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Muncie sunset

Hey, finally getting around to writing about cross processing! Yay, me!

Cross processing (or X-pro for the short version) is, loosely defined, the act of developing film in a process that was not intended for it. If you develop a color negative film in black and white chems, that’s cross processing. Technically, my developing Kodacolor-X (a process C-22 film) in C-41 chems is cross processing as well. But the term most commonly refers to developing color positive slide film (process E6) in color negative chemistry (process C41).

You see a lot more examples of slide film developed in color negative chems rather than the other way around for two main reasons. The first reason is most photo developing places have to send out their slide film to be processed, and those labs will probably see a roll of C41 film and actually process it in C41, whereas it’s a lot easier to sneak a roll of E6 film in a one hour photo drop off place.

Since I do my own processing, that wasn’t an issue for me. So, last time I was developing E6 films, I threw a roll of expired Kodak Vericolor III into the soup. The Vericolor is a process C-41 film. Here’s what I got:


To be honest, I kind of like this particular photo. But, see how dark the sky is? That brings me to the second reason most people don’t process C-41 films as a slide: they come out really, really dark. Especially if you are, like me, shooting 17 year old expired film through a pinhole camera and only deciding that the roll is going to be cross processed after the whole roll’s been shot.

Right. So, that picture above? That was the best picture on the roll. Pretty much everything was dark, ranging from ‘Really Dark’ to ‘Indescribably Dark’ to ‘Oh my god, it’s darker than my soul!’

Yeah. Might try this again sometime. Maybe with some forethought and planning. If I do, I’ll try to remember to overexpose by bunches.

Anyway, back to the more common form of Xpro, slide film processed as a color negative. I’ve done this before, certainly. My favorite film/camera combo is actually crossprocessed: Kodak E100G shot through the Savoy and developed as a color negative.

Big aqua aky

You see, the point of cross processing, which I somehow failed to mention until just now, is to get vivid or altered colors than you would with just a regular C41 film. It’s all the rage amongst the LOMO crowd. In fact, Lomography actually sells a film that’s made precisely for cross processing in color negative chems.

I tried it out (again, in a pinhole camera, so that may not have been the best test), and didn’t find the colors especially crazy.


Most of the other experience I’ve had with cross processing has been using Kodak brand slide films. I’ve been able to get a hold of a lot of rolls of various expired Elitechrome and Ektachrome films, so that’s what I use. And for the most part, those films tend to go all green tinty once they’ve been cross processed (except for the E100G, which is a lot more subtle, but still has a distinct ‘look’). And it looks neat at first, but after a while, it’s just more green.

I went away from cross processing for awhile, because I was sick of the green, but then I bought some Fuji Velvia 100. This was actual brand shiny new unexpired film. I know! Crazy! So I went ahead and shot a few rolls and developed them normally.

Squares and squares

And, funny thing – for some reason, I keep overexposing the crap out of them. Curse you, Velvia!!

Finally, before our trip to New York, I decided I would try shooting with film in different ways. I got over the psychological barrier of “Velvia is very expensive and people who shoot slide film worship it, so I need to use it as a slide film, too.” Yes. I would cross process Velvia, boldly and without fear!

Right before we left, I managed to pick up a box of expired 4×5 Velvia 100 film. I didn’t wind up shooting any pics in New York with it, but when we got back, I took Domo outside and took a shot with the Bollywood pinhole camera using the Velvia 100.


Not only did I finally get the exposure right on the Bollywood, but for once, I cross processed something that hasn’t gone green!

The funny thing is, I remember reading a long time ago a comment on a Flickr discussion regarding the cross-processing of Velvia. Whoever wrote it was of the opinion that it was a waste of time to do so, that the results weren’t great, and Velvia is such a fantastic slide film that it’s ridiculous to process it in any other way than E6. That must have stuck with me, and was why it took me so long to actually try it. Turns out, I’m absolutely thrilled about the results, and when I had a chance to scoop up some more Velvia 100 recently, I did so, for the express purpose of cross processing it. So, let this be a lesson to all of us – just because someone on the internet says a thing (including me!) that doesn’t mean it’s true.

After the Velvia 100 success, I cross processed 3 other slide films that day. After I scanned them in, I made an image comparing how the negative and positive image from each different film looked.

Xpro Comparison

From top to bottom, on the left side, is how the unaltered negatives look of:
1. 35mm Fuji Velvia 50, expired 2003, shot in the Savoy.
2. 4×5 Fuji Velvia 100, expired 6-2007, shot with a 5 second exposure in the Bollywood Pinhole Camera.
3. 120 Fujichrome 64T, shot in the Yashica C.
4. 120 Kodak EPP 100, exp. 2/2003, shot in the Yashica C.

On the right side is how the negatives look inverted into positives, with their levels adjusted slightly.

At this point, I haven’t done enough experimenting with these films to know if the results are consistent – I don’t know if I’m always going to get vividly green negatives with the Fuji 64T, for instance. I also don’t know if I’m going to get the same tones with Fuji Velvia 100 120 film as I got with the 4×5 film. I don’t know how being expired has effected the way these films cross process, either. I do know I’m intrigued enough to play with it more.

What I found really interested was how different Velvia 100 and Velvia 50 looked from each other. In comparison to warm tones of the Domo picture above, Fuji Velvia 50 gave me this:

Chrysler Building and sprocket holes

And this:


I wouldn’t’ve thought that two such closely related films would be so different.

The Fuji 64T was a treat, also. Besides the negatives being ridiculously green (I think I gasped with delight and shock when I pulled them out of the tank), once I inverted them I got images like these:



The “T” in 64T stands for Tungsten, by the way. That means it’s a film designed to compensate for artificial, tungsten-based indoor lighting. When you shoot it outside in daylight and process it correctly, it tends to make everything go all blue-y. After seeing the results of the Fuji 64T cross processed, I’m wondering what Kodak Tungsten balanced films will do, too.

I wasn’t as impressed with the Kodak EPP100 cross-processing.


Still, though, considering I have been getting slight purple-y tones that I alternately like and dislike with the EPP when it’s processed as a slide, this now opens up more options for this film. Which is good, considering I just got 4 boxes of it in 4×5 film. (I know, I said I was done with it. But I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse).

Rolleicord update and C41 in B/W

Bicycle in snow

The weather for the next week is supposed to be terrifyingly cold, which does not make prospects for photography bright. I’m supposed to be getting a box shipped to me today with misc. cameras in it (no clue as to what actually works or not) and other misc. camera junk, so that should be a nice diversion. Maybe there will be some film inside to develop.

Bundled up and took the dogs next door to take my test roll with the Rolleicord II and also try out the respooled 116 in the Agfa Shur Shot.

First, the Rolleicord. Honestly, it works fine. Once I got the film counter mechanism reset, it seems as if everything works as it’s supposed to. It took pictures, the film advanced, and I didn’t seem to get any irritating lines on my film like I do with the Argoflex. However, it is not an intuitive camera at all. The film advance dial and the focusing dial are right next to each other, so there were several times I tried to focus and wound up nudging the film forward instead. Also, I find the shutter cocking method extremely bizarre – not so much that you have to cock the shutter, but after you do that, you kind of have to push the shutter forward in order to take the picture. That’s the part that’s weird. It feels too soft when I do that, like something isn’t working right. However, like I said, everything came out fine, so I guess that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Garage and truck

I think my biggest problem is just getting accustomed to dealing with adjusting both my shutter speed and my aperture. I change my shutter speed all the time with the Nikon D40, but I’m not anyway near as used to messing with aperture. It’s one of those things that I have to stop and really think about, like, “Okay, it’s sunny outside, so I can use a smaller aperture and a faster shutter speed.” I know of the sunny 16 rule, but I can’t bring myself to actually remember it. I guess I just need to carry a cheat sheet and/or not get flustered.

Bela and Van

So, I think the Rolleicord is a good camera, I just have to get a little more confidence in using it.

The roll of Ilford Pan F wasn’t even too funky, remarkably. I got some weird grain in a few of the pictures that were dark, but those pictures kind of sucked anyway, so no matter.

Next up is the Portra NC160 respooled onto 116 backing paper. The Agfa Shur Shot, by the way, is a camera I bought on accident. I bought it because it had film in it, and it wasn’t until I got home that I realized it was a 116 camera instead of 120. You would think the larger size of the box would have been a clue, but no.

Flea market cameras

I was able to develop two frames of the old film that was inside.

Awesome Dude

I really dig this photo, and it made me want to use the camera again. So it here, all loaded up with film. I had two problems actually using the camera. The first is that the film advance knob was really hard to wind. I think that’s because my backing paper was kind of eaten up to begin with. Also, it was cold outside, which always complicates things. Secondly, the shutter works okay, but the one flap that covers the actual shutter doesn’t spring back into place automatically like it should. It just kind of hovers behind the lens. I’ve got to jiggle the shutter thingy after taking a picture to get everything back to where it should be. It didn’t seem to affect the picture at all, though, so it wasn’t a big deal.

This was my first time developing color film in black and white chems. I was using HC110b (again) and had the film in the developer for 7 minutes at about 66 degrees, and then did my stop bath and fix as usual. When I went to wash the film after I fixed it, it looked absolutely opaque. Solid brown. I freaked out and thought that something had gone horribly wrong. I wound up putting the film back in the developer for 3 minutes, and then did the stop bath and fix again, followed with a minute bleach bath (one glug of bleach to about 500 ml of water). Took the film out and looked at it again, and it looked exactly the same.

That pissed me off, and I did an abbreviated wash, fixer remover, other wash, and hypo because I thought the film was rubbish. However, when I went to go hang it up after all this, I could see that yes, actually, there were images on the film. Go figure. So, lesson be learned – when you cross process C41 film in black and white negs, don’t be too freaked out if your film is really really dark, and looks like it didn’t develop while its reeled up.

Even with the really dark negs, it scanned in beautifully. I got a nice, cold, faintly purple cast to the scanned in pics. The only Photoshopping I did was to resize and remove some hairs.

The garage next door

It’s better viewed large.

I like the Shur Shot. Out of all of my cameras that take 116 film, it has the best viewfinders. The next 116 camera I was going to try was my beat-to-hell antique Kodak Autographic 2A bellows camera. I’ve used this before with a spool of 120. Results were sketchy. I suspect I have light leaks in the camera. The frame advance window was popped out so I replaced it with a developed negative (that actually seems to work really well). The film advance key thingy wants to pop out of place and cause havoc to where my film is situated. Also, the viewfinder only works if you’re taking vertical pictures, which, of course, means that I’m only going to want to take horizontal pictures. In spite of all this, the camera is lovely. Even though it’s all beat-up, it’s absolutely gorgeous and the shutter is still snappy. So, if the weather ever cooperates (or even if it doesn’t), using this with respooled 116 backing paper is going to be one of my next adventures.

Success! And, subsequent FAIL!

Old west Liquor

Liquors. I need some now.

A few days ago, I got my color chems back out and tried developing the few rolls of color film I hadn’t gotten to during the big C-41 day. My test rolls were shot using Kodak Gold of unknown origin in the Kowa, and 35mm Fujicolor 200 taped to 127 backing paper in my Frankensteined Starluxe. I tried doing some macro photography with the Starluxe by holding up one of my Lensbaby macro lenses up to the Starluxe lens.

Vault Boy, fuzzy

It didn’t exactly work.

I did manage to get a cool shot of Bela through the Starluxe. I scanned this in using the 35mm carrier for the scanner, because the sprocket holes were starting to be a big pain in my ass.

Bela, fast

The Kowa pictures came out better.


I only had one instance of the Kowa shutter flipping open while I was advancing the film, and it happened on the last frame. I liked the effect.

Accidental Jeep diptych

The main thing I wanted to try with the regular film was developing the roll of Portra 160NC 220 film that I had in the Brownie Twin 20. I was curious if I’d get something similar to the red dot effect that I got with the Ansco Shur Flash. The developing went fine, and only a few pictures had what I’m assuming is a reflection from the film window on them. The majority of the shots turned out fine. Really incredibly boring, but fine. The liquor store one at the top of the post was the most interesting, and that’s only because I got a weird coloration on it. Everything else just looked normal and dull. I’m not sure if that’s because I just wanted to burn through the roll of 220 in order to see what it was doing, or because the Twin 20 isn’t the most exciting camera, or because the actual film is just kind of meh. I hadn’t anticipated how much more commitment a roll of 220 is than a roll of 120. I happen to have a buttload of 220, though, and need to come up with creative ways to use it. I think I may try spooling it onto some 616 backing paper next and running it through one of my 616 cameras. I also know that whenever I get my E-6 kit from Freestyle, I’m going to take a bunch of 220 pictures and hope to god that cross-processing them does something interesting to them.

After I did my regular C-41 processing, I let my chems cool down to room temp and then attempted my first go at developing process C-22 film in C-41 chems. My guinea pig roll was a roll of 620 Kodacolor-X that, I think, came out of one of two Brownie Hawkeyes – one I grabbed in an antique mall in Winchester, Indiana, or one that I got on eBay that came from West Virginia. I failed to make any notes at all on this film. Oh well. Anyway, this was my procedure for developing the film:

Presoaked the film in room temperature water for 15 minutes.
Poured in the C-41 developer (which was at 70 degrees), and let it sit in the C-41 developer for 20 minutes, with inverse agitation every 2 minutes.
Poured out the C-41 chems, poured in the Blix, and soaked it in that for 8 minutes, agitating every minute.
Washed and stabilized as usual.

This actually worked! Holy crap! I was thrilled. True, the negatives were really thin, and I only got 6 images out of 12 (but that could have been due to people opening up the back of the camera), but I actually got images! In some weird sort of color!

Here’s the scan of one of the negatives, unaltered in photoshop (although I’m sure the Epson tried to adjust for film base color when I scanned it in):


The big spooge streak was across the entire film. I figured that happened because I didn’t agitate as much as I should have. The darker blue splotches are… what? Mold maybe? Something.

Anyway, after I cropped the splooge mark from the images and adjusted the levels, here is the best that I could come up with:

Woman with parrot

Fat tree

Woman and foot

Sure, the color is uber-funky, but I was pretty happy with it, enough to try again the next day with a roll of 35mm Kodacolor X that frabjousfrocks from Craftster sent me. This time I tried to adjust my method based on the first results and wound up with an uber-FAIL. I got nothing. I got a roll full of blank. Something went horribly, horribly wrong. I’m not sure if it was my fault or if the film was screwed up before I got it (maybe wound back into the canister without ever having been exposed?), but whatever happened, it was bad, bad, bad. I’m just assuming right now that it was something I did. So, in the sake of whoever might be reading this that wants to try C-22 in C-41 chems, here’s what I did that you probably should not do:

1. Presoaked 10 minutes in room temperature water.
2. Had my developer at 80 degrees, and had the film soaking in the developer for 15 minutes, agitating every minute.
3. Also had the Blix at around 80 degrees, and soaked it in the Blix for 8 minutes, agitating every 30 seconds.

I think upping them temp to 80 was probably my big mistake. I suspect it melted the emulsion off the film. Stupid finicky film emulsion. Sorry, frabjous. 😦

There is, of course, a bunch of other possibilities of what could have gone wrong, including my chems suddenly going funky within 24 hours. So, today (or tomorrow, maybe, since I screwed up my back a few hours ago and it really hurts), I was going to test out the color chems with a few rolls of 35mm film to make sure they still work, and then try lowering the temp and seeing if they’ll develop another old roll of film. I’ve got two old films loaded onto reels right now. They’re both 126, but one is Kodacolor-X and the other is GAF. I was planning on trying to develop both at once, but now I’m scared and I’ll probably just do one. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll just revert to plan B – developing my old C22 film in HC110b chemistry (black and white).

One of the rolls of 35mm that I was going to use to test the color chems was respooled onto 126 backing paper and put back into a 126 cartridge. If that actually turns out okay, I’ll post some info on how to do it on here soon.