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Thread: E6 Processing

  1. #1

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    E6 Processing

    Hi all,

    I am relatively new to film shooting in the past few years, and up until now, I have been shgoting medium format E6, and getting a local lab in Toronto to process my film for me. Well, I live out in the suburbs, and I am frankly getting sick of having to make the trip to get to the lab, and pay for the processing, and whatnot -- and I would love to learn how to do it myself.. but I have NO clue how to do it, or what I need to get started.

    I was hoping that there are some resources here or on the internet, to help me out with what I need, and how to do it. Then I'll shoot a couple of test rolls, and give 'er a go.

    thanks,



    David

  2. #2
    David Brown's Avatar
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    David:

    It can be done. I did it years ago, and a lot of people do it now. Start here: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe....18.14.3&lc=en

    There are links to the tech pub, etc.

    I'm sure more apuggers will add with their personal experiences.
    David
    Taking pictures is easy. Making photographs is hard.

    http://www.behance.net/silverdarkroom
    http://silverdarkroom.wordpress.com

  3. #3

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    It is just chemical steps, with temperature control. Only the first developer step has tight temperature control, the others can vary a degree or two and still be fine. Various manufacturers make chemistry for E-6, but Kodak is the originator, and still be best. All current slide films other than Kodachrome are E-6 compatible in processing. I started out developing E-3 in my bathroom, using the bath tub as a tempering bath for the chemicals (in bottles), and then E-4, and wow, when E-6 came along, it was so much easier that I could do it in my sleep. (figuratively speaking)

    There are seven chemical steps, plus a couple of wash steps. Takes about 35 minutes or so, once you start the process, until you are ready to hang up the film to dry.

  4. #4
    Kevin Caulfield's Avatar
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    The two critical things are time and temperature control, especially for the two developer steps. I use the Agfa kits (but will have to find a substitute). They specify something like 38.0 C plus or minus 0.3 degrees C for the first developer. A couple of days ago, I processed two rolls of 120 RSXII 100 which have been lying around for about 17 months, with a chemical kit which I've had for probably about 18 months (Agfa state a life of only 1 year for unopened chemistry), and everything was fine. Strangely, some time ago, Agfa changed their recommnded process times, and started giving ranges such as 5 to 7 minutes for the first dev, but personally, I still use the older times.

  5. #5

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    The Agfa chemistry "may" be available again, as there was a company that purchased the Agfa chemical and mini-lab operations, and are offering most of the chemicals that Agfa sold, including Rodinal.

  6. #6
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    I just started doing E6, primarily because I have no easy way to get sheet film processed without shipping it a large distance. I may do 120 and 35mm at home as well but the cost of getting a lab to do it is quite reasonable, and I have a couple of good labs where I live.

    What I use to do my sheet film is the Jobo CPE-2 processor (keeps the chemicals at the magic 38 degrees, and agitates the tank with a motor). It works quite well. I forget the model numbers, but there is a tank that is big enough to take sheet film (which is what I use). You can get 35mm and 120 reels for that same tank, or get a narrower tank that uses less chemistry for your rollfilm work. It's a very flexible system.

    It's also good if you do RA-4 (colour print) processing or C-41 (colour negative) development.

    I'm using an old Agfa chemical kit that was in the darkroom (it worked fine), but I'm probably going to get the Fuji chemistry next. (Fuji and Kodak both make the best E6 chemistry, but Fuji's is in litres and Kodak's is in US gallons. Yes, I know, I could still use Kodak's in litres, but it's my little political statement.)
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  7. #7

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    I did a lot of this as a teenager. I haven't done it in quite a while, but it was quite rewarding. I used to buy Ektachrome in 100' rolls to give an idea of how much film I did back then. (My dad got upset about the water bills!) All I ever did was small tank development. Most always did two rolls at a time, unless I was push processing a roll. I set up a water bath, running hot water to keep the temperature constant. Mix your solutions fresh, keep everything clean (don't contaminate the chemicals), and follow the directions and you will get good results. If a 14 year old can do it anybody can. Oh, don't mess with the cheap kits, get the Kodak chemicals. I have slides from the 70's and can tell which chemicals they were processes in. The ones done in Kodak still look quite good, the others (Unicolor, etc.) are faded and look anemic.

  8. #8

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    lxdesign, you don't mention if you've ever processed B&W (or any other sort of) film before. If not, you'll need some basic information on film processing, such as how to load film into a developing tank, etc. Various books and Web sites cover this information. One I happen to have bookmarked is The Black and White Darkroom. Even if you never intend to shoot or process B&W film, sites on B&W processing can be useful because the B&W and E-6 processes do have a lot in common. Just don't get hung up on the details of the B&W chemical steps if you don't intend to do B&W processing.

    That said, E-6 is the most complex of the common at-home processes (B&W, C-41, and E-6). You can do B&W with as few as two chemicals (three if you count water as a chemical, which technically it is). B&W is processed at room temperature, whereas E-6 is done at 100 degrees F, and B&W is slightly less sensitive to temperature shifts. For these reasons, if you've never done B&W film processing, you might want to try it before jumping into E-6. Even if you dislike B&W and so just do a few rolls, it'll give you practice with a somewhat simpler and more forgiving process, so you're less likely to be overwhelmed by the E-6 process when you work your way up to it.

  9. #9
    Kevin Caulfield's Avatar
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    srs5694 makes a very good point. If any processing is new to you, then starting with mono makes a lot of sense.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoJim View Post
    I'm using an old Agfa chemical kit that was in the darkroom (it worked fine), but I'm probably going to get the Fuji chemistry next. (Fuji and Kodak both make the best E6 chemistry, but Fuji's is in litres and Kodak's is in US gallons. Yes, I know, I could still use Kodak's in litres, but it's my little political statement.)
    Where are you getting the Fuji chemistry if you don't mind me asking? I use the Kodak 5L kit with great results, but it would be nice to have another option just in case Kodak......

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