E6 Processing for Slide Film


As a student of photography, I was trained in the traditional techniques of black and white film developing and printing. My instructors mentioned color film developing in my classes but most often would say that it was very tricky to develop because of the tight control on chemistry temperature during the process. So, I never gave color film developing much thought until recently when the lab that I was using used the incorrect chemistry to develop my slide/transparency film. I was disappointed, frustrated, and determined to unlock the mystery behind processing color film that my instructors had created for me sby emphasizing the black and white film developing process versus the procedures for color film.

Color reversal film,also known as slide or transparency film, utilizes a developing process known as E-6 or CR-56. The chemistry takes the film from a negative black and white image to a positive color image that can be viewed on a light table. The colors seem to explode with vibrance and the film has a 3D like appearance that is an absolute delight to the eye!

Gathering information about developing color reversal film so that I could learn the E-6 process turned out to be more challenging that I thought, even with a powerful search engine such as Google. I searched for weeks for a concise, comprehensive source of information and only found scattered pieces of the puzzle. I came across so-called hobby kits that use a 3-bath E6- process but I was interested in the exact process that my former lab uses; a 6-bath E-6 process. Once I researched all of the scattered information, I decided that there may be others in a similar position that would benefit from a detailed "how-to-guide" that explained the process from start to finish.

If you are looking for E-6 chemistry, you may find it difficult to get as there aren't many stores that carry the chemicals anymore. I use a reputable company by the name of Southpoint Photo Imaging Supplies located in Dallas, TX. I typically correspond with Sean Souri whom is very helpful and does a great job (tel: 800-553-5580 Ext.202). The only down side is that the chemistry is ordered in bulk you so if you don't have a lot of film to develop it may not make financial sense. Check out my follow-up video that goes over the cost, chemistry usage, and shelf-life of the chemicals. As an alternative, Freestyle Photographic Supplies, located in Los Angeles, CA may be a better alternative for low-volume processing as they have a 5 liter kit available that utilizes the 6-bath E-6 process.

If you have ever wanted to develop your own slide/transparency film, please be sure to check out my video on how I develop my E-6 film and don't forget to give the video a thumbs-up and/or leave a comment. Thanks for watching!