Questions for people here experienced in E6 processing with a Jobo processor

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by ZoneIII, Apr 3, 2008.

  1. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII Member

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    With my old local pro labs closed down and not liking to send my E6 film out by mail, I am finally processing my own E6 film and I need some advice from APUG members who are experienced in processing E6 in JOBO processors. Over 90% of my E6 work is on 4x5" and 8x10" film but I do occasionally shoot medium format and 35mm. I will be using Kodak single-use chemistry and I shoot Fuji Velvia films almost exclusively and I will be testing the re-introduced Fuji Velvia 50. I have an Expert 3010 drum for processing my 4x5" film. I'm not going to shoot any 8x10" E6 film until I know I have my process in control.

    I ran my first test batch and my results were decent. But after running it, I learned that I should have changed a few things. I have gathered up and organized all the information I can get on processing E6 in a JOBO processor from JOBO, Kodak, and from the old ColorBat manual put out by Darryl Nicholas. I had to dust of Darryl's manual which I never thought I would use again.

    I am finding some contradictions and differences in what I am reading and, hopefully, some experienced E6 people can help me to get on track as I begin to process my E6 film. I do have a densitometer so I can run test strips but, for now, I would just like to get some good starting points and basic recommendations.

    1) I have softened and filtered well water. I'm not sure what it's hardness is, though, but it may vary between softening cycles. For that reason, I was planning on using distilled water for the development step and possibly all steps except the rinses and final wash. I use distilled water for the developer step when I process b&w film simply so I will have consistent results if and when I move someday. My well water is filtered extremely well and I also have a very fine filter installed just before my darkroom water outlets. Kodak and JOBO indicate that any reasonably decent tap water should be O.K. and, in fact, the water, especially for the developer and color developer steps, should not be too soft. But Darryl Nicholas' manual has contradictory information. On the one hand he says that the P.H. of all water used in the E6 process should ideally be from 7.0 to 7.5 (I think Kodak and JOBO say the same thing.) Darryl then goes on to say that distilled water is very acidic, with a P.H. of 5.7. But then he recommends that you use distilled water for all steps if you doing single-use processing(???).

    Question: Do you recommend that I use distilled water for any or all of my your E6 steps.

    2) JOBO says that you SHOULD NOT rinse the film after the reversal step. They write, "There should be no rinse between the reversal bath and the color developer. The emulsion enters the color developer soaked with the reversal bath." But Darryl highly recommends that a rinse step be used between ALL E6 steps and he's talking about single-use chemistry. But he is emphatic that the film should definitely be rinsed thoroughly after the reversal step while JOBO insists that it shouldn't be rinsed and Kodak shows no rinse step after the reversal step in their process chart. I do know that the reversal bath should be diluted to 60% of it's normal dilution for rotary processing. At least that's one thing that all my sources agree upon. Darryl knows that it should be diluted too so his recommendation to rinse the film after the reversal step assumed the the reversal bath had been diluted as well. (Years ago when I processed my own RA4 prints, I found that a rinse between all steps was a good idea but I reused my RA4 chemistry so I was trying to limit contamination.)

    Question: Is it a good idea to rinse the film after the reversal step or between all steps?

    3) JOBO recommends that a first developer time of 7:30 be used with Fuji films. Kodak makes little, if any, mention of that.

    Question: What first developer time do you recommend as a good starting point for Fuji Velvia films processed with Kodak single-use chemistry in a JOBO processor?

    I will be away for a few days shooting film that I will be developing early next week so if I don't reply to any responses I get here right away, I may contact you directly if you post something that I have a follow-up question about.

    If you can think of any other advice for me, I would appreciate it. I would like to get as close to being on track as soon as possible and I don't want to be changing a lot of variables unnecessarily once I get started.

    Thanks in advance.

    Tom
     
  2. Volvospeed

    Volvospeed Member

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    1. I have always used RO water with good results. The pH is more neutral than distilled water as you pointed out and it is far and away more consistent than tap water. From what I have read and what I have seen no one has had issue with RO water which is more than others have said with other forms of purification.

    2. Not much help here as I have always gone by the Kodak whitepages and Jobo have said. Personally I have never used a rinse between the reversal and color. Here is a low resolution of some Provia that just came out of my Jobo with the Kodak one shot chems and the above procedure:
    [​IMG]
    Maybe a slight blue cast but I blame than on the Fuji film :wink:

    3. Above picture is consistent with my results. The need to push/pull will vary on your shooting style as you point out but 7:30 seems to be the norm as a baseline with Velvia and Provia. It works out to be a 15% push. On my smaller ATL1000 I use E6+1 -10%

    E6 in the home is somewhat new to me also but I have had really good results. At least I am happy. Temperature and chemical preparation and storage have had far more effect on my film than my solvent. What will the final product be? Mounted slides or prints? Sorry I Was not of more help but look forward to hearing about your experiences.
     
  3. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    Tom,

    I am in a big hurry now, so I answer you a bit shortly - but ask me more, if you would need, I am running E6 on my Jobo CPP2 twice a day now :smile:

    Question: Do you recommend that I use distilled water for any or all of my your E6 steps.

    I think that the distilled water is obviously the best choice, especially for sensitive things like color developer and reversal bath. But the reverse osmosis will also do as well. I am against the tap water in E6, it's way too inconsistent and may have chlorine in it.

    Question: Is it a good idea to rinse the film after the reversal step or between all steps?

    No, you don't have to rinse after the reversal step. More, if you will rinse after your pre-bleach conditioning bath, you will not get the adequate bleaching - this bath supplies EDTA to reaction. You should also aerate your bleach well before pouring into machine - it's "dead" when in stock form.

    Question: What first developer time do you recommend as a good starting point for Fuji Velvia films processed with Kodak single-use chemistry in a JOBO processor?

    I process both Fuji and Kodak films, often in one tank, at 6:30, but it may be advisable to use slightly higher times (like 6:45) to get better cleaner highlights. I use the same kit, and I observed yet no difference between Ist dev. time for Kodak and Fuji.

    Please, check the REAL speed of your drum (loaded, and switched for this purpose to unidirectional rotation) - it should be 75 rpm for 2500 series, and 50 rpm for 3000 series, that's an important parameter.

    I love Kodak kit much more than Fuji Hunt, and I think you will love it, too - having very nice results this kit can deliver in caring hands :smile:

    Best regards, Zhenya
     
  4. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    Tom,

    What Zhenya said, pretty much :smile:.

    I can't comment on distilled water - I use tap water, although these days I've taken to running it through a Brita filter to remove some of the nastyness of our local water. That said, the only problem the non-filtered water has ever caused me is drying marks on the non-emulsion side of the film.

    As far as rinse is concerned - I follow the Kodak instructions. I absolutely wouldn't recommend a rinse after every step - as Zhenya says, some elements of E6 depend on solution carry-over from one bath to the next, as I understand it. As a general rule on these things, where documentation differs, my first reference will be the documentation with the chemistry, not the equipment - chemistry formulations may change over time, and the documentation with the chemistry should reflect that; Jobo's or anyone else's may not.

    Finally, I've heard of people processing Fuji films longer than Kodak, but I've never done so myself and I've had no problems. My development routine is pour chems into the drum (stopwatch starts as soon as the chems hit the bottom,) load the drum into the processor, remove the drum at 6:30 precisely, drain, and the wash starts to hit at 6:45. I don't vary that according to film type at all; I think on the whole the benefits of trying to tune the development to different films will be outweighed by the fact that my current process is pretty much 100% repeatable & I can do it with my eyes closed.

    That said; I do expose Velvia 50 - when I do shoot it, which isn't a lot because (shoot me now) I don't really like the stuff - for ISO 40, as otherwise I find the shadows block up. I guess shooting at at the box speed and then extending the development somewhat is just a different way of compensating for the same.
     
  5. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII Member

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    Great responses so far!. That's a big help and I appreciate it. I am leaving in an hour or so for a trip of a few days so and I will read all the responses here when I get back.

    Thanks for clarifying the rinse issue. I will rinse only between the steps that Jobo recommends. I could see rinsing between most steps if I was replenishing and reusing my chemicals but I'm not. I just wanted to see if there were any other possible problems with carryover from one step to the next and I have my answer now.

    Chlorine isn't an issue for me because I have well water. That said, maybe I will do all steps except the stabilizer with my good, finely filtered well water. I always use distilled water for the final rinse (stabilizer) for all films to avoid water marks. RO water would be great if I had a RO unit. That might be something for me to think about. Thanks for bringing that up. Besides, it would be great for drinking water and avoid any possible bacterial problems which can happen with well water.

    Based on what has been said here so far, I may use 7:00 minutes as a compromise time for the first developer as a start point. That would be midway between Kodak's recommendation for E6 films in general and Jobo's recommendation specifically for Fuji films. If I remember correctly, even Kodak may have a note about longer 1st developer times for Fuji films.

    I really appreciate the help. Now, when I get back with some film to process, I will have more confidence in the procedures I use.
     
  6. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    You may wish to pay more attention to first wash step, indicated as "2 min. in a washing mode of your processor that most resembles the continuous wash". I use four changes of 250 ml water tempered to +38C (conveniently placed in four measuring cylinders in Jobo) every 30 second, so it's 2 min exactly. This step is VERY critical for your final color balance - any carryover of a very strong first developer to reversal bath will cause the color shift. The temperature different from the nominal one will also shift the balance. So it's quite important - and there should be positively no carryover on this step.

    7:00 can be too much for some accidentally overexposed slides - after all, a tad more density than needed looks always better than washed-out colors :smile: So I think that it's better disregard Jobo's recommendations in this case, and follow kit's instructions - after all, ALL pro dip-dunk units develop ALL their E6 mixed and at one time, and nobody complained yet :smile:

    Good luck,
    Zhenya

     
  7. markbb

    markbb Member

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    Tom,
    I don't use Kodak chemicals so can't comment on everything, but:

    1. I use regular tap water for all steps except the final stabiliser bath when I use distilled water. We have hard water here in London and I get drying marks if I don't.
    2. I process all fuji film (Provia and Velvia) for 7:30 for first developer step.
     
  8. Volvospeed

    Volvospeed Member

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    I have tried 6:30 to 7:45 with Fuji and it has the best density between 7:00 and 7:30. Since I print my photos and never project I settled on 7:30 for a base line. I have some control strips run through at different times on the Kodak E6. I will see if I can find them and post them up.
     
  9. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    This is a good point - your mileage may vary depending on what you intend to do with the slides.

    For me, the prime purpose of a slide is to go into the projector & performance in the scanner is secondary, so 6:45 is what works for me. If your main motivation is to scan them though, you may well find that developing longer is helpful.
     
  10. wiggy

    wiggy Member

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    OT but is that an Epiphone or a reissue Gibson
     
  11. Volvospeed

    Volvospeed Member

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    Thats a Gibson Paul custom shop. Its a nice axe but I tragically play my old 64 Tele way more often
     
  12. ZoneIII

    ZoneIII Member

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    Thanks, folks! Those are exactly the kinds of responses I was looking for and they will be very helpful.

    I was aware that the first rinse is very important but I appreciate the reminder because this is new to me and I might have forgotten.

    Until recently, the primary usage of my images was for publication. Magazines would make separations. But recently, I am more involved with making large display prints for hospitals, professional offices, etc. But, for the first time in my life, I'm letting experts do my color printing. Until now, I have done all my printing - color and b&w in a traditional darkroom although I never had a lot of need for color prints. I still print all my b&w in my darkroom and have no plans of going digital with that as long as the materials are available. For color, West Coast Imaging does drum scans and prints them. I don't have the time or money to keep up with digital printing technology. It's an endless chase I am not interested in now and I am extremely happy with WCI's work. I do scan my film too for monitor viewing but I can't match the results that a Tango drum scanner can produce.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  13. Discpad

    Discpad Restricted Access

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    Distilled water has a pH of 7.0. Period.

    Even if you are using your E-6 chemistry single shot, do not wash between the reversal and color dev, between the color dev and pre-bleach, and especially between the pre-bleach and bleach steps. Color dev, pre-bleach and bleach depend on carryover from the previous steps to work properly.

    On the other hand, inserting a wash step between the bleach and fix steps is A Good Thing, as rinsing off the bleach carryover extends the life of the fixer.
     
  14. Discpad

    Discpad Restricted Access

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    By the way...

    By the way, I've extensively edited the Wikipedia entry on the E-6 Process (my user name there is Discpad).

    The info on that page is essentially regurgitated from Kodak Processing Manual Z-119; with extra stuff from the Q-Lab Manual.

    [You can also download the entire manuals in single PDF binder files from my Home Page.]
     
  15. Rob Landry

    Rob Landry Member

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    Don't worry about the Ph of distilled water, it's not really important. The real beauty of distilled water is that it has zero ability to buffer against changes in Ph, meaning you can drop a ml of first developer in a liter of distilled and it will immediately take on the full Ph of the developer.

    As far as rinses between steps, there's really only a rinse between the 1st Dev. and the Reversal bath. As Discpad mentioned, you can insert a rinse between the Bleach and fixer; I don't because I'm using the Single Use kit and all the chems get used once and discarded.

    For Fuji Velvia, I use 7:30 as my 1st Dev. time and get good results.
     
  16. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    As critical as the reversal step? You could use a lightbulb instead! If you're going for absolute consistency than by all means use distilled water. I use tap water. Filtering can't hurt.

    I wasn't aware that ANY solutions in E6 required carry over. The process works by first developing a negative silver image leaving only a positive halide crystal formation which is re-exposed and then developed in a color developer which activates the dye couplers in the positive halide image to form dyes in that shape. Then the silver is bleached to halide and removed in the fix. That is all that is needed. 3 baths and a lightbulb.

    Additional steps are such as stabalizers and chemical fogging agents. NOT NEEDED! but they can help, and provide for greater efficiency!(fact!)

    All in all you're worrying too much. I doubt any E6 lab in the world has as much consistency as you're trying to achieve. In the end, if your film shifts 1cc to magenta is it the end of the world? Just keep the temp and time and agitation set and you'll have no problem.

    The only wash you could care about is between the bleach and fix, but not needed. Chemistry capacity stuff. Wash and stabilize for film life at the end.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2008
  17. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    Degassed distilled water, or water distilled under argon in platinum apparatus - yes, pH 7.0. The usual kind of distilled water, made in contact with air, has pH about 5.5 - because of carbon dioxide dissolving in it. Try it for yourself with a good pH-meter.

    The statement about the life of fixer is true, but only in case of replenishable kits - here we mean a Kodak single-shot 5l kit, where all chemicals are single-use for better quality.

     
  18. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    That's perhaps why people sometimes gets so disappointed with their E6 results from some labs - guys like mr. Tiberiustibz are overestimating the robustness of E6, and omit the whole steps. Well, of course, all those crazy engineers at kodak and Fuji with their pesky strips and densitometers are talking too high, and putting too much stock in science just to sell you a couple of unneeded bottles, right :smile:)))))