E6

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Until this summer, I had shot only a couple rolls of slide film in my life and that was nearly 30 years ago.

Slides are yet another thing that bring back memories from childhood. Every now and then my father would set up the projector and the silver screen and we would watch some family slides. Many of the pictures were taken in the 1960s before I was born. There was always some magic in seeing the pictures projected on the large screen in a dimmed down room.

Slides were also used extensively in education during the 1970s and 1980s. In the public school that I attended each classroom had a silver screen and we were often shown slide shows related to the studies.

Unfortunately it seems that slide film is going away. I wanted to learn shooting and developing it before it was too late. I bought a few rolls of Velvia and Provia just a few weeks before Fuji announed that they are discontinuing Provia.

Furthermore, I wanted to try shooting slide film in the 120 format. This was something that I had never done before and I wanted to experience the image quality that professionals used to love in the film era.

My first experiment was Velvia 100 in the 120 format. I shot it in the Hasselblad on a beautiful summer evening. I had this roll developed in a local lab that still develops slide film (not many of those are around).

120 size slides look beautiful even to the bare eye. Some scanning tests proved that the resolution is great. And I only have a flatbed scanner.

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Wanting to do stuff myself, I ordered a Tetenal chemical kit for E6 developing. If you have done C41 yourself, you can succeed in E6, too. There are three baths + stab. The only issue is that you need to keep the temperature steady 38C for much longer (about 20 minutes) than in the C41 process. I don’t have a rotating processor so I do the agitation manually and maintain the temperature using a water bath.

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As the first developer + color developer + blix steps take about 6 to 7 minutes each, the water bath cools down and you need to replace some water with warmer water during the process. Fortunately, there is a 2,5 minute wash step between chemicals that gives you enough time to make sure that the next chemical is at the right temperature.

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I am pleased with my results in self developing slide film and will continue shooting slides as long as film is available. Maybe I should even buy a projector and a silver screen…

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