Eric Radman : Photography

Color Reversal Development

Every time I pull film that I developed out of a canister I marvel that it worked. Not that I expect the process to fail, but I find the results of three solutions and water from the tap intriguing.

I know that some really enjoy the freedom to mix up different chemistry for B&W, but in my experience this made the entire process look far more difficult than it really is. Fortunately for me color reversal is a standard. It's usually called E-6, and the 3-bath kits from Arista and Tetenal produce beautiful results.


From what others have written, it seemed that color reversal was difficult because color processes require careful temperature control. You do need a thermometer and a way to get the chemistry up to temperature, but the process is far more forgiving than some might lead you to believe.

The Arista formula that I use is optimal at 105°F or 100°F. I fill a 12x10x7" insulated foam shipping container with hot water that is about 115°F, put the bottles in and wait for it to cool down a bit. It's that simple!


I started out with plastic reels, and I do not understand them. 120 film is difficult to load, and it binds if the reels are not perfectly dry and perfectly clean. The Hewes Pro Stainless Steel Reel has performed brilliantly, and has completely altered the experience for me.

Record Keeping

E-6 chemistry is reusable, but the time for the first developer must be adjusted each time. Spreadsheets were invented for this sort of tasks! This is my arrangement

E-6 Development Record

This is everything I needed to know:


The final rinse can be done in any number of ways. To reduce spotting I use a few drops of Kodak Photo Flo in distilled water at the very end.

Last updated on January 21, 2019