Vision 3 - ECN2 lab in the US

Hi folks!

I’d love to hear experiences around shooting stills with feature film negative and trusted places where to develop it. I’ve never been good at developing myself, so I’d love to get advice for a good lab and if they could eventually do bleach bypass. I just bought some 120 film rolls from eBay that hopefully, they’re in good shape and real Vision 3 film.


I’m a huge fan of this film. I’ve also started developing it myself but to test to see if I like the look of the film I sent it to Color Lab out in Maryland.

They scan a lot of video production Vision3 so they know what they’re doing and they’re happy to scan some stills for you too. Not sure about bleach bypass though. They’re pricey so I don’t think that you’ll want to consistently send your film to them but it’s one of the few places in the US that actually uses ECN-2 process.

I’m interested to see the results with this film processed in ECN-2 chemistry and converted with NLP. I wonder are there any benefits to 50D/250D over Portra 160/400?

Hi Rew, Thanks so much for the Colorlabs tip. I got in touch with them, it’s great that some labs are still developing bulk film for still photographers. Obviously they don’t develop the 120 rolls sliced from perforated 65mm that I bought, so I’ll need to get ready and develop those myself… Can’t wait to get on to it!:crossed_fingers:

Hi Flanders! Maybe I can share some work when I have it processed. There are a bunch of guys easing this process in Germany. Check them out! See the link below. It’s well explained all they mention about movie film stocks processed in ECN2.
I’m a cinematographer, I shot miles and miles of movie film stocks mostly for commercials but also on shorts and features. In my experience, I have always missed the denser moodier look from the movie film look. I have always felt that still photo films were too contrasty and had very little dynamic range, especially in the low lights where we cinematographers used to feel more comfortable. Movie emulsions developed on ECN2 will scan beautifully because of the wider dynamic range. If you feel like giving it a try… I would also recommend not to compensate Tungsten emulsions with any filter, they would actually give you more color correcting range later in digital processing.

There’s a guy in the Negative Lab Pro Facebook Group that is doing amazing stuff ECN2 development + Negative Lab Pro… the results he is getting are so so good… let me see if I can ping him and get him to join this conversion…

Hi Nate! Totally! This is a great example of that thicker-richer-moodier look I mean. Thanks for bringing this up.

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@mischalluch …thanks for the info, looking forward to seeing your results!
I’ve come across Silbersalz35 before, their results are impressive. Their profile definitely has that film-still look, very low contrast. I’m more interested in processing the film with the level of contrast/saturation that say, Portra and R-A4 paper used to produce. That’s why I wonder if there’s any benefit to using Vison3 and scanning it, over scanning Portra. I notice that an ECN2 lab has popped up in my area (always happens here once something’s trendy in the rest of the world!), so I’ll try a roll one of these days and see how it comes up.

I’ve recently moved to rolling my own vision 3 in medium format, and home developing ECN II in a jobo processor. I find with 250D the results compare well to Portra although it may not have the same tolerance for under exposure. On a sunny day I love the way it handles highlights.

The big reason for switching for me was that I get far more consistent results home developing with ECN II than I ever did with C-41. With C-41 I found that despite my best efforts to be consistent, sometimes I would end up with strange color shifts or worse mistakes.

I also love 250D, it has it’s own, unique look which I prefer over Portra but the Vision3 film is meant to be heavily graded, since that’s what they do in cinema, so it’s essentially a LOG profile in which colors and contrast can be brought out of it.

We’d love to see some examples of your results Brendan, it sounds like you’ve got a good workflow down.

Nate, I love the look that Silbersalz35 gets out of these films. They say that part of their digitizing process involves adding a LUT to each film stock. I was wondering if it would work to have them scan a couple of photos with a color-checker card to emulate their LUT?..I assume that you probably did something similar to get the looks different film stocks.

Another update regarding Kodak Vision3, there’s a new 24 hour lab opening soon in Miami, FL called Bellows Film Lab that is going to be developing and scanning ECN-2 film. Haven’t used them yet so I can’t comment on their quality, they open Dec. 1st, 2020

I do know that they will be using QWD lab chemicals for developing, so if you like the look it can be done at home.

Sure. Here are a few 250D home developed. I sometimes like to keep a bit of the flat look, but you can get a really nice deep and contrasty look nicely as well.

Nice shots! I have to admit… I hate developing film, too many things at the same time for an ADHD brain, just tried after 20 years when I realized that it wasn’t for me, and this time I struggled and screw a good amount of rolls. Just thinking that you are also rolling on120… Seems crazy to me! :raised_hands: Any good pro tips for ecn2 developing much appreciated, I also would love to know how many rolls do you develop in a 1lt batch and which chem last longer, specially pre bath that some sellers don’t include it.

I’m also very interested in finding a good pro lab that will develop 120. I’m actually in Miami around the Bellows Film Lab’s opening, but I couldn’t find any info on the internet about them. I got also in touch with Rapid Photo, but the mentioned that the use their own personal blend chem for developing ECN2, so technically they do their thing but not sure what that is. Apparently they do not cross-process it to C-41.

BTW I find vision3, all in general but 500T at the most, to have a much wider latitude. I also don’t find that needs to be corrected to daylight if meant to be scanned. I’m a cinematographer, and very few people used to compensate with 85, etc, when going to digital transfer, and also you could rated up to 500 and so on, it also used to be a nice super fine grain vision3 100T, Fuji’s stocks were also awesome. Anyway, a personal choice.

So happy to see your posts here, for some time there was no posts here!

Thanks everyone!

I wouldn’t worry what chemicals different labs use. Kodak publishes various straightforward recipes for ECN-2 to make it easy for labs to get consistent results. The only complicated chemical needed is in the color developer CD-3, which the lab is surely not making themselves.

I always mix a fresh batch of developer, as it doesn’t seem to last as long as C-41 and is too cheap to risk having it go bad. I develop 8-12 rolls in a litre but expect you could squeeze much more out, in particular if you extended the development time as you went. The pre bath lasts a really long time. One of the kodak recipes fpr pre bath works a bit better, but honestly some baking soda or borax and water works too. You can use the same bleach and fix as for c-41 but I use a ferricyanide bleach, which lasts me a long time. Fixer is also cheap using some of the kodak recipes.

Hi Brendan! Thanks for the tips!
Let me ask you; is just the developer the one you’ll change every 8/12 rolls, or all excepting prebath and stop? Regular Kodak Fix would work too? I tried inox reels which ended being a bad experience too… now I’m using Paterson and fitting 2x120 in each reel which is really nice to get 4 done each time, I’m mentioning this just to hear if you have a thought on this. I find that the rolls that are close to the core have slightly more remjet left. I also found that heavy washing is crucial in every step, don’t know if it’s California’s water but otherwise it’s a mess. Everywhere I read or watched were just doing 3 washes, I feel I need to wash until water is completely clear, which I’d say it’s at least 5 times kind of following the Ildford method + more washes.


The developer I’ll only use for a day or two with a dozen or so rolls. For stop bath I use vinegar and water. Technically the recipe calls for sulfuric acid. I would rather not mess with it and the only potential downside I see with vinegar is that it may continue developing a few seconds longer. I think lost home kits recommend vinegar as well.

I wash thoroughly between each step (4-5 changes). That’s mostly to help my fix last longer. Also with the ferricyanide bleach I use you have to rinse well after the developer or you can get staining.

For the remjet, I soak in the prebath for 19 seconds, then pour it out. I then put in hot water and shake it hard. This gets most of the remjet off before developing. After fixing and washing, I gently run a wet sponge down the back of the film base (not emulsion) side of the film. This gets most of the remjet off without scratching. In cases where I’ve missed any specs, I just run a pec pad with 99% rubbing alcohol across the negative before scanning.

Great results Brendan! I actually like the flat look with a pop of those reds, looks very cinematic.