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  1. #1

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

    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. #2
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    I know why it was considered and dropped.

    No one wanted it!

    PE

  3. #3

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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. #4
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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. #5

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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. #6
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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

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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. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgesGiralt View Post
    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.
    Wouldn't the orange mask on some of the films have reduced the usability of the slides?

  9. #9
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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.....
    Helping to save analog photography one exposure at a time

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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..

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