Tetenal E-6 kit - how do you use it?
I am new with Tetenal's E-6 kit and need some advices... I am bit frustrated now
previously I used Kodak Single Use E-6 kit, it was simple and easy, but as I can't get it any more, I went to Tetenal's E-6 kit (So called 3-bath, but actually it's 7-bath when including all the washing between each step - not much less than real E-6 with 9 steps).
So far my feelings are mixed. The result's are not exactly what I expect and the Tetenal's documentation is a bit poor.
The resulting slides tend to be on dark side. I would estimate that they will require 0.5 ... 1 stop more exposure.
I am sure that it's not a exposure issue. It's more the issue with either temperature, developing time or agitation.
All my thermometers shows bit different values. The temperature I adapted was around the average value (and very near of the temperature shown by two medical thermometers). I set my water bath thermostat for that, so the whole process is done at the temperature 38 (+0.3 / -0.2) degree Celsius.
Current process is:
- temperature 38 deg. Celsius (based on medical thermometers)
- 2..3 minute pre-heating
- 7:00 time first developing (I started from 6:30).
- wash, Color dev, wash, blix, wash, stab.
What route should I choose next:
As for the calibration, I don't have any kind of control strips, so I am eyeballing the results. I could take some exposures of grey card and then use densitometer to check what the densities are - but I need some reference values. (I should mention that lately I put couple of reference rolls through a commercial lab and results were poor. One film had so high purple cast that it's ruined, others were developed on different day but had really strong magenta cast - so I really do not have high trust for commercial labs..)
- Should I go for longer developing times? If so, how long can I go with Tetenal - Kodak suggest maximum 8:30 time, which is barely enough to difference for being equal to + 0.75 stop exposure.
- Would the raising of temperature be the right route? The temperature can be off from the real value, but I guess that it's within 1 deg. Celsius from the real temperature. How much will the temperature affect the result with Tetenal? Again, the Kodak recommend maximum 40 deg. Celsius.
- Another one is agitation. I use rotation with ca. 30 rpm. But I don't believe that it is the cause, as with Kodak Single Use E-6 I got equal results with agitating by hand and rotation.
Then comes another question: To reuse or not?
Many Tetenal user's seems to reuse the developer and compensate reusing by extending the developing times. How much to extend? If I interpret the Tetenal's instruction leaflet right, then development time should be extended by 15 sec after each batch of 4 rolls?
Tetenal kit gives me constantly excellent results. I do not use any processor, just plain simple jobo tank in the water bath.
Regarding temperature -- the temperature of the first developer must be 38.0°C +/- 0.3°C after pouring the developer into the tank. I'm using 40 min (!) pre-heat (@38.3°C) and then I do 3 min pre-wet (@39°C). After that, when I pour the first developer (@38.3°C), the temperature after initial 15 sec agtation is almost exaclty 38.0°C.
You need the thermometer with real 0.1°C accuracy, seriously.
Regarding time -- I use standard times: 6:15, 6:30, 6:45, and 7:00 (yes, 4-time reuse).
If I were you, I would chuck the medical thermometer, and replace with a Kodak color process thermometer. Medical dipsticks are not as accurate as the Kodak and take longer to mark true temp. You may have a problem with getting the temp up where it should be by relying on that thetmometer.
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One reason could be pre-heat. I haven't really checked will the tank be warm enough when I fill it with first developer.
Pre-wet is one way to get tank, reels etc. to proper temperature, but usually it's not recommended by E6 guides (Kodak's Z119, ...).
The more I think, the more I am leaning towards longer pre-heating and/or pre-wetting. Especially because volume of developer is small. 250cc in tank with two reels and 135 films may cool the developer quite much :O
Tetenal seems to recommend 39°C pre-heating. Let's see what I will get
In my observation the Tetenal E6 kit is pretty much idiot proof, I have done anything from with/without preheat, with/without presoak to variations in temperature in excess of 1°C and did not see any obvious defects in the results. Someone with a densitometer can probably find problems with my slides but I have not asked anyone yet .
My recommendation is you run a few slide films through the process, see what it does for you, learn from experience and fix possible problems once they show up.
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Originally Posted by Rudeofus
Kodak was too quite forgivable. I'll shoot one film with same subjects, then cut it to three pieces and develop one, then evaluate and then next, ...
Hello Usagi. Dont give up, Tetenal kit is fantastic! I just finished my first tests over the last week, and got 4 perfect rolls out of 500ml, and 2 ok rolls. i ran each roll seperately. On last 2, I should have added about 30/45 seconds more, as 1st dev began to weaken. Anyways, if your slides are too dark EITHER increase time by 15-30 seconds OR try increasing the temperature a degree. Keep doing this, changing ONLY time OR temperature, until you get results you like. As for temperature, there is nothing magic or sacred about 38C, you can also try 39C, or even maybe 39.5C until you get results you like. But personally, I would set temp to 38, and simply increase your FD times.
Make no mistake, the Tetenal kit gives results just as good as the Kodak, and is a whole lot easier to mix up, and use. Not sure why you are having problems, it went great for me. Just get the FD time tuned in, and you will be fine.
Also, and maybe this helps, I pour in all the FD, THEN start the timer. AFTER the 6:15-30, then I begin pouring out the First Developer. This adds maybe 30-45 seconds exposure to the FD. It works good for me.
PE (Photo Engineer) warned on numerous ocasions against changing the 38.0°C temperature. I would again strongly suggest to get a good thermometer (I'm using this) and to check the temperature (and its stability) of the first developer.
If you don't have a densitometer, you can use a scanner to monitor your densities.
Ok, PE is a guru, dont mess with the temperaures, just try increasing your times. I will note though, that with the Kodak kit, I was very precise with the 38C temp of the chemicals. I got great results, using 6:30 FD, not including the pour in/pour out times (adds approx 30 seconds time that FD is on the film, before wash starts). One day, I decided to check the temp in the hand tank, and it was only 36C! From that, I concluded that a slight deviation belwo 38C does no harm, as long as FD time is extended.
Also, be very careful measuring the FD temp with the Tetenal kit. Any slight contamination can ruin it. With the arista kit, (similar 3 bath chemicals), I unknowingly ruined the FD doing this, and experienced the phenomenon of veiling. Film images looked well exposed, but density was way too thin. If you do this, get a special thermometer that is only used for checking FD temp.
How reliable is Tetenal's kit?
I developed some sheet films, keeping the temperature very carefully on the 38°C and I checked that the developing tank's temperature was right.
I gave 7:15 time for first developer, still the slides are on the dark side. Like they're under exposed something like -1..-0.7EV
Here's the one sample (RVP). I exposed the slide by letting brightest part of the sky fell on +3EV (VIII in terms of zone) and most of the sky and the river fell at +2EV (VII). The dark foreground was -2EV (III).
It's easy to see from slide and scan, that the sky isn't nearly as bright as it should be.. Actually it has a loads of tonality. The foreground instead... Well, it's dark. Something like RVP normally gives with 3 stop under exposure.
I will prepare another Tetenal E-6 batch for use, so I can see if it works better. If not, then I have to increase the developing times to 8 to 9 minutes