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Expired cross processed roll of Fuji Provia 400x color slide film

Expired cross processed roll of Fuji Provia 400x color slide film

Normally, C-41 chemicals are designed to develop print film resulting in negatives of the final image whereas E-6 chemicals are designed to process transparency films into positive images so they may be projected onto the wall during a slideshow (a form a entertainment from a bygone era). Cross processing slide film is the act of developing slide film through the C-41 rather than the E-6 chemical process.  The result is a negative that is color shifted, contrasty and grainy.  In this blog post, we’ll take a look at a few examples of cross processed Fuji Provia 400x film which I purchased in 2010, but then forgot about in the back of my closet.  Unfortunately, Provia 400x is a 400 ISO film that’s no longer produced, but Fuji still makes the slower 100 ISO version, Provia 100F if you want to give it a try.

During a recent vacation, I shot an old roll of Fuji Provia 400x film and had it crossprocessed just to see what might happen.  Here are the results and I am pleased!
The colors have a green shift and the images yield a grainy contrasty old world sort of retro look.  I ran this roll through my Nikon F-100 and mainly used my  very affordable travel lens, the 24-85mm f/3.5 – 4.5.


Although I’m trying to break my habit of photographing my food…but anticipating a green shift in color, I thought I might try to shoot my Brussel sprouts.

Lunch from Urban Plates

We stayed in a condo just a short walk from the beach that had a beautiful rose garden.
I shot both the featured photo at the top of this post as well as the one below with my 105mm macro lens.

Limonium Perezii (Sea Lavender) is plentiful on the coast.
Coastal Flowers

Noteworthy in this seaside vacation town were the skateboarders.  This one skillfully mounts his carefully balanced board at sunset.
Skate Boarder

Some obligatory beach shots.
Ocean Wave

We found a sand turtle.

A Victorian looking building.

A Self portrait.

We saw more VW vans in excellent shape here than you’d expect to find other places.

VW Bus

Bikes and surf boards for rent!

Detail of the rental shop.

What attracted me back to film?

Why in this age of digital photography and my owning a 36 megapixel digital camera with a marginal cost per image of zero would I pursue film photography?  Why with all the software we have with amazing abilities to produce film simulations, stitched panoramas, huge dynamic range, and other boundless effects would I limit myself to a single analog frame at a comparatively high cost?
While cleaning out my garage a few years ago, I found two items in the same box:  5.25″ floppy disks and sleeves of 35mm Kodachrome slides.  Holding the slides up to the light, their contrast, color, and sharpness were clearly evident with just as much quality as when I made them many years ago.  They were all ready for the scanner for sharing online or making a print for my home.  Next I considered the floppy disks.  Very interesting historical pieces, but not anything that any technology I currently owned could read.  Even if I had a floppy drive, would the magnetic 1’s and 0’s on there still form anything meaningful?  This is the thing with technology:  the storage formats are constantly changing as well as where we gather online.  My internet is still not fast enough that I could store all my images at a raw size of 72mb in the cloud.  Even if I could store these images in the cloud, what would they look like in 100 years if I didn’t pay my bill?  I believe that film potentially provides longevity to creativity.  After filing the film in archival sleeves in a binder at a reasonable temperature, I’m done.  Instead of technological risks, I have the physical risks of fire, flood, or theft.  In order to mitigate these risks, my best images are scanned and saved digitally as well.
There was a certain nostalgia in looking at the old images in my garage.  I used to love Kodachrome 64 when I was in school and I also loved the super fine grain and high contrast of TMAX 100.  I spent hours in the darkroom at school while on yearbook staff inhaling noxious chemical fumes.  I loved the seemingly magical process of a black and white image appear on white photo paper while immersed in developer.
As a student, I could hardly afford the amazing cameras out there – just look at them in magazines and dream.  This has all changed now, and not just because I have a job!  The price of used film cameras has plummeted, but not their capabilities.  You can now afford to own just about any old film camera you might want (within reason).


US Air Force Academy Chapel Ceiling
US Air Force Academy Chapel, Kodachrome Slide, 1989.