Processing a Kodachrome 64 In B&W

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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 just “Wow!” I love discovering old cameras with films still inside. It gives so much mystery to the camera and the photos that they contain.

Kodachrome 64 © Mailbox via Wikimedia Commons

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.

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:

Step 1. I pre-washed the film in 20°C water for 2 minutes. The water came turned very yellow after.
Step 2. 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.
Step 3. 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.
Step 4. 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 the 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 were 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


This is a tutorial submitted by Community Member vicuna.

written by vicuna on 2013-10-02 #gear #tutorials #black-and-white #bw #lab-rat #tipster #kodachrome #development #processing #film-developing #home-processing #d76

12 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

  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...

  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...

  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!

  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...

  6. cheeo
    cheeo ·

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

  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.

  8. jim-bob
    jim-bob ·

    Thank you very much for the article! been trying to find more info on this for a while...

  9. mcfortner
    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.

  10. jolom
    jolom ·

    Yes! This is exactly the information I was looking for. I bought a camera at an estate sale today, and it had a partially exposed roll of Kodachrome II in it. I was hoping that I could just develop it in D-76, so I'm happy to see that it worked for you. (And I did the same thing when I opened the camera: opened it, saw the film, and then slammed it closed.)

    I think I will wait to process the film until I'm ready to toss out my chemicals so that I don't have to worry about the remjet mucking them up. Thanks again for a helpful post!!

  11. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    @jolom you're welcome! :)

  12. tlyttleton
    tlyttleton ·

    Thank you for this article! I managed to develop 2 rolls of Kodachrome with Ilford ID-11 and though I washed the remjet layer off using wash aid and lukewarm water, the film is very dark - likely underexposed! The trouble I’m finding now is actually scanning the film. I use the Epson v600 scanner and the only way it will recognise the negative (as they were developed to be negative not positive film) is through colour and then 16bit black and white, and the image is exceptionally grainy and small. It feels like such a shame because I had made it this far! So, I’m wondering how did you scan or print these images? Or anyone else who has solved this issue?! Can’t find anything else on the internet!

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