E-6 film processed as B&W?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by greg_ainslie, Apr 11, 2009.

  1. Who knows what would happen if I process slide film in black and white chemicals at home. Is there a way to make a reasonable image? Specifically 120 format slide, hoping for a useable positive image in color or black and white, or anywhere in between.
  2. Haven't done that process. Try it on a roll of film with images you can afford to loose. I've taken slide film and developed it in C-41 (color negative) chemistry. Some call it cross-processing.
    How about black & white film developed as a positive, like slide film?
    Enjoy your experiments!
  3. If you are looking for a positive image, you have to find a way to implement a reversal step, which reverses the image on the film. Otherwise, the image will remain a negative.
  4. There will be no useable image at all.
  5. E-6 film: The structure of this film is liken to three black & white films sandwiched together on a single support. One layer sensitized to blue – one to green – one to red. The light sensitive goodies in all three are salts of silver. These are naturally sensitive only to blue light. To extend sensitivity into the red and green dyes called sensitizers are mixed in. The blue layer sensitive only to blue is the top coat. During exposure green and red light transverse this layer to reach the underlying red and green sensitive layers. Now the red and green sensitive layers must be protected from contamination by blue light. This is accomplished by a strong yellow filter coat placed just under the blue emulsion. Yellow is a blocker of blue light. When exposed in the camera each of the three layers react selectively to the three primary colors red – green – blue.
    Now the E-6 process consists of two developing steps. The first consist of a common black and white solution. It reduces exposed silver salts to metallic silver that forms a negative image.
    The film also contains three practically colorless dyes, one in each layer. A yellow dye in the blue layer, a magenta dye in the green layer and a cyan dye in the red layer. These are colorless (luco) because they are all missing a single same ingredient. Latter in the process the second color developer will supply the missing ingredient and in the presence of silver it will cause these luco dyes to blossom forming a positive image.
    Also present is an anti halation dye next to the film base.
    The sensitizing and anti halation dyes are bleached out in the regulation E-6 process. When you process this film as a black & white three negative sliver based images are present on the film however they are veiled by dye thus the image is poor. Because of all the residual dye there is not much merit in intention cross process as a black & white.

    E-6 cross processed as a black and white can be salvaged by bleaching out the unwanted dyes. Make up a solution consisting of 1/4 once of citric acid in a quart of rapid fix. Soak the processed film in water for a minute or two and then in this salvaging solution for 7 ~ 14 minutes. After treatment, wash and dry as usual. Prints will be substandard but usable.
  6. The primary deficit will be that the yellow filter layer will still be there. It's a Carey Lea filter, which is very fine silver particles. In normal color processing, it's removed as all the silver is eventually fixed or bleached out of the image. With B&W negative processing, it will still be there, giving you a rather dense Dmin. The negative will be dense, low-contrast, and grainy.
    Contrary to what Ilia says, all color films will yield an image when processed as B&W, but it won't be a great image.
  7. I remember that one time I got my E-6 slide roll was developed as color negative film (C-41) by the lab accidentally, and the results were not really horrible, the frames were looking like a 100 years old negative film stored very roughly and faded out.
    I don't think you will get much exciting results to celebrate by jumping thrice...!
  8. You'll get what looks like a really flat, high-contrast set of silhouettes of the negative of your main tonal shapes on an orange film base. The film will not appear to be usable in any kind of normal way. It'll be one step short of throwing the roll in the trash.
    There is a silver halide layer, but keep in mind that there are a lot of factors that differ between "normal" black and white processing, and processing the silver layer of an E-6 reversal film. Developer composition, for instance. In black and white processing, we can use developers of differing compositions for differing times, and yield differing effects. In E-6, it's designed for one kind, for one set of development times and temperatures, and those don't correspond directly to most common black and white developers.
    While not impossible, it is extremely unlikely that just any random choice of black and white developer and E-6 film combination will work, strait, on the first run. That E-6 processing kit, used according to the directions, will yield the image just as Kodak says it will. Some may fuss over specifics, but they will have a working image, barring any technical mishaps.
    It might actually be cheaper to buy a roll of 120 and run it through the camera, shooting at almost anything, than spending BW chemistry on the E-6 film.
  9. Greg, I'm not totally clear whether you are seeking a random result from specific materials or a specific result from random materials - but here goes:
    If you want B&W positive film images, you can shoot Tmax 100 B&W neg film (or in reality, almost any SILVER B&W neg film, or even Agfa Scala) and process it yourself in Kodak's Direct Positive Film chemistry: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/products/chemistry/bwFilmProcessing/tMax100DirectPositiveFilmDevelopingOutfit.jhtml?pq-path=14037
    You could run your E-6 film through the Kodak Positive chems - at best you'd still get a strictly B&W positive image, at worst the combination might total your film AND wreck the chemistry as well. The "color" in E-6 requires certain chemicals in the developer that are simply not used in normal silver B&W processes - without them present - no color.
    or, you can send most B&W neg films to dr5 labs (which I just discovered is now in my home town, Denver) to be processed into positives, with a variety of tones or tints: http://www.dr5.com/blackandwhiteslide/filmreview.html
    or you can shoot Ilford XP2 chromogenic (dye-image) "B&W" neg film and run it through E-6 chemistry, which will give a fairly low-contrast, low Dmax positive, often with some color tint.
    Or you can run C-41 color neg film through E6 chems, for really oddball color positives.
    I once asked Kodak's B&W/E-6 product manager why they or anyone else did not produce a slide equivalent to XP2 - an E-6 positive film that only contained grayscale dye couplers. He said such a film would always have at least a little tint (purple, green, brown, neutral) that would vary from batch to batch and from E-6 line to E-6 line, and that most photographers wouldn't accept B&W images that, shown together, would not match perfectly.

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