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Thread: Processing E6

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    Processing E6

    This is probably one of the most repeated threads, but as the search motor doesn't give any results while I search for E6, and the Articles section isn't too easy with finding any tutorial, I thought I'd just ask for one anyway.

    So here I am, a rookie, only experienced with developing black and white film and who desperately needs to learn how to develop color film since lab prices skyrocketed because of the digital revolution.
    The only kit available in Norway being the Kodak E6 kit 5L, with no information whatoever on the stores website, and kodaks website being rather messy as well. I thought I'd ask some of the basic questions here.

    1. First of all, I need to know what they mean by "single use, all chemicals are expended together". From what I'm used to, working with rodinal, we mix chemicals according to how many films we want to develop, the kit says that it can develop up to 60 films. I'm hoping that single use doesn't mean that all sixty films have to be developed in one single use, I'm guessing that single use signifies that you can't use the same chemicals more than once. How true is this? I've read some place that color developer can be used several times, only that you need to add about 15 seconds each time you use it. And by single use, is that limited to the developer, or does that add to the blix, stop and fix as well? In B&W, we pour the developer onto a larger tank (which is probably thrown away to some recycling plant of sorts), and use the stop and fix over and over again.

    2. The second question is: how do you regulate color temperature?
    Color film seems to need a rather exact body temperature of 37.8 for the development bath, what's the most effective way of doing this?

    3. Third is: what types of film can I use for this development method?
    I shoot mainly with 35mm film, but I'm also interested in using 120 if I can get my hands on some kind of medium format camera.

    4. And last: How do I do it? Is there any tutorial for how to develop using the E6 method, and maybe some information on how to enlarge/print images onto photo-sensitive paper?

  2. #2
    tim_walls's Avatar
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    1. No, you can part mix, although I find mixing much less than 500ml is a bit of a chore because you end up measuring stupidly small quantities of the concentrates (and I actually prefer to mix up 1l at a time.)

    2. Water bath with heater is the easiest way - see the tutorial I knocked up at http://www.yarki.net/E6/ (it refers to one of the Tetenal 3-bath kits, but the principles are all the same)

    3. Any sort, as long as you have an appropriate tank! The handy thing about 120 is it has roughly the same film area as 35mm, so the number-of-films calculations are the same for 120 or 35. You can typically do two 35mm films or two 120 films (back to back on one reel) for the same solution volume/same tank.

    4. See my guide at http://www.yarki.net/E6/ - but look around on the net for far better!
    Another day goes under; a little bourbon will take the strain...

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    tim_walls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top-Cat View Post
    1. First of all, I need to know what they mean by "single use, all chemicals are expended together". From what I'm used to, working with rodinal, we mix chemicals according to how many films we want to develop, the kit says that it can develop up to 60 films. I'm hoping that single use doesn't mean that all sixty films have to be developed in one single use, I'm guessing that single use signifies that you can't use the same chemicals more than once. How true is this? I've read some place that color developer can be used several times, only that you need to add about 15 seconds each time you use it. And by single use, is that limited to the developer, or does that add to the blix, stop and fix as well? In B&W, we pour the developer onto a larger tank (which is probably thrown away to some recycling plant of sorts), and use the stop and fix over and over again.
    I just noticed I didn't really reply to this fully.

    I seem to recall the '60 films' is based on extending the development time after the first (x) films have been through the process.

    The solution has a capacity in terms of square-feet-of-film-per-litre; you should theoretically be able to reuse the chemistry up to that capacity, and then you can eke more out of it by extending the development time, if I understand right.


    If you're using a standard tank and inversion, you'll definitely want to reuse the chemistry at least once to get best value. In the back of my mind I've got about 120ml per roll of film as about the right solution volume; if you're using an inversion tank you'll probably need 480ml to cover both reels, so you should be able to develop 4 rolls (i.e. two lots of two, reusing the chemistry) before you need to start extending the development time.

    I think the Kodak instruction sheets including suggestions on extending the time.


    These days I rotary process, so it only needs about 250ml for a tank of two rolls anyway, so I use the chemistry truly one shot.



    Those numbers are probably all completely wrong - I'm at work at the moment - but you get the idea I hope...
    Another day goes under; a little bourbon will take the strain...

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    Thanks a lot, I think that covered pretty much the essentials. The chemistry itself doesn't seem too impossible to get a hold of here, but the paper and paper chemistry seems somewhat more difficult, we have the enlarger at the darkroom I use, but they say color development is too expensive for some reason, sometimes I wish I had an education in chemistry rather than art history, it might make things a lot easier.

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    I just noticed that E6 is a slide film process. Seems that C-41 is even harder to get a hold of, what are the results from cross processing negative film with the E6 method?
    Are there any other good available negative color film processing chemicals?

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    tim_walls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top-Cat View Post
    I just noticed that E6 is a slide film process. Seems that C-41 is even harder to get a hold of, what are the results from cross processing negative film with the E6 method?
    Are there any other good available negative color film processing chemicals?
    Cross processing C41 film in E6 produces 'interesting' results - you get slides basically, but with the added interest of odd colours and the orange mask. There are a couple of examples on my gallery here:

    http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphot...5&ppuser=15552
    http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphot...6&ppuser=15552

    It's quite a nice effect when you want to do it, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it as a way to process colour film 'all the time' as it were.


    I hardly ever shoot C41 so I'm not terribly experienced, but I've used the Fuji-Hunt Xpress C41 kits with no problems - they're much like the Kodak E6 kits with everything you need in one box and designed for 'single use'. The only caveat with the Fuji-Hunt kit is if I remember right one of the concentrates is a ridiculously small volume which means if you try to mix anything less than about a litre at a time you're going to need a syringe to measure the solutions out.
    Another day goes under; a little bourbon will take the strain...

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    It sounds like something I'd do since I'm mainly a digital enthusiast working with analog for alternative expressions. Though I think the other way around, processing slides with C-41 chemicals, seems far more interesting.
    Any experience with cross processing color film with black and white chemistry?

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    Since you now say you're interested in C-41 rather than E-6, you may want to post another thread asking where to find C-41 chemicals in Norway. In the US, C-41 and E-6 seem about equally available from mail-order retailers, but I'm not very familiar with the market in Europe. I do know that people in Europe do their own C-41, so the chemicals are available. If nothing else, you could get friendly with some minilab operators in the hopes that they'll sell you some small quantities of their chemicals, or perhaps let you add an order for a small kit to their bigger order from their supplier.

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    Tetenal chemistry should be available in Norway, they make excellent C41 chemistry. In the UK some photo dealers split up the C41 & RA-4 mini lab kits which are far more economic than the Amateur kits.

    Ian

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    Top-Cat, you and I are almost on the same level wrt E-6 except I'm about a month ahead. I found a box of Kodak chemistry, 1-gallon kit, shipping label was dated 1999--what-the-heck let's see what this stuff will do. Spent about a month setting up (also converting to color from B/W, needed seven more storage bottles--it's a 7-chemical kit), and trying to figure out how to get a 6-step process into a 4-slot (slots for only 4 graduated cylinders) JOBO. Also I gleaned a ton of information from here specifically on how to deal with all the required temp critical washing steps.

    I just spent the week tweeking the process, did 7-rolls, with success on the 7th. Btw I also found and used a small cache of expired EPP (dated 1995) and Velvia (exp 2000), so the results are as, or better than, expected.

    Top-Cat the E-6 information is out there, a good place to start is Kodak, I've linked the E-6 Tech pub.

    Tim, I also found a bunch of Vericolor III (exp 1994), your x-process images (C-41 film to E-6) has inspired me.

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