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05-29-2012, 07:48 AM   #1
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C-41 and E6 120 processing?

I've been doing the BW processing for film from my baby, a 645n. I had been using prepaid processing mailers from Porter's in Iowa for C-41; they did a good job at a good price with a turnaround of about one week.

From searching Porter's site it looks as though they've discontinued the prepaid option; their price otherwise is much higher. Local shops are also expensive and their turnaround is two weeks or more for 120, by contrast 35mm C-41 is a one hour deal! E-6 is available here and there, but no mounting for 120 in any format.

While I have done E-6 and the earlier processes it is no real fun, and the limited storage life of the solutions are a problem. I'd guess that C-41 storage life is also limited.

Anyone out there have any labs to suggest? I don't like the idea of holding my exposed film to run in a big marathon session before the chemicals go "sour," any problems with camera or whatever could "infect" a lot of film.

05-29-2012, 11:09 AM   #2
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Have given Services | Blue Moon Camera and Machine a try? It is always touted by the Film Photography Podcast and many have written back to say the service is rather quick and reasonable. I will be sending my E-6 to them very soon.
05-29-2012, 11:46 AM   #3
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Hey MysteryOnion -

Blue Moon sounds like a possibility, especially if I send them two or three rolls of C-41 at a time for return shipment at the $7.50 they quote. For only one roll it gets rather pricey. Thanks for the tip.

Since you're a film guy and fellow ME-Super user, do youi do your own BW, and if so, any tips on loading the Omega/Nikor stainless steel reels? Its very frustrating, even more since years ago I used the 35mm size all the time without trouble. I despair of loading 120 on one. The film seems too floppy. Grrrrr.

I wonder if the film base has changed in thickness or whatever in the last 20 plus years. Surely it can't be my advancing years!
05-29-2012, 11:57 AM   #4
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The Photographic Works lab will do C-41 and E-6 processing. I use them and their quality is better than most. They are in Tucson, AZ photographicworks.com

05-29-2012, 12:18 PM   #5
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Thanks for the link. I've emailed them about return postage costs, and the possibility of mounting 120 format slides. Pretty unlikely, good thing I have some slide mounts.
06-02-2012, 02:36 PM   #6
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It might depend on how many C41s you shoot over whatever period you shoot them but Digibase does a mini kit which reportedly lasts a while. I think that you can get replacement for the dev part only which is the bit that has limited life.

The other way to use the chemicals faster and within date would be to use Ilford XP2+ or the Fuji 400 C41 B&W film. When you do the processing you avoid the vagaries of mail order processing and the cost.

Given you are paying a commercial establishment for its wages, overheads etc then even if you had to waste dev to ensure it was fresh it might still be cheaper and reliable to do it yourself

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06-02-2012, 04:31 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
Blue Moon sounds like a possibility
I have been using Blue Moon for several years and can vouch for their work and for their prices.


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06-03-2012, 04:58 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
Since you're a film guy and fellow ME-Super user, do youi do your own BW, and if so, any tips on loading the Omega/Nikor stainless steel reels? Its very frustrating, even more since years ago I used the 35mm size all the time without trouble. I despair of loading 120 on one. The film seems too floppy. Grrrrr.
The floppiness sounds like either too low tension while loading... see below or the reels is not straight.

I know that there are lots of youtubes on that, but the reels should always be checked to make sure they are straight. I've gotten from the bay a few that were made wrong or bent from abuse. Hewes reels, the few I own are high quality and I use them to compare against the bent reels to straighten them out.


My chief thing I do to load is first to make sure I am used to holding them in the right orientation.
SS reels at the outside opening have the wire ends pointing at my film loading hand.
I extend my thumb and index guide the leading edge to help pull it to the center and clip it in and not worry about the center yet.
A half turn on to the near center of the reel I check with my finger tips that the two edges are on the rails and adjust the film by sliding.
When all is good I start winding but only with the reel hand and the film hand is actually putting resistance on the reel... A tug of war of sorts.
Allow some constant tension of sorts and keep in sync with the reel, but not over tension or it will pull out film
The film is curved as it moves across the spirals and will expand straight when it comes to the correct rail.
I check along the way for buckling and listen for the smooth slide of the edge of the film as it slip along the reel.
Any crinkle sounds I investigate and unroll and try again.

Now a days I go very fast and rarely have a problem.

I'm sure many folks have their own descriptions on how to do it, but I'm just trying to say what I see or hear when I do it.

Hope that helped?

06-03-2012, 08:46 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MysteryOnion Quote
Hewes reels, the few I own are high quality and ...
...well worth the extra money.


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06-03-2012, 09:53 AM   #10
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MysteryOnion, Stevebrot -

Thanks for the tips. Yesterday after giving up on the Nikor reels I used my ancient Paterson. I uncovered the Nikor loader aid and I've practiced with a junk film, 36 ex. With the loader all goes well. I'll check for possible bent reels, although I don't recall ever having dropped them. The reels I have were all bought new.

MysteryOnion, I'll post some of the Ilford FP 4 shots to my Flickr. I was using a Takumar 135mm f 2.5 which is an underappreciated lens, and the f 1.2 A which gives beautiful bokeh. Really fun to shoot film again.
06-03-2012, 09:56 AM   #11
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Reading above about the Rollei C-41 Digibase kit this sounds like the answer to my C-41 dilemma. My worry had been about having the kit "expire" before I got all the use out of it; batching many rolls worries me since I could make the same learning error on lots of film.

Now I need to cobble up a drying cabinet, perhaps some sort of garment bag with a little fan and a filter....
06-03-2012, 02:13 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
I'll post some of the Ilford FP 4 shots to my Flickr. I was using a Takumar 135mm f 2.5
Very cool! Look forward to it.
06-03-2012, 02:40 PM   #13
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Duh! I was looking through a little catalog from Porter's which came in a recent shipment (blotter book, 10 x 12 red filter, etc, good prices) and there in the section devoted to film was a listing for the prepaid mailers! Price seems to have gone up, $7.99 for processing and prints, return postage paid. Not a bad price, but the Rollei would cut the price to what ... $2.00 per roll!!!!! Then I scan them in and have prints made locally.

But when I searched the site for 120 processing nothing showed....

Last edited by grhazelton; 06-04-2012 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Addition
06-04-2012, 03:34 AM   #14
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Don't forget that Freestyle and a the Unicolor 2 liter C-41 kit at $33 and I've easily gotten good result with 20 roll sent through a kit... acutually, I'll push it to 35 or equivelant. Lesser important rolls I save for last or when... as argued else where to not go beyond the recommended number and in the two liter size it is 8-12?
I've not had problems going beyond and really think that raising between developer and blix works well. The developer is seemingly very hardy and the blix stayed working very well all the way until I finally decided to dump it. So for me the $33 and a conservative number or 24 rolls comes out to abut 1.34 ea. and I scan them at home at 2400 or 3200 dpi.

...I forgot. Conversion to all 120 film roll film.
so my max of 35 rolls in 120 might be about 14-16 roll or up to $2.00 per roll
the stated max of 8-12 would be about 4 to 6 or up to $5.50 per roll
the conservative max of 24 is more like 10-12 or up to $2.75 per roll

Last edited by MysteryOnion; 06-04-2012 at 07:08 AM.
06-04-2012, 11:26 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
Reading above about the Rollei C-41 Digibase kit this sounds like the answer to my C-41 dilemma. ....
The unicolor kit sounds fine also. I hadn't mentioned this because as far as I know it isn't available in the U.K. so I have no experience of it.

I don't wish to steer you to another forum but as we have a limited number of film users here you might want to check out a very long but comprehensive thread on Digibase on a forum called APUG.

It will tell you all you want to know about Digibase


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