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  1. #1

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    E-6 development - how difficult?

    This summer I intend shooting some slides wile on vacation, that I am planing to develop myself (manually, not using a rotary processor). Obviously, I want to avoid ruining my holiday pictures, but Velvia colors are too amazing not to give slides a try. I'm scared though by the narrow temperature tolerance limits.
    Now, is E-6 development that tricky? Did you get it right from the first try? Is manual development good enough for quality results?

    Regards,
    Bogdan

  2. #2

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    Yes, the temperature limit is very narrow and critical so without any equipment I would not take the risk for valuable films. The problem with slides is that afterwards you can not correct anything.

    So at least you will need a TBE-2 or indeed better a CPA-2 or CPP-2 for this.
    My favorite store: http://www.fotohuisrovo.nl

  3. #3
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    When you develop slides in general, and when you don't use a rotary processor in particular, you should make some tests to see that everything works well.

    There are MANY mistakes you can make especially if you are new to DIY developing in general. If you already practice B&W developing then you are already half way to success, but I suggest you try first with some test roll before you develop your holiday rolls. I also suggest you develop your rolls one at a time so that you can adjust developing times if necessary.

    If all your holiday rolls will be Velvia, then your test rolls should be Velvia as well.

    The key word in this matter is consistency. Once you find a procedure that works, keep that procedure exactly the same for subsequent rolls. Exactly same bath temperature, exactly same chemistry quantity and dilution, exactly same agitation pattern.

    You also have to figure a way to keep baths, tank etc. all at around 38 °C.

    Temperature is important ONLY during the first bath. All the other baths are "to completion", if the temperature goes a bit below 38 °C don't worry just soup the film more.

    Suggestions:

    - A basin with hot water tap and a "too full" water sink. You check temperature and from time to time open the hot water tab;
    - A fish tank thermometer. Those don't arrive to 38 °C but I "modified" mine to arrive there (force the temperature knob);
    - An electric dish warmer: electric plastic things that have a surface which can be kept at a mild temperature. You put a big plastic container over the dish warmer.

    It's important that you wait for the entire "thermic system" to have stabilized. I wait for at least half an hour. All elements (sink, flasks, tank and liquids) must go to temperature.

    PE suggests two 30" water rinses before developing. They will bring the film to temperature. Don't worry about the coloured water coming out.

    Best wishes
    Fabrizio

    PS To answer your question: it is NOT difficult at all once you found your procedure. The work is all in the establishing of a proper procedure. Then it is very easy, just longer than with B&W.
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
    Stock images at Imagebroker: http://www.imagebroker.com/#/search/ib_fbr

  4. #4
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    It's not tough.

    Like any new thing it takes a bit of thought and practice.

    With E6 I have simply used Kodak's directions and a water bath.

    E6 is actually what I tried first when I came back to film and I was successful on the very first attempt.

    The biggest lesson I learned was that film developing isn't a pass/fail process. Very reasonable results can be had if you just get good and close.

    I simply used a float through temp regime. Started at say 104 and finished at about 96.

    Experience (and better tools) will allow you over time to get closer to optimum and be more consistent.

    Practice a bit before your trip and you'll probably do just fine.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  5. #5
    brucemuir's Avatar
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    If you've done C41 successfully you will be fine with E6.
    I used the 3 bath kit the first times but have graduated to 6 bath.
    The 6 bath are kaput here in the US now so I may have to go back to a 3 bath.

    If you dig velvia punch also try some Ektachrome "VS"
    VS has amazing reds and oranges and is a stop faster then the good velvia.
    It's disappearing in the US but IDK availability where you are or your vacation spot.

    Have a great time.

  6. #6

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    The biggest problem I've ever had was some uneven development marks due to the time it takes to pour in the first developer...before agitation starts. Any tips there are appreciated.

  7. #7
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amuderick View Post
    The biggest problem I've ever had was some uneven development marks due to the time it takes to pour in the first developer...before agitation starts. Any tips there are appreciated.
    The only time I have had this problem it was with a "new-to-me" tank. My mistake was simply in throwing film in it without practicing with water first. That tank found the round file immediately.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  8. #8

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    Wow, first of all thank you for the kind answers and suggestions.
    I regularly develop BW and I also have some experience with C-41 (though I have no idea how relevant the latter still is, as the last color roll I developed was 15 years ago or so, when I was still somewhere in my late teens).
    What I plan to do is partially fill my bathtub with hot tap water, put all the paraphernalia in, and let it all level to 38C. I hope this setup will have enough inertia to keep things at a constant enough temperature throughout the development. If needed, I could add more hot tap water.
    Yes, the main slide film will be Velvia (mostly Velvia 50), but I think I will indulge myself , and sample a few other brands. Astia (though a diferent animal) and Ektachrome VS are high on my list.
    I'll try to shoot and develop a few rolls before going on holiday, to see how they come out.
    Do you have any agitation tips? (I will be developing 120 film in a regular 2-roll Kaiser tank)

  9. #9
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theoria View Post
    Do you have any agitation tips? (I will be developing 120 film in a regular 2-roll Kaiser tank)
    Read and follow the instructions.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  10. #10
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    I personally use a rotary processor and so have no experience with manual agitation.
    Rotary processors allow savings in chemistry which are relevant if you use "one-shot" baths ("one-shot" means "at-least-two-shots-you-can-have-more-if-you-are-ready-to-accept-some-compromise-with-quality-shots). I use "one-shot" baths "only" twice.
    As an example, my Jobo 1520 tank says:

    Rotation: 240 ml
    Inversion: 485 ml

    A rotary processor will save time, hassle, and chemistry. It's April you have a lot of time to get one before your summer holidays (unless it's Easter holidays we are talking).

    Although a Jobo CPP or CPA would be nice, what one really needs, I understand now, is just the "rotary" stuff. It's not hard to devise a contraption that keeps temperature fairly even for a few minutes. It's not hard to have an uniform agitation pattern but that require attention and is prone to mistakes. Machines don't lose concentration and don't make mistakes.

    If you look around (e.g. on eBay) you find small "simplified" rotary processors and I think would have been equally effective than my CPP-2.

    They can be quite economical. I suggest, as ever, to look eBay.de because it is a mine of occasions.

    Fabrizio
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
    Stock images at Imagebroker: http://www.imagebroker.com/#/search/ib_fbr

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