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.

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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134 COMMENTS

  1. Oh god please do this! I have C-41 kit now, and tablet form will be much easier to use, because there are so many difficulties with shipping liquid chemicals from Europe.

  2. I’ve scaled down on C41 and shoot about 90% on BW because of the cost of lab developing and shelf life of C41 chemicals. Tablets would be awesome for C41 and E6.

  3. Please, -PLEASE- bring us back the E-6 and C-41 tablets ! That would be wonderful, and I’d buy dozens ! No more worries, contamination and waste… Heaven. If there’s a crowdfunding, be assured that I’ll be first in line !
    My Protectan can will lay in cobwebs then (apart for B&W)

  4. I would buy chemicals in tablet form in a heartbeat. I rent a room, so I have very little space for the chemicals I have now. (My cameras take all available space!)

  5. What about the fizzy factor? With effervescent tablet drinks the water then contains gas bubbles. Would this be an issue for even development with potential bubbles on the film surface? I would love this tablet form of chemicals if it could be done with zero drawback. I hope it can be done because I would buy this product without a doubt. Also, this would be absolutely perfect for students of film in a classroom. The benefits of a dissolvable tablet would be huge for the future of film.

  6. I don’t shoot color film, because the results don’t merit the extra effort it takes to use C41, or E6 processes, when it comes to storing, and working with finicky processes. But, if I could use a system like what you are talking about here, I would be very interested. I started making the switch back to using B&W film around Jan 1 2019, but at that time decided to continue to shoot digital for color. This announcement, along with Adobe raising their prices over 100% for their monthly photo subscription, is making me re-think that decision entirely! I would rather shoot film than digital, so I will be watching this very closely to see how things proceed. Thanks

  7. Absolutely fantastic innovation for small labs/home labs! Ideally would be small tablets, one per 100ml water, so that we can mix up required amounts, and economical for one shot use for C-41/E6. I have a very economical BW process, so would be interesting to compare.

    In any case, I use either 300ml or 600ml at a time in a Jobo ATL.

  8. I wish you could make E6/C41 in tablets! it would be great to have especially E6 first developer in a tablet form able to develop one-shot a 120 roll area equivalent (which would be enough up to 8×10). That would make DIY E6 much more affordable.
    In the past, since I only obtained consistent results with your E6 3 bath kit using one-shot chemicals, I was forced to get the 5 lt kit but in this way I was hard pressed to consume it within 1 year (I did not have problems with liquid concentrated as I also used Protectan, they lasted at least 1 year without noticeable problems) .
    But again , tablets would be great. And an E6 6 bath kit would also grant better results (I always had a slight pink/magenta cast on my slides probably due to the process).

  9. I would be happy enough to have powder based developer in case tablets are to complicated to manufacture. Living on an Island in the pacific, it is important to get chemicals shipped via airmail. Which does not really work for luiqid based stuff. So powder would be good. tablets sounds even better.

  10. This is a great idea! C41 with seperate tablet for dev, bleach and fixer would be great for when you do not have to develop several rlls in one time. Also shipping abroad (or even taking with you abrod would be much easier!

  11. I’d be interested in E6 and C41 tablets. It is now near impossible to get E6 chemistry here in Singapore because online stores cannot ship the liquids. The question though is will those be single use dispose or multiple use reuse one made to liquid stock solution. While your at it, how about an ECN2 developer.

  12. Hi Charys, Thanks for putting this out there into ‘the community’ for feedback. Sounds like a wonderful idea, I’ve just started mixing up my own B&W dev chems from raw materials and the benefits are numerous – shelf life, storage and quantity control being clear stand-outs. The biggest pain in the process is measuring out the exact weights and mixing, tablets would greatly simplify this process.

    Crazy idea – the tablets could be combined in different ways in that, you could create developers of different contrast/tone by using a variety of tablet combinations!

    Personally I would find tables for C41 + E6 incredibly useful as my colour dev quantity is substantially lower.

    The big question for purchase would be price/litre in comparison to liquid kits.

    Look forward to seeing where this goes….

  13. Hi! I’ve been using your C41 and E6 chemicals for 10 years and will keep on doing so, The tablets would be quite useful in my darkroom because it would help them to prepare the right amount of chemicals without fearing the loss of what remains in the bottles (sometimes I fail at using protectan and my chemicals turn bad) To me the right amount for the tablets would be 500ml. A 500ml kit would be great indeed because this is the maximum amount of chemicals I’m using with my Jobo while processing 4×5 sheets with large tank or 4 roll films at the same time with my double tank. Jobo team if you are reading this, thanks a lot for your great work, wish I could visit your factory to shake your hands, till then you’ve got the active support of a loyal customer buying at least 6 2,5l kits each year.

  14. Yes, tablets would be awesome. I do C41 and E6 home developing but the liquid kits are expensive and expire too quickly for my 6-8 rolls per year. I would also love B&W chems as well, like a single shot ID11 or D76 type kit.

  15. I’d definitely be interested in the tablets. That would make everything much easier to deal with and store. I wouldn’t want to pay too much of a premium for it though

  16. I’m all for the tablets idea. Current C41 and E6 chems are painful to store in liquid form and they become unreliable way too quickly for my taste.

  17. Hello Charys,

    I’m from Costa Rica, where access to E6 chemistry is very limited. Having access to E6 kits in powder or tablet form would be incredibly helpful, as local restrictions make it hard for us to import photo chemistry in liquid. I also think that it would solve the issue that plenty of people have mentioned before, which is shelf life. By having access to these tablets, we can be certain that we will use what just what we need not fearing that our chemistry will go bad faster.

    I’m absolutely sure that the idea of an E6 kit in powder form would be a success, but having access to both C41 and E6 in tablet form would be even better!

  18. Good idea! i am travelling quite a lot so having this would take away the worries of carrying undeveloped film on planes.

  19. Definitely interested in E6 in tablet form. When I was shooting more I was using Tetenal liquid E6 kit (6 bath type), but with reduced photography these days, I can’t justify the kits as most of the chemicals would have to be thrown away due to age. The tablet kit would allow me to home develop again.

  20. It would be fantastic for me. I don’t develop that often and it happened to me that I had to discard liquid developer or stock solution because it had been too long since last time. And that’s a waste.

  21. Any dry chemical that can be produced for developing E6 or C41 has to be a winner.

    Reason? Many of these formulas are currently liquid stock and shipping ‘liquids’ like E6 chemicals is prohibited between the US and Canada where I live. Additionally shipping dry chems also costs less in postage or courier fees based on weights.

    The number one reason is being able to ship E6 and C41 in non liquid form.

  22. Possibly might want to consider 300ml and 600ml sizes as standard. I use the Jobo tanks with 2550 tanks and typically run 6 rolls of 120 MF through. I can get 12 rolls comfortably on 1 set of chems, and have done 18 rolls… but that’s home use. Those with a penchant for best quality would opt for 12. Pricing should expect to share savings in shipment with the consumer. I’ve used Tetenal, Arista and Unicolor C41 and though I tend to trust the Tetenal most, Unicolor powder is just fine. Most are sized for making 1 Liter at a time, but redirect to 300ML or 600ML (my preferred for “worth the effort” size) would be a real convenience.

  23. Sounds like a great idea, I have developed C41 at home but chemical life is a concern preventing me from doing it again. E6 would be very attractive too.

  24. The tablets are a great idea! C-41 and E-6 tablets that include instructions with times for various ambient temperatures (68, 75, 80F, etc) would be very helpful as well for road trips and the like.

  25. Great idea. I develop c41 at home but making development easier and more accessible in a tablet form for a roll-by-roll basis is very smart. Uniclor kits are great and they work but having the chemistry in tablet form for a roll by roll basis would make it easy for high school’s and colleges to justify bringing back film photography and darkroom classes. Not worrying about shelf life + consistent results AND the possibility of exposing the youth to film? Sign me up.

  26. This sounds like it will be a super interesting new product. I dev C41 and BW myself already, but have been wanting to try E6 and ECN2, but the thought of having to store even more large bottles of chemicals was quite daunting as I only have so much space. Being able to make up small volumes/one shots from the tablets quickly and easily would be a very cool solution to that problem. I’d really love to see this product come to market

  27. This is an excellent idea – for both home developing and ability to process film while on the road, specifically on longer vacations or roadtrips. C-41 for sure, but current E6 offering is clunky and difficult to handle. Making this operable at variable temperatures (20-40 degrees Celsius / 68-105 Fahrenheit) would be great.

  28. 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!

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

  30. 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

    • 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.

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

  32. 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!

  33. 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.

  34. 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!

  35. 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.

    • 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).

      • 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.

  36. 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.

    • 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.

  37. 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!!!

  38. 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!

  39. 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…

  40. 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

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

  42. 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

  43. 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 🙂

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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 !

  47. 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!

  48. 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!

  49. 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!

  50. 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!

  51. 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???

    • 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!

    • 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.

  52. 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 :/

    • 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!

    • 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!

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

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