The End of E-6

As the rest of the east coast seemingly plans for the end of the world, I’m planning for the end of commercial E-6 film processing, from which which color slide film is developed. I dropped off a few rolls of film at PDK Labs in Harrison yesterday and was told by Frederick there that they will stop processing E-6 by the end of the year. They are the last lab in Westchester to process the film in-house. I’m told one or two labs in New York City will still develop slide film, among perhaps a handful of sites across the country. (Most places that process film, including pharmacies and department stores, will still process C-41, or color print film.)

I hope that I don’t have to soon permanently retire my film cameras, especially my medium format camera. The images that came out of that camera are so sharp and full of detail and color and don’t require any photoshopping. Even in terrible light, the resulting images are still quite usable, thanks perhaps to the great lens quality. I don’t use that camera as often as I did while shooting photos for the Hudson Valley Ruins book, but I bring it on most every road trip and to document local sites new to me, for the archival record.

Even with the 35mm camera, color slide film seems to pack in such deeper color than negative film. Great results can be obtained from negative film of course, but so many variations of a final image can be made, depending on how negative is printed. You’ve got to hope the printer’s machine is working properly, or you can scan the negatives yourself and fidget around with the results. With color slides, what you see is the final image and can pretty much only be printed as is. Which is fine, as if the image is exposed properly, it shouldn’t require any tweaking.


Above: Just a few of my binders holding pages of 6×7 color slides.

Below: Here’s a few pages I copied with my digicam point and shoot, for reference.

Bethlehem Steel, Bethlehem PA. March 2008.

Barboursville ruins, Barboursville, VA. March 2008.

James Scott Mansion; Motown Office and Studio; Packard factory, Detroit, November 2010. DFunk kept watch while I played the part of ruin-tourist and took photos with all my cameras, ha.

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2 Responses to The End of E-6

  1. nailhed says:

    theyre taking our kodachrome away?! wtf!
    thats so bogus i dont even know what to say. i was actually thinking about shooting some slide film in the very near future, for the first time… i myself have picked up the old 35mm cam again recently and started using it. i was hoping to start shooting for a photo book about Fort Wayne, Detroit. the results were less than impressive; i think the c41 film i got was old, and my camera has a light leak still :-/

    • HV-Rob says:

      Hey! Actually, they took Kodachrome (another process) away as of December 30, 2010. All of the other ‘chromes may follow, in the next 3-5 years, so they say. Hard to believe, but I guess the film makers and processors go where the money goes: digital. Old film may still be good if it was kept refrigerated, otherwise you just might only get “artsy” results. I bet the light leak won’t be too costly to fix though, look into that! Is the Fort Wayne thing your own project, or a collaboration? That place is awesome, I’ll buy the book!

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