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Tank / hand-processing of Kodachrome?


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<p>If you would've read the original post in its entirety and read with a bit of context sensitivity...it's because it's a challenge. Of course I could get any E-6 film, run a 100F water bath and with half a clue and a keen eye for charts and regulations get decent, maybe even lab-quality results.<br>

That, however, is not the point. I'm a chemistry major who likes challenges. The point is to prove it <em>can be done</em>. As I said (again in the original post), I'm not trying to resurrect a dead film and an even more justifiably-dead process, I'm trying to give myself a challenge and see if I can actually get decent results. Of course it's been discontinued. If it hadn't I wouldn't be sitting here posting this.<br>

You may ask yourself why we sent a man to the moon...certainly wasn't to run lab analyses on moon dust...it was so we could sit around for eternity and say we made the feat.<br>

Assuming I find some way to obtain the dyes even, I can't see myself processing more than 5-10 rolls that I would find primarily through eBay, and I definitely wouldn't become the world's next Kodachrome processor (even though I would post full documentation about it). </p>

 

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<p>Eli's last post explains WHY. Too many are not willing to accept a cha;llenge..<br>

This is not to say it is do-able. but it is really a try-able thing to do.<br>

it is not as if he were trying to process the original asa 10 film- which I really liked.<br>

where would he get a supply? Or even the early ektachrome that was not a great film.<br>

One small suggestion. I said Modern Photography commented on someone home developing Kodachrome.<br>

Possibly before K-14. Some of the folks are still around like jason Schneider, and may have some details. It is likely the california experimenter is passed away. But there may be some details abailable. Especially a few "do not's"<br>

I completely agree with the iundercurrent comments that Kodak is whre it is today because it did not one but several stupid things.<br>

Companies tend to do that when an agressive CEO with limited understanding steers a company onto the roaks/.<br>

In many cases Mr. average joe photographer could do better.<br>

Because of the comments about poisonous chemicals and a very small percentage of Kodak sales,<br>

Kodak probably was right in discontinuing Kodachome.,<br>

another factor was that it would not work AT ALL in many cameras as they did not have the proper DX coding to accept iso 64 film.<br>

If Kodak had made iso 100 or iso 200 Kodachrome and dropped the iso 64 film it might have made the film more<br>

salable. Just about as smart as the odd film sizes.<br>

again I wish you well and hope to hear good or at least interesting reports.</p>

 

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<p>Exactly. Even if the result comes out with completely off saturation and color shifts and what not, at least it would show me that hey, the chemicals did what they were supposed to when they were supposed to do it. <br>

At which point it would be a combination of aggressive trial-and-error and a lot of time of good ol' back-to-the-drawing-board kind of research. I don't see any reason though why it would be an impossible feat.<br>

On an optimistic note, I have good news.<br>

Rowland Mowrey let me know that a good starting point would be the RA-4 or C-41 developers as they contain the proper CD-3/CD-4 color developing agents. Also, the dyes/couplers in use are apparently still available, albeit in significantly restricted quantities.</p>

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<p>The process is absolutely sink-line-able. As I noted, they did it in research, and it's how they processed sheet-film Kodachrome before that was discontinued in the 1950's.<br>

Realize that you don't need to use Kodachrome film to experiment. You can use B&W film (say Tri-X), do the processing, re-exposure, reversal, and ONE of the three dyes. Then bleach out all silver and fix. The dye couples into the emulsion when you are processing the silver complexes you exposed.<br>

Kodachrome is just a stack of three B&W emulsions with a different spectral sensitizations. (Plus a yellow filter under the top emulsion.) What is really tricky in Kodachrome processing is that you <em>selectively</em> fog only one emulsion at a time, and the processing after that re-exposure is what brings in the dye for that layer. The top blue-sensitive emulsion is fogged through the top of the film with blue light, and then processed to pick up yellow dye. The bottom red-sensitive emulsion is fogged through the bottom of the film, and then processed to pick up cyan dye. The middle green-sensitive emulsion is chemically fogged, and then processed to pick up magenta dye.<br>

There is no magic chemical key that makes the dye only connect to it's emulsion. It just goes to the emulsion layer that was just fogged, only in places where the fogged silver compounds are being developed.<br>

The re-exposure is critical, since you do NOT want to fog the other layers. Very narrow spectral filters are used on the light, and the timing is somewhat critical.<br>

Oh, before the first developer, you have to remove the rem-jet backing without contaminating the emulsion side with that crud. You can use Eastman Color Negative films to develop a workable process for that. Note that you must do it first, since you need to re-expose through the base.<br>

The hardest part is developing a set of dyes that works. Obviously they also need to be "engaged" with the developer so that they are absorbed/activated in only the right places. If I recall correctly, that developer is CD-6, so they need to be friendly with CD-6. (CD-6 is Color Developer 6.)<br>

You can have fun with this, but don't expect to possibly be able to process Kodachrome film to look better than any current E-6 film in an E-6 line.</p>

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<p>So Kodachrome is the equivalent of stacking three films together, and each emulsion is exposed in a different color. Makes sense...somewhat, but it's the intricacies that are the issue.<br>

How would you do a reversal? I would probably practice and calibrate the operation on B&W film first with single dyes before swapping to all 3 dyes at once.<br>

And about your last comment...that is exactly what I've tried to convey above anything else here, that I'm doing it to experiment and to have a bit of fun, maybe get results. Stellar results are more than what I'm hoping for, and I'm not trying to be the world's next KC processor. I'm just trying to prove that hey, it could be done again, that Kodak didn't absolutely quench the world's last possibility of color development of Kodachrome.<br>

Even if it comes out wildly inaccurate that'll still be good enough results for me should I not have enough KC stock to continue. </p>

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<p>One simple question: Kodachrome is a three layer B&W film. The silver particles are dyed during processing, and because its silver, it will last "for ever". Was this technology ever used in color negative films? Is it possible to process Kodachrome into a negative "silver" film?<br>

I think the idea of processing Kodachrome at home is a wonderful challange.</p>

 

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<p>Joachim there is absolutely no problem developing Kodachrome into B/W negative film.<br /><br />I have done so and I mixed my own developer, (even if somebody feels talking about this was inappropiate in this thread, and completely misread it).<br /><br />The only problem was getting rid of the rem-jet black layer, which can be removed by an extra bath beforehand (I have a recipe), I didn't and removed it mechanically after development,m that is with two fingers in in a wetting bath, just pushing the film gently back and forth.<br /><br />I used Caffenol, and developed the film exactly like I develop C41 and even E6 films in caffenol. 3 baths just as with regular B/W.<br /><br />The film came out with a fog and yellow stain, but I got scannable negatives. I have since learned to control fog with potassium bromide KBr, the yellow stain is worse but a scanner cuts right through it.<br /><br />I have pictures and notes on my blog AFAIR.</p>
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<blockquote>

<p>If you would've read the original post in its entirety and read with a bit of context sensitivity...it's because it's a challenge.</p>

 

</blockquote>

<p>Oh well, each to their own I suppose. My challenge for this evening is to see if I can finish these 10 beers without tripping over the dog.</p>

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<p>Now that seems like a fair challenge, but at least that has probably been attempted and has a documented success rate.<br>

So assuming I can get ahold of the dyes/couplers in the first place, how would I go about developing? Just premix with the developer and pour in on the appropriate steps? Pour in first and follow with the developer?</p>

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<p>Nearly anything that has already been done can be done again. Whether it is practicable and desirable to do so is another matter altogether.</p>

<p>Marx fairly well summed this up in his statement about things repeating*:</p>

<blockquote>

<p>The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.</p>

</blockquote>

<p>___________<br>

*Sorry to keep <em>repeating</em> this, but it has seemed so very appropriate lately, so count this one as farce. ;)</p>

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<p>....meaning...?</p>

<p>Again, I don't think this has been conveyed enough, but I'm not doing this to make a practical, economical procedure to develop Kodachrome and to bring its processing back from the deep. I'm doing this to prove hey, it could be done and maybe have some fun in the process. </p>

<p>This would be the hobby-in-spare-time, not the all-consuming quest over the supposed photographic Holy Grail. I perfectly understand, right now, that it is unlikely I will ever be able to run such a project. My ability to obtain the chemicals is unlikely. My ability to make such a setup work <em>properly</em> is even more unlikely at that. Finally, any hope to produce acceptable results which would rival that of modern, properly-processed Ektachrome and even hint at the standard that Kodachrome was is merely in itself that - a <em>hope</em> - probably excess optimism at that - and is probably factoring more variables than I would be able to account for in the first place.</p>

<p>Best case scenario, I produce KC slides that are the first anyone has seen newly-processed since KC processing went down just about a year ago. That's it. Maybe others in such a scenario might follow my documentation to try and do it themselves, but it's unlikely. Might I remind you that I'm a senior in high school - I haven't the experience or time to know what not to do - and if such a project teaches me several things about photography, even if I was never able to develop KC properly, it was worth it.</p>

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<p>In the meantime while I'm trying to gather a bit more info and stuff before I can proceed, is there any way to open the canister without mutilating it via good ol' canopener?<br>

Because I'd love to have me a Kodachrome canister that I could use with bulk 35mm.</p>

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<p>I wish OP’s effort won’t stop here - just in the form of postings. But I do worry about the feasibility after reading about OP’s hesitation of mutilating the canister. As an encouragement, if you are really doing it, including have acquired the required chemicals and with detailed workflow, I will gladly supply you the Kodachrome film needed for the experiment, with the Kodachrome canister.<br>

<br /> Many people lacking of experience climbing mountains are suddenly interested in challenging the Everest. I hope you can prove this is not the case with you.</p>

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<p>I am sorry I didnt make my question clear, <strong>Erik</strong>. I am aware its possible to develope Kodakchrome into B&W negatives. I have seen the results. I was just thinking, if it is possible to skip some of the reversal steps in order to keep the process more simple. Just develope each B&W layer and dye it without re-exposure or bleach.<br>

Color negatives are supposed to fade over the years. I would be clever to invent a colour negative film with the same basic silver layers like Kodachrome. If its possible to reversal process a traditional B&W negative film into B&W slides, why not do the "opposite" to Kodachrome.<br>

One last thought. Is it easier to invent a home processing technique for some of the older Kodachrome types like K-II? Quite often they turn up on Ebay in shape of 16mm films.</p>

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<p>No that would not work because it is the REEXPOSURE stage that makes it possible to develop each layer seperately. Thosae that came up with KC, wqas sneaky enough to figure out a way to have 3 separate layers thsat was orthocromatic, pancromatic and not sentized, with filering between layers, the reexposure is the trick here, exposing ONE layer only at a time and deve,loping that layer, with dyes, coupled at the same time, repeat until its done.<br /><br />A negative would not work, sinve at the negative stage all layers are exposed in balance....<br />Can't see how this would be possible.</p>
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<dl><dt> All you need to do:</dt><dt><br /></dt><dt><br /></dt><dt><br /></dt><dt>Backing removal</dt><dt>An alkaline bath softens the cellulose acetate phthalate binder. A spray wash and buffer removes the rem-jet backing<br /></dt><dd></dd><dt>First Developer</dt><dd>All exposed silver halide crystals are developed to metallic silver via a PQ developer. The yellow filter layer becomes opaque because it has a combination of Lippmann emulsion (very tiny grains) and Carey Lea silver (metallic silver particles that are small enough that they are yellow rather than gray.)</dd><dt>Wash</dt><dt>Red light re-exposure through the base</dt><dd>This makes the remaining undeveloped silver halide in the cyan layers developable.</dd><dt>Cyan developer</dt><dd>The solution contains a color developer and a cyan coupler. These are colorless in solution. After the color developer develops the silver, the oxidized developer reacts with the cyan coupler to form cyan dye. The dye is much less soluble than either the developer or the coupler so it stays in the red layer of the film.</dd><dt>Wash</dt><dt>Blue light re-exposure from the top</dt><dd>This makes the remaining undeveloped grains in the blue sensitive layer (the yellow layer) developable. The now opaque yellow filter layers prevents the blue light from exposing the magenta layer (the green sensitive layer, which is also sensitive to blue light). It is important to avoid stray printing light exposing the film base of film.</dd><dt>Yellow developer</dt><dd>Analogous to the cyan developer.</dd><dt>Wash</dt><dt>Magenta developer</dt><dd>This contains a chemical fogging agent that makes all of the remaining undeveloped silver developable. If everything has worked right, nearly all of this silver is in the magenta layers. The developer and magenta coupler work just like the cyan and yellow developers to produce magenta dye that is insoluble and stays in the film.</dd><dt>Wash</dt><dt>Conditioner</dt><dd>Prepares the metallic silver for the bleach step.</dd><dt>Bleach</dt><dd>(Iron EDTA) Oxidises the metallic silver to silver halide. The bleach must be aerated. The former ferricyanide bleach did not require aeration and did not require a conditioner.</dd><dt>Fix</dt><dd>Converts the silver halide to soluble compounds which are then dissolved and washed from the film</dd><dt>Wash</dt><dd>Washes the fixer out of the film.</dd><dt>Rinse</dt><dd>Contains a wetting agent to reduce water spots.</dd><dt>Dry</dt></dl>

<p>The result is three different color records each with the appropriate dye, just like other color films. The original Kodachrome process in 1935 used dye bleaches and was a far more complicated process. Although the formulae have changed over the years, the basic process steps have followed a similar pattern since the introduction of "selective re-exposure" Kodachrome in 1938.</p>

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<p>Thanks to John Shriver for providing the reference to the Kodachrome process patent. Thanks to Steve Levine for the concise description of the K-14 process. At this point, you have all of the information necessary to process Kodachrome. Study that patent in detail. If there is something you don't fully understand, you will need to study it until you do. </p>

<p>While you have all of the information, I doubt that you have all of the resources. That patent was issued in 1970. Much of the work to support the patent was completed well before then. Process K-14 was introduced in 1974. There was a sizable staff of chemists, engineers, and technicians who worked hard for those 4+ years to make Process K-14 a reality. My estimate is that you will need 3 synthetic chemists to synthesize the couplers. You will need another chemist or chemical engineer to sort through all of the options in that patent to figure out which color developing agent goes in which developer solution. You will need a chemist to scour the catalogs of a multitude of suppliers to purchase the chemicals that are still on the market. You will need someone to construct re-exposure devices to accomplish the re-exposures through the base (red) or emulsion (blue) without exposing the other side. You need to figure out what kind of filter to use for the red and blue re-exposures as well as the type of light source and the necessary exposure time. </p>

<p>Try to contact Rowland (Ron) Mowrey. His name is on that patent. I think he is still a member of photo.net so you may be able to send him a note from this forum. Otherwise try to contact him on APUG. He can give you a much more accurate picture of the resources needed to re-create a process for Kodachrome film.</p>

<p>Finally, I'm going to pick at some nits here. There are no dyes in the processing solutions. There are couplers and they are colorless. The dyes are not formed until the couplers react with oxidized color developing agents. If this is just a semantic issue, then don't worry about it. If you are not clear about how this process works on a generic level, then you have a lot more studying to do. </p>

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<p><strong>Try hair colorant!</strong><br>

Ever noticed that strange orange, purple or blue hair color - in fact it works in the same way as the color-forming process in chromogenic color development: color coupler (soluble) + color developer (soluble) + oxidant (in an alkaline environment) = color (insoluble). On film, the residual silver halide acts as the oxidant, on hair, it might be hydrogen peroxide. The color must resist washing out and should not fade too fast.<br>

Try to get the basic color couplers for hair colorants, and you might also able to order the hair color developer, or try with a normal substituted para-phenylene diamine (I assume CD-1 or CD-2, I do not know if CD-3 or CD-4 are now used in hair colorants). Then do your experiments with cheap B & W film first for single color chromogenic development. You might not get the colors as right as Kodak's original ones, but it could work.<br>

For reversal exposure LED sources will provide a narrow spectral range, better than the filters available in the 1970s. I remember from the manual that the cyan layer is exposed with red light, the yellow layer with blue light, and that the magenta layer is chemically fogged. You could also try single color fluorescent tubes, with a red or blue phosphor (but these may have residual mercury lines at shorter wavelengths, especially the red one.)<br>

It would of course help to have a trained chemist at hand, and basic laboratory equipment such as a balance, a pH-meter, and a thermostat. Be aware of laboratory safety! It could be an interesting challenge for senior high-school or college chemistry classes to reverse-engineer a Kodachrome substitute process...</p>

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<p>@Phil - Haha, that's not the case. The mutilation of the film canister is by no means a worry to me, if I have to do it. I know very well how to do so, and I've processed enough commercial rolls to have it down. If I didn't know how to open the rolls, I wouldn't be asking how to process Kodachrome, I'd be asking how to process B&W.</p>

<p>I was just wondering if there are any ways to open the rolls without mutilating or bending the canister out of shape, so I could reuse it with bulk film or something. It would be a neat thing to go up to my photo course instructor and hand him an empty KC canister to load and get a funny look. If I must resort to hacking it up for the sake of progress, by all means I will do so.</p>

<p>I already have a tentative procedure in place, depending on the chemicals and setups used I will add times to it later and if this project gets to the point of your rolls helping me then I will post up that procedure and logistic information in full detail and explanation for anyone to review/critique/etc. I have a good understanding of chemistry and how the chemicals will and should interact.</p>

<p>I will work on getting a full process and interaction diagram done either tonight or tomorrow and if any of you want I will post it for review.</p>

<p>@Heinz - I did not think about that! I knew some color developers and other vague derivatives of photography compounds were used, but I did not know that the dyes could be used. If you want, you can email me and we can discuss that more in detail. If anyone can find me a link for those couplers and CD developers, I could progress more with this and would be very thankful. While the exact magenta, cyan and yellow colors may not be Kodak-accurate, it would be "close enough" - we have to remember we're working with a film for which processing is no longer available, so if I have to take slightly off-color than what processing would have made it look like, at least we're getting what we're trying for.</p>

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<p>Eli - Glad you are not just talking here but I guess you still need to get chemicals and filters, lights etc ready. Past few years I have seem too many discussions/postings and never(!) had one really get all things ready for a serious, complete trial, even if the result is not favorable.<br /> <br /> We have already seen many b&w images using a few different b&w developers. I haven't seen 1) a b&w reversal image; 2) a color negative image; or 3) a color reversal image from Kodachrome home processing. If you can conduct a repeatable trial generating one of above (3) results it definitely is an improvements. It is understandable you are not looking for or demanding color accuracy. Even if the color images look like the result of cross processing I think you already can claim a success.</p>
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