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Philip Forrest

Developing reversal as negative

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My apologies if this has been covered previously on the forum, I did a bit of searching and couldn't find an answer to my question: is there any guideline regarding development of reversal stock as negative? What should I expect from developing fresh black and white reversal as far as contrast? I know using only a reversal developer and skipping the fashing and bleaching will yield very high contrast.  Specifically, I have a bunch of 7266 that I want to process as negative. I've been a still photographer for about 30 years and I'm very comfortable using standard black and white chemistry. I prefer using HC-110 which is a pretty high energy developer that was developed for newsprint, so it's pretty high contrast and predictable with dilution. 

Further down the line, if I expose reversal with the intention of using it as negative, is there a recommendation for what ISO I rate the film at?

Thanks all,

Phil Forrest 

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You can develop every reversal film to negative. (Eastman-) Kodak’s Plus-X reversal, Super-X reversal, Super-XX reversal, Tri-X reversal, Tri-X TV reversal, and 4X reversal on gray and blue base allow(ed) both processes. They’re actually rather negative than reversible stocks because true reversal films for projection have a colourless base and some sort of removable anti-halo protection such as a black backing or a subbing (undercoat) or dyes.

The reversing process about doubles the speed of a reversal film due to two different emulsions mixed together but exposed and developed in distinct steps. Fomapan R 100 is made as an ISO 50 material. With the aforementioned stocks you lose half to two-thirds of a stop, so 7266 can be exposed for ISO 160 in daylight.

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I have to bleach Foma first then develop to get a negative. And HC-110 is used 1:100 for an hour to reverse 7266. Higher dilutions lowers contrast. I have used RO9 one shot 1:400 with 3378


Edited by Michael Carter

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Stand development is very trendy these days but it distorts the curve in adverse ways. Personally I only use it for high contrast night photography with a lot of low values and a few extreme highlights in frame that need taming. Otherwise it can look a bit dead.

I had great success having Fotokem process 7266 as a negative. I rated it at 100 and had them process -1. Superior to "normal" 7222 in every way.

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Hi Phil,

I had the same exact question a couple years back and came across some old, photocopied "zines" covering DIY/underground filmmaking, that detailed "The Bucket Method" of hand developing Tri-X reversal into negative. Which basically says unspool your film into a bucket and develop/fix/rinse as you normally would for still photography. If you google that term, you might find similar info.

In short, just follow the same photo darkroom procedure/times used to develop Tri-X negative. So using HC-110 (1:31) it'd be 6mins, etc. The only thing you might do additionally is a good presoak and prerinse of a few minutes.

That said, the major issues I encountered were 1) density fluctuation from inconsistent agitation and 2) damage to the negative from being jostled around. But, I guess that's the appeal of hand developing. For 16mm, I believe you can buy some Russian made darkroom developing tanks, which might give you cleaner results. Google "Russian Lomo tank."

And you are correct! The contrast is extreme in going this method. However, I was doing a project shooting analog film titles and was trying to capture the feel of title print stock, which is very low ISO and has extreme contrast.

Some test footage I took to figure out the process is below:


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Tri-X and Orwo stocks develop really nicely and at the same time/temps in a continuous process or as XX neg.

Foma needs a bit of a different setup as its emulsion tens to be a bit softer and more hydroscopic so drying times area bit longer.

XX Neg looking good has allot to do with what chemistry it is developed in and we did allot of tests with chemistry when we ran the 1985 S16mm film and the Loui CK 35mm film to get the most pleasing grain results.

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