Velvia 4×5 tetenal E6 3 bath

Orange Lichen Redgate Beach Margaret river region

Velvia 4×5 tetenal E6 3 bath process, an alternative to sending your chromes to the lab.

This past week I have been trialing Tetenal’s 3 bath E6 process with 4×5 velvia. I must admit I had a little trepidation about undertaking a colour process. The last time I processed colour slide it was as a young teenager using my mother’s cement laundry troughs out on the back verandah. Back then it was the Kodak E4 process, and it required that I refog the film to a 500 watt light source after the initial development. I was processing Pacific 35mm slide film from my high school’s media department. The results were radical to say the least, blue and magenta colour casts and wildly contrasty images. Needless to say I loved it. But it’s not exactly a comforting result if you are processing your professional images that you have spent time, money and effort just traveling to locations to create them.

For years I was sending my chromes to Melbourne for processing, but I decided it was time to rethink how I wanted to process my 4×5 velvia. It was time to press my Jobo processor, which I use for all my black and white negatives,  into doing some colour work for me. I started with a 1L Tetenal kit and put a few 120 velvia film tests through first to confirm my development times. I found a development time of 7.5 min a good starting point for velvia 50 ISO. To my surprise the film processing was remarkably consistent between batches and the information provided by Tetenal is a good starting point, and the process much simplified with the 3 step chemistry.

Overall I have been pleased with the results and I will be continuing with the Tetenal E6 during the year, using a one shot technique, processing 12 4×5 sheets at a time, with 48 sheets processed per litre of stock solution. I still have that 500 watt bayonet photo flood globe I used for E4 all those years ago. If you have a use for it let me know.

6 Replies

  • This is very interesting, thanks for sharing! 🙂
    I have not tried E6 yet, but I do my own C41 (and b&w), I think I’m on my fourth litre now, and I’m very pleased with the results.
    Tetenal has an excellent instruction leaflet enclosed, and in that I found that I can develop at 30C instead of 38C, which is very helpful for me. Is it the same with the E6, with the temperature?
    I would love to do my own E6, though it takes about two weeks to get the film back from the lab, and it cost me about €10 per roll of film….
    This would be so much better!! 🙂

    • Hi Marie,
      You can process E6 at 30.6C according to Tetenal, but this would be for “Pull” processing of slide film where you have overexposed the film. For example, using a 200 ISO rated film and deliberately exposing it as a 100 ISO.

      • Hmm, strange…
        But I guess it is still worth doing it at 38C.
        I’ve bought an small aquarium heater to keep the temperature, and it is hard for it to keep the 30C, but maybe I just could buy one more, that could help to keep the temp steady at 38.
        I don’t know why I never tried to do E6, but thanks to you I just might try it…
        Thanks a lot for the info!
        Have a nice weekend! 🙂

        • Hi Marie, With reversal process the more you develop the greater extent of bleaching occurs that creates the highlights or clear film base. I guess what they are implying is that you could process at a lower temp, but you would have to overexpose you film to start with. Of course this may lead to compromises in overall image quality ie film grain size, colour or contrast. I’m not sure if aquarium heaters go as high as 38C. Good luck!

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