This question was sparked by the rotary processing thread...
I can drop off E6 at A&I in Hollyweird virtually 24/7, and get a three hour turnaround. Is there ANY reason that it would be better for me to do E6 at home in the sink? It doesn't sound easier, and although I have never done the process, it doesn't sound like there is as much variable in the process as I am used to in BW. And A&I is very good at pushes and pulls, etc. Is there something I could do at home as an amateur that would better the work of the lab?
There is a discussion about this some place. It's not cheaper unless you can do a lot of film. But then you'd likely be better off shooting more and paying somebody else to process it. It'll only be better if your lab screws up.
I'm going to pickup 100feet roll of old film from Freestyle. I'll bulk load it. That will make gettting it processed a little harder. Plus I just want to try it.
Not if you have a good lab near you to begin with. E6 in the labs near us is about 2 hours turnaround, but we do it in-house now, and the run is about an hour and a half dry to dry. It's probably half that time in actual labor, because the machine is mostly automated. The biggest PIA about E6 is maintaining your process and mixing the chemicals. The actual process isn't flexible like b&w, with little room for error--but if you did do it yourself, you could gain control over certain aspects of your chrome film. Like doing pushes and pulls, even slight ones...you could mess with the sp. gravity and pH of certain steps to tweak the contrast or shift the color balance, but if your aim was a straight process--you would be trying to follow the same rules as the labs do--the std. E6 process run around control strips. And I don't think it's worth the headache if a Q lab or Fuji Oasis lab is nearby. If you ran the film yourself, you could tweak the process around the film you shot the most. This is how we run--geared to Fuji Provia 100, and use control strips for just the most basic part of the process. We actually get more control off the film, than the control strips. labs try to go for a process that will run everyone's film more or the less the same. then there's a limit on top of the aim for the control strips, of just how much speed and color you can be off. It comes down to about 10cc's of color and maybe almost a half stop in speed. If the line is geared toward one type of film--maybe the most popular chrome film in town, or the one the lab owner/studio shoots--then there may be problems with your film, unless you filtered back to their process (assuming it's reasonably consistent--you hope anyways) or adjusted the speed. Alot of people assume it's somehow all automatic--E6--and the films all work the same way, but in a way they don't. They do & they don't.
If you did use a small processor like a Jobo, you would have to mix up smaller amounts of chemistry--which means you would need to be more careful--and it would take longer to heat up the steps. Then, with any one-shot process, you lose the type of control you get with a replenished system. So, in E6 there's very little recourse, once you've done that run, the chem is gone. In some ways, doing batch runs in tanks makes more sense, because you can control the steps as you go along with your film. You can get really close with a rotary tube processor, but it just takes turning yourself into a robot really. It's a zombie type process. You're not going to get into a mad scientist routine and somehow "discover" your own secret E6 recipe. You need to program yourself for consistency, and basically go off on autopilot for every single run, every time you mix chemistry etc. If you were dealing with a gallon or so of the stock chem, and you dumped part of it with one run. You could go back & try to adjust the remaining amount, if there was a problem with the first run. Buit if you mix up those miniscule amounts like a couple of hundred ml's or whatever, you better make sure you do it right....or, I guess my answer would be you can do it at home, but don't complain about color balance or speed until you can nail the process down. It will almost always be your fault, not the characteristics of the film, not the brand, not Kodak's fault, not Fuji's--it will be you. Your fault. This is what I think anyways when I read posts on these forums complaining about chrome film and E6.
Then again, you might prove me wrong-- I'm no expert on E6....but I do know that I can't do it any better myself at home, without a considerable investment in time and money.
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</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (DKT @ Mar 14 2003, 10:16 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>... The biggest PIA about E6 is maintaining your process and mixing the chemicals. The actual process isn't flexible like b&w, with little room for error--but if you did do it yourself, you could gain control over certain aspects of your chrome film. Like doing pushes and pulls, even slight ones...you could mess with the sp. gravity and pH of certain steps to tweak the contrast or shift the color balance,.. .</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
I think that you are describing the process for large, automated machines.
The "Three Step" chemicals are no more trouble to mix than oridinary c-41 chemicals. These chemicals are probably more carefully formulated and controlled in manufacture, recognizing the fact that the average darkroom is not set up to measure Ph and specific gravities.
All I can say is that whatever variables exist in JOBO temperature control and the process in general, there sems to be more chance for error in the exposure itself. I have been very satisfied with the output from my darkroom.
E6 chemicals in the JOBO ARE replenishable, according to the Tetenal, etc., data sheets, with the usual modifications: Add time to First and Color developers for the second run: more time for the third, etc.
However, being a quality freak, I do nearly everything, Black and White, C-41 and E-6 on a one-shot basis. That way, I am continually using fresh chemicals, and from my experience, I can equal or surpass the quality of a Commecial Lab - at least the Commercial Labs I've used.
The economy of it all is another matter. Off-shore processing is probably cheaper (neglecting transportation and time to get to-) in a GOOD Commercial Lab - and neglecting the trouble to FIND a GOOD lab.
Ed Sukach, FFP.
I use a local high quality local lab sometimes and also do my own E6 in a Jobo processer.
I have learned that there are two main causes of failure with self processing
1, colour shift due to temperature varyations
2, colour casts due to cross contamination of the chemicals, the slightest amount of contaminatiom will ruin the whole film.
I would let the pro lab do it. LIke someone said you need to do a lot of film because the chems don't last long and are somewhat expensive.
</span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Aggie @ Mar 14 2003, 02:05 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> You can screw up just as easily as a lab can. but they tend to, (high end ones) do it quicker, and more reliably. It is the grocery store drop off ones you avoid. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
They screw up quicker and more reliably?
I thought I had that covered myself.
I run my E-6 myself because it is more convenient. Many of my shoots don't finish until some 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and I just don't like to wait until the next day to get some of my film back. So, I'll run the rolls in my Jobos so I can get them done and ready. Plus, I can run my own C-41 for the same reason. I'll do the film here, then do a contact sheet, evaluate, crop and send the carded negs off to the pro-lab for final printing.
I do my own Ciba's, so I can keep my work in house instead of having to rely on some lab for a time schedule. The only time I send everything off to the prolab is for critical work, ie, weddings, etc.
If you've ever been non-methodical in your life, then you'd wanna be careful if you run your own colour film, sometimes, the absent-mindedness can get to you during a 6 minute segment of the processing cycle!