First Time E6 Processing - Completely Fail!!
I bought a PhotoTherm SSK-4 few months ago, then I ordered the whole set of E6 processing chemicals (including all starters) from B&H and waited for few months. Finally I got all chemicals two weeks earlier.
I called Kodak and talked to their chemists to make sure all mixing procedures are correct. Then I did the first run last night. I used two rolls of 120 slide. The result was a failure.
The slides are very very dark. It is not transparent. Under normal room light, I can only see very dark images from the emulsion side. The other side is totally dark.
I can't view anything using a slide viewing light box. I have to use a 150W light bulb to see the images. They appear to be seriously underexposed. Images have serious orange shift. I have no idea what went wrong 'cos I'm new in developing slide.
I'm sure the slides are perfectly exposed 'cos I've been using these two cameras for years.
After checking the SSK-4 technical manaul and Kodak E6 processing manual, I got this.
Kodak's Info (I skip the water wash steps here. The machine did the washes perfectly)
Kodak's Info SSK-4's Manual
Steps Processing time (minutes) Processing time
1st Developer 6 6:30
Reversal Bath 2 3
Color Develop 6 4
Pre-Bleach 2 3
Bleach 6 8
Fixer 4 4
Final Rinse 1 2
Would it be because the time spent For Color Developer was not enough? Did that 2 minutes cause such huge difference? The slides aren't transparent? What went wrong?
I tried to call PhotoTherm, but their technicial wasn't available. Can anyone help me understand more?
Check that processing temperature is correct. Run E-6 process using plain water, stop in the middle of 1-st developer and measure temperature in the tank. It must be exactly to the Kodak's spec.
Also, check that liquids drain fully. One problem I had with my sidekick was that drain line was too short, so it did not get sufficient siphon effect. The water from presoak was diluting the developer and caused come underdevelopment.
You don't mention which film you are developing. Try increasing first developer time. With some films 6:30 may not be sufficient.
I don't see pre-soak in your list. You really want to pre-soak the film to bring it to the right temperature. Otherwise the first developer will be too cold.
Thanks for your reply.
Yes, there was a presoak before the 1st Developer step. The technician from PhotoTherm just called me back. He told me to check if the temperature is correct. I was sitting next to the machine last night during the whole process. I used my hand to feel the drum, the temperature should be alright. Anyway, I'll buy a digital thermometer and check tonight.
He also suspects if the drainage problem occured. Well, it drained without a problem until the 2nd water wash after Final Rinse. I don't think that affects so much.
Before I run the E6 process, I drained all lines using clean water. So it shouldn't be contamination of the lines. Still don't know what happened. I'll email the chemcials mixing details to PhotoTherm and temperature readings later on. Hopefully we'll solve the problem. Sigh......
I never had an E-6 problem in a hand tank.
Anyway, don't stop after 1st dev. It goes like this;
E-6 First Developer for 6 minutes.
First Wash (Soak) for 2 minutes, this weakly continues development and is part of the current process.
You may then stop/rinse etc, then reversal bath etc etc.
Lack of a stop isn't a problem, if too much first development occurred your slides would be too transparent, not too dark. It is either a lack of developer activity or a lack of silver solvent (which is very unlikely) or a bleach/fixing problem.
Tell me your mixing procedure.
How much water did you use to make replenisher and how much E-6 first dev concentrate, then how much water and how much starter did you add to that to make working solution? You're using E-6 First Developer Starter with the First Developer correct and not any other starter?
6:30 is sufficient for all films, the E-6 first development process is a bit more flexible than others, between 6 and 7min is said to be fine, even with underdevelopment you would not have such bad results.
I also pre-soak all my film, developer does drop several degrees in temp if the film and tank is not up or above working temp, I presoak with ~45c water.
Thanks Athiril. It's very frustrating to find out which step(s) went wrong. Here's a table of how I mixed the chemicals after confirming with Kodaks' chemist.
Measurement is in (ml)
First Developer ----- 810-------190---------------------5
Reversal Bath ------- 960-------40
Color Developer ---- 770-------A - 170 / B - 60 --------- 5
Pre-Bleach ---------- 850-------200
Bleach --------------- 900-------100--------------------40
Fixer ----------------- 900-------100
Final Rinse ---------- 990-------10
Lately I discovered from Kodak's website that the I should use 660ml of water to mix the Color Developer. So, this step is a little diluted.
The PhotoTherm SSK-4 presock and wash the film at 100F (I suppose, I need to check accuracy tonight). As I said, the drum felt like 100F during the whole process. Just don't know what went wrong.
P.S. I'm sorry, I can't format the table above. It looks a little messy.
Last edited by louie2003louie; 08-23-2011 at 02:53 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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For temperature check you don't need to buy a special thermometer. Just use one from the drug store that measures body temperature. It's accurate enough. Basically the problem you are describing looks like insufficient development in the 1st developer. It could be bad chemistry, too cold or too diluted. Check expiration dates on the chemistry you have. 1st dev and color dev are the ones more likely to die prematurely.
How about the edge markings. Are those dark too? If not, it might be your camera meter.
I doubt it's expiration date even if years out. They last unopened in concentrate form very well. Though FD is one part and already alkaline.
What catalogue number is your First Developer? Is it 831 3611? Because technically it's 800ml water + 200ml concentrate makes 1L replenisher, then 950mL of replenisher + 50mL water + 6mL starter = tank solution, 810mL + 190mL + 6mL starter should achieve the same thing (working solution) I see you have 5mL, but that's less starter, so that should have a neglible increase in activity. (amounts are found here - http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe...is49/cis49.pdf)
I would definately put it down to a lack first developer activity (dodgy concentrate, low temperature, insufficient time, contamination from another solution, too weakly diluted, as stated before - you can eliminate many of these already), unless the slides are brownish rather than black.
Do you have a hand processing tank for B&W you can try it in?
Yes, the First Developer is 8313611.
I'm 100% sure the camera exposure is correct 'cos I've been using one of them for over 5 years. For the chemcials, I placed the order from B&H on May01 and came in August. So they should be fresh (at least not expired).
I tried to do the temperature check on Tuesday, but the machine can't detect the drum. It happened many times before when I did water run tests. After several on & off it would be okay. But this time, it didn't work. I decided to take a day off and bring everything to PhotoTherm in NJ to find out why.
Just emailed the technician but he was off yesterday. Still waiting for their reply.
It is not completely clear from what you say, but you should NOT use the reversal bath right after the 1st developer.
See here: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/profe...th=13318/13629 for example.
To do otherwise can cause improper processing.
Also, the super dark images suggest a lack of bleaching and fixing. You might repeat the process from the bleach step onward to see if the images clear up any.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
There're two washes right after the 1st developer which I didn't mention. I just let the machine runs itself. The PhoteTherm technician also suspects there's some problem a the bleach step.
Since the machine couldn't detect the drum, I couldn't get it work. And, my house is currently out of power after Irene's visit. I need to check everything later. I may have other questions up next week. I really appreciate the help from you guys!!
Let me just write the list the whole process later. I now use my office computer to get Internet access. No 3G, no Internet at home right now. Glad everyone is okay in my town.