E-6 Bleach for C-41 film

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by domaz, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. domaz

    domaz Member

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    Has anyone used E-6 Bleach for C-41 and had good results? I want to get more into developing C-41 films but I have found obtaining the bleach in small quantities without huge shipping fees is very difficult. The developer and fixer are available at Adorama for reasonable prices. E-6 Bleach is also available at Glazers (local for me) for a reasonable price.

    Also I've found that C-41 Bleach smells god awful. E-6 Bleach has a nasty red color but doesn't really smell to bad. So could it work?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2010
  2. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    Bite the bullet and buy a cube of Trebla C-41 bleach from Southpoint Photo Imaging (ask for ZZ). It lasts forever in concentrate form.

    I'm pretty sure the two bleaches aren't interchangeable, but I can't remember why. This came up on a thread here not too long ago.

    I realize this is an analog-process forum, but if you buy anything from Adorama or B&H you should join NAPP (Natl Assocn of Photoshop Professionals). $100 a year membership gets you free domestic ground shipping from both of those vendors. Over 4 yrs of membership it's paid for itself several times over; shipping one cube of C41 fixer (great for B&W also) gets you almost halfway there.

    Just a thought.
     
  3. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    I have used basically the same bleach formula for both C-41 and E-6 for quite a long time. However, I am using scratch-mix not-official bleach and fixer formulae, and the principal difference between the two relates to dye stability and color balance, but perhaps PE is willing to contribute more information to the discussion. I would appreciate hearing an historical perspective of bleach formulae.

    I also use and prefer a quinone-persulfate bleach that is clean-working and more economical to mix. I have films of various manufacturers, both C-41 and E-6, processed over the past 25 years or so that are to my view much the same as when processed. I understand there are stability issues and that the official chemistry is formulated carefully to yield consistent results, but I have nevertheless been happy with my results on both counts. It is also my understanding that the current Fe-EDTA bleach formulae were made more for environmental reasons than for optimal photographic chemistry.

    Color balance varies a little with different bleaches but even a simple copper-chloride bleach works well enough to produce C-41 negatives that balance well for either printing or scanning. Who knows about the stability of color dyes bleached that way? My oldest copper-bleach test films are around twenty years old and these appear ok today. I went to scratch mixing a long time ago when chemical cost was a bigger factor for me. Now I prefer to mix my own chemistry mostly to have solutions available on demand without having to order and pay onerous hazmat fines. I settled on the quinone-persulfate formula because the chemical cost is less and it avoids the need to ship Fe-EDTA in liquid form. The Fe-EDTA sulfate (solid form) is increasingly difficult to locate and both forms tend to be pricey.

    My films are stored in archival or glassine sleeves in 3-ring binders on the shelf at normal room temperature.

    I suggest you try some of your own experiments to see if you get a result that is satisfactory for your purposes. If you PM to me I am happy to send you the formulae I am using.
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The C41 and E6 bleaches started out as being very similar with E6 being stronger due to the higher load of metallic silver to be bleached. The effects on dyes were similar but today E6 lags in dye chemistry requiring a formalin treatment.

    Many bleaches, improperly designed, lead to stain due to retained metal. Ferric bleaches tend to leave ferrous ion stains and copper bleaches tend to leave cuprous stains, both by reaction with hydroxide ion. Both are hard to remove. You need excess EDTA or NTA to prevent stains. See British patent 991,412 for early formulas. Add 10% EDTA or NTA to fix the problems with this patent.

    Both bleaches can be formulated from scratch using Ferric Chloride and EDTA and Ammonia. See my post last week here on this.

    PE
     
  5. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    I've used Agfa C-41 bleach on both C-41 and E-6 film and find it excellent, and I do find if I have the patience to mix up a ferricyanide bleach, that it is indeed a little better, though I used a clearing bath before bleach.
     
  6. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    I am happy with using the stronger e-6 bleach for both c-41 and e-6. I do run my mixed e-6 bleach destined for C-41 separate from that I do slide film in, and my c-41 process finishes with a formalin and photo flow final rinse. Hope this helps.
     
  7. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    Mike, are you getting the Universal Bleach III? And do you find that you need the starter?
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Starter is not needed for bleach, fix or final rinse/stabilizer.

    PE
     
  9. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    Thanks! It would be so much easier if there weren't so many different types of this stuff and clear descriptions were given by vendors. As it is, it's like trying to read the manual to my VCR.