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Thread: Should Kodak/Fuji rethink color sheet film for room temp processing?

  1. #1

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    Should Kodak/Fuji rethink color sheet film for room temp processing?

    From other threads here it seems clear that large format is now the realm of artists and hobbyists. It doesn't make sense any more for daily professional use, and hasn't for years now. Maybe it's time to rethink large format colour film to suit the existing market.

    The current color film processes (C-41 and E-6) were made for high volume commercial lab use, which made sense at a time when there was high volume, and commercial labs were everywhere. Nowadays, most of those commercial labs are long gone, and the ones that are still around are using old equipment that nobody still makes.

    When I first got into photography in the 70's black and white was already gone from the mainstream, and was a niche thing that color film is today. Black and white photography still flourished with artists and hobbyists since it could easily be processed at home with relatively inexpensive equipment.

    I started doing color film processing in the late 70's using Agfachrome 50S film. Agfa made a chemical processing kit that could be used at room temperature. The times were longer due to the lower temperatures (compared to E-6) so it was less sensitive to small errors in processing time or temperature. Unfortunately, Agfa switched to an E-6 compatible film in the 80's and it was no longer home development friendly.

    I think Kodak and Fuji would be wise to rethink color film for the current market. It seems like scanning rather than printing is the way things are going, so there's more ways to digitally correct for color balance issues than there was in the past. Maybe a less perfect color film with a more user friendly process is the better way to go now, especially for sheet film.

  2. #2
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    Re: Should Kodak/Fuji rethink color sheet film for room temp processing?

    C-41 and E-6 kits with instructions that include time/temp combinations down to 70-75 F are available now. What else are you looking for?

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    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Should Kodak/Fuji rethink color sheet film for room temp processing?

    Scanning seems to make no sense to me. Why not just use a digital camera in the first place. Also, since it is easier to heat water on a simple closed loop electronic circuit (rather than COOL WATER), tight temperature control is much less expensive when recommended processing times are ABOVE room temperature. As is the present case.

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    Re: Should Kodak/Fuji rethink color sheet film for room temp processing?

    Cinestill offers Cs41 with flexible temperatures and I saw very good results with it even with 35mm film. I doubt whether the old big names in analogue photography deserve their reputation to date, there are quite a few new players which have a reputation to win and a lot to loose as starters on this market. .

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    Re: Should Kodak/Fuji rethink color sheet film for room temp processing?

    I could be wrong, but it's always been my understanding that low temp processing of C-41 and E-6 produce very badly mismatched color curves. What I'm hoping for is a tweaked film and process that is better suited to low temperature home processing. Something that's optimized for the real world uses today. It's the same reason that I don't think anyone would be rushing to buy a new Ilford B&W film that is optimally processed at 100 degress for 3.25 minutes.

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    Re: Should Kodak/Fuji rethink color sheet film for room temp processing?

    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    Scanning seems to make no sense to me. Why not just use a digital camera in the first place.
    Money, although Fuji's medium format digital cameras are getting there on quality and are within reach financially. At this point, there's also an argument for certain of the newer full frame 35mm digital cameras. The cost of colour sheet film makes those options look all the more attractive.

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Should Kodak/Fuji rethink color sheet film for room temp processing?

    "Real world use" simply means an appropriate tempering bath, tempering box, precise mixing valve, or thermoregulator - something PREDICTABLE of constantly sustained corrected temperature. The problem with 20C room temperature is that you often have to add a cold water line or chiller etc to one of the above anyway.
    And once high volume processing is no longer the priority with color film manufacturers, there will be no financial incentive for them to keep making the film at all, much less a niche film specially tweaked for .00001% of their customer base who won't even invest in the simplest basics. Yes, a fancy thermoregulator is nice; but an oversized tempering box for your ingredient bottles sufficient to keep developer solution per se on target plenty long enough can be made out of a big plastic pail if needed - a five dollar investment at worst.

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    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Should Kodak/Fuji rethink color sheet film for room temp processing?

    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    Scanning seems to make no sense to me. Why not just use a digital camera in the first place.
    You know of a camera with a 5x4 sensor that allows separate manipulation of lens and sensor planes? Please, tell us. I would love such a camera.

    Bruce Watson

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    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Should Kodak/Fuji rethink color sheet film for room temp processing?

    Quote Originally Posted by sharktooth View Post
    From other threads here it seems clear that large format is now the realm of artists and hobbyists. It doesn't make sense any more for daily professional use, and hasn't for years now. Maybe it's time to rethink large format colour film to suit the existing market.
    There hasn't been any R&D done in film, chemical processing, or darkroom printing in decades. I don't think you're going to see any now. Especially not from Kodak, which isn't really in the business any more anyway.

    The thing that used to drive film, and probably still does, is cinema. When Hollywood finally drops film, you will to. Because color film manufacturing will cease.

    Bruce Watson

  10. #10

    Re: Should Kodak/Fuji rethink color sheet film for room temp processing?

    Absolutely not, get a Jobo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
    The thing that used to drive film, and probably still does, is cinema. When Hollywood finally drops film, you will to. Because color film manufacturing will cease.
    I used to think about that but 1. Kodak's problem is supplying enough film, interest in it has not been an issue. 2. If instant film can be brought back from the dead someone will move heaven and earth to make a C41 film.

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