Cross Processing Color Film

I recently cross processed some color film in Rodinal. I was looking for a way to develop color film in B&W chemicals for several reasons. First reason, it is crazy cheap to develop film in Rodinal. The cost of developer and fixer is under 20 cents a roll.

The second reason is you cannot find B&W film in stock in my home town. I like shooting in B&W and developing the film myself. Sometimes I run out of B&W film. I have to either wait for it to come in through the mail or drive 75 miles to Lexington to buy some. Being able to use readily available color film, and use cheap Rodinal developer, allows me to shoot more photos.

The third reason for wanting to cross process color film is for the fun of experimenting and learning new ways to create interesting photos.

The film I used for this was Fujicolor Superia 400 color film. Any C-41 color film will work. I used Fuji for this set of photos because that is what I had on hand. I shot this film at the box speed of 400 ISO.

This is the recipe for the development process I used:

Mix Rodinal and water at 50+1 ratio. I use 8 ML of rodinal and 400 ML of water. Temperature of the mixture should be 68F or 20C. 15 minutes in developer. Agitate continuously for the first minute, then agitate for 10 seconds each of the remaining 14 minutes.

At the end of the 15 minutes dump developer and fill tank with water and dump 5 times. This is the stop, no chemical stop is needed.

For the fixer, I use Ilford Rapid Fix. The Rapid Fixer is mixed 1 part Ilford Rapid Fix concentrate from bottle plus 4 times as much water. I mix 200ML of Rapid Fix from concentrate to 800ML of water. This gives me 1000 ML (1Liter) of reusable fixer that should last for 40 or more rolls of film. I use a fixer temp of 69f. I fix for 5 minutes with 10 seconds of agitation each minute.

At the end of the 5 minute fix, I pour the fixer back in a bottle to be saved and reused later. Now you can open the tank and begin a 5 minture water rinse of your negatives. The temp of the rinse water is not important as long as it is not ice cold or hot to the touch. Half way through the wash I add a few drops of Phot Flo.

After the wash is complete the negatives are ready to hang and dry. I use a clip at the top and a couple at the bottom to help the film to dry straighter. Some color films like to curl so I find the weighting the bottom helps it to hang and dry straighter.

I scanned the negatives with an Epson V550 scanner. They were scanned with these settings: 24 bit color negative, 2400 dpi resolution, and saved as .tiff files. I scanned these as color files instead of B&W because I wanted to capture the most detail possible. Once the files are opened in Lightroom, simply clicking the “Black and White” setting instantly removes the red tint and turns the photo into a B&W.

Additional notes on Developing

  1. The 15 development time shown above gives you box speed rated development on every B&W film I have tested. There may be some film that this will not work on. Please test it on your preferred film with some casual shots before using it on something important.
  2. This 15 minute development works on all the box speed color film cross processing I have tried so far. Test it on some casual shots, with your chosen film, before using on important work.

This first picture shows the red / magenta tint that the color scans captured. the next picture shows it a B&W after Lightroom.

I am pleased with the results. I think this is a useable alternative to shooting black and white film. I shoot a fair amount of both Kodak Tri-x and Ilford HP5+. If you showed me these photos and told me they were shot on Tri-x, I would not know the difference without an extreme zoom and pixel peeping. I might not be able to tell the difference then.

It is important to remember that this film was shot at box speed. With Tri-x and HP5+ I often push those films to 1600 ISO and sometimes push them to 3200. The next step in the near future, is to attempt pushing and cross processing to see how this might look at 1600.

If you would like to see my youtube video this cross processing please use the link below.

I hope this information helps others that enjoy shooting film and a trying bit of experimenting with it.