How to Develop C22 Film

By Susan Miller

Films that requires developing with a C22 process (typically Kodacolor X and Ektacolor) are no longer made. The chemicals for the C22 process are also no longer made by Kodak and haven't been since about 1977. To develop these films yourself, some photographers recommend using a black-and-white film developer, specifically the HC-110 Kodak developer. Some professional photo labs that still do the C22 process, which are rare, also recommend going black and white to eliminate the fog that will appear on the aged color film. But, if you are determined to do the color processing and to do it yourself, read on.

Perform the first four steps of this process in total darkness. Load the film onto the reel and place it in the developer tank.

Mix the developer solution (pH 10-6 to 10-7) as follows: Mix 2 g of Calgon or sodium tripolymetaphosphate, 5 ml of Benzyl or alcohol, 85 g sodium metaborate, 2 g sodium sulphite, 1.6 g potassium bromide and 5.3 g CD3. Then add water to make 1000 ml. This solution should be at 75 degrees Fahrenheit plus or minus only 1/2 degree. Place the film in the developer solution for 13 minutes.

Mix the stop-bath solution (pH 4-3 to 4-7) as follows: Mix 20 ml Glacial acetic acid and 10 g sodium sulphite; add water to 1000 ml. The stop-bath temperature should be between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the film in the stop bath for four minutes.

Mix the hardening solution (pH 10-4 to 10-8) as follows: Mix 20 ml formaldehyde (35 to 45 percent solution) and 10 g sodium carbonate; add water to 1000ml. The hardener temperature should be between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the film in the hardener for four minutes.

This step can be done in normal light conditions. Mix the bleach solution (pH: 6-6 to 7.0) as follows: Mix 25 g potassium nitrate, 20 g potassium ferricyanide, 8 g potassium bromide, 5 g boric acid and 1 g disodium tetraborate; add water to 1000ml. The bleach temperature should be between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the film in the bleach bath for six minutes.

Mix the fixer solution (pH 4-4 to 4-6) as follows: Mix 120 g ammonium thiosulphate and 20 g potassium metabisulphite; add water to 1000 ml. The fixer temperature should be between 68 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the film in the fixer for eight minutes.

Do a final wash in water at the same temperature and also for eight minutes.

If you've decided this is too much work, you can buy the HC-110 Kodak developer to process your film in black and white, or you can send your film to a lab that does the C22 process, such as Film Rescue International or Rocky Mountain Film Laboratory (see Resources).

Tip

Do a test strip first by cutting off a short length of film (in total darkness) and processing it to see how it turns out. If the images are bad, then do the rest in the recommended black-and-white developer.

Warning

Don't take on this project lightly. Do it at your own risk. Chemicals are potent and not for amateurs. We recommend sending your old film to a professional lab that specializes in processing old film. Processing costs at these labs are expensive, but expert results will be worth it.

About the Author

Susan Miller has been a professional journalist since 1990. She edited two weeklies for a chain of suburban newspapers and has written for the "Indianapolis Star," the "Indianapolis Business Journal" and several magazines, among other publications and websites. Miller studied design, photography and technology at Purdue University and Central Piedmont Community College.