Processing Kodachrome as B&W?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by alan_gage, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. Hi all,

    Since this is basically the "found film" forum I figured I'd go
    fishing for responses here first.

    By sister said her boyfriend found an old camera while walking in an
    abondoned grove a few days ago...and she thought it had film in it!

    I got it today and found it was an old Kodak Instamatic 304. Looking
    through the window on the back showed a roll of Kodachrome 64 on frame
    12 (out of 20); size 126 film. It doesn't look like it's been sitting
    outside for years; it actually looks like it's in decent shape. Maybe
    it was in a little shed or something; I'll have to find out.

    Anyway, processing it my be a little sticky. Since it's Kodachrome I'm
    hoping there will be something left on it. I don't know how carried
    away I want to get with sending it off for processing though. I know
    you can process C-41 film in B&W chemistry; can you to the same with


  2. I'm pretty sure it's a totally different process.
  3. Yes, it is possible to process Kodachrome to a B&W negative. Rocky Mountain Film Lab ( and Film Rescue International ( specialize in processing old film like this. Their service is pricey, but they have more experience doing this than anyone else.
  4. tgh


    Kodachrome is essentially a BW film. The color is added in the processing. But if it's K64, it should take the still-current type of processing, so it might be cheaper just to have it processed as Kodachrome rather than the specialty route as BW unless you do the BW processing yourself.
  5. "Kodachrome is essentially a BW film. The color is added in the processing. But if it's K64, it should take the still-current type of processing, so it might be cheaper just to have it processed as Kodachrome rather than the specialty route as BW unless you do the BW processing yourself."

    Yes, if I decided to go the B&W route I would process myself. I have no experience with Kodachrome processing. I did a little research and it appears there's only one lab left in the country that does it (Dwaynes). I guess if I decide to have it processed in color I'll have to see if they can do 126 film. The only thing I saw on their order form was for 35mm.

    I think if I can get a firm YES that it should work with B&W chemicals I'll probably go that route. Maybe more trouble then its worth to mess with trying traditional processing.


  6. I have always understood that the Kodachrome process differs significantly from C41 or E6 and is way too complicated to do it yourself. Furthermore I'm not sure whether 126 film can still be processed. Kodachrome is famous for it's archival quality but I have experienced a very serious colour shift with a film that was over it's exposure date. The longuevity only comes after developing.
    I'm afraid you're out of luck on this one.
  7. 126 should run in the same processor than 135, if it's K-14 process why not processing it in color ?
  8. Kodachrome will process as b&w, but you'll be left with a VERY dense orange mask, which presumably is bleached out in the conventional colour process. With this added to the (inevitable?) extra density of an old film, the resultant negative can be VERY difficult to print/scan.

    You may be able to bleach out some of the orange to improve your chances of a printable neg, but practice on the film leader before risking a "real" negative.
  9. When the Kodachrome is sold in shops, the processing price is included in the retail price (at least here in the old Europe, it might be different in the USA - I don't know). So, the best you'd have to do is to send it to a Kodak lab to have it processed in the appropriate Kodachrome chemistry, for free. This is what I'd do if I found an exposed Kodachrome in the field.
  10. If it's in Europe, I think I can send you the famous yellow bag for free.
  11. BTW as 126 is discontinued, you still have 7 useable frames on the roll, shoot them !
  12. Thanks for the respones. I did a little more searching and found a few other similar posts. Only one person reported trying it and he had bad results. I didn't see responses from anyone that had actually tried it.

    I guess I'll try getting it processed the correct way (K-14).

    And yes, of course I plan on shooting the remaining frames! As long as I can get the camera to work; the advance doesn't feel right; but the shutter still clicks. Since this camera originally had an autoexposure meter can I assume with no batteries I'll get a default setting of something like 1/125@f/8?


  13. Alan,

    Hi. I found these specs for your Instamatic 304:
    Shutter: 1/40 or 1/90 sec., f/8 41mm lens.

    If you happen to have a flashcube, stick it in the socket atop your 304 for the 1/40 sec. setting. Otherwise, I think default is 1/90.

    Info from

    --Micah in NC
  14. Micah,

    I'd found that site while looking for info but it was unreadable for me. All the data was stacked on top of each other. I'm using Mozilla Firefox for my browser; when I tried IE I could read it fine.


  15. I use Firefox it works well on this site.
  16. will dwaynes process it for an extra charge?
    126 is 35mm wide, BUT possibly dwaynes machinery requires the sprocket holes and 126 only has one per frame.
    send them an email and ask, it cannot hurt.
    make sure you state 126 IS 35mm wide or whoever answers will automaticaLLY SAY NO.
  17. Alan;

    Try "select all" to highlight all of the text. In IE I sometimes find stacking the text like that. When I do a "select all" from the drop down menu it fixes the problem. May not help since you are using a different browser but might be worth a try.

  18. Thanks for the idea Mike, but it didn't work.

  19. I am a 126 film user (I have a Rollei SL-26, a small manual SLR). I only use fresh Solaris 126 film which is the only one that is still manufactured. It is processed in C-41 chemistry and I never had problems to get it processed in Glasgow (Scotland), where I live, when I explain them that it is exactly like processing 35mm film because they are the same wide lengh. Printing is an issue. In Glasgow there is a lab that process and print them manually for 4.50 sterling pounds.

    If you look on the Kodak website, they have details of the Kodak labs that still process Kodachrome. Basically they have left one laboratory per continent. The European Kodachrome laboratory is in Switzerland. If you give them a call they will tell you how to send the film and pay with your credit card. I have only sent them 35mm Kodakchrome 64 film, but I have 2 cassettes of 126 K-64 film (25 years old) from eBay comming and I am courious to know about your results.

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