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Thread: Home E6 Processing - Anyone Here Do It?

  1. #1
    Scott --'s Avatar
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    Home E6 Processing - Anyone Here Do It?

    Hi, everyone -

    I'm interested (ugh) in doing my own E6 processing. I'm looking for an economical kit to get started with. The Kodak kit looks like it'd work, but B&H won't ship it. The Tetenal 3-bath kit they sell works out to something like $3.41/sheet of 4x5 if I'm reading correctly, and that ain't near cheap enough to justify it for me.

    What are y'all (or "youse guys") using? Cost? Capacity?

    Thanks,
    Scott

  2. #2

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    Re: Home E6 Processing - Anyone Here Do It?

    Scott,

    Look around, there are companies that will ship the Kodak Kit, I know I have had it shipped to me on a couple of occasions, it is a good kit, I was never thrilled with the Tetenal kit, but other are. One thing to keep in mind, if you get the Kodak kit, you will most likely have to pay a hazmat fee on top of any shipping.

    Dave

  3. #3

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    Re: Home E6 Processing - Anyone Here Do It?

    Scott,

    The Arista kit from freestyle is a little cheaper and I've had good luck with it.

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/sc_pro...=1002&pid=4706

  4. #4
    Seattle photographer Photomax's Avatar
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    Re: Home E6 Processing - Anyone Here Do It?

    I used to have to mix Kodak E6 chemistry when our newspaper photographers shot glorious slide film. Mixing E6 chemistry is a sloppy toxic chore best avoided. All of this stuff smells and can't be good for your lungs. The Blix is murder on your clothes. All of this stuff is BAD news. It needs accurate temperature to work correctly. Disposal is the big issue. Will you feel good about dumping spent E6 chemistry down the drain? Its awful stuff. Period. In short, take your chromes to the lab and have them do it.

    Max

  5. #5
    Louie Powell's Avatar
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    Re: Home E6 Processing - Anyone Here Do It?

    Back in the day when I shot color slides I did my own E-6 processing. I generally used the Unicolor kits although I think I also tried Kodak.

    General opinion: anyone who can process black and white film can also do E-6. It doesn't require any special tools or facilities, and is a fairly rapid process.

    The only challenge is to maintain the temperature (100 deg). I used a Rubbermaid bin as a tempering bath - filled it with 100 deg water, kept the bottles of chemicals in it and also dipped the processing tank between agitations. They advise maintaining 1/4 deg tolerance, but the fact is that broader variations are possible. The main consequence of letting the temperature wander further is that it impacts first developer which controls apparent film speed.

    There are two reasons to want to do your own E-6. Economy - yes, provided you shoot enough to use the chemicals before they become too old. The shelf life after the chemicals are opened are about 30 days, and a 16 oz set of chemicals will process six rolls of film (and perhaps seven - see below). The best way to use it is to process three batches of two rolls each, extending the first developer time for the second and third batches to compensate for partial exhaustion. I found that if I put three rolls into either the first or second batch, I could squeeze seven rolls through one set of chemicals with no apparent effect.

    I bought Pakon plastic mounts from Freestyle and only mounted keeper slides. With six rolls of film though one set of chemistry, I could bring my per-roll processing cost down to about half the commercial rate.

    The second reason for DIY-E6 was that the turnaround was far faster than commercial processing. The classic example was the class I took in which I went out shooting in the morning, came home and processed my film, and then was able to go out to reshoot the mistakes in the afternoon.

    Regarding toxicity and disposal - most of the kits are designed to be self-cancelling. You simply mix all of the chemicals together when you are done, and the resulting cocktail is supposed to be environmentally benign. We were living in a house with a septic system and the time, and dumping it down the drain did no apparent harm.

  6. #6
    Seattle photographer Photomax's Avatar
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    Re: Home E6 Processing - Anyone Here Do It?

    I guess it depends oh where you live and how much film you need processed. We tried all kinds of kit chemistry(Unicolor, 3 chemo kits, newspaper industry "solutions" etc) but we always came back to the pure Kodak E6 for consistent results.

    I hated mixing and dumping this stuff. We had a silver recovery system and we sent the used chemicals through some filtering tanks. Still, this stuff stank up the whole area, it stained everything and the blix would dry as crusty crystals everywhere. The stuff we dumped still looked like a toxic stew of the worst kind to me. I am sure salmon in the Pacific Northwest suffered from E6 chemistry use by the Seattle daily newspapers. Obviously with home use we are talking much smaller quantities. Still, if you want quality foolproof E6 processing I would take a hard look at doing it at home. Is the speed and cost savings worth having to order, mix, store, use, clean and dispose of this potent chemistry? After working with E6 for years I will NEVER bring it into my home.

    Max

  7. #7

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    Re: Home E6 Processing - Anyone Here Do It?

    Well opinions are going to vary depending on experiance levels, I have done E6 at home and suffered no ill effects, I also worked in a lab and we processed hundreds of rolls a week and recovered silver, but never showed any ill effects, I will agree some of the odors are a bit strong, depending on the level of processing done, but in a low volume home environment, I have never found E6 processing any more difficult or caustic than B&W..and will care can be done safely with little environmental implications.(Now of course, I have not opened the top of the septic system for several years, who knows, I could have aliens growing down there!)



    Dave

  8. #8

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    Re: Home E6 Processing - Anyone Here Do It?

    Scott,

    Home E6 processing is not overly difficult, and can be done with a very moderate setup. Of course, a Jobo or the like will make the whole process a whole lot more enjoyable. Doing E6 at home is not only cheaper, QC can exceed even the best labs because you're using the chems "one shot".

    The Kodak E6 kit is the one to get. I'm in Canada and I have my local shop order directly from Kodak whenever they make their regular order. No need to pay additional hazmat fees or the like.

    My trick for maximizing the use of my kit and to avoid mixing hassles is to mix my kit up in its entirety the first time I open it. This way, I don't need to mess around measuring the chems, I only have to measure the amount of water for each chem to bring the working volume to 5L. From the 5 litres of each working solution, I divide up the chems into 500mm or 1L plastic bottles and freeze them in my deep freeze.

    When I'm ready to process, I simply reach in the freezer and take out the six bottles I need, place them in a sink filled with hot water and they're thawed out in about 30 minutes and I'm ready to process.

    I have been doing this for a couple of years with good results. There are others on Photo.net and Apug that are doing this, so you may wish to do a search on those sites as well.

  9. #9

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    Re: Home E6 Processing - Anyone Here Do It?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Landry View Post
    The Kodak E6 kit is the one to get. I'm in Canada and I have my local shop order directly from Kodak whenever they make their regular order. No need to pay additional hazmat fees or the like.
    Rob,

    I mention the hazmat fees, due to the fact that several of the photo stores here in the states that order these kits are now in fact passing these fees onto the customer, due to the lower volume orders and sales, I have been hit with this fee many times in the last couple of years, by various stores that I have ordered from, I know when I used to work in the local photo lab, we were able to justify not charging based on our volume, but less and less volume, means higher and higher per unit cost.

    So it was just a little tidbit to be aware of.

    Dave

  10. #10

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    Re: Home E6 Processing - Anyone Here Do It?

    When I was a student I developed my own to save money. But other than that (or having images on the film which would get you in trouble at a commercial lab) I can't think of any good reason to do it yourself in small quantities.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

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