I'm thinking of trying colour!! Until now I shoot purely black and white in 5x4. I process and print my negatives but I'm thinking about trying 5x4 transparency, processing them myself and then having them printed by a specialist lab. Is it cheaper to Do It Myself or send the sheets of film to be processed too? I'm based in the UK, so comments from UK users would be greatly appreciated!
Have you ever used color E6 in 35mm or MF?
I developed a roll of 120 Velvia once! Some time ago!! I just wondered from the economics is it worth DIY with 5x4 sheet film in (say) a CombiPlan tank?
I'm not sure about the economics of it, but you might initially save time (and money) by sending the film to a lab while you adjust the rating, color, etc. to your taste. If you do this, I'd recommend sending the film to a competent, consistent lab - not "Spike's Pretty Good Barber School and 1-Hour Foto Shack." I'd also recommend, from reading and from experience, making two identical exposures and sending the film in batches (the power went out and they dropped the film - ruined some of it).
I shoot primarily E6 film, and haven't sent any to a lab in years. Here's my take on it:
If you can control temp and times, temp with a Jobo or equivalent and times with a cheap multi-timer, then it's a fairly easy thing processing your own E6. Chemicals can go down the drain (I use the Kodak Single-use E6 kits). Setup of the Jobo and chem mixing takes about an hour, which includes temperature stabilization times (I mix the chems in warm water to hasten the temp stabilization), then each batch requires about 50 minutes of effort (from loading the tank to hanging the fiml to dry).
Each kit costs about $45, and I find that I can process 18 sheets at a time in the 2840 tank using three 2509n reels. Each batch uses one liter of chems (the Jobo CPA/CPP had 1 L storage bottles). I can process two batches with each liter fo chems, so the 5L E6 kit will process 180 sheets. That works out to $0.25 a sheet. And if I carefully extend the first developer time, I can easily process a third tank with each liter of chems, lowering the cost-per-sheet to $.17. The $800 I spent for a used Jobo CPA and the extra $200 in additional drums and reels paid for itself after 500 sheets (about 1.5 years worth of shooting, presuming I have sheets processed locally for $2.25 each). Pretty good economics for me.
In two years I have ruined a total of 12 sheets (all on the same day, probably due to some fixer getting into one of the developers, but I never tracked it down).
Using the R-3 chems is also working out very economically for me. I'll be able to process over 2000 16x20 prints with the pro 12.5/25/12.5 gallon R3 kit, which costs $350. Fuji Type-35 paper costs either $1.50 per 16x20 paper-backed sheet or $5.00 for the polyester backing. You can compare this with what your local lab charges for a 16x20.
Now, my experience with home color porcessing is based on my research in enzyme kinetics, where time and temperature control is paramount, so I found that getting consitent development was no problem at all. If you've never dealt with tightly-controlled processes, or have trouble following directions exactly, you may find that consistent work is a little harder to achieve.
Consult if you wish two articles I've written on the subject:
I'll take the flip side of the last post. I make my own color prints but haven't processed color film in years. I find that if you have a good commercial level lab who runs strict process control, the results are totally satisfactory. It relieves you of the burden of developing film - putting you back out photographing instead of being in the darkroom doing a shake 'n bake process. Black and white, of course is a whole different story as there really is a reason to be there working with the film.
I would agree with that. I've processed my own C-41 and E-6 in the past, and have found that color film processing just isn't a creative process in the way that B&W film processing is. I'd rather send it out. You might want to do it if you need film processed quickly and live someplace where there are no convenient labs that can give you the quality you need, or if you frequently need something like fractional push processing, and don't have access to the sort of lab that does that routinely.
Printing is another story.
I process my own c41, but not e6. There is very little to recommend processing your own film except cost and control. The former only if you do a lot and the latter can be negligible if you have a good lab near by.
When I'm in the UK I use the vault in Brighton for my colour processing, they do a good job and are nice folks. I have never used them for R prints nor do I know if they do them.
If you are going to make prints you may wish to shot neg film. The prints will be nicer, cheaper and easier to come by.
</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (mrcallow @ Feb 11 2003, 02:49 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>I process my own c41, but not e6. There is very little to recommend processing your own film except cost and control. The former only if you do a lot and the latter can be negligible if you have a good lab near by.</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
I now process ALL of my C41 myself.
Although I have used one of the *best*, most respected color labs - anywhere - "Advance" in the Cherry Hill Industrial Park, Danvers, MA ... I find that by processing C41 in my own darkroom, using one-shot chemicals (signifcantly? - I gave up on replenishment many years ago) the results are superior - at least in my judgement.
Another consideration is privacy. I do a lot of nudes, and I have heard too many horror stories of teen-aged photo machine operators with hormones out of control, leaning on the "print buttons" to flood the local area with some of the more "indelicate" images.
I am not on this Earth to cause grief to anyone - and that includes those that model for me... to say nothing of the potential damage to my reputation.
</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Ed Sukach @ Feb 12 2003, 06:27 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>
I am not on this Earth to cause grief to anyone - and that includes those that model for me... to say nothing of the potential damage to my reputation.</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
Point well taken