Quote Originally Posted by dmr View Post
What I meant was, could a capable kitchen chemist, or even somebody with access to, say, a college chem lab, cook these from scratch? I understand that the CD3/CD4 are the real magic potions in the color developers. I've looked at some of the recipes, and this is really the only thing exotic in there.

I'm not a wet darkroom expert, but I know you can make a passable B&W developer from a number of things, Tylenol, coffee (soda? beer?) :) and it seems like most of the ingredients of color chemicals are common, except for the CD3/CD4.
The magic, as you point out, is in the soup (and add CD6, and three couplers to the brew.)

Now, a little thought experiment/hypothesis:

Kodachrome, being a B&W film (3-layer), the magic is indeed in the soup.

The colors that make K64 K64 (and K25 K25 for those of us with freezers) are an artifact NOT of the film, but of the soup.

Kodachrome II -- or even Kodachrome ["period"], if it could withstand the high temperature and rough handling of the K14 process (it can't), would give us the SAME dyes in the final slides. The contrast/H&D would of course be a bit different, but the colors would be the same.

The trademark "cyan sky" of the old ASA 10 Kodachrome would be gone, replaced by the nice accurate (OK, the real sky is a bit cyan, but nothing like we had back in the '50s) K14 sky.

Now, let's slip into reverse gear.

Kodachrome 64 et al, processed in K12 developers (with the CDs and couplers used with K12), would give us that legendary Kodachrome II color! (And I'd wager that a bit of tweaking with the first developer could get pretty darn close to the same tonality/gradation, too.)

So, the question is, are the couplers and agents used in the K12 process available (or "buildable") anywhere?

And the bonus question is, what would happen if we were to use -- gasp -- E6 couplers? Not in the film of course, but in the three developers.

Is there any reason that E6 couplers (which must be available, since Fuji is making a variety of E6 films) would NOT permeate the emulsion if dissolved in the developer?

(And, if the answer is "no", there's no reason that they wouldn't permeate the emulsion, then I presume that the CD used with the E6 process would work in all three developers, with only the couplers varying.)

Enquiring minds want to know!

I realize that the rendition would be different from K14 processing. I don't know that it would be bad, though. In fact, I'd really like to see some empirical tomfoolery along those lines!

Does anyone have a line on how to get ahold of small "research" quantities of E6 couplers? I wonder if Fuji would be interested in underwriting such an endeavor? It might open up a market for them (of unknown proportion). It would most likely result in some goodwill brownie points for them.

If that can be done, then all we'll need is a simple rig to hold the film and aim a filtered light on each side. Yes, there'd need to be testing to determine optimum exposure of the red and blue lights, but I'd think we'd know pretty darn early into the testing whether or not it'd work. IF it will work, I'd expect the very first roll to come out of the process with reversal color images. Might be a bit dark, might be a bit light, might have a color cast, but those are all minor things that should yield to a bit of tweaking. The main thing is to determine if all layers -- if each layer -- will respond to its coupler.

If all three layers produce a dye image, then success is likely within reach (unless the three colors are orange, gray, and blinking dayglow green :)

However, I would not expect any oddball colors. As I understand it, the chemistry between the coupler and the CD "is what it is" -- a yellow coupler is going to give a yellow dye, when used with the appropriate CD. The only question would be, as mentioned above, will it permeate the emulsion. If we can get it to permeate the emulsion, then we can get it to form a dye image in the appropriate layer.

That is my hypothesis. I am willing to listen to "reasons it won't work", but I'm not really interested in hearing any illogical "negativity". If someone wants to tell me that, well, no, it's never been tried, and there's no reason the couplers, dissolved in the developers, won't permeate the emulsion, buuuut, it Just Won't Work (and when pressed, come back with something boiling down to "just because, that's why; just because!"), then please save us all the angst, and keep it to yourself.

I am inured to bureaucratic "explanations" (it won't work because that's not how it's done, it's not done that way because that's not how it's done, we have another way of doing it, and that's how it's done). I just don't want to hear them. I am weary of that kind of crap.

I want to hear of REAL issues, IF any exist, i.e., "E6 couplers can only permeate an emulsion if it's heated to 1,500 degrees and hit with a six pound sledge while singing "Dixie" in piglatin."

Now, I don't think there is going to be an issue. I think that E6 couplers WILL permeate the emulsion. But if they won't, that's what I want to know. And I want real knowledge on the fact (if it IS a fact!)

Otherwise, I don't want to hear it.

Do I sound like a bureaucrat?


I sound like a cowboy. :)

Oh, and just to show that I'm not completely stupid :) I'll say right off the bat that I don't want to hear anything about C41 couplers either!

Those suckers wear two hats. They're one color when they're NOT developed, and another color when they are developed!

That's the reason for the mask (almost always "misnomered" (pardon my verbing) as an "orange" mask, i.e., a built-in orange filter overlaying the entire film.

That "orange" color is a genuine mask. The "orange" (a combination of the different couplers) is a true mask, which is to say that it "masks" the actual image. Where you have image, you don't have mask. Where you have mask, you don't have image. (And most of the time, where you have "partial" image (since most images are continuous tone), you have "partial" mask.) But, if you were to have an image that was solid white (in the negative, solid black), you'd have no mask.

The couplers used in color negative film have two colors. When they are developed, the unexposed/undeveloped areas have one color -- the exposed/developed areas (the image) has another color. The "mask color" exists in in inverse proportion to the developed dye image.

And that's why we don't want to even think about using them in our "Cowboy Kodachrome" developers!

I hope I've given at least some folks a spark of interest in seeing what, if anything can be done about this. I don't have any connections at Fuji. (Or Kodak, for that matter.) So, unless E6 couplers are available on the open market, someone will need to make entreaty to someone who makes E6 film, and see if they can schmooze a few bits of the three couplers out of them for this experiment. At least enough for let's say a dozen or two rolls of film.

And, that would need to be either someone with an "in" with one of those companies, or, someone with incredibly persuasive cold-call abilities. We're talking serious life-insurance agent grade powers of persuasion, folks. :) And that ain't me.

We'd also need someone with some stainless steel sheet, a tig/mig welder (and the know-how to use it), a bit of dollaroloa to buy a couple of filters and set up a jury rigged re-exposure closet. A dip and dunk processor would be nice, too, but SS reels should suffice, if you don't mind wet-loading them a few times. That, and of course a scale (they're cheap these days), and a few/several tens of dollars worth of "other" chems, to mix up a first developer and so forth (the K14 formula is out there, so as a starting point I'd suggest mixing up everything other than the three color developers as "by the book" as possible).

In case it's escaped anyone's notice, these requirements do NOT have to all reside in the same person! One person could sweet-talk up some couplers, someone else could rig up the rig, another could mix up the brew, and someone else could be the test pilot.

Does any of this whet anyone's interest? Or am I just up too late? :)

That's it for now. I think "the above' is a fair amount to chew on for a bit. Feedback (within the reasonable constraints detailed above) is welcome.

I'll close with a final point to sweeten the pot: If you'll spend a bit of time searching the web -- as I did perhaps 4 or 5 years ago -- you should find that there have been several people who have sucessfully processed Kodachrome at home -- in one case, Kodachrome movie film (which means the re-exposure must have been a real challenge!)

It can be done. It has been done.

Now, we want to find out if it can also be done with off-the-shelf chemicals. (Or, if not "off-the-shelf proper", at least "in production", and used in a fairly wide variety of E6 films.)

I don't think this is a fool's errand. I don't think there are windmills ahead, nor do I think that "they might be giants."

There are people doing 1800's wet processes, using deadly chemicals -- mercury vapors, cyanide, really bad stuff -- and succeeding, and surviving. I think this would be far less of a challenge.

OK, now I'm really done -- and Hendrix is playing "Little Wing", so I really need to go.:)