E-6 process B&W slide film -- why not?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Jordan, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. Jordan

    Jordan Member

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    Just a bit of musing for a Thursday night here.

    Many of us use and like chromogenic B&W negative film (Ilford XP2, Kodak BW400CN, etc.) Ilford, Kodak and Konica all made this type of film, sometimes in several versions.

    The principle behind these films is pretty simple -- they are standard "colour negative" films that have only one layer, which has panchromatic sensitization and processes in C-41 to give an essentially "black" dye image. Apparent grain is minimal and the images have a unique and pleasing look.

    It got me thinking about why a chromogenic B&W E-6 process slide film was never introduced. Such a film, properly formulated, could be processed in any E-6 line to give neutral monochrome B&W positives. The principle would be the same as the C-41 chromogenic B&W negative film.

    I would have imagined that an E-6-process B&W slide film would have been popular in the days when E-6 really ruled the commercial-photography roost.

    Anyone know (paging Ron / Photo Engineer) if this was ever considered? Or perhaps were there technical limitations that prevented it from ever happening? (e.g. getting a sufficiently dense, neutral image, sensitization, etc.)
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I know why it was considered and dropped.

    No one wanted it!

    PE
     
  3. Jordan

    Jordan Member

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    Interesting -- yet Agfa found a market for a non-chromogenic B&W slide film (Scala) that required a special process. Or perhaps Scala was a money-losing venture for Agfa, too.

    PE, can you comment on the technical feasibility of an E-6-process chromogenic B&W slide film?
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Jordan;

    There was a whole family of B&W and chromogenic films considered for E6 that never saw the light of day. Essentially the problems and the lack of interest intervened much as it did with the 400 speed Kodachrome. If you wanted a 1000 speed Kodachrome film, it would be possible. A B&W Kodachrome would be possible. There are a whole host of possible products but if the market is not there, then there is nothing.

    Basically, customer response was HO HUM.

    I wish that the answer could be different but it is not. Average customers want color, not B&W, and they want negatives not slides. They want a garbage dump to look like the Systine (SP?) Chapel.

    PE
     
  5. Jordan

    Jordan Member

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    PE -- I understand the role of market research in determining what technologies get commercialized (something I deal with all the time in my own work). I still find it interesting that Agfa did find a market for B&W slide film, while EK did not. Perhaps Agfa was more content to treat B&W slide film as a niche product.
     
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Jordan;

    You have to remember that Kodak had cornered the motion picture market in B&W and color which kind of wrapped up the reversal or slide film market. And, they marketed a reversal process kit for B&W. This was pretty much the entire US and Asian market IIRC.

    So the Agfa niche was small.

    PE
     
  7. GeorgesGiralt

    GeorgesGiralt Member

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    Hi !
    a while ago I mused to this.
    Using an old DCCT article I ran all 400 ISO B&W chromogenic films into Kodak E6 6bath chem.
    All came out fine, the better exposure was near IE 100 and the pict had a soft and nice look. Grain was nice also. The tone was varying from neutral to slightly warm.
    At that time we had Konica, Ilford, Kodak and Fuji if my memory serves me right.
    I did not go further.
     
  8. nickrapak

    nickrapak Member

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    Wouldn't the orange mask on some of the films have reduced the usability of the slides?
     
  9. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    That would have been lots of fun. I am trying to pick up a T-Max Black and white slide developing kit.....
     
  10. domaz

    domaz Member

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    I've heard that developing XP2 in E-6 works fine but you get a blue cast. Pushing two stops or exposing at EI100 is supposed to work better. I'm going to try it out soon let you know what I find out..
     
  11. Admbws

    Admbws Member

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    Would it not be feasible to develop XP2 in B&W developer, flash and then develop in C41 chemicals as normal?
     
  12. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    I used to use Panatomic-X at 80 and develop it in the Direct Positive kit. Someone posted recently either here or on photo.net that the Kodak Direct Positive kit is still available and usable with TMX. FX/P did not have a totally clear base so you needed to have a bright enough projector. The sharpness, fine grains and tones were beautiful.
     
  13. nickrapak

    nickrapak Member

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    Calumet in Cambridge can probably order it for you. They might even have it in stock, according to the website.
     
  14. Aurum

    Aurum Member

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    XP2 Super and the Fuji B&W C41 don't have an orange mask, the Kodak does