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DIY Kodachrome - Developing Kodak Kodachrome with Black and White Chemicals

In 2010 the last commercial lab processing Kodak Kodachrome films was closed. Since then you have to be creative to get this film developed. This tipster will show you how to process Kodak Kodachrome on your own to get some beautiful, monochromatic, and blueish results!

Maybe you’re lucky and you still have some of these famous Kodak Kodachrome rolls in your freezer. Unfortunately there is no chance to get these goodies developed, since the last commercial lab handling this special material was closed in 2010 (Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas [1,2,3]). But there is still a simple method to get your films developed.

Because the Kodachrome films have a very special chemistry, which distinguishes them from others (there are no dye couplers incorporated in their emulsion layers, but the dye couplers were added during processing) it is easy to process the Kodachrome films by yourself with chemicals for black and white development [4,5].

All you need is…

  • love
  • dark room (light-less, water for rinsing)
  • scissors
  • film developing tank for 35mm (e.g. Jobo Unitank 1520)
  • developing solution for black and white films
  • fixing chemicals for black and white films
  • excitement

Preparations:
Prepare the solutions (developer and fixer) according to the instructions of the manufacturer. I used the Kodak Professional high contrast developer (for films for scientific and technical use, and for films for aerial photography). As fixative I used Tetenal Superfix Plus (rapid fixer). I’m pretty sure you can use any other chemicals matching with black and white film material. Prepare your film developing tank and make sure to find all the equipment in complete darkness

Processing (in total darkness):
Open the film cartridge (scissors or a screwdriver are useful tools) or pull out the film with a small hook and wind it into your developing tank. Fill up with the developing solution and process for 4 min with constant agitation for the first two minutes, than flip-flop the tank one time each minute. Drain the developer and rinse once with fresh water, subsequently fill in the fixative (10 min) and occasionally agitate the solution in the tank. Remove the film from the tank and rinse it carefully with fresh water for 15 minutes. Sometimes there is gray covering on the negatives which can be squeegeed by your fingers; remove it and rinse again for some minutes. Both developer and fixative solution were used at room temperature; the water for rinsing had a temperature of around 17°C.
After drying the negatives (yellowish – brownish), you can scan them or get them reprinted by your favorite lab.

The results are blueish cyanotype-like lomographs with a very special atmosphere.
Try out and have lot of fun!
auratus

references:
1 http://www.dwaynesphoto.com
2 http://www.petapixel.com/2012/01/13/mini-documentary-about-kodachrome-and-the-last-lab-that-processed-it/
3 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/30/us/30film.html?_r=0
4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kodachrome
5 http://michaelraso.blogspot.de/2011/01/kodachrome-in-2011-process-as-black-and.html

written by auratus

6 comments

  1. cyan-shine

    cyan-shine

    Interesting results! I developed in Rodinal and got other results: http://www.cyan-shine.com/?p=92

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  2. stouf

    stouf

    Interesting and well written. Way to go!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  3. phcordner

    Dwane's Photo is still around! If you buy those Fujifilm E6 mailers they send them there. Dwane's just shut down their K-14 processing.
    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  4. coolbober

    coolbober

    When I tried to process my super 8 kodachrome, emulsion is just washed off

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  5. iandevlinphoto

    iandevlinphoto

    Thankyou very much, I'm definantly going to dig out that old roll in the cupboard.

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  6. vicuna

    vicuna

    thanks for the tipster, I'll try ot out as I found a Kodachrome 64 film in a na old camera I bought on a fleamarket....

    9 months ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Italiano & Português.