach different from the C-41 bleach even though they are both color negative film?

    All these questions also apply to the fixers.

    In addition, I know that a stabilizer is recommended for E-6 (which I didn't know previously and didn't SEEM to come in the kits) does it also need to be done in the C-41 and ECN-2 as an additional end bath?

    I'm OK with buying the Pre-made stuff for now, I don't do replenishment though, so buying a 5 gallon bottle of ready to use bleach / fixer that I'll never get through isn't my favorite choice, so I'm open to learning mixing formulas but only official ones if possible as I've seen some pretty bad "I made this up myself" versions out there that left chunks on the film haha. Wish PE could just release all the formulas already haha

    I don't have a processor and do it all in my sink, so keep that in mind too.

    Thanks for any and all guidance. APUG for the win!


    ~Stone | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  2. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Buy a kit and start from there. Then you get the right chemistry to start with. After that you can experiment.
     
  3. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    There are no kits in the USA available that have bleach and fix that aren't 5 gallon batches for large processor labs... That's why I'm doing this...

    EDIT: that also doesn't help me understand the difference between the different versions of bleach/fix since they don't list the chemicals inside just "this is the bleach bottle you use" but that doesn't give me knowledge...

    ~Stone | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  4. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    My recommendation is you get a firm grasp of what happens in color processing. There are many resources available online, and Haist's books on photographic processes have a great chapter about this topic. Unless you fully understand how C41 and E6 work, at least what each bath is supposed to do in these processes, you won't be able to fine tune the process to your needs, neither would you be able to address poor processing results.

    If you look at color processes, you will see roughly three types of bleach:
    1. Ferricyanide bleaches (no BLIXes! ), like in ECN-2, is the strongest bleach. Although many home brewers use them successfully for E6 and C41, these two processes are neither specified nor tested for Ferricyanide bleach and YMMV.
    2. Ammonium Ferric EDTA bleaches/BLIXes use the weakest bleach compound but work well for C41 and E6, and most kits that come with BLIXes use this compound.
    3. Ammonium Ferric PDTA bleaches (no BLIXes! ) come with several professional C41 kits and are not officially blessed by the manufacturers for E6 work.
    Numerous other compounds and mixtures have been patented or published elsewhere for bleaching/BLIXing C41/E6 films, but they are AFAIK not specified or officially tested with today's films.

    They use different dyes and are not similarly sensitive to bleach compounds.

    Fixers for color processes are, AFAIK, more or less the same for all these processes and are usually based on Ammonium Thiosulfate set to pH 6.5.

    PE has commented on this topic many times over, see here.
     
  5. JoJo

    JoJo Member

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    For ECN-2, you can use the same Blix you use for C-41. If you work with E-6, you can also use that Blix for ECN-2.
    There is also a kind of "Multi"-Blix from Tetenal, which works for C-41 and E-6. This also can be used for ECN-2.
    I do so longer time without problems.
    If you need longtime stability for ECN-2, use the stabilizer from an E-6 kit. This contains Formaline and ECN-2 also needs Formaline as stabilizer.
    C-41 stabilizer doesn't contain Formaline and has no effect with ECN-2.

    One thing about the self mixed ECN-2 developer: Lifetime is very very short (about 1 week), so mix small batches only and use it one shot or process more films the same day.

    Joachim
     
  6. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    Fuji 5L kits can be had in the usa. Not cheap but available. I believe you've commented on a thread regarding them as well.
     
  7. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I have Bill,

    But if you can point me to where they are available great because I disagree with you that they can be had in the US, they can be purchased online from Europe but not here in the states, Fuji no longer imports the chems...




    ~Stone | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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  9. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    Fuji doesn't import them but they CAN be shipped to the states. I'd rather buy a large quantity of kodak stuff and split it with someone though. Much more economical.
     
  10. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I wish I were as rich as bill gates or someone and buy up every color film company then get rid of C-41 altogether and restart making Astia and E100G since everyone seems to like it, and set up shipping stations across the globe so everyone could get small batch chems of E-6 for home processing :smile:

    *dreams*


    ~Stone | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. fotch

    fotch Member

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    What are you smoking?
     
  12. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Our Dreams are the gateway to our Reality :smile:

    I just made that up, but now it's true because it's part of my dream reality... hehe
     
  13. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Process ECN-2 specifies 3 alternative bleaches, two ferric nitrate and one ferricyanide. Cine Ektachrome processes usually specify a persulfate bleach, which requires a special accelerator prebath. I understand the accelerator has some affect on color and stability, too, but I may be wrong. Print films may use ferricyanide, Ferric-PDTA, or persulfate bleaches alternatively. Most home kits seem to be Ferric-EDTA or Ferric-PDTA. Obviously, you have some flexibility, but there may be a difference in the requirements for positive vs. negative film. Fixers vary a bit, too. They seem to be tailored to the bleach used, adjusting the pH as appropriate. Depending on the process, the fixer pH may be anywhere from 5.0 to 6.5. They are all non-hardening. Those for Ektachrome contain EDTA.

    In looking at Kodak publication H24, which only applies to cine products, it is evident that the processes are designed as a system, and that the parts interact. Negative camera films seem to be the most tolerant of variations in the bleach and fixer, but even with them there are limits.
     
  14. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    Thanks, good info, yea that's where I get confused, where I can cheat and use a bleach or fixer with more than one film, and where I can't. I'm mostly going to be ONLY using ECN-2 and E-6 and trying to get a system together where I can make it cheap to make small runs of chems from scratch when I want to make a batch and not have to be so stressed about doing 20 rolls at a time to make it economical and instead run 2-4 and not spend $40 worth of chem (which is how it is now with a kit).

    But if I can use the same fixer or the same Bleach with both and not have loss in quality of either, that would be best, it's figuring out which I can use with both/all and get away with it safely without adverse effects to the film. Thanks again, good info.