E6 at Home
I have about 20 rolls of E6 film that I want to have processed, but no processing facilities around here. Thought about just doing it myself. What kits would you recommend? How hard is it to keep everything the right temperature in a water bath? How bad *are* the chemicals? I know to wear gloves, but are there any other precautions I should take?
Just want to know from people who've done it.
And by the way, I was thinking of using the Photocolor 3 bath kits from B&H. Good idea or bad idea?
Boy Stephanie, you might want to do a search on E6 processing, it has been discussed extensivly on the site, including recommendations of chems, machines and ideas about temps and stuff..
Heh, sorry. I figured I'd search around, too, but posted this before I really thought about doing that.
Oh, and now I feel like one of those people who doesn't search anything before posting something. Heh. I've had a GREAT day.
Even if you bought your own wing-lynch processor and cubes of chemistry - it'd be a full-time job just keeping things consistent enough not to look off...! Honestly... leave it to a lab... you won't be sorry. Mail it off or something E6 is a real nightmare on any scale smaller than very large. I don't mean to rain on your parade... but consider it my two cents.
I don't consider it that big of deal, I have a sidekick processor that handles E6 easily all the way from start to finish including drying, E6 is really not that difficult to do, other than temp control, I don't find it any worse than C41 or B&W processing, and I use the 7 step kodak chem system, quite a few here on this website, successfully process their own E6 all the time..at the 20 roll level, I feel that would be enough to investigate doing it on your own, although I can say in time and expense, it would probably still be less expensive to have a lab do them.
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I was thinking about saving up and picking up a CPE-2 processor before I actually did this. I'm getting to the point where I'm going to be developing a lot more film...now that my kit is where I want it AND I'm going to be doing some printing, I think I'm going to want to invest in a processor. Since I'd also like to do C-41 on my own, a processor would be a good idea. So, with that in mind, how hard is it really going to be?
Oh, and also, I won't be shooting a lot of the E-6 I have for about 4 months or so...I'm doing a few photo projects that really need to be done in black and white. This also stems from the frustration of not having ANY E-6 processing facilities anywhere close to here...I have to send it out.
Stephanie, the CPE-2 has as an extra that is called an E6 kit. All that is, is two extra 500 ml bottles and a different red plastic holding top .
It isn't necessary, just nice to have.
With my CPE-2 I at first processed plenty of E6 with the 4 500 ml bottles held in place and then as the process developed (groan) I replaced the first and then second 500 ml bottles with the 5 & 6 bottles.
Temperature is quite critical in the first bath, slightly less so in the others and by the time you get to the 5th & 6th baths you can have the temperature a few degrees out and it shouldn't matter.
I now have the E6 kit and would recommend it as it does make the process easy. You will find the most economical way in the CPE-2 is to do four rolls at a time using 500ml of solution. This is best done using a 1510 tank and core + one 1530 extending tank and core.
This 8 rolls to a litre is pretty much the correct amount of solution for E6, C41 processing anyway.
I wrote an article about 15-20 years ago on getting the best out of the Jobo system utilising the CPE-2 and the various tanks and their permutations. I know it was that long ago as I did it on a typewriter. If you have a fax number I could fax the two or three pages to you.
Just remember to give me the full number, I don't know much about the USA telephony system.
In Germany twenty years ago I discovered that most B&W developers were sold as 600ml kits, I didn't understand until I realised that the best maximum film developing combination in the CPE-2 is a 1520 drum and the 1530 extender, which does 5 rolls of film with 600ml of solution.
Which is pretty much the most you should do in a CPE-2 as the motor starts to work hard with this solution, drum and film reels combination.
Agfa is gone so can't suggest the small Agfa kits. In the past you could have bought the four roll kit and gotten your feet wet.
See what you can find locally for chemicals. I think Kodak makes a 5litre kit aimed at Jobo users.
Colour isn't that hard. I manage just fine without a Jobo. All it takes for me is a heated picnic cooler and an old Unicolor drum roller. Plus a set of film drums and reels.
Go to the Kodak website and download the two documents for E-6 and C-41. Z-119 and Z-130 I think.
For just getting your feet wet, Freestyle sells an Arista E-6 kit of the three-bath type. I have no idea how well it works, but it seems to be designed to do 8 rolls per liter with reuse or multi-roll processing. Three bath kits are a lot simpler to use than six-bath, but there are some potential issues with quality and chemical life (though if you have that much film ready to go, chemical storage life isn't likely to be the biggest deal).
FWIW, I was involved in doing a huge batch of E-4 (one roll for each student in my photography class) once when I was in high school. It took a long time, and there were what I recall as a huge number of steps (E-4 was a good bit more complicated than E-6), but when I pulled my roll of 620 out of the wash, it was better than Christmas...
Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.
Years ago I processed dozens of rolls of slides using E-6 or the previous E-4 system. Never had any problems. Everything was completely manual without using rollers or drums. Only the temperature of the first developer is really critical. BTW, the baths were mixed from formulas given in the Dignan Newletter. Temperature was controled by a water bath. As far as total work, think of doing two batches of BW negatives back to back.