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06-20-2018, 08:39 AM   #1
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Proper ECN-2 Labs in the US

Hello,

I am spending my summer break in China now, and I have the luxury to shoot respooled ECN-2 film (Kodak VISION3 250D) and have them properly processed by labs here in ECN-2 process. I like how this film renders. However I did not find any lab that can properly develop ECN-2 film in the US, almost all of them process it in C-41 chemistry. Is there a lab in the US that you would recommend that processes ECN-2 film properly by the 35mm cassette?

Sincerely

06-20-2018, 09:41 AM   #2
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A Google search revealed this place:

The Camera Shop ECN-II

I thought also that The Darkroom would process ECN-2, but a quick search didn't find that info.

---------- Post added 06-20-18 at 09:41 AM ----------

You can also get ECN-2 kits and process it yourself.
06-20-2018, 09:56 AM - 1 Like   #3
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A quick search of the Film Photography Project (who sells ECN-2 film) netted these results in the US.

Process at home using the FPP Home Color Kit

or send your film to
FILM RESCUE PROCESSING
Minnesota USA / Canada
Film Rescue International | Revealers Of Lost And Found Treasures
or
THE CAMERA SHOP
Minnesota USA
The Camera Shop
or
OLD SCHOOL PHOTO LAB
New Hampshire USA
Old School Photo Lab

Botique Photo Lab
Mt Julliet Tennessee
Film Developing by Mail | Online Film Processing by Boutique Film Lab
06-20-2018, 05:34 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by twilhelm Quote
A quick search of the Film Photography Project (who sells ECN-2 film) netted these results in the US.

Process at home using the FPP Home Color Kit

or send your film to
FILM RESCUE PROCESSING
Minnesota USA / Canada
Film Rescue International | Revealers Of Lost And Found Treasures
or
THE CAMERA SHOP
Minnesota USA
The Camera Shop
or
OLD SCHOOL PHOTO LAB
New Hampshire USA
Old School Photo Lab

Botique Photo Lab
Mt Julliet Tennessee
Film Developing by Mail | Online Film Processing by Boutique Film Lab
I have worked with Old School Photo Lab and Boutique Film Lab. They both cross-process ECN-2 film in C-41 chemistry. The results were underdeveloped (by a full stop, and has almost no shadow detail) and had severe color shift.

I know there are labs that can process ECN-2, but the two I have worked with in the US does not process them with proper ECN-2 chemistry.

The FPP home kits seems to be C-41 too. And I live in a college dorm in the US and it is infeasible to process by my self (my college's photography program is now fully digital, and we do not have a darkroom anymore).


Last edited by butangmucat; 06-20-2018 at 06:06 PM.
06-27-2018, 07:15 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
Hello,

I am spending my summer break in China now, and I have the luxury to shoot respooled ECN-2 film (Kodak VISION3 250D) and have them properly processed by labs here in ECN-2 process. I like how this film renders. However I did not find any lab that can properly develop ECN-2 film in the US, almost all of them process it in C-41 chemistry. Is there a lab in the US that you would recommend that processes ECN-2 film properly by the 35mm cassette?

Sincerely
I do believe this is the first time I've seen anyone admit that.
ECN-2 is a modified C-41 process film. The modification is that the film has an anti-halation layer on the base side that has to be removed by mechanical means prior to development in conventional line processors.
Failing to do this will allow the anti halation layer to be removed by the processing machines squeegees, which gunks them up badly. We had a Seattle Film Works film slip through one day and it caused all sorts of problems, as the anti-halation layer gunked up the squeegees and streaked every film that went behind until we caught the problem. We ended up having to pull the racks and take them to a car wash to power spray them off, clean the inside of the tanks and run mild solvents through the pumps and filters to remove the crap from the circulation system. It put us out of business for a couple of days.
If you can self process the stuff in a JOBO tank processor, you can probably run regular C-41 chemistry and then remove the black backing layer with alcohol and a soft cloth. You will have to adjust the temp and time. IIRC, ECN-2 runs slightly cooler but for a longer development time than C-41.
I wouldn't bother with the stuff myself.
06-27-2018, 07:20 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I do believe this is the first time I've seen anyone admit that.
ECN-2 is a modified C-41 process film. The modification is that the film has an anti-halation layer on the base side that has to be removed by mechanical means prior to development in conventional line processors.
Failing to do this will allow the anti halation layer to be removed by the processing machines squeegees, which gunks them up badly. We had a Seattle Film Works film slip through one day and it caused all sorts of problems, as the anti-halation layer gunked up the squeegees and streaked every film that went behind until we caught the problem. We ended up having to pull the racks and take them to a car wash to power spray them off, clean the inside of the tanks and run mild solvents through the pumps and filters to remove the crap from the circulation system. It put us out of business for a couple of days.
If you can self process the stuff in a JOBO tank processor, you can probably run regular C-41 chemistry and then remove the black backing layer with alcohol and a soft cloth. You will have to adjust the temp and time. IIRC, ECN-2 runs slightly cooler but for a longer development time than C-41.
I wouldn't bother with the stuff myself.
ECN-2 also uses a different developer. ECN-2 uses CD-3 (but AFAIK the dilution is different than that of RA-4 or E-6), and C-41 uses CD-4.

Old School Photo Lab and Boutique Film Lab do pre-remove the remjet, but they use CD-4 at C-41 temperature, causing color shift and underdevelopment (they both charge a premium on this service and give longer turnaround as they can only do this process by hand).

Some quick Googling tells me that ECN-2 development step is 41 Celsius for 3min and C-41 is 39 Celsius for 3.5min.

Last edited by butangmucat; 06-27-2018 at 07:30 AM.
06-27-2018, 08:31 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
ECN-2 also uses a different developer. ECN-2 uses CD-3 (but AFAIK the dilution is different than that of RA-4 or E-6), and C-41 uses CD-4.

Old School Photo Lab and Boutique Film Lab do pre-remove the remjet, but they use CD-4 at C-41 temperature, causing color shift and underdevelopment (they both charge a premium on this service and give longer turnaround as they can only do this process by hand).

Some quick Googling tells me that ECN-2 development step is 41 Celsius for 3min and C-41 is 39 Celsius for 3.5min.
Yeah, I couldn't remember if it was longer or shorter, hotter or colder. CD-3 is designed to give better results with reversal film, which is no surprise since motion picture film is designed as a pseudo reversal film. We found that if we cleaned up the stuff and ran it normally through C-41 chemistry it produced Ok prints on paper, and frankly, the stuff that was processed by Seattle Film Works never produced particularly good prints either.
My guess is that the OP is scanning, not wet printing, and with this in mind, I expect he would be better served by a low contrast C-41 film that he didn't have to jump through as many hoops to get lowball development from. I can'
t see an ECN-2 lab that is serving the public getting enough volume to keep chemistry even remotely close to being in control, and I can't see a motion picture lab risking their chemistry on unknown film coming in off the street.
06-27-2018, 08:55 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Yeah, I couldn't remember if it was longer or shorter, hotter or colder. CD-3 is designed to give better results with reversal film, which is no surprise since motion picture film is designed as a pseudo reversal film. We found that if we cleaned up the stuff and ran it normally through C-41 chemistry it produced Ok prints on paper, and frankly, the stuff that was processed by Seattle Film Works never produced particularly good prints either.
My guess is that the OP is scanning, not wet printing, and with this in mind, I expect he would be better served by a low contrast C-41 film that he didn't have to jump through as many hoops to get lowball development from. I can'
t see an ECN-2 lab that is serving the public getting enough volume to keep chemistry even remotely close to being in control, and I can't see a motion picture lab risking their chemistry on unknown film coming in off the street.
I am the OP, and yes, I do scan my film.

At least here in China, you have two options:

- Some of the smaller film works who have survived from the planned economy era now takes indie film orders and stills orders, but they aggregate the latter orders before processing, yielding long turnaround times.

- Some professional labs, like the ones I have, can properly maintain and process ECN-2, but only by small-scale hand processing using something similar to a tabletop processing kit. They presumably uses powder chemicals.

I have emailed The Camera Shop, which sounds most likely to have proper ECN-2 based on small-scale hand processing.

---------- Post added 06-27-18 at 09:15 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Yeah, I couldn't remember if it was longer or shorter, hotter or colder. CD-3 is designed to give better results with reversal film, which is no surprise since motion picture film is designed as a pseudo reversal film. We found that if we cleaned up the stuff and ran it normally through C-41 chemistry it produced Ok prints on paper, and frankly, the stuff that was processed by Seattle Film Works never produced particularly good prints either.
My guess is that the OP is scanning, not wet printing, and with this in mind, I expect he would be better served by a low contrast C-41 film that he didn't have to jump through as many hoops to get lowball development from. I can'
t see an ECN-2 lab that is serving the public getting enough volume to keep chemistry even remotely close to being in control, and I can't see a motion picture lab risking their chemistry on unknown film coming in off the street.
I shot some CineStill before moving to vanilla VISION3 films, and have noticed the color shift.

I have also asked my friends who have more experience in film, and they told me that older ECN-2 films are not as sensitive to the difference between CD-3 and CD-4, but VISION3 stock are very sensitive, and can easily yield garbage if cross processed, no darkroom or digital post can correct that.

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06-27-2018, 08:39 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
ECN-2 also uses a different developer. ECN-2 uses CD-3 (but AFAIK the dilution is different than that of RA-4 or E-6), and C-41 uses CD-4.

Old School Photo Lab and Boutique Film Lab do pre-remove the remjet, but they use CD-4 at C-41 temperature, causing color shift and underdevelopment (they both charge a premium on this service and give longer turnaround as they can only do this process by hand).
Are they using different developers and development times because the chemistry of the films are different, or are the films basically compatible but a different type of output image is desired if it is going to be used for a motion picture application?
06-27-2018, 08:49 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by leekil Quote
Are they using different developers and development times because the chemistry of the films are different, or are the films basically compatible but a different type of output image is desired if it is going to be used for a motion picture application?
My understanding is that the chemistry is different. The result of x-pro CineStill or vanilla VISION3 in C-41 resulted more like Instegram filters, and lacked shadow detail, and the white balance and skin tones are way off. It looks more like Lomography than motion picture. The properly processed VISION3 (I used 250D or 5207) had natural color balance and fairly good shadow detail.
06-29-2018, 12:25 AM   #11
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I have shot a bit of 500T which is of course a tungsten balanced film. I develop it as bw at home, dissolving and wiping off the remjet as part of the process. It is apparently possible to do this at home even for colour negatives but I do think you are correct that the proper colour development requires different chemicals than c41.
06-29-2018, 02:33 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jpipg Quote
I have shot a bit of 500T which is of course a tungsten balanced film. I develop it as bw at home, dissolving and wiping off the remjet as part of the process. It is apparently possible to do this at home even for colour negatives but I do think you are correct that the proper colour development requires different chemicals than c41.
The only problem is that I only attend college in the US and live in a college dorm. Our college's photography program is now fully digital so there is no on-site darkroom either... It's just unrealistic to do any processing in a college dorm.
02-21-2019, 09:38 AM   #13
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ECN2 in C-41 is doable.

Came across this thread while looking for something else.

Back in the 1980's I lived in LA which had a robust industry using old movie film ends repackaged and processed. What the (in)famous Seattle film works did. Unlike someone above says, this is not reversal. The film is intended to be made into reversal internegatives so that the original won't be damaged, then from the internegs to "prints." Meaning what gets projected. That is how the ECN-2 slides are made but w/o the interneg step.

Because the film and the print film are matched, slides came out great. Paper prints, not so much. Flat. But the cost was low, and I drove to Identicolor many a Saturday morning to drop off and pickup film.

So naturally I just had to try home processing in my C-41 chemistry. Crudest of temperature control. Rem-jet removal by paper towel, today's microfiber clothes would be perfect. But there were perfectly good images. I don't recall if I ever sent any in for printing, nor did I do my own color print process.

But today we have scanners and the hybrid workflow. A host of sins that can be easily corrected. I would think that this then becomes very doable. As some ask, why bother? Well, because it's just fun to experiment, isn't it? I'm just starting my film stuff back up after three years and I have a couple of rolls of FPP 500T which I will give a try someday.

Oh, C-41 uses CD-4, not CD-2.

Last edited by paulvzo; 02-21-2019 at 10:26 AM.
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