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  1. #1

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    Would I do better to switch to slide film?

    Hello guys.. I am pondering a decision that I feel I have to make...

    For black-and-white... nothing beats a hand made darkroom print from film, nothing at all can beat its beauty! I shoot primarily in black and white, so colour is of little concern in my darkroom, although I have kept RA4 paper on hand and have experimented. My darkroom is king for most of my photography since I shoot mainly in B&W. So B&W negative film will remain for me.

    For colour, however I am facing a different dilemma. I probably shoot a roll of colour every month or two, and getting consistent results is, to say the least, a pain in the neck. I cannot shoot the greatest colour photos in the world. In black and white I almost naturally produce lovely results that me. my family and friends all look at the finished prints in awe, that scans of negatives or a DSLR will never give them. Then the printing for colour, a pain in the neck too. I can do it, but It doesn't give me the same 'thrill' and normally ends up ending in frustration, plus cut-sheet sizes smaller than 8x10 no longer exist new, I have a box that I was saving for my 18th photos. The chemicals for colour have to be bought in bulk, I am still using the first ever set of RA4 chemicals I ever bought, 4 lots of 5 litres of kodak chemicals, I am only on the second lot of 5L for developer and blix. I have to make several prints until I am happy with the result, whereas with black and white I can be satisfied at attempt one. I don't get the same 'thrill' with the colour prints.
    Seeing as I shoot little colour, and that I would rather print colour using a decent printer seeing as the cost of ink is less what I use in wasted paper. Or admire slides in a slide viewer or projector, as slides have their own, unique pleasant look, the analogue look.

    I plan to get an aquarium heater to heat the kitchen sink to float bottles of E6 chemistry and developing tank in the water to bring them up to the correct temperature. And a decent scanner to scan the slides into high quality digital files. Or admire the slides in a slide viewer or projector, I still think digital cannot beat analog if done correctly! Also 90% of my printing is done in 5x7 size for photo albums and the like, so lack of cut-sheet RA4 at the right size is a bummer.

    Would It be in my best advantage to use slide film for the little I colour I shoot based on these circumstances? Colour still doesnt beat black and white silver prints in my eyes, but some things just suit colour, including wildlife, sunsets, and stars. And I think giving E6 a stab shouldn't break the bank! Also, what would be the best slide film for my purposes? I am now deeply regretting the loss of kodachrome and that I never got to shoot any!

    Also, how long do E6 chemicals keep if stored in them collapsable airtight bottles? And how many films can be processed on average in say, the tetenal 1L kit?

    Jacob
    Last edited by jm94; 07-26-2012 at 08:36 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    A paper cutter would be cheaper. Use some tape on it to build up a proper guide and it's easy to chop/slice a stack of 8x10s into 5x8s, even in total darkness. If you feel like cutting an inch off the end you can have a 5x1" test strip off each sheet, or just print 5x8 if that suits the image, or trim after printing.

  3. #3
    polyglot's Avatar
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    Do you want prints or is projection acceptable? Can you get a projector in your film format of choice? Can you live with hybrid prints?

    PS see FAQ in my signature for some of your E6 questions.

  4. #4

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    First of all polyglot, your FAQ contains many useful items within, I am giving it a good read.
    Anyway, on topic: Prints are my preferred method of output, for photo albums. However projection or a good slide viewer is a viable alternative. Unfortunately there are no colour positive papers left as far as I can see.

  5. #5

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    Yes, I think you will be much better off with slides. You will be thrilled every time you develop a roll, guranteed. That is what keeps me shooting slides. Try a few rolls and you will see. Definitely also get a projector, they are almost free nowadays, and will give you (and your kids, if you have them) much enjoyment. Those shots you like and want either prints of or digital images, simply take to any Costco, Walgreens, or any film lab, where they will scan to disk and/or print for you. www.theslideprinter.com (Denver Digital Imaging) does a great job at this, and they have specialized in slide scan/prints for over 30 years.
    Later, if you really get into it, then buy a film scanner. For now, get your feet wet and see where it goes.
    BTW, you dont need aquarium heaters to process your slides with fantastic quality using the Tetenal kit. You just need an inexpensive styrofoam cooler with some overflow holes cut near the top. Mix the Tetenal chems up in empty water bottles (dont use pop bottles, the residual acidity), put them in the cooler, and fill with water at say 112F, and wait until the temp cools to 100F (this warms the chems up to the water temp), then begin processing. You have a wash step after the FD step, at which time you wash the film at 99-100 degrees (easily accomplished by tapping the water faucet to just the right temp - its easy with a little practice). during this time, when the water is still running and you are pouring the hand tank out, push the faucet over so it refills the cooler or even overflows. Works great for temp control, and a cooler holds the temp steady for long periods, so you may not even have to do this, as long as water is still approx 98-99 when you start the Color Developer. The final Blix stage can be as low as 95f without problems.
    Put on some music and have fun while doing this!

  6. #6

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    I usually shoot color, and I have the same problems you have when I shoot black and white! Color negative film and transparency film have different looks, mostly due to the lesser dynamic range of transparency film. Color negative film is more forgiving of lighting and exposure errors, but transparency film usually gives you crisper results (assuming an accurate exposure). Both scan decently, so ink jet prints are possible from either. Darkroom prints need negative film (unless you want to experiment). You can project transparencies. Because you are having problems with consistency, you might get a better hit ratio using negative film. But you should try transparency film anyway, just to see which you like better. Getting the first good color print is a real pain, but after that it becomes pretty easy - but if you don't do it for a while, you lose the knack and have to start over. Scanning is no panacea. With either negative or transparency film, you generally have to do quite a bit of work to get a good print from a scan. Good processing software is essential.

  7. #7

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    I am going to have a stab at slide film, see if I will keep doing RA4 processing or slides, If I do stick with C41 I will do all negative processing at home, too. I guess is just refining my techniques. When I get paid I will give slide film a stab, see which I like best.

    If I do stick with Ra4 I will get a guillotine... A shame cut sheet sizes at the smaller sizes is no longer available!
    Jacob

  8. #8
    polyglot's Avatar
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    If you buy a guillotine and want to minimise wastage, you can buy rolls of RA4 paper (e.g. 5" wide) very cheaply and cut your 5x7" from that.

  9. #9

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    That would be a viable option

  10. #10

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    Your criteria seems to be based mostly on considerations around the developing of the film. That seems an odd way to choose between print and slide film.

    There is nothing like a slide. Each one is a unique jewel mounted in its own frame. Viewed directly in a good quality viewer, and it is like stepping into the scene. No print can ever match the richness of a slide.

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