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What happens when you develop color (C41) film in black and white chemicals?
Technically, this process is called cross-processing. But usually cross-processing refers to C41 film developed in E6 chemicals (or vice versa).
There is some information out there, but not a ton. So I knew I’d be experimenting…especially with how long to develop.
I developed three rolls in Kodak HC 110 dilution B (find on
Amazon). The first two were Lomography Color 100 in my Holga and the third was Fujifilm Superia in my Canon Sure Shot. I wasn’t really sure what would happen, but overall I’m pleased with the results.
And be sure to check out
our other article on developing black and white film if you want to learn the basics or need a refresher course. Lomo Color 100 developed in cold chemicals and scanned as black and white How to Develop Color Film in B&W Chemicals Developing Times
Figuring out the development times was trial and error. I developed all the color rolls based on how long a black and white with the same ISO would be developed. Then, I added about 30 seconds to be safe.
For example, I developed:
Using Hot or Cold Chemicals?
Black and white is developed cold, but color is developed hot.
I didn’t measure the temperature, but I developed one Lomography 100 roll at cool and the other in hot temps. The Fujifilm Superia at hot temps.
The verdict? Develop hot!
Here are some photos developed in cold chemicals:
Lomo Color 100 developed in cold chemicals and scanned as black and white Lomo Color 100 developed in cold chemicals and scanned as black and white
Here are some photos developed in hot chemicals:
Lomo Color 100 developed in hot chemicals and scanned as color Lomo Color 100 developed in hot chemicals and scanned as color Lomo Color 100 developed in hot chemicals and scanned as color Scanning Tips
You can scan as black and white or color negatives. After doing both, I think I prefer scanning color.
Scanning black and white is pretty simple and straight forward: just scan like you would any other black and white image and change the contrast/brightness as-needed.
Scanning color is a little different. Scan like you would your color film and adjust the “saturation” until it’s black and white.
From there, adjust contrast as-needed.
Here are a few from the
Fujifilm Superia scanned as black and white: Fuji Superia developed in hot chemicals and scanned as black and white Fuji Superia developed in hot chemicals and scanned as black and white
Here are a few from the Fujifilm Superia scanned as color:
Fuji Superia developed in hot chemicals and scanned as color Fuji Superia developed in hot chemicals and scanned as color Final Thoughts on Developing Color Film in B&W Chemicals
One of the best things about film, to me, is experimenting.
I have a bent towards black and white, so I might do this with future rolls I have in my refrigerator. I may not go out of my way to buy color film just for the sake of developing black and white. But I do still have a good amount of color film that would be fun to continue to experiment with.
So, to sum it up, develop in hot chemicals, add about 30 seconds onto developing time for it’s b/w counterpart, and scan color!
Or, if you like to live on the edge, use this as your guide and play with it! If you do, I’d love to hear what you tried and see how it turned out for you.
Thank you so much, Jennifer! Jen is a regular contributor here at Shoot It With Film, and you can check out her other articles
here, such as 5 Tips to Get Out of a Creative Rut and Olympus OM-1 35mm Film Camera Review. You can also check out more of Jennifer’s work on her website and Instagram.
Leave your questions about developing color film in b&w chemicals below in the comments!