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Thread: Beginners Advice.

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Cairns, QLD, Australia
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    Red face Beginners Advice.

    Hi, what is the cheapest & easiest setup, to get started in processing my own 4x5 & 120 E6 film ? The Only darkroom experience i have is loading film. Right now i am paying my local Lab (The only lab that does E6 in my area) $7 (AUD) per sheet. I was hoping someone could head me in the right direction.

    Thanks - Rupa

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    119

    Re: Beginners Advice.

    I'm not sure there's a lot of choice in E6 home developing, but I'm not an expert. Tetenal makes 3-bath E6 kits. Do realize it is a very critical process, you really have to keep the temperatures perfect or you'll get less then lovely side affects... I would perhaps suggest getting familiar with black and white processing first, just so you have the basic knowledge of developing.
    But perhaps that isn't neccesary, I'm not sure. I only develop E6 myself when it's cine film, and I always find that no matter how perfect I thought I did it, there's always a flaw somewhere in the process.

  3. #3

    Join Date
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    3,856

    Re: Beginners Advice.

    Bite the bullet and pay the $7.
    I did my own processing for years (when I was in school) and can guarantee you that it's a PITA. Also, unless you do a large volume of work, the chemicals will go bad too quickly and it will end up costing you more than taking it to the lab.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  4. #4
    Andi Heuser
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    Re: Beginners Advice.

    How is it to do own C41 process?

    sanchi

  5. #5

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    Re: Beginners Advice.

    E6 was the first thing I developed when I picked film back up a couple years ago.

    I used the Kodak chemical kit made lots of mistakes and it still worked out okay and cost a lot less than $7 per sheet.

    Temp control, specifically for the first developer is the biggie but very doable, a microwave and a tub of hot water helps here.

    A dark bag, a "daylight" tank kit (for each film size in your case), and 7 jugs/jars to match the tank for the chemicals.

    My 4x5 tank does 12 sheets and needs about 1.1 liters of fluid. For B&W with my replenished Xtol, 1 sheet or 12, I don't care. For color though you will probably want to do more than one sheet when you mix up a batch.

  6. #6

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    Re: Beginners Advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by sanchi heuser View Post
    How is it to do own C41 process?

    sanchi
    C-41 is easier than E-6, still have the temp control need but it is much faster and fewer baths.

    The more I use C-41 the better I like it, same with RA-4.

  7. #7

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    Re: Beginners Advice.

    Thanks for the helpful advice. One more question, How long roughly will the unused chemistry last before it goes bad ?

    cheers

  8. #8
    Greg Lockrey's Avatar
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    Re: Beginners Advice.

    You can buy the E-6 chemistry from Kodak that you can mix for 500ml at a time to be used one time. Once mixed the chemistry is good for about two or three weeks if you don't have all the air removed. You will also need to keep the chemistry at 100ºF ±.5ºF on some of the critical steps so you will need a temperature control device to do that. Those run around $300.00. Getting one of those Jobo processors is a good start, but otherwise you are in for a lot of hassle unless your good at fabricating a set up yourself. Once you get started developing both time and temperature are critical so there is no room for screw ups.
    Greg Lockrey

    Wealth is a state of mind.
    Money is just a tool.
    Happiness is pedaling +25mph on a smooth road.



  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    NY
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    Re: Beginners Advice.

    The forum speaks on the three step vs n+3 step processes so maybe stay away from 3 step process.
    On the previously asked question, which of the fluids in the E-6 process are most chemically labile? The reason I RE-Introduce this questio: I used to mix all my e-6 from (mostly) dry chemicals (supposed cost savings?). My color developer was old and Photographer's Formulary doesn't carry the CD-4. I used the old CD-4 => yuck. I went back to the e-6 kits.
    Also, I bought an expired kit (little less than one year outdated) on the forum. Split the kit by using only 1/3 and saving the remaining 2/3 in original bottles. The expired kit worked great! Beautiful. HOWEVER, shame on me, leaving all that headspace in the bottles because a month later the chemicals were dead i.e. chromes developed but almost no color but a bluish cast. In retrospect, I should have sparged and flooded headspace before resealing.
    Does anyone use CO2 for this? He would be best and N less expensive but CO2 is so much easier to come by.
    I bought some CD-4 recently here in NY but had terrible luck with it. Something in my system is kooky and so perhaps it's best to toss my old chemicals and start again. A big outlay of money upfront and it's not clear whether it's the CD-4 or...? The moral of this story: beginners should not think saving a little on the chemicals is going to save them money.

    So, back to the one n+3 shot kits unless anyone has experience reusing PARTS of the kit by supplementing with the less expensive ingredients from the chemical distributors.
    Keep up the fight. Man, there is nothing like getting a chrome to come out when you've done all that alchemy.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2009
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    540

    Re: Beginners Advice.

    For e-6 I'd suggest using a 6 bath kit from kodak. You will get better results than 3 bath kit.

    For that reason a processor which takes 6 bottles is ideal. That means a Jobo CPP-2 or a Jobo ATL 1000 or ATL 1500. The ATL ones are fully automated but more expensive and don't take the expert tanks so most large format photographers use the CPP-2 processor. The CPE processor only has holders for 4 bottles but the occasional one had 6 bottle holder but the CPE won't take expert tanks.
    So the best processor is the CPP-2. This has a tempered water bath and will heat chemicals to 38degC for E6 and C41.
    Then you will need tanks. Either 2500 series tanks with 2509N reels for 4X5 or expert tanks. Then you are good to go.

    Cost? Just depends on what you can get a CPP-2 for. Check the auction site.

    Hand Inversion processing for E6 is not good as you would need to use a lot of expensive chemistry so at a minimum you need a roller base. But then you have a problem with temp control so the Jobo CPP-2 processor really is best.
    Some have a "Lift" attachment which makes changing chemicals easier.

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