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View Full Version : BJP: E6 processing given months to live


F456
07-26-2010, 22:41
Roger, I hope you don't mind my starting a thread on your forum. I read in the March copy of BJP that E6 processing is fast dying as more and more labs find it uneconomical to continue. As I don't have the time, inclination, or skill for - nor get the pleasure from - black and white processing, the film shooting options are rapidly narrowing. I'd be interested to know what you and others feel about the future of film now: will the news above, if correct, mean that film itself is going to be hard to source; what about getting processing done; and what about the cost?
I have a fairly extensive Nikon F3-based system as well as two Leica M bodies - M7 and M6TTL, to keep the speed dials in line with my two M8s - and now wonder about the wisdom of keeping them. They are late models and the lenses very clean as well. One of the lenses is a Noct-Nikkor 58/1.2. I see they are asking as much as 1,000 more for these now than they cost at cease of production.
For some reason the E6 prediction has made me more jittery about film shooting than any of the other things in the recent past, such as the demise of Kodachrome.

Cheers,
Tom

gerikson
07-26-2010, 23:46
My personal feeling is digital might not have killed off all film but it's definitely given colour transparency a death blow.

The Nikkors can be used on Nikon digitals. The M bodies should fetch a decent price used.

gavinlg
07-27-2010, 00:34
Absolute BS.

e6 will still be around after a few months, it'll be around after a few years - don't you worry!
How many times have you heard someone say "this will not be around very soon"

thegman
07-27-2010, 00:41
The only place I've ever read about the death of E6 is on RFF, I know of plenty of places to get E6 processing, never had a problem, not once.

I'll be quite surprised if all those companies decide in a couple of months that it's not worthwhile, all at the same time.

Roger Hicks
07-27-2010, 01:12
Dear Tom,

The simple, obvious and true answer is, of course, "I don't know." But:

I'd be surprised if E6 rapidly vanished entirely, though it may become harder and harder to find and unless you live in a major city or are willing to trust the mails it may be easier to do it yourself. That's what I've done since I moved to France in 2002, using a Jobo CPE-2 or Nova hand lines. I don't even know where the nearest E6 lab is.

Commercially, E6 makes little sense nowadays. When I worked in advertising we used to spend a fortune on Polaroids, film, processing and courier charges to and from the lab. As soon as digi backs fell below about 20,000/$30,000, it was cheaper to switch. Yes, initially the quality was worse than MF, never mind LF, but suddenly, all the clients who had previously insisted on 4x5 were happy enough with a much faster service.

This cost/benefit ratio has crept downwards in price. When we left the UK I was spending maybe 2000 a year on Polaroid, colour slide film and processing. At that rate even an M9 pays for itself pretty quickly, to say nothing of the time you save. Quite soon I was using a D70 for pack shots and the like (where I'd have used slide before) and reserving slide for when I wanted better quality.

I always used slide because it was a lot quicker and easier than neg, There are literally thousands of slides in hanging drawers in my files. I still find it easier to find slides than digital images. But I regard negative film as more versatile, simply because what you shoot is fixed at the time of shooting with slides, whereas with neg you have to do some form of post-processing, and often, you might as well 'tweak' the image to be closer to what you wanted. If you're going to scan, it's a toss-up between slides and negs. And quite honestly, if you're going to scan, and you shoot a lot of pictures, shooting digi becomes quite compelling, quite quickly.

Because I've used Leicas for two-thirds of my lifetime so far, I was never interested in DSLRs for 'real' photography of the sort I do (e.g. no sports or wildlife, where DSLRs are compelling). They are too big, too heavy, too awkward, too automated. The M8 meant I could get reasonable quality while retaining Leicas; the M8.2 was an improvement on that; and the M9 was close enough to a 'real' Leica that I shoot almost no slide any more. The MP now sees 97% B+W (Ilford), 2% Ektar 100 and 1% 'other'.

B+W processing is neither especially difficult nor especially time-consuming, and besides, there's always XP2. In many ways, I actually prefer XP2 to most conventional neg films: good tonality, easy processing. But if you like colour, and film, Ektar 100 is probably the answer: the quality of E6, the ease of C41.

Again, as I said at the beginning, I don't know. I was completely wrong about the speed and success of digital: I thought it would level off at 6 megapixels for happy-snappers, while serious amateurs and many professionals would stick with film and big studios would use VERY expensive digi (10-20,000, $15-30,000). I was right about the last bit anyway. As the old saying goes, predicting the future is difficult, especially in advance.

Sorry for the very long answer.

Cheers,

R.

F456
07-27-2010, 05:03
Dear Roger,
That's a great answer: the sort I was looking for, based on your experience of business factors and showing how even then it is hard to have the right hunch about the future.

What surprised me was that the popularity of E6 should have declined more than that of colour neg: my hunch had been that hobbyist photographers were more likely to stick with transparency while happy snappers would ditch negative entirely - I hardly ever see anyone shooting film in the tourist-drenched English city where I live and work.

I might just give Ektar 100 a try. Most of my photography has been 400 ASA minimum (HP5plus when I knew a first rate black and white printer); since then it has been 400ASA or a couple of stops higher for digital drama and sport - Leica or Nikon D3 for the drama, and D3 for the sport, though I did shoot some wonderful close range informal knock-about sport with an M2 and 35/1.4 Summilux, using prefocus and a Sekonic light meter. Some considered shooting with the slower film would give me just the break and change that I need over the summer holiday.

Another option is to buy an M9, based on your review. The fact that it will have to be paid for by the sale of all 4 Leica and Nikon film bodies and 6 Nikkor AiS lenses is painful in the extreme. I already have 2 M8s and even though they are only M8.1s, as it were, I love the results they give and am just about happy with the speed of a 28/2 Summicron ASPH as the nearest thing to a 35/1.4 on this cropped format - it is a great lens.

Thanks for the input (is that a word that should be blacklisted?) and the suggestions. I think I am starting to see which way to go, but am still wavering.

Cheers,
Tom

PKR
07-27-2010, 05:46
Dear Tom,

The simple, obvious and true answer is, of course, "I don't know." But:

I'd be surprised if E6 rapidly vanished entirely, though it may become harder and harder to find and unless you live in a major city or are willing to trust the mails it may be easier to do it yourself. That's what I've done since I moved to France in 2002, using a Jobo CPE-2 or Nova hand lines. I don't even know where the nearest E6 lab is.

Commercially, E6 makes little sense nowadays. When I worked in advertising we used to spend a fortune on Polaroids, film, processing and courier charges to and from the lab. As soon as digi backs fell below about 20,000/$30,000, it was cheaper to switch. Yes, initially the quality was worse than MF, never mind LF, but suddenly, all the clients who had previously insisted on 4x5 were happy enough with a much faster service.

This cost/benefit ratio has crept downwards in price. When we left the UK I was spending maybe 2000 a year on Polaroid, colour slide film and processing. At that rate even an M9 pays for itself pretty quickly, to say nothing of the time you save. Quite soon I was using a D70 for pack shots and the like (where I'd have used slide before) and reserving slide for when I wanted better quality.

I always used slide because it was a lot quicker and easier than neg, There are literally thousands of slides in hanging drawers in my files. I still find it easier to find slides than digital images. But I regard negative film as more versatile, simply because what you shoot is fixed at the time of shooting with slides, whereas with neg you have to do some form of post-processing, and often, you might as well 'tweak' the image to be closer to what you wanted. If you're going to scan, it's a toss-up between slides and negs. And quite honestly, if you're going to scan, and you shoot a lot of pictures, shooting digi becomes quite compelling, quite quickly.

Because I've used Leicas for two-thirds of my lifetime so far, I was never interested in DSLRs for 'real' photography of the sort I do (e.g. no sports or wildlife, where DSLRs are compelling). They are too big, too heavy, too awkward, too automated. The M8 meant I could get reasonable quality while retaining Leicas; the M8.2 was an improvement on that; and the M9 was close enough to a 'real' Leica that I shoot almost no slide any more. The MP now sees 97% B+W (Ilford), 2% Ektar 100 and 1% 'other'.

B+W processing is neither especially difficult nor especially time-consuming, and besides, there's always XP2. In many ways, I actually prefer XP2 to most conventional neg films: good tonality, easy processing. But if you like colour, and film, Ektar 100 is probably the answer: the quality of E6, the ease of C41.

Again, as I said at the beginning, I don't know. I was completely wrong about the speed and success of digital: I thought it would level off at 6 megapixels for happy-snappers, while serious amateurs and many professionals would stick with film and big studios would use VERY expensive digi (10-20,000, $15-30,000). I was right about the last bit anyway. As the old saying goes, predicting the future is difficult, especially in advance.

Sorry for the very long answer.

Cheers,

R.

Roger; i found a citation on the Lomo page
http://www.lomography.com/magazine/news/2010/03/14/farewell-to-e6-film

I think E-6 will be around in some lab for a while. But then I thought we would have Kodachrome for a couple of more years. p.

Roger Hicks
07-27-2010, 05:57
Thanks for the reference. I don't think the BJ's opinion is worth any more than mine, but then, it's probably not worth a lot less either.

Cheers,

R.

John Lawrence
07-27-2010, 06:13
http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/news/1650026/is-e6-processing-nigh

If the above link is the article the OP is referring to, then the summary at the top of the article makes it clear that this is the view of one pro lab only, whilst other labs say there is still life left in it.

Knowing some of the labs concerned, I would imagine most of what they are referring to is the use of 5 x 4 and 10 x 8 transparency film by pros.

However, just for the record, I've been reading in the photographic press since 1999 that film per se will be dead and buried within a year!

John

Roger Hicks
07-27-2010, 06:24
Dear John,

Thanks very much. Looks like alarmist rubbish to me. 'Gaining popularity in the 1970s' is a bit meaningless, given that Kodak switched from E4 to E6 (there was never a commercial E5 process) in, as far as I recall, 1977.

Cheers,

R.

John Lawrence
07-27-2010, 06:28
The only thing I think you will not be able to do for much longer (if, indeed it can still be done now) is to get a two hour turn round on processing of transparency film from pro labs.

John

F456
07-27-2010, 06:41
http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/news/1650026/is-e6-processing-nigh

If the above link is the article the OP is referring to, then the summary at the top of the article makes it clear that this is the view of one pro lab only, whilst other labs say there is still life left in it.

Knowing some of the labs concerned, I would imagine most of what they are referring to is the use of 5 x 4 and 10 x 8 transparency film by pros.

However, just for the record, I've been reading in the photographic press since 1999 that film per se will be dead and buried within a year!

John

John,
Thank you for putting the article in perspective. I think I read it in too much of a hurry, saw the bit that worried me, and didn't stop to take a second look. Still, there are some disturbing facts there, even if the conclusion is not so definite.

Best wishes,
Tom

F456
07-27-2010, 06:43
The only thing I think you will not be able to do for much longer (if, indeed it can still be done now) is to get a two hour turn round on processing of transparency film from pro labs.

John

I can do without that. For instant results I would 'still' use digital. After enjoying the mystery of taking a picture without being able to check it on screen I could wait a few days more for the results.

Tom

John Lawrence
07-27-2010, 06:53
John,
Thank you for putting the article in perspective. I think I read it in too much of a hurry, saw the bit that worried me, and didn't stop to take a second look. Still, there are some disturbing facts there, even if the conclusion is not so definite.

Best wishes,
Tom

Whilst I certainly hope it doesn't happen, I was tempted to speculate as to whether the BJP might be long gone before E6 processing is!

John

sojournerphoto
07-27-2010, 07:23
...Again, as I said at the beginning, I don't know. I was completely wrong about the ...


Cheers,

R.


Roger that is a completely refreshing change from the attitudes of some of the digital revolution's prime webmeisters:) Admitting error, even in the realm of Nostradamus, would seem to come hard to some. Off topic, but I appreciated your whole answer and this little nugget of humility in particular.

Mike

anglophone1
08-16-2010, 11:49
I divide my time between West Cork, Ireland , no E6 processing AFAIK in the republic and Antibes, France , no E6 processing outside Paris AFAIK.
However I still shoot a resonable quantity of e6 [velvia in my xpan] and lots of c41 120/220 with some 5x4 velvia/c41.
Answer =mail order ,but silly prices in France and most of UK
Solution=genieimaging.co.uk in London, UK.
Dev E6 or c41 35mm[no mount] or 120 GBP 1.99, dev and scan [18mb] GBP 7.90.
Silly not to really and [surprise, surprise] they are BUSY so guess wll stay in business!
Clive
www.clive-evans.com