E6 home processing - am I crazy?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by drumlin, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. drumlin

    drumlin Member

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    After several less than stellar experiences with developing slide film at a local pro lab (and the accompanying hole in my wallet), I'm starting to consider (again) doing E6 dev at home. Most things I've read shy me away, but somewhat serendipitously I see that the notorious Ken Rockwell is promoting (sort-of) DIY E6 from a reader submission (link). I see this and think that it's totally within reach.

    So is this something that a relative newb should even mess with? I develop my own B&W film in the bathroom with decent results and surprisingly little flack from the wife. Don't have room or cash for a Jobo... would be steel tanking it all the way...

    I think that having a setup at home would prompt me to shoot more chromes, as now I'm inclined only to shoot the occasional expired roll for cross processing at the cheap-o lab. I know I could just shoot C41, but I do enjoy the crazy contrast and saturations of Velvia.

    Thanks in advance for any advice, encouraging or dissuasive...
     
  2. E76

    E76 Member

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    That actually looks like a great idea! If the temperature controls on the roaster are as accurate as he says they are, I see no reason why it wouldn't work. I think I might give something like this a try myself...
     
  3. hrst

    hrst Member

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    I started doing E6 with Tetenal "3-bath" kit in normal inversion tank in a wash basin. Great results and no problems. You don't need a Jobo; Jobo can, however, make life a bit easier if you develop much. And if you want to do one-shot processing for maximum quality and consistency, then Jobo or another rotary processor is almost a must because of chemistry costs (rotary uses much less chemistry).
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Not crazy, E6 is remarkably simple, I'd also recommend the Tetenal 3 bath kit. I used the Photocolor equivalent Chrome 6 from it's release and quality is on a par with commercial labs, as is longevity etc.

    Ian
     
  5. RustedChrome

    RustedChrome Member

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    Another plug for the Tetinal 3 Bath kit. My hot water is just the right temp and I did 12 various rolls over 3 weeks at my kitchen sink. I think they came out just as well as my lab processed ones have and much cheaper on average.
     
  6. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Another Tetenal plug here too.
     
  7. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    I can confirm what previous posters said: E6 is very doable with hand tanks and a lot less critical than many articles about it claim. A friend of mine, who only had done B&W before, had success with E6 instantly after I gave him some stock concentrate. The biggest difference is that there is no such thing as a dark room light while you put the film on the spindle - you may want to try that out before you mess up important slides.

    As far as wife acceptance factor is concerned: it is much higher with E6 because you get slides which you can view right after they leave the tank.
     
  8. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    The owner of that webpage you linked too, also posted not long ago on our HybridPhoto sister website about this simple way to process E-6. Check it out:
    http://www.hybridphoto.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2014
     
  9. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    first dev is the most temp/time critical.

    After rinsing with same-temp water, then running water into the tank (filled with ~38c water) to gradually decrease the temp back down (or simply waiting), I've run the rest of the process at 20c just fine, though each bath left sitting in for much much longer just so I was sure of the processing running to completion.

    By just fine, I mean they look just fine and the same to me by eye. No scientific data or analysis provided though! :smile:
     
  10. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    It's easy. I've only used the Kodak kits, it works fine with steel tanks and a water bath to keep the temperatures stable.
    If you've become proficient at B&W, doing E-6 should be no problem.
     
  11. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    It is not a no brainer, but it is quite do-able. I temper with a small cooler/esky, and a (wound up past the normal stop to the right temp) bimetallic thermostat controlled fish tank heater. I typically use 6 bath Kodak. I home brew as parts of my chems draw low.

    I am presently using up a large batch bought from a photofinisher who got out of doing his own E-6. The chems are about 3 years out of date, but with adjustments all is looking good still.

    I find that my first developer time is now 7' due to fading energy of the first developer stock syrup, but will stick with it while I can, because I have almost a gallon of the stuff.

    The RB is the first of the 6 chems I ran out of, and I substitute this with optical reexposure.

    read up on the Z-119 series Kodak publications off the pro web site to see what is critical for temp control and what is not.
     
  12. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    Nice but not necessary, see here.
     
  13. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    One question about E6. I think I remember reading, but this maybe for C41 color negative only, is that you may get "tar" on stuff like the developer tank?

    Is this a really big problem, e.g. needing attention in the sense of regular cleaning, and if so, what do you use to remove it? (what is this tar anyway?)

    In addition: I guess this also means using a dedicated color development tank, so no developing of BW in the same tank? Any advice?

    Marco
     
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  15. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Eh... "Room temperature was 28°C"... we don't have that regularly here in the Netherlands or many other mid to northern European countries. :wink:
     
  16. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Marco;

    Color developers sometimes form a black or brown tar due to aerial oxidation of some of the organic components they contain. A brief soak in dilute acetic acid (stop bath will do) will get rid of the tar completely.

    I have not seen this myself since the days of CD-2. CD-3 and CD-4 are so much more soluble in water, as are their oxidation products, that tar formation is not a problem. Unless, could it be.....??? Have you been talking to Kodachrome processing people? Yeah, Kodachrome can form colored gunky tars on the equipment. That must be the source of this.

    However, remember in all processing, Color and B&W, that the final wetting agent can form a jelly like material on reels if the reels are not washed properly in hot water after use.

    PE
     
  17. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Thanks PE,

    Clear answers. I just vaguely remembered reading about this "tar" in other color process threads a couple of times, but can't tell you where... anyway, good to know it isn't a big issue and is easily removed by something as mundane as acetic acid.

    Marco
     
  18. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I use the same tanks and reels for B&W, C-41, and E-6, with no serious problems from chemical buildup. The worst is that my plastic reels (I mostly use stainless steel, but I do have some plastic reels that I sometimes use) slowly become harder to load, perhaps because of a buildup of residues from final rinse or Photo Flo. Scrubbing them with a toothbrush and scowering powder once in a while helps a lot.

    If you're used to B&W processing, E-6 isn't really any harder, although if you use a 6-bath kit, it does take longer, both for the setup and to go through all the steps. The worst of it is temperature control. The idea of using a roaster for this is one I've not run across before, and I may look into that myself. To date, I've used a dishpan filled with water at slightly above the target temperature. That brings the solutions up to the desired temperature pretty quickly and keeps them stable enough through the most temperature-critical steps. I've not done scientific measures of color accuracy or whatnot, but the colors I get seem fine to me.

    I've used both the hobbyist 3-bath kits (Paterson Chrome 6 and Freestyle's Arista kit) and the Kodak 6-bath kit. IMHO, the Kodak kit produces noticeably better results. The Kodak kit is officially single-use, and I use it that way (I don't re-use chemicals once film's been through them), but the 3-bath kits all seem to recommend re-use. I've never been completely happy with the second or subsequent passes through these kits, and even the first pass doesn't seem to quite match the Kodak kit's quality. Others obviously disagree. Even with re-use, the hobbyist kits are a bit pricier than the Kodak kit, so the only advantage they've got is that they're quicker to use. Unfortunately, the Kodak kit is getting hard to find, and there are rumors it's been discontinued. One Web retailer that still lists it is Minilab Supply Store, but I've never ordered from them; I just stumbled across them and bookmarked them for future reference.

    Edit: For those in Europe (and presumably Japan), Fuji's got a 6-bath kit that looks similar to Kodak's offering. I've never seen a US retailer that sells it, though.
     
  19. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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  20. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I'll answer the question asked of me one more time - "sigh".

    All E6 films require some form of formalin in the process for proper dye stability. If it is not used, dyes can fade and a yellow stain can form. In Kodak and Fuji E6 kits, this is supplied in either a pre-bleach bath or in the final rinse (stabilzer) in some cases.

    It was shown that adding the chemical reversing bath to the color developer was not a good idea. That is why Kodak and Fuji keep them as separate stages, as it increases capacity and lifetime of the two solutions.

    PE
     
  21. hrst

    hrst Member

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    Tetenal 3-bath kit is actually 4-bath. It contains formalin stabilizer.

    Very poor marketing from them to lie about the number of bathes. Of course it gives an impression of quicker process, but for people who know a bit more, it gives an impression that there would be no stabilizer and dyes would fade. Note that Kodak counts Final Rinse as a bath even though it is not as important for dye stability as stabilizer in a 4-bath kit!

    Anyhow, I had no problems with their kit. Moved to Kodak 7-bath single-use kit anyway. In fact, the difference in total process time is only a few minutes, because 4-bath Tetenal kit has two extra washes and because some of the steps in 7-bath kit are quite short! There is, however, extra work in mixing the chemistry in 7-bath kit and more containers are needed.

    Example timing:
    4-bath:
    FD 6:30
    Wash 2:00
    CD 6:30
    Wash 2:00
    BX 6:30
    Wash 4:00
    STAB 1:00
    Total 28:30

    7-bath:
    FD 6:30
    Wash 2:00
    REV 2:00
    CD 4:00
    PRE-BL 2:00
    BL 6:00
    FIX 4:00
    Wash 4:00
    FR 1:00
    Total: 31:30

    The difference in time is almost non-existent. In fact, as discussed many times, proper 7-bath version is surely more robust in the terms of bleach and fixer, so you could just squeeze off these important minutes from them and probably still have the same results with a little bit extra uncertainty about the possibility of minor silver retention, just like with a blix kit :wink:.
     
  22. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    First, this room temperature (and higher) was sustained for several weeks this summer in Central Europe. I did include an analysis in this thread to which extent lower room temperatures would increase the temperature drop.
    So splitting these two bathes mostly improves shelf live of stock and working solution but doesn't have much effect on the resulting slide?
     
  23. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Not crazy! Temperature and time are the most critical factors. Control them and the world is yours.

    Steve
     
  24. Photo Engineer

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    Well, the carryover of bleach into fix in the "real" E6 decreases the life of the fix. I use a rinse between the two. Of course, that may be viewed by some as decreasing the effective activity of the fix. I have seen that happen.

    OTOH, the addition of the reversal chemistry into the CD step will shorten the life of the CD and reversal chemistry. IDK what they use, but Stannous Chloride is what EK and Fuji use at present, and it is not all that stable itself. It is one of the kit members that goes bad first along with the color developing agent itself. So, none of these are perfect solutions (pun alert) to the E6 problems.

    Having free formalin in the final Stabilizer is not the best of all possible worlds either.

    Just some random offhand thoughts on both types of kits.

    PE
     
  25. drumlin

    drumlin Member

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    Wow, thanks everyone. I guess I should have expected nothing but encouraging advice in a forum such as this. I think I wanted to be talked into it.

    I've looked for the Tetenal kit and come up with nothing. Looks like they aren't making it anymore. Looks like I can get the Kodak from Calumet.

    I probably won't get around to running a batch for at least a month or so (Calumet says 7-14 days before available), but if I have problems or anything interesting to report, I'll do so here.

    Happy to keep the discussion alive...
     
  26. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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