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  1. #1

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    New to E-6, have a couple questions.

    Hi,
    new to the forum, and new to E-6.
    We mixed up some E-6 the other day, and I have a couple of questions.
    It was one of those Tetenal 3-bath kits, and we mixed up half of it to make 500cl of each solution.
    The first two or three films were nice. Really nice, just amazing to pull them out of the tank!
    Yesterday I went back to process some more films, and they turned out quite dark and high contrasts were very high.
    Now, that could of course be caused by underexposing the shots in the first place, but I find it unlikely that I underexposed all frames on four rolls of film. Also, the few that looked correct had a washed out feel to them with little detail in the high areas and low contrast, implying to me that they were originally overexposed.
    So my first questions here:
    What causes slide film to come out as if they are underexposed?
    How many rolls would you process in one 500cl batch of E-6 (could it be that the chemicals are depleted)?
    Could this be temperature related? I don't have razor sharp temperature control, but I try to keep at least the first developer and first wash tightly at 38C.

    Thanks.

    Tormod

  2. #2
    hrst's Avatar
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    Underdevelopment in first developer may cause slides too dark.

    By 500cl you probably mean 500ml (= 500cc = 500 cm^3).

    I used to use Tetenal 3-bath kits and never had this kind of bad, visible problems. I didn't run any sensitometric control but I was always pleased with results. I made 330 ml at a time and ran four films with it. Sometimes it was four different runs, one film at a time. Never had that kind of problem.

    E6 is not THAT sensitive to minor temperature problems. First developer should be 38C +/- 0.3C and first wash 38C +/- 1.0C IIRC, but to get severe problems you describe there should be about 1.0C or more deviation I think.

    So, I would suggest an exposure problem or quite a bad temperature problem or a contamination problem. I hope it's just exposure!

  3. #3

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    Thanks.
    I don't hope it's exposure, because I want it to be someone else's fault...
    But it might very well be, of course. I'm used to the forgiveness of Tri-X.

  4. #4
    Athiril's Avatar
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    I find I can develop C-41 with great results at basically any temp... I find E-6 different on the other hand, only having had good results @ 38c.

    What you can do, is heat up your dev to ~42-43c if your ambient temp is in the 20s, dump it into the tank, temp should drop to to ~39, and slowly drop to 38 or 37 at the end of development, found that works great.

    If you're using a plastic tank, a pre-soak in water at +40c and let it cool to 39 or 40c, then dumping in 38c developer should allow you to keep a stable temp for the ~6 minutes of developer time required.


    "What causes slide film to come out as if they are underexposed?"

    Even if you actually overexpose... its low temperature first developer I find, I find it develops really dense slides, regardless if the b&w neg was good and indicates what should be a good slide.

  5. #5
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    How are you storing the solutions? In full glass bottles stored in a cool place? Self oxidation will affect developer activity with time. Storing part used first and colour developer for more than a few days is usally a no-no. Partially oxidized solution causes the not affected part by the film action to be consumed by being exposed to the partially oxidized stuff. l don't keep it around for longer than a few weeks, and the second week is used for non critical stuff.

    I usually store up films, and then do the developing on as fresh a mixed solution as I can.

    Kodak's z-119 guide on E-6, chapter 9 is to increase first developer time by 30 seconds after the first two rolls of 135-36 have been run per 500mL when not replenishing to account for the fact that you are not replenishing, and the activity of the solutions are now partially depleted. Koak actually says toss the stuff after 3.3 rolls per 500mL if you pro-rate the 5L volume data thay give.

    I have used 1L to process 6-8 135-36 rolls successfully when I process one batch of 4, and then the second 2-4 the next day.

    And yes, e-6 first developer sets the density of the slides, and it is very finicky. My first developer concentrate expired in 2006, so it has lost a bit of its original vigour (but I do have an almost full 3.8l of concetrate), so my standard first dev time with this stuff is 7' at 38,

    I ran a second batch of two rolls of 135 -36 from the Kodak 6 bath e-6 mixed and used to do 4 135-36 rolls at once on monday night on tuesday night.

    I went with the process when the developer was at 37.6 (I was impatient, and went for 7:20.) The slides are a bit too dark. I have one roll shot in the same light as one of the 4 rolls done monday night to compare to to prove this. To temp control I use stainless steel reels and tank, and keep them in a water bath. My water bath is a small lunch cooler that holds an aquarium heater and circulating pump. Chem bottles go in first and then I fill it with sufficient water to ensure the heaters thermostat is below the water line. The lid goues on loosely ( power cords prevent a really good seal ). The heater has had its bi-metallic thermostat setting dial stop bumps chiselled off to let me wind it up to 38C, and then the top sealled with electrical conduit sealing mastic putty to keep condensate out of the heater top.

    To troubleshoot you may want to meter and shoot a grey test card as the first shot after you load the camera with each roll. Then you can isolate out the exposure from the developing issues.

    Metering with reversal film is quite a bit more demanding than standard negative film. Plus you need to reverse the thinking of what underexposure does versus when you shoot negative film.

    I hope some of these comments help. Z-119 is on th web, and a thick read, but all you need to know is in there.
    my real name, imagine that.

  6. #6

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    Thanks a lot for that. Very helpful!

  7. #7
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    If you use a 3 bath E6 kit, you may be subject to two problems.

    If the blix is insufficient then the slides will be dark due to retained silver.

    Without a stabilizer with formalin, the slides may be subject to rapid dye fade.

    PE

  8. #8
    Rudeofus's Avatar
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    I would like to confirm that Tetenal's E6 3-Bath-Kit is pretty robust, with 500cc I easily ran 7 films in 6 separate runs stretched out over 2 weeks or more without any visible problems. I do use air tight bottles topped of with protective gas for storing the bathes between use.

    @PE: The Tetenal Kit comes with a stabilizer, it's just not counted in the number of bathes. I assume that Tormod used that.

  9. #9
    hrst's Avatar
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    Yes, Tetenal "3-bath" is actually a 4-bath kit. 3 vs. 6 probably sounds better than 4 vs. 7 so they lie about the number of baths.

    In addition, 4-bath ("3-bath") has one wash more than the official 7-bath process. The total processing time differs only a few minutes!

    This is why I started using Kodak single-use 7-bath chemistry. Tetenal's "3-bath" is not that much easier or faster, and there may be benefits in using the official process.

  10. #10
    Rudeofus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hrst View Post
    Yes, Tetenal "3-bath" is actually a 4-bath kit. 3 vs. 6 probably sounds better than 4 vs. 7 so they lie about the number of baths.
    I talked to a Tetenal guy when I started with their C41 2-bath kit (which also has a stabilizer bath, hence actually 3 bathes). His argument was that the stabilizer was not considered a bath because it did not really contribute to the picture. Whatever he meant, it seems to be common terminology, not sure whether it was just a marketing ploy.
    Quote Originally Posted by hrst View Post
    This is why I started using Kodak single-use 7-bath chemistry. Tetenal's "3-bath" is not that much easier or faster, and there may be benefits in using the official process.
    The main reason I use the Tetenal is because they're seemingly the only developer kits available here in Austria. I have no idea why they don't sell the other chemistries here ...

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