Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Advice request: Starting my own 4x5 processing

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    London
    Posts
    34

    Advice request: Starting my own 4x5 processing

    I am seriously considering doing my own 4x5 E6 processing but need to get a clearer picture of what I might be letting myself in for. I am inclined to go down the Jobo route, with their CPP2 system. However, I have never had any experience in film processing, never done any darkroom work, in fact I started photography in the digital domain a few years ago and have switched to LF film in the last year. I am looking to do my own processing simply for convenience and control, and not for economic reasons.

    I expect my workflow to involve processing of 4x5 film (mainly 4x5 velvia/provia/some acros), and maybe 120 film too. Initially I intend to scan trannies into PS for subsequent printing, or to outsource printing as required - i.e. i don't need an enlarger or print processing capability. I usually shoot 15-30 images at a time, and then send these off for processing, or 4-5 rolls of 120 at a time.

    I do have a spare room which is already light tight, and has hot/cold water and sink.

    So my questions are:

    1) Do I need a darkroom or can I do this in daylight?
    2) What other equipment do I need - do I need an extractor fan, drying rack, anything else?
    3) In particular, are there any other expensive items that I haven't foreseen yet?
    4) What else am I missing?

    Sorry to ask such basic questions but most of the places I've searched seem oriented to b&w processing with trays and print processing.

    Help much appreciated.

    Thanks

    Paul

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    359

    Re: Advice request: Starting my own 4x5 processing

    Hi,

    You don't say how often you would be wanting to process the batches but if you are based in London and you are looking for convenience over cost when it comes to E6 processing, I think you are still better off using the remaining commercial labs.

    At least that way the quality control is excellent and there is no wasted chemistry and time, leaving you to concentrate on your picture making or marketing.

    If you decide you really need the convenience of DIY E6 then I can recommend the Jobo Autolab 1000 (or similar) with a 2500 type tank and the 2509n 5x4 spiral. This processor plugs into mains electricity and a tempered water supply (for washing between process steps). A thermostatic mixing panel will take care of this since you mention that you have hot and cold water.

    The advantage of this processor over the CPP2 is that it is pre-programmed with several E6 and black and white processes and it is fully automatic with no need to stand over it and operate the lift to pour chemicals in and out when the time is up. The results are excellent. It is possible to process up to 12 sheets at a time with the biggest tank and 2 spirals (6 sheets per spiral).

    You can easily use 120 or 35mm by simply using the appropriate spirals.

    The film comes out wet so you need to add a final rinse bath containing purified water and wetting agent (or stabilizer, depending on your process), then either hang to dry in a dust free place at room temperature, or else get a small drying cabinet.

    You would need to use a changing bag or changing room large enough to comfortable shuffle around the 5x4 sheets and holders to load the Jobo tanks. If you are using the 2509n spiral I would recommend getting the sheet film loader designed for it (and practice lots in the light first!).

    Alternative processors are the Phototherm SSK type machines which can process 5x4 films with the right holder. These are excellent because they rinse thenselves out after each processing run meaning that you can run Acros straight after E6 without any comtamination issues. I personally use one of these but I still get my E6 commercially processed because my volumes are quite small and in London the service is still quite good.

    Hope this offers some encouragement, either way!

    Phil

  3. #3
    Large format foamer! SamReeves's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    1,210

    Re: Advice request: Starting my own 4x5 processing

    I'm a CPP-2 kind of guy here. I've had no problems using any of the six-bath kits with my Jobo. I have found that Jobo reccomends too long of a time for 1st developer. I just go with the industry standard of 6 minutes on 1st developer and it comes out like smooth butter every time. Make sure your Jobo has the lift to avoid any streaking. You can certainly process your film in daylight. I have a film changing tent, and its big enough for an expert tank with the film holders to the side. I would look into a film drying cabinet on eBay or at B&H. E-6 and C-41 like to be air dryed with hot air. The zipper variety or plastic variety from Jobo will work just fine. That being said, go for it and post your results here!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Posts
    4,588

    Re: Advice request: Starting my own 4x5 processing

    For 50 years, from the age of 15 I did my own color processing and printing for cost considerations and later because, as a scientist, I enjoyed the processes (except, obviously not for Kodachrome).
    Although it's easy enough to follow the time/temperature recommendations for E-6, unless you do a LOT of processing, there will be changes in the chemicals over a short period of time which will screw up your results. Not a lot -- just a little bit -- but commercial processors use enough of the chemicals and run daily tests to assure consistant results.
    You indicate that it isn't economic reasons for doing your own work. My best suggestion is to find a commercial processor you can work with (ought to be plenty of them in a place as big as London), and have them do your E-6 to your specs.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  5. #5

    Re: Advice request: Starting my own 4x5 processing

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Hudson View Post
    Hi,

    You don't say how often you would be wanting to process the batches but if you are based in London and you are looking for convenience over cost when it comes to E6 processing, I think you are still better off using the remaining commercial labs.
    DUDE!, There are commercial labs which process LF FILM!!! IN COLOUR!!!

    DUDE! I hate you!

    I live in northwestern ontario, Canada, where there are more bears than people, and you can get anything you want processed here....as long as it's colour, and as long as its 35 mm, and as long as poor results are what you want.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,953

    Re: Advice request: Starting my own 4x5 processing

    Quote Originally Posted by marschp View Post
    I am seriously considering doing my own 4x5 E6 processing but need to get a clearer picture of what I might be letting myself in for. I am inclined to go down the Jobo route, with their CPP2 system. However, I have never had any experience in film processing, never done any darkroom work, in fact I started photography in the digital domain a few years ago and have switched to LF film in the last year. I am looking to do my own processing simply for convenience and control, and not for economic reasons.

    I expect my workflow to involve processing of 4x5 film (mainly 4x5 velvia/provia/some acros), and maybe 120 film too. Initially I intend to scan trannies into PS for subsequent printing, or to outsource printing as required - i.e. i don't need an enlarger or print processing capability. I usually shoot 15-30 images at a time, and then send these off for processing, or 4-5 rolls of 120 at a time.

    I do have a spare room which is already light tight, and has hot/cold water and sink.

    So my questions are:

    1) Do I need a darkroom or can I do this in daylight?
    2) What other equipment do I need - do I need an extractor fan, drying rack, anything else?
    3) In particular, are there any other expensive items that I haven't foreseen yet?
    4) What else am I missing?

    Sorry to ask such basic questions but most of the places I've searched seem oriented to b&w processing with trays and print processing.

    Help much appreciated.

    Thanks

    Paul
    Based on the questions you asked I think for the near term your best bet is to have a commercial lab do your processing. For the long term get your workspace setup for maximum efficiency and convenience and go with a Jobo. You do need to plan on processing large batches to consume chemicals to prevent the chemistry from going south.

    Don Bryant

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Van Buren, Arkansas
    Posts
    1,941

    Re: Advice request: Starting my own 4x5 processing

    I think some of the above responses are pessimistic. The OP may just "wish" to do his own processing, regardless of the overall cost/quality advantage possibly presented by having local "professional" processing. I say "go for it". It is a great experience, and in my opinion, nothing beats fresh, unreplenished chemistry for E-6, in regards color and contrast. Some of the ways to process E-6 use the chemistry "one shot", where you only use the minimum amount to cover the film being processed, then you dump it. Other methods involve decanting the chemicals back into bottles for reuse. Years ago, before I got my 3.5 gallon stainless sink line, I used to process E-6 using the Kodak 1 gallon kits. I would mix each chemical up and then fill 2, 1/2 gallon jugs. The first jug was filled up to the cap. The second would come in a little bit less. I would start using the one that was "less" full, and I would process several runs in this chemistry, keeping track so as to not exceed the capacity of 1/2 gallon. When that batch was done, I would start with the other 1/2 gallon.

    Most E-6 chemicals keep for quite a long time. It is just the First Developer and Color Developer that have a more limited life, and one can purchase these chemicals separately, and just replace them. Now I purchase the concentrates in size to make 5 gallons of working solution, so I am always having bottles of concentrate that are partially full. I have had excellent results using concentrates from these bottle 3 months past when I first opened them. These are my opinions and results, others may have different views. E-6 is not hard, nor scary. Just jump right in.

  8. #8
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    3,376

    Re: Advice request: Starting my own 4x5 processing

    Quote Originally Posted by marschp View Post
    1) Do I need a darkroom or can I do this in daylight?
    2) What other equipment do I need - do I need an extractor fan, drying rack, anything else?
    3) In particular, are there any other expensive items that I haven't foreseen yet?
    4) What else am I missing?
    Go for it.

    I do all my E6 processing at home, using an elderly JOBO CPE-2 bought on ebay for a price far below the cost of shipping. I use JOBO three-bath chemicals and a wristwatch for timing.

    35mm, 120 and 4x5 goes in the 2530 tank in appropriate spirals, 5x7" and 8x10" in 2830 print drums.

    When I finally gave up getting decent processing at a reasonable price and started doing it myself, I was surprised at how easy it was. And how good the results were, too!

    1) You have to load the film in the spirals and tanks in darkness, the rest can be done in daylight.

    2) Not really - normal ventilation is sufficient. I dry my films on a specially designed film hanger - a wire clotheshanger with 12 film clips on it.

    3) A good thermometer. But only one, or you'll never know what the temperature really is!

    4) Go for it!

Similar Threads

  1. 4X5 enlarger advice
    By rivermandan in forum Darkroom: Equipment
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: 17-Oct-2007, 11:00
  2. LF beginner needs processing advice (BTZS tubes)
    By J_Tardiff in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 16-Mar-2007, 02:26
  3. Deep Tank 4x5 b/w processing advice please.
    By Gene McCluney in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 20-Feb-2007, 14:14
  4. 4x5 E6 processing in Los Angeles
    By Sara P in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 8-Feb-2006, 14:58
  5. 4x5 film processing techniques
    By ara meshkanbarian in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 29-Nov-1998, 14:02

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •