View Full Version : Help With E6 film??

Stanley Kubrick
15-Oct-2015, 10:48
Hi, I am having some problems processing 5x4 slide film. I am not attempting doing it myself, that would be ridiculous! No, I am using a lab to do that. The problem I am having is that my slides are suddenly coming back underexposed, by a huge amount, I would say 2 or 3 stops, and due to the low latitude for error with slide film, they are useless! I have done multiple tests, serviced my lens, even measured the time of its exposure using audio recording software (I am using a fairly slow and thus a readable shutter speed is possible). I dont know what else to do other than do more testing using black and white film, and comparing it to my other lens.

The question I would like to know is could the lab be messing them up somehow? I have not had any problems with them in the past, and my slides have always come back as I expected. I had though that with colour processing there is not a lot you could mess up, development times are the same for all films, as opposed to B/W film. If they did mess up would the slides come back underexposed, or would they not come back atoll?

If you can answer this then thank you, but I expect I will have to spend more money testing lenses! Thanks!

15-Oct-2015, 11:31
Possible things to consider... film reciprocity adjustment, bellows extension, filters.

I had a similar experience & learned my copal shutter needs to be repaired/ replaced.

Drew Wiley
15-Oct-2015, 12:01
A process of elimination. Not likely the lab, though you could simply try a different one. An E6 error would have a significant color reproduction issue. Double-check your meter and metering technique. Test your shutter speeds. And as strange as it seems, is you film loaded in the holder with the emulsion facing forward? Backwards film results in a lot of extra density from the
film base and antihalation coating itself, and often a color shift due to the latter.

15-Oct-2015, 13:27
Start by sending off a roll of 35mm or 120 slide film exposed correctly in a known to be good camera system to the same lab and see if they come back alright. That should eliminate a persistent problem with the lab, although not an intermittent or one-time failure. Also try exposing some knowm to be good b&w film in your 5x4 system with the same settings and develop along proven methods at home (assuming you have done a fair bit of development yourself) and see if they come out alright. I'd take it from there and then do the rest of the elimination stuff mentioned above.

15-Oct-2015, 13:36
What Drew said!

Andrea Gazzoni
15-Oct-2015, 13:55
I'd compare with bw film equally exposed and double check the shutters.
Had the same issue since two years, tried everything to no avail...no matter if slides were fresh or expired, lab A or lab Z, provia or velvia, 90mm or 210mm, they came out almost black while bw shots were ok. Sadly I had to stop shooting color one year ago for this and I am still too scared to start again. Hope you will do better, keep us posted.

Stanley Kubrick
15-Oct-2015, 17:13
Had lens serviced, meter works at all other times, also did digital tests to be meter wasnt drastically off, flim loaded into holder the correct way!

Hmm, I suppose a b/w test comparing shutter speeds of the lens, would be the best option, as I am experienced with that and can process that at my college. The only thing is the lab definitely messed up some b/w stuff, and the last 5x4 batch I got back had a cloud on them so I had to take them back and get them re-bleached!

Yes, handing in some film shot on my Hasselblad should rule out any lab errors.

Thanks for the advice!

David Lobato
15-Oct-2015, 18:25
What lens do you have? It's possible it was re-mounted in a non-original shutter and the f-stop scale is incorrect.

Stanley Kubrick
16-Oct-2015, 17:58
It is a Linhof Shnieider. I looks pretty intact... The shutter speeds are the older type, as in 50th rather than 60th, 25th instead of 30th ect. I have re-metered for that though..

Liquid Artist
17-Oct-2015, 07:37
I would try some B&W like others have suggested plus like also suggested send a roll to the same lab from a camera that you know is good. Plus send another roll from the same camera to another lab and compare the results.

It could be a lab issue without them even knowing they have a problem
Even if the lab changes their chemistry regularly just a sensor issue in their machine could have the chemistry too hot or cold which could effect development.

Stanley Kubrick
18-Oct-2015, 04:38
Hmm, I would imagine they would do regular tests with the machine using materials made for testing, I cant remember what their called, the strips you buy to test chemical condition.. I suppose as a result of this digital dominating time period that perhaps these tests aren't caries out as often as they should be!

Light Guru
18-Oct-2015, 14:27
Expose two sheets exactly the same and send to two labs.

18-Oct-2015, 14:39
Why is doing E6 your self ridiculous????
It is most likely easier, cheaper, and for the most part will offer much better results if you do it yourself.

18-Oct-2015, 16:18
Why is doing E6 your self ridiculous????
It is most likely easier, cheaper, and for the most part will offer much better results if you do it yourself.

Not hard. Perhaps not as top-quality as a (good) lab but I haven't had any problems with C-41 or E-6 films I've developed staying good for a few years. If they only last 25 instead of 50 I'll be okay.

26-Oct-2015, 02:06
Have a similar problem. 1 Lab with always good results, 1 Lab with sometimes underexposed results. But no colour casts. Now on 1 120 Film I got back from the second Lab I recognized the black parts arround the pictures to be not completely black but very deep red/black AND the writing on the edges of the film (Fuji Provia and so on) to be considerable darker orange. From the Lab with the good results the writing is the normal yellow colour I know from the past. Films were from the same 5x package. Perhaps you can compare that?

26-Oct-2015, 08:35
Are they closeups? Dont forget about bellows factor for exposure

30-Oct-2015, 15:50
To be honest the only way to go with E6 is to self process, it is no more difficult than B&W you just need to invest in a expert tank and processor. The problem labs have is having the amount of throughput to keep the line consistent , as far as I am aware there is only one lab in London still processing E6 and other labs offering the service are subbing it to them, so in the long run there is little choice but to do it yourself,

Stanley Kubrick
30-Oct-2015, 21:32
Right.... I will look into it then, I had always been told that processing anything colour by yourself produced inadequate results.. But anything I do couldn't be worse than the results I got back from the lab!

Stanley Kubrick
30-Oct-2015, 21:33
Thank you everyone for your advice!

Ivan J. Eberle
31-Oct-2015, 15:29
If nothing else, one thing that developing E6 yourself avails you is feedback within 30 minutes of loading the tank with film. If you can find true 8-step E6 chemistry yet, there are variety of adjustments that can be made in processing to correct color shifts and you can even do clip tests and push/pull. Have not done my own E6 in several years, but ran a lot of it through a Jobo CPP including 4x5. Almost always got visibly brighter and cleaner colors than commercial labs because I was using chemistry as one-shot while they were all replenishing. Today, E6 has become so hard to find anyone competent to process--let alone the local guys I could walk in and hand it off and be back for my film in a couple of hours, those guys are all long shuttered-- I find there's little to no incentive to shoot it over C41. I can understand the aesthetics of looking at a transparency but for a reality check I might ask, what subjects in 4x5 can't be done better with C41 now-- particularly if scanning?

Mike Lewis
1-Nov-2015, 07:40
I was puzzled by occasional sheets of E6 that would come back from the lab overexposed. I finally realized that on occasion I was misreading my spot meter. When its display said "2" I was taking a two-second bulb exposure, when the meter's reading really meant "1/2 second". Yeah, that's a dumb error, and if I had thought before tripping the shutter I would have caught it. I guess it would be possible to make this mistake in reverse, depending upon the meter's display.