Are commercial labs better in processing Slides ?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by leon chang, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. My question is if it is easier for commercial labs to process E6 than C41? If
    E6 is easier to process, you would expect the quality to be better?

    This is really suggestive, but a friend of mine told me something like this..

  2. Well, C41 and E6 are two very different processes - with E6 there is less that can go wrong, as long as the lab has good equipment and keeps their chemicals fresh. With C41 on the other hand you have to develop the negative first and then develop the print. The problem typically comes in the print stage - there are tons of things that can go wrong. Just think of the many types of C41 films that are out there and they all require different print settings in order to give you the best end result.
  3. E-6 is a more complicated process than C-41, it requires more chemical solutions and
    developing steps. Commercial labs commonly use machines to develop both C-41 and E
    -6. The processing machines are designed for each process, they are not interchangeable.
    There are still more opportunities for error with E-6 due to the higher number of steps
    required, and the chemicals for these steps all needing to be within spec. In developing
    by hand, there is more room for error, in developing by machine there is more room for
    damage, due to the longer path through more tanks the film has to travel.

    In this day and age, there is also the issue of keeping the chemistry fresh enough, as if
    you do not process a certain number of rolls per day, the chemistry weakens due to lack of
    replenishment, and you can't bring it back even with replenishment after a certain point is
    reached. There is still enough C-41 processing to keep the chemistry "in-control" in most
    labs. Best bet, these days is to process the E-6 yourself in your own darkroom.

    McCluney Photo
  4. I strongly disagree with the "tons of things to go wrong" in the printing stage. Bad tech and bad chemicals...infact theres only 3 chemicals to mess up as opposed to c-41's 4
  5. A machine processor that isn't constantly doing E-6 will very easily go "out of control", and have the chemicals drift in pH and specific gravity. The drastic reductions in E-6 processing volumes are giving labs the choice of (1) letting the line go out of control and holding prices or (2) dumping the chemicals often and refilling the maching, requiring a big price increase.
  6. E6 is much more difficult than C41 which always gets a second chance in the printing to correct errors that might have happened in the processing. You get only one shot at making E6 perfect. I've owned a large custom lab for 30 years and we've always done both processes in hanger machines, so I know this answer from first hand daily experience. E6 is a more complicated process as well, so there's more to go wrong and keep in control to begin with.

    john castronovo
  7. I got my sensia back today and was angered at a horizontal scratch running 5-6 frames, naturally the most important frames i needed...

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