The recent the opening of the SilvergrainClassics Studio/Lab in Germany gave Marwan El-Mozayen, editor-in-chief of PhotoKlassik International and co-owner of the lab the chance to organize an impressive meeting of the minds.

There was an opportunity to let company leaders interact with members of the film photography community and also speak among themselves to discuss planning for the future. A happy coincidence saw Lina Bessonova travelling through Germany at the same time, and she was recruited to moderate the discussion for a live-stream on her channel. The guest list was a veritable whos-who of the film business in Europe:

Mirko Böddecker of ADOX, Johannes Bockemühl of JOBO, Klaus-Peter Richter of Gossen, Jürgen Heiland of Heiland Elektronik, Karl Hudson of Hudson Grafik Services, and representing the oldest company, TETENAL, was a “newbie” in film circles, Peter Rasenberger.

(For those of you that haven’t been keeping up with the Tetenal story, you may want to start here, where I wrote a brief summary of the dramatic recent events surrounding the pillar of our film community. For a more in-depth look, PhotoKlassik International will be featuring a story about the saving of Tetenal in issue II/2019.)

Among the many connections and ideas that came out of the SilvergrainClassics event was an inspiration for Tetenal which had been floating around in Marwan El-Mozayen’s head. Knowing that the company was in the process of changing its focus to include direct sales to end-users in addition to large labs, he suggested that one item that could be resurrected from the long list of Tetenal products should be a press kit for developing films; or more specifically, the developer tablets that had been contained in the kit. The idea was picked up enthusiastically by Rasenberger and others within TETENAL.

An effervescent tablet form of E6 and C41 developer chemicals would have many advantages. First and perhaps foremost, a tablet has an almost unlimited shelf life and requires extremely little storage space. For home users with small darkrooms, this would ease storage space problems and eliminate wasted liquid chemicals that had “gone bad” in the time between developing one batch of film until the next.

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Most photographers today order online rather than trotting down to their local store, and tablets have the advantage of being much more cost-effective to ship, too. For fans of mobile lab developing boxes, what better way to bring along your developer! Just add water on-site, no measuring of different components or worrying about leaks on the way. Environmentally, the tablets would also be more responsible since they cut down on both shipping space/weight and also waste chemicals.

The challenge now is to get these “TETENAL tablets” from the idea stage into an online catalogue.

Although TETENAL produced the tablets until the turn of the millennium and still has the necessary know-how and production facilities, it would still involve a lot of work to adapt the pre-existing product to today’s market. New regulations would have to be evaluated and adhered to, and new sources would need to be found for raw materials. SilvergrainClassics and TETENAL are at the beginning stages of evaluating the demand for the tablets to see if the investment would be justified. The idea of crowd-funding an initial offering is seen as a probable (but not the only) way forward, and things are moving quickly.

So, my call to arms for you is to ask you: what do you think? Would you be interested in buying your developer in tablet form? Do you have suggestions for the team who are developing the idea?

Please leave your comments in the section at the foot of this page. We will be collecting your thoughts and passing them on to Tetenal for review. If you want to see the return of this unique, innovative product, it’s time to make your voice heard.

~ Charys

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About the author

Avatar - Charys Schuler

Charys Schuler

Charys Schuler’s career as a violinist with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony led her to work as a model which in turn led her to discover film photography. She has since become a vocal advocate for analog...

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139 Comments

 

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  1. Great Idea! I use the Tetenal C41 Kit and am sometimest stressed to shoot as many rolls of film as i could use the developer for.
    With this i can always brew fresh developer!

  2. I’ve not tried C41 development yet. but feel that (price permitting) this is something that would seriously tempt me!

  3. I run a small lab in Copenhagen, and would absolutely use this product for both c41 and e6, as long as it isn’t a problem with mixing.

    1. So glad to hear it! The mixing should be quick and easy, that’s the goal. It’s good to know that small labs would be able to benefit, too, thanks!

  4. This will be a great help not only to people with small darkrooms, or people who dev color with a long time in between batches, but also people on the move travelling. It will probably also encourage people to start shooting color.

    Another advantage would be to community darkrooms in terms of space management and ease of use.

    Brilliant idea… get it done!

    Simon

    1. E6 is the biggest challenge, obviously, but Tetenal has the know-how in its archives and we are working on ways to update it to conform to current regulations and supply sources.

  5. The idea of having tablets on the shelf instead of five-ish plus x bottles fir development is thrilling. Absolutely love it!

  6. tablets are great idea. living in Israel i have huge problem to get developer for e-6 because of transport limitations. tablets may let solve it. I will be happy to support kick-start for this!

    1. It would be an amazing thing if we could help people all over the world to be able to develop their own films. Thanks for your support!

  7. Sincerely hope this project comes to fruition, particularly for C41, sounds like it would really solve two problems, the waiting to group C41 films together to process and secondly no worries about reagents deteriorating.

  8. Oh yes! I would really be interested in this. I still have some C-41 chemicals from about 5 or 6 years ago that I was not able to use before they went bad. Having the options of mixing enough for one shot developing would get me shooting more color film. Sign me UP!

  9. Is there any possibility we could see separate bleach and fix steps or individually packaged steps?

    Since I don’t like blix the option to just buy developer tablets and use them with my Kodak Flexicolor bleach is a very attractive option. Though I imagine I am not representative of the majority of people who would use this product.

    Any chance on an ECN-2 kit?

    I know that these kits aren’t too hard to find in the EU but in the US they’re close to impossible.

    1. I run a small lab in New Zealand and hardly anyone in this country bothers to process E6 due to the prohibitive cost and dangerous goods classification. A tablet would revolutionize the market here (as long as it didn’t carry MSDS/OMR-D classification).

      1. That one of the effect we hope for– to enable more people around the world to be able to develop E6. Wish us luck! BTW, what’s the name of your lab? We are looking for small, independent labs to feature in an upcoming article for PKI.

  10. I would make use of such tablets, because of self life.
    Btw. ECN-2 should be considered as well. Basically chemistry of ECN-2 can be derived from E-6. Kodak Vision films are increasingly being used and there are only few laboratories offering ECN-2 development.

    1. It’s certainly possible if the E6 gets started well. We would need to see if there is a market for tablet form of ECN-2 since it is often used in large batches. But the shipping costs would certainly be reduced, so it’s an interesting idea.

  11. I assume here that the other chemicals required, the Blix and stabiliser, are also in tablet form? If so, this is a top notch idea!!!

  12. A fabulous idea! Especially eliminating the shipping restrictions as there is now with a liquid product.

  13. Oh yeah! This would be so cool! Sharing this to film photographers I know. Will definitely support a Kickstarter. This would encourage me to shoot more colour film.

    Make this happen!

  14. Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes!
    E6 and C41 tablets would be the perfect product for me. I develop colour infrequently, but need consistent results and the long shelf life is a game changer for me.
    I REALLY hope this comes to pass…

  15. That’d be great, I’ve used Tetenal C41 processing kits but I’ve had them ‘go off’ because I’d not shot as much colour as I’d have liked, or I have to stockpile exposed films in the fridge until i’ve got enough to develop over a short time before the chems go off.

    Something like this would be really convenient for the occasional colour shooter

  16. Excellent idea, I’m all for it. the number of times I have had developer go off before I can finish using it.

  17. This would be very convenient for travel and light weight development on the go.

  18. Please!
    I am from Brazil and the chemical inputs are very difficult to find here, in the case of e6, ecn2 and d96
    we do not have access through the import, mono-bath idem. And for C41 the kit is very large for home use. Small pellets are the solution both for import and for use without waste. We hope everything runs ok

  19. That sounds like a great idea – I run a community darkroom and use your C41 and E6 kits, but they go off before we use them to their full potential, which isn’t cost effective (for us) – another awesome product Tetenel made was the RT RA4 kit, that was great, wouldn’t mind seeing that available again 🙂

  20. Hell yesssss! I will definitely support a kickstarter for this. You see, living in the Middle-East, access to the chemicals is a challenge. We can always find BW chemicals but C41 is more difficult ( and hence very expensive) and E6 almost impossible to find! The main reason is IATA regulations over air shipping of chemicals. I agree also with a lot of the previous comments regarding volumes. I am not a big film shooter and shelves life is an issue so tablet could really be a very good option. Finally either you are traveling or developing at home, in both situation, a simpler approach where you just have to measure your water is the way to go forward.

  21. Effervescent tablets are a GREAT idea, for any chemical.
    The advantages of powder, plus the easiness of mixing, plus the possibility of mixing only the required amount. Seriously, I would love to have a classic BW dev and fix combo like this. I would travel with a small development tank, and process my film on the run.

  22. A great idea – such a product (for mono or C41 or E6) could do wonders for bring people back to film and also encouraging new interest !

  23. Please do it, I would certainly use it, What a good idea for the home developer.

  24. Can I just say and emphatic, “YASSSSS!!!! Please!”?

    For photos just add water and film?! Of course this is a brilliant idea. Sign me up for the Kick starter. I’ll be a US Beta tester. Take my money, please!

  25. The tablets would help overcome many shipping issues globally, like weight and ORM-D flags where some countries are not able to order the product. I’m in for a monobath, as mentioned above! Cheers!

  26. That would be awesome! I recently bought my first C-41 kit, and I’m already stressed shooting as many rolls of films as possible. That would solve many problems with people who just want to shoot a couple of rolls from time to time. I would definitely buy it!

  27. Another supportive comment here too. My wife and I have a very small house and storage space is at a premium. Being able to have one box of ziplocked bag to hold the raw chemistry in tablets and one bottle to hold the waste product that can’t go down the drain and waiting for disposal, would be quite helpful! The potential of having “one roll quantities” of C41 or E6 chemistry at hand with extended shelf life instead of having to save up multiple rolls for marathon processing sessions would certainly encourage me to shoot more color films than I do now too!

  28. Yep. A monobath B&W (for use when travelling) and a C41 kit in tablet form would be of interest to me.

  29. Fantastic idea. No more chemicals going off on the shelf. The ability to use tablets to produce an on the fly mix to suit ones immediate needs – what’s not to like??? Where do I place my first order, and more importantly when???

    1. Thanks for the enthusiasm! We’ll be keeping EMULSIVE readers in the loop about where and when they can start supporting the project, never fear.

    1. The original Tetenal tablets gave results pretty much indistinguishable from the liquid (same chemicals, after all) so we expect similar results from the new product. But it all needs to be re-developed with new sources, so I’m sure everything will be thoroughly tested. We hope it really will be awesome!

    2. Great idea. We need products that make it easy to do the Dev at home. Easy way to store,Dev,process etc. Temperature control. We need to make it easier to scan at sensible prices. Dev tanks that work well at all sizes. We need to keep processes simple,we are not all experts or been in the industry for ever. Please keep the ideas flowing.

  30. Yes, please… monobath, three-bath, I don’t care, but the idea of being able to mix exactly as much as I need, wherever and whenever it’s needed would be very welcome.

  31. Ofcourse it would be awesome option – I just found that my concentrates from E6 kit got crystalised (FD) and I need to buy whole new pack – I just can’t keep up with the amount of film to fit the lifespan of chemistry :/

    1. Yes, we’ve heard that from a lot of folks. It’s irritating, a waste of money, and bad for the environment. We’re hoping to get an awesome option out in the community as quickly as we can!

  32. Please keep an eye on the emissions and pollutant release in reformulating and redesigning the product.

    1. That’s a really good point. The EU regulations are much stricter than they were when the tablets were first produced, and the Tetenal lab is close to a nature preserve, so they are under extra-close supervision. It’s important to all of us!

  33. I think it would be a good idea, be it for color, slide, but specially if they can do a tablet with the components of a monobath kind of product, just add water, pour in the container, wait a few minutes and it’s ready. No fuss with 2 or 3 other chemicals. Would surely support them.

  34. What a super idea, several of us in our film group have been frustrated about the size of the E6 kit as it was too big for us to use in the time before the chemicals deteriorated. The tablets would solve that at a stroke.

    1. That’s exactly what we thought! It’s good to hear that other people have been having the same problems that we may be able to help solve.

    2. Completely on the same page as Ken here! These would be so helpful with being able to develop E6 at home.

  35. For me, it would be a really good idea. I normally prepare my developer in small batches so this would be great. Would support it? yeah.

    1. Thanks for letting us know! The more positive feedback we get, the more likely it is that we will be able to make it happen. Spread the word!