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Processing a Kodachrome 64 In B&W

Processing a Kodachrome 64 film as we all know is a very unique process (K-14). The production of this film stopped in 2010 but why stop at color processing when we can do it in black and white?

Last July, I found a nice camera on a flea market in Munich. It was a Revue 35CC (it’s the same with the Chinon Bellami) and I opened the back but closed it again quickly as I noticed that there was still film inside. I had just enough time to see that it was a Kodachrome 64!

My first reaction was “wow!” I love discovering old cameras with films still inside. It gives so much mystery to the camera and the photos that they contain.

So I was pretty excited about the idea to have some Kodachrome inside the camera. But then I asked myself how I could get some pictures out of the film. I looked around on the internet and found various tips about how Kodachrome can be processed and whether it can still be done with B&W chemicals.

Well, I found out it’s not the same thing with the legendary magic color processing of Kodachrome slides but I guess it’s ok if I can get some good B&W pictures out of the roll.

Photo via Wikipedia

I absolutely don’t know when or where this Kodachrome roll was shot or who the past owner was. I gave the process a try but didn’t expect much from it. Though I had a secret hope that it would work out just fine.

Here’s how I did it:

  • I pre-washed the film in 20°C water for 2 minutes. The water came turned very yellow after.
  • Then, I processed it in D76 chemical (stock solution, 20°C) for 11 minutes. Agitated the solution during the first minute, and then with 30 second intervals. I threw the chemicals away since I didn’t hope to use them again.
  • Then I poured in the fixer (Tetenal Superfix, 20°C) and let it stay in the developing tank for 10 minutes, agitating the solution steadily for the first minute and then with one minute intervals. I also threw away the fixer.
  • Finally, I rinsed it with water for 10 minutes. For the last minute, I put in some drops of dishwashing liquid.

So it was ready. Well, I thought it was.In fact the roll was totally black after then I remembered that the film has a kind of special black layer that must be removed. I removed the black substance by sliding the film between my fingers in the bathtub and with the gloves on as it can get a bit messy. I did that several times and did it under running water. After a few minutes the film looked clean enough and some pictures started to appear.

I’ll need to improve the final technique as I saw that there were still some black marks on some of the photographs.

Amazingly, I got some great pictures out of it! A big part of the film was burned resulting from repeated opening of the back of the camera. I also think other people did the same thing before me and advanced the film to see if the camera still worked. I managed to get a total of 9 pictures from the whole roll.

The pictures are about boats and the sea. Must have been good memories for the person who owned the camera. Enjoy the photographs!

Like this article? You might also like Kodachrome Report on Arte TV – When the World was Still Analouge

written by vicuna

9 comments

  1. freelancer

    freelancer

    Nice Article, but you can develop Kodachrome with almost any devoloper, not only D76. I did it a couple of times with HC110 and Ilford stuff. No Prob - because it is basically a 3 Layer B/W- Film. The color came in this film in the developing process! Greez

    about 1 year ago · report as spam
  2. vicuna

    vicuna

    @freelancer: for sure, any BW developper can make it, I only used D76 as it's the developper I have at home...

    about 1 year ago · report as spam
  3. stouf

    stouf

    Super! I think I've tried with Rodinal (after you told me it worked with D76), but still haven't scanned it...

    about 1 year ago · report as spam
  4. fartstorm

    fartstorm

    I don't think I'd run out and buy some on purpose when a "real" black and white film will do as good a job (maybe better) but if I came into a roll inside a camera or as part of a bulk lot, I wouldn't hesitate to develop it black and white. Nice job scrubbing the antihalation layer off!

    about 1 year ago · report as spam
  5. vicuna

    vicuna

    @fartstorm: yes, of course, I wouldn't buy Kodachrome on purpose to have a BW film... and the scrubbing of the antihalation layer was a bit messy I must confess...

    about 1 year ago · report as spam
  6. cheeo

    cheeo

    @vicuna nice developed prints you got there. it was nice seeing those pictures, mysterious but fun times!

    about 1 year ago · report as spam
  7. vermonyo

    vermonyo

    tried this! found some rolls in an online shop here in the Philippines, been expired since 1994, not cold stored, exposed as 64, turned out well after some development on a cheap solutions available here. Kodak said that this is a very stable film, they even reported that they found a roll in a forest that was dated 20 years(before they found the roll). :) turned out well.
    about 1 year ago · report as spam
  8. jim-bob

    jim-bob

    Thank you very much for the article! been trying to find more info on this for a while...
    about 1 year ago · report as spam
  9. mcfortner

    Since the black coating is basically rem-jet, I presoaked my Kodachrome 25 like I would my ECN-2 movie film. I dissolved 4 tbsp of washing soda in water and soaked the film in that for 4 minutes, then developed normally. I filtered the D-76 and filter before putting them back in my bottles for later use. Then when I hung the film up to dry there was just a little bit of the black backing still on it but it came off easily. The film is now drying and from what I can see the photos came out fine.
    5 months ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch.