Venturing out of B&W and into color (maybe)

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by pstake, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. pstake

    pstake Member

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    I'm sure this has been asked in different words, a dozen times or more but I'd like to ask again anyway, if for no other reason than to be able to have dialogue with fellow Apug'ers.

    I'm experience with processing / printing black and white. I like to shoot color sometimes, too. Especially slides but good (Portra-ish) neg film, too. The problem is that it's expensive and there is a lot of waiting involved with shipping slide film off for processing. I'd like to try my hand at home processing and then scanning the negs ... eventually, maybe, making color prints. But color prints would be a new enlarger so that is a long way off if ever.

    I've read a few posts about six bath developers for E-6 versus 3-bath, and about how one or the other is not readily available in the US.

    Can someone recommend a "Starter kit" for a guy with a good background in B&W development processes, who wants to teach himself to process E-6 (and / or C-41).
     
  2. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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  3. dehk

    dehk Member

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    my guess is you need a new enlarger for color coz you want a color head? well, you could get color printing filters.

    E6? Freestyle's E6 Kit!
     
  4. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    I suggest starting with C41 because it is nearly as easy as B&W with temperature control done via a water bath and processing in small tanks for 35mm and 120. Cut film is more difficult but can be done as well.

    E6 processing is possible using similar techniques, i.e. small tank and water bath, because temperature control is really important only for the first and second (color) developer, and the other solutions need be only within a few degrees of the optimal 100F. I favor the more nearly correct six bath processing, with appropriate rinses in between the first stop and reversal, and the second stop and fixer.

    Reversal processing is more expensive and time consuming, and for reasons discussed by PE in other APUG threads, the color rendition is not as accurate as for C41. Still, a lot of people prefer the appearance of properly exposed and processed E6 films. Keep in mind that following the E6 first developer, stop, and a rinse, you can proceed in room light with the rest of the processing. That makes it relatively easy to process E6 in the darkroom sink with a handy water bath for temperature control.

    Either way you may head toward hybrid processing, because reversal printing paper is non-existent and you will be spending a lot of time and equipment expense to learn to make color prints. Your time might be better spent printing B&W and scanning color.
     
  5. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    I use Kodak chemistry for both E-6 and C-41, replenished. It's very economical. Using Kodak E-6 fixer for both atm.

    C-41 is more convenient/simpler to process, as it has much less steps and short times.

    That said, E-6 is not hard, just more time consuming, to sit there, do the 6 minute dev step, then the 2 minute water soak, then the 1 minute reversal bath, then the colour developer step where you can finally walk away.

    Versus C-41, where it's just 3m 15s developer step, bleach and walk away, or stop, then bleach and walk away. Come back and agitate it now and then, then finish the rest of it etc.



    E-6 is the simplest for replenishment, you dont have a bunch of different rates for different films.
     
  6. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    It's easy enough to process; a water bath at a higher temp is the major difference. You've got to warm the chemistry ahead of time, so it's at the right temp when you process, which requires a little more prep than using room temp B&W chemistry. I used to do E6 myself in the pre-digital days. I had a plastic tray/trough with enough warm water to keep things at the right temp. If I did it again, I'd probably float a piece of reflectix or bubble wrap with holes in it for the bottles and tank. It's not hard to follow the directions.

    I've tried color printing, (from negatives) and for me it was maddening. It'd take me around 4 prints to get the colors and exposure just right, and I couldn't do it in safelight conditions like B&W film, and wet prints differ more from dry prints than in the B&W realm. Drums were more work and noisier than trays. Ilfochrome prints, which I believe supplies are not available for, required some chemistry that was badder than normal to breathe and required ventilation, so I didn't do those, but appreciated ones labs did for me. ymmv, but I've long been a fan of hybrid or digital for color and analog for B&W.
     
  7. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Use your patterson B&W tank/reels. Sink/tub is fine, but it will cool much quicker than a plastic tub. Get some plastic tray/trough at the big box store than can hold a few gallons of hot water. Wrap it in reflectix and you're ready.

    Check your darkroom thermometer that it goes to the higher temps appropriate for the process as well.
     
  8. pstake

    pstake Member

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    Thank you, JP. Sounds easy enough.