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E200 - E6 Home Processing

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#1 Nebhunter

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 02:13 PM

For those interested - we are asking those with experience in the processing specifically of E200 film (for now) with the E6 process to give us an introduction to what is involved. This would be classed as hand dipping.

The gist of this thread would be so that those of us interested would have the following:

A] Equipment required - trays - holders - a general outline. Estimated cost of such equipment - and where we can buy it (Fleabay) etc. This would be specific to 35 and 120 MF film.

B] Developer materials - E6 process - and where to buy it direct (Kodak or camera store) and again - estimated costs. How long does it sit in storage?

C] The general process of developing the E200 and what's involved.

D] Anything I've missed or should be included. I'm asking specifically about E200 at this point in time. If Kodachrome film was pulled by Kodak, can E200 be far behind? I see this as a safe guard in some ways, as it would allow those concerned to stock up and freeze sufficient quantities of E200 and have the materials to develop it in the future - should it come to that.

Once we have the E200 process done - we can start new threads on developing other films - negatives and B&W - which interests me. Lots of B&W developing stuff being sold off cheap.

OK? I'm all ears. I've got 6 rolls of E200 ready to be processed.

Igor

#2 skyguy55

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 02:50 PM

Well my Friend,

The last time I developed E6 was 25 years ago so things may have changed since. What I recall is that the basic kit was fairly expensive at the time and you could make smaller amount depending on how many rolls you wanted to develop. (I'm talking 35mm now) It did not have a very long shelf life after the chemicals were mixed

I remember that the temperatures were critical but they could be matched to different times. If the solution temperatures were higher, developing times were lower. I think you would need a DAYLIGHT TANK and a change bag for loading the file into the tank. You would also need some measuring beakers and some storage jars. There wasn't much equipment that was needed.

I'm sure someone with a more recent history on developing will chime in soon, besides, I am from the dark side and just slipped in here for a minute or two.

Gregg :tonofbricks:

#3 Nebhunter

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 05:10 PM

Thanks for kicking off this thread Gregg and paying us a visit - those who lurk in the basement. I am going to encourage you, however, to take out that Mamiya camera once in awhile and try some film wide field shots.

Drop in anytime.

Igor

#4 Kona

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 07:35 PM

I'll give this thread a go.

I mostly process black and white film, but I've processed color transparency film. It can readily be done by hand, but timing and temperature of the color chemicals has to be consistent.

A] Fancy equipment isn't necessary (like a big Jobo processor) but it does make it easier. At the minimum all you'd need is a large tray of water to temper the chemistry and a common daylight-type film tank.

Color chemistry needs to be processed around 95 to 100 degrees fahrenheit. A inexpensive aquarium heater and a recirculating pump work handily. Most aquarium heaters won't go above 85 (otherwise you'd kill your fish!) but some can be bypassed by turning the dial-type thermostats to a higher temperature by forcing the dial past the 85 degree mark. You'll need an accurate thermometer to monitor the tempering water bath as well.

B] Most of the larger photographic companies like Adorama and Calumet will ship the Kodak E-6 chemistry kits to you. The Kodak kit makes a large amount of chemistry; about a gallon of each chemical (and there are seven in the Kodak kit). However, not all of it has to be mixed up at once. If you have small graduates with accurate milliliter markings, the concentrated stock chemistry can be mixed up with water into small working-strength batches as needed. Once opened, the concentrated stock chemistry in the Kodak kit has a limited life. Exposure to air (the developers in particular) will cause the chemicals to slowly oxidize and no longer work. It could be months or as little as a week; it depends on how much air is in the bottles.

To maximize the life of the chemistry, minimize the exposure to air. This really only needs to be done for the developers in the kit. Glass bottles filled to the very top and sealed with saran wrap are airtight, as are plastic bottles like what Coke comes in (if the plastic keeps the fizz in, it generally works.) Another option is to displace the air in bottles with something inert like nitrogen -- I've also used "canned air" (like dust-off for cleaning computers) and that works, but I've only used it for black and white chemistry.

C] All E-6 films of any type (Kodak E200, Fuji Provia 100F, etc) are processed exactly the same for the same processing times in the same chemistry. Briefly, it works like this. Bring chemicals up to temperature. Pour in a pre-wash (plain water to warm up the tank and film) empty tank, pour first developer in tank. Process for proper time, empty tank. Wash, pour in reversal bath, process. Pour in color developer (etc), pre-bleach, bleach, fix, wash, rinse, hang to dry. Detailed instructions are included in the kits.

The most critical of the chemicals is the first developer. The duration of time that the film is in the first developer needs to be as exact as possible as this single step is the most important of the whole developing process. A few seconds over or under here can alter the resulting density or color of the image a good bit. The other chemical steps have a bit more leeway as the processing times aren't quite as critical for these steps.

***********

Another option is the Arista three-step E-6 kit. These are sold by Freestyle Photographic supplies. Generally these aren't as good as the full fledged Kodak kits -- the color can have odd shifts and hues -- but they don't cost as much, they come in smaller sizes, and there's only three chemicals in the kit (compared to the seven in the Kodak kits).

Photo below of how I processed film with one of the Arista one-pint kits. Plastic tray filled with water, aquarium heater and a small pump to circulate the water and keep it evenly heated. Coca-cola bottles (rinsed out well beforehand) with the Arista first developer, color developer and bleach-fix (blix) solutions. A fourth bottle with plain water for the pre-wash. Accurate glass thermometer (lower right) to monitor the temperature. A Jobo daylight film tank (red top) on the left with a "Jobo roller base" in the tray to agitate and spin the tank in the tempered water of the tray.

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#5 M111

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 08:26 PM

Kona gave an excellent overview of color development without a processor. I'll try and add a few things here and there.

While one needn't get a processor to get started developing color I would recommend getting film tanks that would be compatible with a processor should you want to get one down the road. I use a Jobo 1520 tank which will hold two rolls of 120 or two rolls of 35mm(36ex). This tank will work with Kona's method and it will also work with the Jobo CPE2 which is their least expensive processor. Look for used Jobo equipment as the new prices are very high, and as the last film pros jump ship for digital there are bargains to be had. My CPE2 was obtained for $150 and it came with 2 tanks (1 for 4x5) and a bunch of other odds and ends. New they go for around $700. The processor does make things easier and it will also make your results more consistent.

As Kona said, Kodak E6 kits are the best and come in 5-liter size. I would mix small working solutions as needed and have stored the stock chemistry for 5 months without it oxidizing. I also have switched to using 3-bath kits as they are much quicker to mix and use.

If you have never developed film before at all I would really recommend starting with some B&W. It is a lot more forgiving but uses a lot of the same techniques and equipment as for color, if anything just for the practice of loading film onto the reels that go into the tanks. Spooling the film is one of those things that seems impossible when you first try it. But like riding a bike, once you get it you never lose it.

#6 Nebhunter

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 08:44 PM

Tanks to Kona and Brendan for your efforts. I did some B&W but many years ago. I can get some expired B&W film that uses E6 processing and practice with that.

I don't imaging the deal is that much different when using negatives with say the C41 process. I just dropped off 9 rolls of film, and I'm guessing the cost will be about $75 (US funds) so it will add up over time. Yearly cost of maybe $3 to 500.00 with the addition of landscape shots.

It's one of those things - where I would probably still spend that amount with home processing, but it would allow me to shoot way more rolls of film for that amount of money. That's something to consider.

Other than that - what you guys are telling me is that with some practice there is no reason that this can't be done at home - with a minimum investment of say $350 with used equipment and a Kodak kit? Small area in the basement. A place to hide and enjoy this hobby (passion) in a new way.

Thanks guys and post if you think of anything else. Heck - if I got good at it I could do a part time business with E6 processing? It would beat going to work part time - semi retired I am.

Igor

#7 M111

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 09:05 PM

With the manual method you could get started for under $100. My used Jobo kit all together was less than $200. The 5-liter Kodak kit is about $55 and will process about 45 rolls of 120 or 135.

#8 Nebhunter

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 09:20 PM

I'm looking on Ebay right now. I would like the good equipment to ensure the best possible results. I will compare the cost with the push process from this last run - but it looks like it would pay for itself in shooting 40 rolls and paying for processing at the lab. This does not include fuel and time for dropping off and picking up the film.

After that I would save about $300 a year on lab fees + - ? Not a bad deal in my books.

Igor

#9 Nebhunter

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 09:58 PM

I found some stuff under "film processing" on Ebay - some stainless steel tanks - very little jobo stuff, one is missing a tank lid.

The listing for stainless reels and tanks, and the other for stainless clips look interesting - useful and cheap. I'm sure a lot of this stuff could be bought over time, looking for the good stuff. This ensures I get all the handy things that are good to have.

Would either of you (Kona) be so kind as to have a look on Ebay, and PM me with any items that appear to be worthwhile grabbing at the price for future use. I'm not looking for the whole deal right now - just those odds and ends that are harder to find and in good condition.

Right now I'm thinking those stainless clips would be a good idea, and possibly the stainless tanks and reels. Price is right - cheap to my way of thinking for good stainless gear. Some of this stuff is auction and ending soon, so if your still on the forums, please let me know.

Igor

#10 Kona

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 11:13 PM

Igor,

Jobo equipment will be a little difficult to find...they discontinued the processors two years ago if I remember right. The Jobo tanks and reels can still be found new yet they're a bit expensive.

Stainless tanks and reels are nice. I use some stainless steel reels for medium format 120 film as processing quality is excellent with them -- but stainless steel reels can be a little finicky. The reels load from the center to the outside edge, and sometimes you get a roll of film that just won't load and wants to try your patience. The biggest pitfall by far is if a stainless reel is dropped -- if the reel is bent the slightest bit it's toast as the film will never load correctly again.

To begin with I'd suggest a plastic tank and reel like the Paterson Super System 4 tanks. I've literally developed hundreds of rolls of black and white film in mine (they're fine for color too). Plastic reels are a bit easier to load -- film is started on the outside edge of the reel, then the reel grabs the film and pulls it into the center of the reel. The Paterson tanks also fill and drain quickly, and do a fantastic job for washing film.

If you go for a plastic tank, buy a tank and reel new. They're not very expensive -- $25 for the Paterson 'Universal' that holds two 35mm reels. Don't get a used tank as you don't know what's been in it and some of the older tanks with the screw-on lid and edge gaskets leak.

#11 Mopman

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 11:40 PM

I just recently tried E-6 processing at home for the first time. I needed to develop short pieces (2 to 3 frames long) of E200 film shot w/ my Schmidt camera; these films are too short to take to your local drug store. Also, I wanted fast turn around / feedback. The local shop took 1 1/2 weeks for my last roll of E-6 film; if you are learning AP, that's too long.

I bought Kodak Single Use Kit #1077643 (makes 5 liters which does a lot of rolls of film) from Adorama for $58.50 http://www.adorama.com/KKE6SU5L.html You don't have to make up all 5 liters worth at once, but you still end up with a lot of bottles to store.

A few observations: Temperature is VERY critical in the first few baths (like plus or minus 1/2 *F !!!). I don't think adjusting developing time for temperature works with the kit I used anyway. I used a JOBO bath. I think you could build your own temperture bath, but you will need good control.

I think you would want to try B&W processing first. Other than temperature control, it was really no more difficult than B&W developing; there are many more steps however. You will need all the same basic equipment (dark bag, tanks and reels, a good thermometer, film clips, graduated cylinders, lots of 500 ml bottles that seal well).

I was pleased with the results, and it was fun :) However the color was shifted towards the red a bit. For Astrophptography no big deal, color correction after scanning was no problem.

My two cents though: for general photography, I think a Pro Lab would be much more consistent (and as long as available, the way to go). For AP, E-6 at home developing is very doable and has advantages.

Hope this helps! Gary

#12 Mopman

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 11:51 PM

Here is a link to Kodaks Tech Data for their Single Use Kit
http://www.kodak.com...2443/ti2443.pdf

This will give you a good idea of what E-6 processing at home is about.

#13 Nebhunter

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 12:44 AM

Yes it does Gary, and thanks for the link to Kodak. Everything will really depend upon my lab. They have ruined or crudded up every single frame of every roll of 120 film to date. Actually - some came out really well - I must apologize - but they ended up being the underexposed or aborted frames due to an airplane or clouds. Figures.

They have fixed up the E6 machine - a new guy enthusiastic about my astro work, and he has 6 rolls for E6, and 3 for B&W. If it turns out to be good, then I will stick with the lab. Sure stuff will happen - but not every time.

Consider that I'm now shooting with 2 cameras - higher f stops, and longer exposures from 90 to 120 minutes. If I get all 10 frames - that can add up to 20 hours of exposure time. That's why I shoot 2 cameras with different lenses. It's 20 hours instead of 40. I cannot risk doing a poor job myself, but I cannot tolerate the lab continuously mucking up my film.

If I do the processing - I will go all the way with one of those complete systems with heaters, tanks, lift trays - the works. Then I can do E6 - B&W - all my landscape shots. I have no problem in sticking with E100 and E200 film for my colour work. I love that film - for everything.

Igor

#14 Nebhunter

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 12:53 AM

Kona you have been very helpful with your information - thank you.

As mentioned in my other posts it will all depend upon the lab - and how well the film comes out. Enough is enough - and if there are problems - then I will continue on and find a complete system. There are 3 on Ebay right now - and look to be in good condition. I'm sure more will come along, or last resort - find a store that still has a new one.

Thanks again for your time and effort putting it all down for us.

Igor

#15 Nightfly

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 07:03 AM

Very interesting discussion. I'm excited about not sending my E-6 work out. I agree the plastic Peterson tanks would be best as they handle the film well and easier to load over the stainless. I used one years ago and it was a good experience.

I would love to discuss further but I am away most of this weekend. I will chime in when I can. Thanks to all who have contributed. Your all getting me excited about the possibilities. Now, if only these clouds will part and , oh yea, something about the Moon.........

#16 M111

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 08:31 AM

+1 on Paterson reels being the easiest to load. They have the little bearings in them that move the film along as you ratchet the reel rather than having to use your thumbs like clutches. I develop all my B&W in a Paterson tank.

#17 Nebhunter

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 01:06 PM

Well - it's official. I will now be looking at setting up my own E6 processing in house. Today was the LAST STRAW. After being re-assured by the lab that the E6 machine was running well with no problems - guess what?

This is the third time - successive - that the machine embedded crud into the film, and has put tractor marks across it. No charge for us screwing up your film sir - have a nice day.

I will post the frames regardless once I get them scanned over the next couple of days, so you can see what's happened. Nothing like getting back your film with treasured Milky Way exposures running at 110 minutes each - with lines, streaks and crud on them.

I'm not playing around with this - and will be looking for a complete Jobo system with pumps, heaters, tanks etc. Work will start on a dark room in the basement. E6 processing and B&W - hear I come.

Firefly

#18 Kona

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 02:21 PM

Being a darkroom fanatic myself, perhaps I could help with ideas or suggestions should you need them.

For loading film in developing tanks -- at least initially -- you might like to try a film changing tent like those from Harrison. You don't have to be in a absolutely pitch black room to load film with one of these. The Harrison looks like a tiny camping tent only it has sleeves to fit your arms in to handle the film inside. Film can be loaded onto reels and tanks (the inside of the tent is absolutely light-tight) while you're still in comfortable daylight. The Harrisons are expensive though. A much less costly alternative is the Calumet "Changing Room".

The tents are really nice to have compared to the still cheaper film changing bags, which are generally hot, clammy (there is little air space inside these) and the bag material on top of your hands gets in the way.

With a tent and a daylight-type developing tank, you can easily process film and try out the process without yet going into a full darkroom setup.

If you're really, really, really dedicated, you could get a PhotoTherm Sidekick processor. These are still made and supported. Completely automatic, not terribly big either (they look to be comparable to a Jobo CPP). The results with one of these processors would be as good as, if not *better* than most labs.

Be prepared though, as at $5,000 new it'll cost you as much as a high end telescope mount!

#19 Nebhunter

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 05:08 PM

It must be fate that you showed up at this time? Thank you for your suggestions, and I will "lean" on you as things develop - no pun intended.

I will google those tents as they sound ideal. I'm actually quite anxious to get developing - as my film shows various levels of background colour. Once I get my exposure intervals set for the various types of targets and f stops - I can play around with the timing to see what happens during developing.

Well it wasn't a total waste at the photo store today - found a large Logan light box for cheap. I will ask this of you. When and if you see something in your travels or on the "net" that should work for me - please let me know. I would be pleased to have guidance to get the right stuff.

Igor

#20 Jimmy2K63

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 08:43 AM

I am partial to the steel tanks myself. Once you've used a practice roll of film and closed your eyes loading the reel, it's really not too bad, you just have to get used to the curl of the film as the reels take it up. If you hear a click, back out and be consistent loading it again.

A thermally adjusted water bath to keep your processing chemicals is the key to temperature control. Let it all stabilize for a few hours and all will be fine.

Having worked in a lab, the way we did this stuff was in a longitudinal processor. The film lead was attached to plastic cards, and a gear train would pull the card through the processor (right from the canister, in a light sealed box). The multi-stage process was timed via the length of the film travel, but has been pointed out, the critical thing is the initial color development, and the reversal processing. Once you stop the process (ph change), no further development takes place, and it's a lot less time-temp dependent.

I still remember the smell of these chemicals when we cleaned the processor weekly, the smell of glacial acetic acid is like the most overwhelming vinegar your nose has ever wiffed. Those chemicals will stain badly too. Also chemicals have a short shelf life, especially the developing agents so best just to mix a one-shot usage, or process a lot at a time.

I used to process my own more out of interest than out of need, or to play with push-processing, something commercial processors are not always fond to do. The way we did it was to turn up the temperature on the developing tanks (end of the day after all the runs), let it stabilize and do it that, it was not physically possible to change the rate the film moved through the processor.

Hope this helps.

#21 Achernar

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 06:11 PM

They can be tricky to learn how to use for a rank beginner, but after switching from a Patterson plastic developing tank I came to like the stainless steel tanks and reels a lot better. He will find a couple of junk rolls of film to be useful to get used to loading reels in total darkness. From there, it's not that big of a leap to developing film in total darkness in open tanks or trays. Plastic reels must be bone dry or you have big trouble on your hands with "moons" on your film or worse. Unless they are beat up, I found stainless steel reels easy to load with film. Out of thousands of rolls of both black and white and color slide film, I only damaged one or two rolls by loading the reel incorrectly. I messed up many more with plastic reels before I got the hang of loading them.

A good way to make a very effective film washer for users of stainless steel tanks and reels is to take a length of 4-inch PVC sewer pipe, glue an end cap on one end, drill a hole and then insert the hose from one of those gadgets hair dressers use. I had found them in stores made of rubber and plastic, and I cut off the head, stuck the end of the hose into the pipe and the other end onto the faucet. In no time you have an effective film washer that pushes out all the left over chemicals without using a torrent of water. The plastic Patterson tanks however work great with just a hose inserted into the middle tube, which achieves the same result.

Taras

#22 Jimmy2K63

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 08:32 AM

Back when I did E6 processing at home it was not really economically viable to do so. The kit was a little pricey, but today this might be better just because its harder to find film processors. The chemicals will keep with the exception of the developer and the reverser, which will oxidize rapidly after exposed to air, and also in the process of silver removal will tend to precipitate out to a degree. I really don't know how many rolls one would have to do to make it viable from an economic standpointo, but if you enjoy the satisfaction of doing it, then that helps. Problem is one puts a lot of time into collecting photons and then it's so easy to screw them up in the processing, kinked film on a reel, half moons you referred to, stripped sprockets, etc.

And as for loading film into the cannister, a simple daylight change bag should do, or a light box with sleeves. Throw a bottle opener and a pair of scissors in there and you're away. Once you have it in the tank and sealed, you can take your time waiting for chemicals to come to temp, etc.

#23 Rick Thurmond

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 11:45 AM

For two years I lived 300 yards from New Mexico Skies and developed all my own E-6 film and a lot of film for astrophotographers staying at New Mexico Skies. Almost all of it was E200, with some Provia 400.
I use a Jobo CPP-2. I've developed 35mm, 120, and 4x5 film with that machine, and it works great. Temperature regulation is easy, and with the lift processing is easy. Since moving to California I've been using a lab for my E-6 though they are now going through a change of ownership so I might be going back to developing film myself. Using a lab has the advantage of being able to develop a single roll without having to worry about what to do with five liters of chemicals. But if you develop enough film to use up five liters in a month, doing it at home works great. I tried mixing half batches but that was a lot of work, and I think the consistency was better if I mixed the whole kit.

I always used Kodak chemicals and mixed them up in floating-lid containers. For E-6 it is useful to have access to hot and cold water though for everything else I do with the Jobo, cold water is sufficient. For my own work I always used normal development but some customers requested push processing, which is just extra time in the first developer.

I also use the Jobo for black and white film and color negative film. Mostly these days I use it for prints: Ilfochrome, RA-4, and black and white.

#24 Nebhunter

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 09:28 PM

Wow, I just had a good laugh. A Newbie. Welcome to CN Rick, and if I may, give a small introduction to this small but enthusiastic group. Actually, I will leave that up to Jim - aka Nightfly - who has had many exchanges with you on the "AP" forums. I've sat mostly on the sidelines listening for a change at AP.

The knowledge and experience you bring to this group will be well received. I would even suggest some stories on your efforts with hypered Tech Pan film, and tri-coloured shots. We have been focusing mainly on E200 and other film types, but very little has been done by us with B&W.

I have 3 rolls of Ilford HP5+ for my Pentax 67 and hope to use it on some of the dark nebulae in the next few days. Filters and tri-colour would be a whole new experience for me, and I'm enthusiastic about the idea.

This thread has come about due to problems with some labs - mainly on my end where every single roll of film has been either ruined, marked, or crudded up by the lab. I've since found a dip and dunk lab. The recent upheaval from Kodak has also pushed this topic ahead. We are both now in the same boat to some degree. We are using up our remaining film stocks.

Again welcome, and please share with us.

Igor

#25 Nightfly

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 05:48 AM

Hello all,

Rick's got allot of experience in the film photography and astrophotography field. Don't let the "newbie" designator or his post count fool you. If you were ever on the Film Astrophotographer's Yahoo group you would know this already.

I've enjoyed Rick's Technical Pan images taken through his C-14. He is perhaps the last Hypered TP astrophotographer on the planet, so that makes his work special in my view. He likes to produce tri-color images from RGB filtered exposures. This is classic astrophotography!


Rick, we have a spectrum of members here, from those just starting out, to seasoned veterans. We are looking forward to you sharing your work and helping all of us learn from your experience.

Jim






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