This page was created to further explain the dr5 process.
The technique of reversing photographic material has had many uses over the past 100 years. Before the computer age most professionals were asked to shoot positives because it was the best film for the graphic process and magazines preferred it. Unless you were a processing GURU, positive B&W wasn't commercially available until SCALA in 1996. By then Digital had fully taken hold. dr5 is a new processing system.
To the RIGHT sample comparison tests between NEGATIVE developed film to dr5-processed film. The film is KODAK-TXP. The negative developed film was processed in CLAYTON F76 1:14 **
In 1999 dr5 was offered. dr5 more unique than SCALA because it reverse-processes most ALL the B&W films, not just the one. dr5 also incorporates 2 redevelopers, a neutral and a sepia image. We will try to out-line here what dr5 is,, how we do what we do and show why what we say is fact. The dr5-lab has several unorthodoxed procedures, approaches to processing that go against many traditionalist. We take a maverick approach to procedure and process. This makes what we do unique in the industry putting to rest the nay-sayers by example.
There are several myths involving reversal processing. Many professional imagists publish or quote that reversal film processing is all controlled in the first development alone. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH. Reversing film requires the whole package from beginning to end. Not abiding by a strict regimen from beginning to end will result in poor and inconsistent results, and we don't want this,, do we?
Only by exception does a "real" B&W film not reverse. Reversing a B&W film more or less reveals the "meat & potato's" of that particular film. It's simple, the better made the film is the better it will reverse. Films designed for negative use like; FUJI ACROS or COPEX do not reverse well or at all. dr5 is a universal reversing process and will reverse any B&W film that will lend itself to be reversed.
For B&W film there are about 4 basic sound chemical procedures that will produce results and the key differences are the bleach and procedure. We will for-go the TMAX style kits and the E6 style reversal-bath procedures. These are not optimal for B&W. This leaves us with SCALA and DR5 TYPE reversal processing. The SCALA process uses a LIGHT-reversal procedure. We feel this is the wrong approach to reversing B&W film. dr5's whole package is what sets it apart from all other B&W reversal processes, procedure, recipe & chemical reverse.
dr5's uniqueness is not just that it produces a positive out of 25+ film types, it is the EXTREME quality the process produces, 4-5 times over the negative counterpart, in every regard; SHARPNESS, TONAL-RANGE, GRAIN, Reciprocity-FAILURE, etc... The reasons to use the process are clear if you are continuing to use film in this digital age. The key to dr5 isn't that it is just a positive process, if you are going to scan, this is your best film option. dr5 is a true B&W reversal film process,and is a proprietary Trade-Secret.
According to photographic institutions & experts, the B&W negative emulsion is the most archival photographic material we have today, 300++ years. Stored correctly, dr5 processed film will see the same expected life.
dr5 procedure; wash sequence's are critical for reversal processing. dr5 also incorporates critical archival wash steps toward the end of the process, making this already unique process even better. The neutral & sepia developers; It has also been long known that a toned B&W will far outlast a neutral image. Developer-2 dr5 sepia images are not toned 'after' the fact, they are processed this way. It goes without saying, the dr5-sepia image is more archival than the dr5-neutral image.
The very unique 2nd fogging-developers play a very big part in the dr5 process. The 2nd development stage contrary to what has been published by several "photographic experts", is likely the most critical in the reversal process. The mixture used determines the final image. It can affect; sharpness, detail, tonal range, contrast, color-tone, DMAX and several other factors in conjunction with the 1st development and the procedure as a whole.
BOTTOM LINE: The reversal process requires precise processing control. There are several ways to go about it. There is only one dr5. We feel we have stumbled on quite possibly the best photographic process enhancement for existing B&W films in many years. dr5 was created mostly on know how, photographic skill and part luck.
Feel free to ad input to this section of the website, email us! We'd be happy to post it.
NOTE ON THE COMPETITION: Our only cause is to look out for all film shooters. We receive complaints daily about the poor processing and service at the below mentioned lab. We feel this hurts us and use of future film use. Please do not lump dr5 in with this lab. Poor processing and service is their prerogative only.
MAINPHOTO PROCESSED SCALA dr5 PROCESSED SCALA
ABOVE; 2 AGFA-SCALA samples. To the left is
processed by MAIN-PHOTO in their re-made SCALA
chemistry, made by CLAYTON CHEM.
To the right, SCALA processed by dr5.
Right-click / View-image - for larger view.
1. DMAX - 2.81 2. Dark point - 2.45 Light point 0.67
3. Higher grain @ 200iso, shot in Direct sun
7. Notable mottling.
4. DMAX - 3.25 5. Dark point - 2.91 Light point 0.64
6. 10% Tighter grain
NOTE: Above readings in 'U'-panchromatic mode.
Your tests may vary slightly.
**CLAYTON F76-NEG DEVELOPER @ 1:14
**dr5 - DEVELOPER-1 NORMAL