The Future of E-6

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Alan9940

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I've been pondering the future of E-6 over the past few days and I see old threads (4-5 years old) talking about this, so I thought I'd tap the collective minds here, once again, to get your thoughts.

According to all the sources I have, it would seem that Fuji Velvia 50 is definitely on the way out. I suspect that what's available today is simply what's left in the supply chain, and that Fuji is not making this film any longer. Since Fuji seems to be getting out of the film business (I don't count Instax) and they are transparency film, I'm left wondering if processing, either at a lab or at home, will be available and for how long? How long do you think labs will continue to process E-6, once the film is gone? How long will DIY kits be made? Is it possible to mix the necessary components yourself?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

grainyvision

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It's already getting to be more difficult to find E-6 processing kits, and near impossible (and expensive) to find full process 6 bath kits. However, with standard B/W developers and C-41 chemicals you can process E-6 film and get transparencies (see my post on the front page of this forum)... so even if all the home use kits dried up, there is still a reasonable way of processing E-6. But really I don't see the supply chain completely drying up for some time. I think the 6 bath kit from Fuji (the only one I can find) would be the first to go though, and many people say 3 bath kits aren't as good quality, which I'd agree with.

Apparently Kodak is still bringing back Ektachrome at some point though, so maybe E-6 has a future despite very rarely being used for projection in the digital age
 

railwayman3

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IMHO, continuity of processing will depend on film being available, i.e. whether Fuji withdraws from transparency film soon, and if New Ektachrome comes onto the market within months rather than years. (I've stopped including Ferrania in any speculation for E6....I appreciate they've had their unforeseen problems, but I can't see them now ever making anything beyond B&W, even if they survive at all in the medium to longer term).

While E6 film is available, I'm sure that a few labs will continue to process, but as a specialist service, and my main concern would then be cost and possible mailing and processing time.
Processing kits might continue for a while, and it's always possible to mix components yourself, but supply of specialist chemicals might be a problem. as well as the time involved.

Overall, I think that we slide enthusiasts will be OK for a few years yet, but, beyond, maybe, 5 years, I have to foresee that E6 will no longer be time, cost or effort viable. Again, just all IMHO.
 

dmtnkl

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Fuji has yet to announce the discontinuation of provia and velvia in any official way. I think they usually do so one full year ahead of completely discontinuing any film. Also, in my experience, one can usually still find the 120 variant in retail for a bit longer after the 35mm variant has disappeared. I only observed this to varying degrees with Astia 100f and Velvia 100f (i have with expiry date of late 2016, quite a bit after fuji announced the discontinuation in late 2014). Provia 400x variants match in terms of expiry dates, but 35mm stock disappeared a lot quicker.

I think the biggest tell-tale sign was when Fuji announced that they will stop shipping 5-packs to stores. Some people claim that historically this indicates production has ceased and all that is left is a couple of master rolls in storage. There are also rumors and indications that AgfaPhoto Precisa (a rebadged fuji provia-like variant) is no longer available by some suppliers.

So take all this with a grain of salt, in the sense that availability varies after official discontinuation. And of course, you also have to take into account the hoarders. I sense they will lose control this time around, if fuji does actually quit E6.

Regarding processing, it is possible to mix your own kit and there are people in this community who do it with very good results. Also if i am not mistaken, a few labs also prepare their own chemistry. So i wouldn't be worried about chemistry and processing. Even if it will command a price premium, it will probably be there for quite some time.

But all of the above does not include ektachrome in the picture. Let's hope kodak does really well with this one.
 

Shoom

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Considering the short date deals on Provia and Velvia right now, I'd say it's a good time to stock up on those, regardless of whether it might be discontinued or not.
Though, don't forget about Lomography's X-Pro slide film. I think they tweaked the formula (for the better) recently because E-6 processing seems to give much better colors than the overwhelmingly yellow results I saw on reviews a few years back. I'd post some examples but I sold my scanner :whistling:
If they're producing it themselves (sent an email asking about that, waiting on a response), I think E-6 won't fully die out, as long as Lomo people cross process it. As for mixing chemicals...

Fuji actually published their E-6 recipe in US patent 6,720,134 B2. The full PDF is easily accessible on Google, though the Fuji formula might have some compounds that are practically inaccessible to someone without lab credentials/deep pockets.
There's also a "good formula" (to quote PE) in this old thread https://www.photrio.com/forum/threads/how-to-buy-potassium-hydroquinone-monosulfate.33206/
 

eddie

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I’m less pessimistic than most, but I believe Kodak and Ferrania will both end up successful. I think they’ve both made excellent progress, even if it’s not fast enough for some members. Kodak has already released tests. Ferrania has advanced through some tough obstacles to get to where they are ( even if they’ve only produc a b/w film). I sense a real commitment to succeed.
As for processing, I think it’s going to be, almost exclusively, for the home enthusiast. I do believe a cottage industry will crop up, and entreprenureal home enthusiasts will offer their services to others. I realize this is already beginning, but I think it will rapidly grow in the next few years. I think a time will come when Photrio will have a list of their locations, much as Ilford did with darkroom.
 

bascom49

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Whatever happens happens, enjoy what you have for all it’s worth and quit wringing your hands over worrying what may or may not be discontinued. Just shoot more film, show your support in the market place and have fun.
 

destroya

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ill keep shooting e6 till its not available anymore. i have quite a lot of slide film stockpiled, but im more worried about the availability of the chemical kits than the film. dont really want to pay $14 a roll to develop when i have no issues doing it myself for much less. just hoping fuji does no do what it did with acros. make an announcement and hae stock disappear from major retailers overnight. I dont really think thats gonna happen, but the recent price increases of the fuji slide films has me thinking that possibly the retailers know something and are gonna take advantage of the limited stocks.

just speculation. but we can always hope for the best!!!
 

guangong

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There are so many unknowns to ponder....how much of price increase is because of inflation, Kodak and Ferrania seem to be moving along, processing labs, processing kits...
What I have learned from APUG threads is just how extremely complex and complicated manufacturing and getting film into hands of user. It’s amazing! Along with trials and tribulations of manufacturing and doing business in Italy. These threads have been an education in manufacturing technology and business.
I’ll use E6 film until there is no more...hopefully beyond my lifetime.
 
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Alan9940

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Thank you all for the considered comments.

For myself, since my contacts have led me to believe that Velvia 50 sheet film is on the way out (it could last quite awhile if there's not a run on it like Acros) I'm trying to decide how much to buy and freeze to ensure use for years to come. But, I see this as a double-edge sword. If access to processing of E-6 film, either through a lab or DIY, disappears because transparency film is gone, then all that film in the freezer is useless. I don't trust Fuji...a short look back to Acros, FP-3000B (let alone the large format varieties of this film), and FP-100C are glaring cases in point! I truly hope that Fuji continues on with Provia 100F and that Kodak has a huge success with Ektachrome. But, as others have said, for now I will enjoy shooting Velvia 50 while I can.
 

Ste_S

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I can't see E6 lasting in the long term. It's a small niche within a small niche that mostly isn't even projected anymore.
I guess it's future rests with Ektachrome and if Kodak can make a profit from their new small scale process.

Heck, Kodak should encourage projection of slide film to give people a reason to shoot it. They won't though, because Alaris market still film and they mostly don't bother with marketing.
 

Uncle Bill

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I look at it from this angle, shoot Fuji Slide until Ektachrome hits the market and if Fujifilm stocks dry up we all shoot Ektachrome like crazy so we can get 120 as well. Eventually, Ferrania will get its slide film to market. I will feel much better when Ektachrome hits the market because I think Fujifilm is cruising on master rolls made a few years ago.
 

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I think Kodak Alaris's "Kodakery" podcast isn't bad. It's not exactly what I want from them, but at least it's better than nothing. So marketing... hmmmm. I don't think they've figured it out yet. Will they? Dunno.Hope so.
 

Ste_S

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I think Kodak Alaris's "Kodakery" podcast isn't bad. It's not exactly what I want from them, but at least it's better than nothing. So marketing... hmmmm. I don't think they've figured it out yet. Will they? Dunno.Hope so.

It's not done by Alaris. It's done by Kodak.

Kodak themselves aren't actually too bad at marketing - but they're just marketing the stuff they sell, motion picture film.
Kodak's website doesn't even mention still film like their iconic Tri-X, which in the absence of Kodachrome they should be pushing like crazy. That's left to Alaris who don't really bother, in fact it was a bit of struggle to find still film on the Alaris website at all.
 
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I can't see E6 lasting in the long term. It's a small niche within a small niche that mostly isn't even projected anymore.
I guess it's future rests with Ektachrome and if Kodak can make a profit from their new small scale process.

Heck, Kodak should encourage projection of slide film to give people a reason to shoot it. They won't though, because Alaris market still film and they mostly don't bother with marketing.

The future of E6 does not and never will rest on Ektachrome or whatever else comes out if and only if Fujiflm pulls out of the market.
Fujiflm is the leader in E6 -- this cannot be disputed. It would be such a watershed event that it would signal to the market, which includes processing facilities, that the end of the game as come. It is absolutely stupid to wax lyrical about the prospects of a flimsy roll of 35mm Ektachrome -- a 'dead' format that has no appeal to professional or advanced amateur users, as being the saviour of E6 after Fuji. It will not. A few thousand carnival barkers buying boxes for amateur use does not constitute a market or even a positive uptake. Kodak hasn't read the market at all. We do not live in the halcyon days of film any more -- they are long, long gone. And E6 is such a vanishingly small market and that is not going to change now or into the future.

There is something else. I am absolutely amazed and gobsmacked at the loud, brow-beating pundits holding out for Ektachrome while not going anywhere near Fujifilm's E6 products. Who are they trying to fool? Really!? If you want E6, use what it available now, at least wise up with skills and experience. Ektachrome isn't going to make anybody a stellar photographer overnight, or be particularly better than Velvia, Provia of whatever else is out there (it will be more of ALDI "good different" offering), but millions and millions of us around the world have been successful with Fuji in image making.
 

Ste_S

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The future of E6 does not and never will rest on Ektachrome or whatever else comes out if and only if Fujiflm pulls out of the market.

That's the thing... there's the train of thought that Fuji are slowly pulling out of (non-Instax) film, that they've coated the last batches and what we're getting now is what's left in the big freeze.

There is something else. I am absolutely amazed and gobsmacked at the loud, brow-beating pundits holding out for Ektachrome while not going anywhere near Fujifilm's E6 products. Who are they trying to fool? Really!? If you want E6, use what it available now,

I don't think anyone is actually doing that ? I'm quite happy shooting Velvia at the moment, but with the understanding it's not going to be around in the medium term.
 
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I don't think anyone is actually doing that ? I'm quite happy shooting Velvia at the moment, but with the understanding it's not going to be around in the medium term.

They will not necessarily, or always, be found here on APUG/Photrio, but such lopsided, largely unskilled assessment of Fujifilm vs Ektachrome has been observed.
There are a significant number of these people populating sites such as PetaPixel whenever the subject of E6/slide film comes up. For most when pushed, they are unable to enumerate specific differences between the two manufacturers. That is a story in itself.
 
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That's the thing... there's the train of thought that Fuji are slowly pulling out of (non-Instax) film, that they've coated the last batches and what we're getting now is what's left in the big freeze.

I do stock up on Velvia and Provia (I have ongoing periodic purchases of both products), enough to see me out a couple of years before transitioning to full digital production (printing is the end-product in my circumstances). I am thinking 2023 would be the vacuum point where legacy stock becomes hard to source (or prices mean anything with E6 in its name is a collector's item worthy of charging a kidney for!) and E6 processing even more of a challenge beyond DIY.

Beyond ebullient speculation, and in the absence of formal announcement(s) from FF and accompanying Dealer Bulletin or Professional Account Holder notes, nobody is certain what Fujifilm plans for the future, only that the future is far less rosy for any E6. None of us were worried about this in, say, 2011 (one of the years in which my consumption was very high for all E6 films).

Despite its tell-tale name, film is not a core high profit market for the giant that has its fingers in many intensive, high-value research and material fields e.g. biomedical and nuclear medicine. But it would be much easier to digest if Fujifilm was honest with people rather than put it down to "continuing rises in the cost of raw materials [etc.]", as is so commonly trotted out.
 

Ste_S

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But it would be much easier to digest if Fujifilm was honest with people rather than put it down to "continuing rises in the cost of raw materials [etc.]", as is so commonly trotted out.

I think with Fuji up until now they've been continuing to mass produce films as they would of done in the pre-digital age. Now that demand for film is a niche, they're faced with a choice of either investing in new machinery and processes for small scale runs, or just calling it a day because the return on the investment needed isn't worth it.

They're still fully committed to film of course, with Instax. I only hope they continue to develop Instax and we get something like peel apart film that we can use in Instax cameras.
 

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Don't discount Innoviscoat (AGFA) They have the capability to produce E-6. Plus the Rollei CN200 can be reversal processed to give transparencies. My opinion is the future of film transparencies lies with a film that can be both a negative and a positive, depending on processing method.

Fuji is selling off long ago manufactured film and when it's gone it's gone. Use the Acros experience as a guide. (I read postings of people buying a hundred 5-roll boxes of Acros at a time). Once Fuji announces the end of Provia or Velvia, the hoarders will descend and wipe out the supply in days not months.
 

thuggins

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Plus the Rollei CN200 can be reversal processed to give transparencies. My opinion is the future of film transparencies lies with a film that can be both a negative and a positive, depending on processing method.

I was just thinking the same thing the other day. The Rollei processes very nicely as E-6. The colors are very natural, but not overly saturated. It seems that there would certainly be a future for an unmasked C-41/E-6 film.

This thread got me checking the Google machine, and Fuji is still listing Provia 400X here: http://www.fujifilm.com/products/films/color_reversal_films/index.html

Is this still available? I thought the stock in the fridge was the last of the 400 speed.
 

RattyMouse

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I was just thinking the same thing the other day. The Rollei processes very nicely as E-6. The colors are very natural, but not overly saturated. It seems that there would certainly be a future for an unmasked C-41/E-6 film.

This thread got me checking the Google machine, and Fuji is still listing Provia 400X here: http://www.fujifilm.com/products/films/color_reversal_films/index.html

Is this still available? I thought the stock in the fridge was the last of the 400 speed.

400X is LONG gone. Do NOT use Fujifilm's web site as any guide. It has been horribly out of date for years.
 
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