CineStill Cs6 Is Aiming to Replace Professional Labs for Slide Film

Quite literally, CineStill is claiming that you won’t need a professional photo lab with their new CineStill Cs6.

CineStill has a huge claim with its latest release today. CineStill is coming out with its new CineStill Cs6 Creative Slide 3-Bath Process. “There’s no longer a need for a darkroom, professional lab or high-tech equipment to create analog photographs,” states the press release. “You can now create beautiful color transparencies at home through one simple process.” In development for a few years, the kit and the other products being announced today could indeed change things for film photographers everywhere. Though we haven’t heard good things about some of their other chemicals, we’re pretty curious about the new Cs6.

If you include the bath kits, there are six new products. CineStill D6 is designed for film development and specifically for daylight white-balanced slide film. Most film out there is daylight balanced, thankfully. Then you’ve got the option of D9, which adds the warmer tones that you’re much more used to seeing from developed scans of Kodak Portra. Lastly, there is also a tungsten film variant. But since there are no more tungsten white-balanced slide films currently on the market, this is allowing you to shoot in tungsten light with daylight slide film but without sacrificing two stops of light. Typically when you’re trying to shoot in Tungsten lighting, it’s recommended that you give the film more light. In fact, CineStill is claiming that you can even push the film.

Details of the new products are below. Personally speaking, this is both exciting and perplexing. I’ve heard the best things about CineStill’s previous chemicals, and I’m wondering how the new Cs6 options will do.

1. D6 “DaylightChrome” Neutral-tone 5500K 1st Developer
Renders approximately 6+ stops of usable dynamic-range* with bright whites and moderately enhanced color saturation, just like conventional E-6 processing. Daylight-balanced for conventional slides in daylight or with electronic flash. Single-use 1+1 dilution develops 8-16 rolls or 100ft of slide Film.

2. D9 “DynamicChrome” Warm-tone 1st Developer
Renders approximately 9+ stops of usable dynamic-range*, while maintaining vibrant color-contrast and rich warm tones with preserved highlight and shadow detail (optimized for scanning) for a more cinematic look. Extended exposure latitude increases the usable dynamic-range* of slide film from 6 to 9+ stops! Conventional E-6 processing renders approximately 6 stops of usable dynamic-range*. Perfect for high contrast lighting or backlit subjects in daylight, shade or with electronic flash. Single-use 1+1 dilution develops 8-16 rolls or 100ft of slide Film.

3. T6 “TungstenChrome” Cool-tone 3200K 1st Developer
Renders approximately 6+ stops of usable dynamic-range* with cleaner whites, and moderately enhanced color saturation. Shoot in artificial light without sacrificing 2 stops of exposure to color filtering! Kodak’s published technical data sheet recommends exposing E100 at EI 25 with an 80A Filter in Tungsten (3200 K) light. Now you can expose at box speed in low-light or even push to EI 200 or 400, and color-time your slides in processing. With conventional E-6 processing this would require color filtration and a 2-4 stop exposure compensation. Single-use 1+1 dilution develops 8-16 rolls or 100ft of Ektachrome®.

4. Cr6 “Color&Reversal” 2-in-1 Slide Solution
Combines the reversal step with color development. 6min minimum process time for completion with flexible temperature range of 80-104°f (27-40°C)**. Reusable solution reverses 16+ rolls of developed slide film.

5. Bf6 “Bleaches&Fixer” 3-in-1 Slide Solution
Combines the bleach and conditioner steps with the fixing step. 6min minimum process time for completion with flexible temperature range of 75 -104°f (23-40°C)**. Reusable solution clears 24+ rolls of reversal Film.

* ”Usable dynamic-range” is the amount of full stops of exposure value that renders acceptable detail and color. “Total dynamic-range” however, is the maximum range containing tonal separation rendering any detail, and is often twice the usable-dynamic range. The usable dynamic-range of conventional slide film is between 6-8 stops (total 14-16 stops). Color negative is between 9-13 stops (total 16-21 stops). Digital sensors are mostly between 7-10 stops (total 12-15 stops).

** Maintaining temperature is not essential beyond pouring in a 1st developer. When a temperature control bath is not available, simply preheat the 1st Developer +2ºF warmer, and the other baths will automatically process-to-completion as they cool down. Only the 1st Developer is time and temperature critical because it controls contrast and color.

Cs6 “Creative Slide” 3-Bath Kits for Reversal and E-6 Film CineStill Cs6 3-Bath Kits will be available from $39. The 1000ml/Quart Kits can process 16+ Rolls or 100ft of Slide Film and the 3-2-1 Chemical Reuse Kits processes 32+ Rolls of film.

Included In Cs6 3-Bath Kits:

  • D9 “DynamicChrome”D6 “DaylightChrome”, or T6 “TungstenChrome” 1st Developer
  • Cr6 “Color&Reversal” 2-in-1 Slide Solution
  • Bf6 “Bleaches&Fixer” 3-in-1 Slide Solution

Now, if we put CineStill’s marketing efforts aside here, I really do wonder if this could eventually mean that lots of labs go out of business. Indeed, with products like the Ars Imago Lab Box, it’s pretty simple to develop anything at home. You’d potentially save money, though you’ll surely be taking time out of your day. The scanning process alone is pretty grueling. However, if you’re paying a lab to get it done, then you need to expect excellent quality scans without dust or anything else. I can tell you from experience that I’ve had lots of trouble with labs here in NYC with Fujifilm Wonder Shop and Luster perhaps being the most consistently high quality.

And the more important question: this makes us wonder if CineStill will be coming out with their own slide film.

Lead image courtest of Sandy Phimester via the CineStill Press Release.