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March 21, 2008


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Aaron, very interesting to read your comments. I used to do E6 at home with the Tetenal 3-bath kit -- also in a bathroom. In my case I found that I didn't shoot enough slide film to make it worthwhile -- one of the drawbacks of the Tetenal kit being inconvenient partial-mixing. I ended up saving film until I could run six or 12 rolls within a few days, which affected my shooting.

It's really hard to buy E6 kits around here, and just as hard to get them shipped here, so I haven't done E6 at home in about four years, and have no plans to restart. However, I did find it to be a useful learning experience. If and when I start shooting a lot of E6 again, and have a dedicated space for photo work, that may change. But I'm glad to hear you've made a good go at it. The neoprene insulation is a clever idea.

Wirehead Arts

Ah hah!

I'd been bumming about the fact that aquarium heaters top out at 84 degrees and all of the color processes are around 100... but modifying a heater... heh... that's perfect. :)

Randy Stewart

I have been doing DIY E-6 since 1977, without an Jobo-class processer. I use an Unicolor Filmdrum and moter roller, effectively much like your tank assembly. First, you can use a "drift-by" processing technique, where you test for the drop in temp over a processing set, then start the step 1/2 of that range above the target temp and let it "drift" down to 1/2 of the range below the target temp at the end of the step. In E-6, this has proven to be very accuate overall. 2nd, I've never had a problem pre-soaking the film and tank at the starting temp. Finally, in E-6, only the first step, the "1st developer", is truly time-temp critical, ragardless of what the manufacturer says. All of the rest of the steps go "to completion", so all you need to do is make sure that you give the minimum chemical reaction required for each step; somewhat more time or temp [within reason of course] may extend the total process time, but will not adversely effect your result. For temp control of working solutions, I use an aquarium heater in an insulated beer cooler designed for a 6-pack. With an insulated, hinged top, it works great.

The Kryptosinistographer


Now that I've gotten about 60 rolls under my belt I can agree with everything you say above. E-6 is pretty easy. In fact, the E-processes were developed to allow at-home developing as opposed to the complexities of Kodachrome.

The only problem I'm having are visible turbulence marks on some of the photos. I'm guessing it is the 1st dev step because they appear as differences in density (say on a blue sky). It takes about 15-25 seconds to pour in the 1st dev which I am thinking is too long. Not sure how to get it in any faster though... Ideas anyone?


Why not just go into a dark closet (sealed off) and then open the lid, pour in the dev, cap it, step outside, and start the timer? I do this with my bnw film dev and it works like a charm. Thanks for writing such a detailed and well thought out article. I've bookmarked your site for future reads.

Paul Gibson

I used to make full-frame keychain viewers using Fujichrome. I have developed HUNDEREDS of rolls, in the field, right out of my car with perfect results. I would pre-heat the chemicals to around 120 degrees. That way, they were around 100 to 105 when I was ready. I'd put them in an insulated bag in their respective bottles. I rarely had time to do a pre-wash, but would when I was developing at home. I used a changing bag to load the film, would dump the first developer in the tank, drop in my thermometer and start agitating. If the temp dropped a little over the next 6 minutes or so, I would just average out the temps and add some time accordingly. My rinses would just go on the ground (sorry). I never dumped chemicals, however. I carried warm water to rinse. When done, I'd squeegee the film, hang it to dry and minutes later, cut out each frame to put in the keychain. I then sold them on the spot to the parents, the car owners, whomever. Sometimes, I'd heat the chemicals right on the dashboard under the windshield in the hot sun while I was shooting. Tricky, but worked most of the time. I did this for about 10 years. Any questions, let me know.


I tried E-6 at home a couple of days ago for the first time. I had a kodak ektachrome 100 and Fuji velvia 100 and developed both at the same time (it might have been a mistake), the Fuji velvia turned out okay but the kodak was dark and weird. They were mostly shots around the neighborhood so no harm done. I used a styrofoam water bath and it took me forever to get to the proper temperature. I was wondering what kind of heater you bought (what brand), I don't want to spend 30 bucks on an aquarium heater and not know how to modify it to heat to 110F or so.


Ravi, I develop Kodak and Fuji separately I add 15% to the development time for Fuji based on internet advice and my own experience. You want to buy a non-digital aquarium heater where you can adjust the thermistor through hacking. If you can't get it to work, just return it. Good luck.

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In fact, the E-processes were developed to allow at-home developing as opposed to the complexities of Kodachrome.

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It is easy and i love it. I can even do super and regular 8 motion film. It's great fun, really!

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