Film Photos & Projects

Fujichrome 64T II Slide Film Cross-Processed – by Christian Schroeder

November 18, 2022

Long time no post! Well, it’s been a while since my last article appeared here on 35mmc. And in the meantime? One of the rather uncommon things I tried was cross-processing Tungsten-balanced slide film, namely Fujichrome 64T II. With two rolls of this long-gone stock I explored forests as well as a local cemetery. A quite exciting endeavor that kept me busy in late summer / early autumn – now I’m happy to show you some of the results!

Some Words on Fujichrome 64T II Slide Film

A few years ago I bought a set of four 35mm rolls of Fujichrome 64T II color reversal film. As the “T” in the name indicates, this film is balanced for Tungsten light (like CineStill’s 800T). Back in the day, Fuji manufactured this stock mainly for the use in interiors and for reproductions in a controlled, artificially lit setting. The manufacturer underscored the film’s “highest degree of fine grain” for its speed as well as an “excellent resolving power”. This came alongside “high saturation, rich gradation, faithful color reproduction and well controlled gradation balance”. Sounds pretty fancy, doesn’t it? But like many other specialist film stocks, Fujichrome 64 T II is now long discontinued. My four rolls had expired in June 2006, so they went straight into the freezer.

As usual with odd and expired film stocks, it took me quite a while until I found an opportunity to shoot the Fujichrome. It’s not that I didn’t like the results I got – actually, they provided a nice change from to the usual Portra routine. However, slide film processing was (and is still) expensive and I wanted to save the remaining rolls for special occasions. You very likely know what happened then: I forgot about them.

The protagonists of this post.

Shooting Fujichrome 64T II in 2022

In mid-2022, I increasingly experienced the effects of inflation and material shortages: (color negative) film hiked in prices – and reached a point at which it was almost everywhere out of stock. With my own supply of 35mm film dwindling, the rear end of my freezer gained interest all of a sudden. While most of the deep-frozen jewels I found there were in 120 format, I also brought the two rolls of the Fujichrome to light. “Why not just shoot it now and ask the lab to process it like a color negative film?”, I thought. Such cross-processing (or short “x-pro”) normally alters contrast and colors and can occasionally lead to crazy results.

As we all probably know, slide film requires us to better nail the exposure – at least approaches of questionable accuracy like Sunny 16 are not the methods of choice. But as I wanted to treat the Fujichrome like a color negative film, I allowed myself a lazier handling. To account for its age and to have a bit more wiggle room, I rated the film at EI 40. And yeah, for shooting handheld in darker environments, this is a pain in the ass.

Strolling through Forests…

In the past month, I have been feeling more and more drawn to landscape-ish subjects. So I figured out that forests and trees should provide an appealing topic. Maybe you have the same (stereotypical) associations with woodlands like me: rays of sunlight poking through canopies, magically gnarled tree trunks, a winding path disappearing in the mist… But we don’t live in a fairy tale and most of the time the woods look rather mundane and boring (at least where I live). Finding a pleasing composition is challenging as there are always some trees that overlay and interfere unfavorably – and thus spoil the overall image. My approach is often to focus on a single distinctive tree rather than showing a broad view.

A photograph of a beech tree inside a forest, shot on Fujichrome 64T II slide film.

Placing a tree dead-center is something I compositionally enjoy a lot. The wet roots of this one remind me of an elephant walking through a mud hole.

The branch of a light green fern in front of a dark green background of ivy.

Those Fuji greens, remember?

Photograph of a broken tree trunk lying on the forest's floor.

I can’t deny the appeal of wet surfaces.

A yellow-colored tree stump shot on cross-processed Fujichrome 64T II slide film.

Weird color palette! ( I almost dare to call it “cinematic”.) This tree stump stood close to the forest’s edge and caught some light from outside.

Strolling through the woodland feels very satisfying to me in general. I walked around aimlessly, just waiting for something to catch my eye. As soon as I spotted an interesting scene, I started working on the composition: trying different angles, moving closer or further away, going down on my knees or stretching myself. For the second woodland session, even heavy rain couldn’t stop me (it also provided a good opportunity to check my new rain pants).

A triptych of three photographs with tree trunks standing in a forest.

… and a Cemetery

After a long summer that was too hot and too dry, I really appreciated dull and wet days. A gloomy mood is something that goes pretty well with the Fujichrome 64T II film, I think. Apart from the woodlands, I also chased this feeling in a nearby cemetery. In particular, the old tomb sculptures attracted me, often epitomizing mourning female characters.

Photograph of a tomb stone from the 19th century shot on Fujichrome 64T II slide film.

There is a German saying, “Das letzte Hemd hat keine Taschen”. This literally translated “the last shirt has no pockets” – meaning you can’t take any money with you to your afterlife. Nevertheless, it’s pretty obvious who was a wealthy person during hers or his lifetime. The tombs often mirror the reputation and achievements of the dead underneath. In some cases, the social role or profession is engraved to the stone – factory owner, city council member, physician. But in the end, we are all alone.

A triptych of photographs showing tomb statues: two female and one male persons.

Further Subjects

As you might know from my previous posts here on 35mmc, I’m pretty much into architecture. So it’s no surprise I also attended to this genre and shot some buildings with my 35mm shift lens. During our usual on-vacation stay at my in-laws, I managed to visit some nearby villages and small towns (sometimes chauffeured around by my father-in-law: really comfortable!).

Two old industrial buildings with a chimney between them.

A mustard factory.

Several small brick houses along a narrow road, photograph shot on Fujichrome 64T II slide film.

I also made use of my in-laws’ huge kitchen garden and arranged a nice still life of the home-grown vegetables in the shed. Although I struggled a bit with the dimly-lit atmosphere in there, this was fun!

An arrangement of different types of vegetables, shot on Fujichrome 64T II slide film.

Discussion and Final Thoughts on Fujichrome 64T II

After inspecting my scans from the lab, I was blown away. Awesome! These moody, strangely colored images looked wonderful, I love every single one of them. Compared to the warm and airy appearance of Kodak Portra or Gold, the Fujichrome 64T II samples are a indeed pleasant change. This stock is a fine tool to convey the mood of the autumn and winter season (although many of the images here were shot in the late summer). If I come across this film again, I definitely won’t hesitate to grab it. In the meantime, I already snapped a five-pack of 120 rolls. But as common with expired film, you shouldn’t have high expectations with regard to consistency.

And as you might wonder: both rolls were developed and scanned by Carmencita Film Lab. Like I carefully indicated above, the folks over at Valencia did a great job here!

And (Expired) Fujichrome 64T II Processed Correctly?

And in case you also wonder how the film looks when properly processed in E6 chemistry, I have some samples for you, too. These were (obviously) shot with the help of a tripod, so the Fujichrome’s low speed didn’t matter. What can I say? Not bad, but I like the cross-processed frames a lot more!

Photograph of a large apartment complex at dusk, shot on Fujichrome 64T II slide film.

The Ihme-Zentrum housing complex – have been there quite often.

Photograph of two trucks parked at the roadside at dusk. The wet surface of the road reflects the light of the street lamps and shows an orange to purple glow.

I quite like the film’s purple-magenta cast.

Technical Notes

All images shown in this post were shot either with a Leicaflex SL2 single reflex camera or a Leica M4 rangefinder, both paired with either a 35mm or a 50mm lens (35mm Summicron-R f/2 2nd generation, 35mm Curtagon shift lens and 50mm Summicron f/2 1st generation in case of the SL2 as well as a 35mm f/2 Zeiss Biogon and a 50mm Summilux-M f/1.4 pre-asph for the M4). The only exception to this is the protagonist shot, which was taken with my veteran Canon EOS 5D.

I hope you enjoyed this selection. Thanks for reading and keep on shooting!

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    christian hogue
    November 18, 2022 at 10:40 am

    so the lab knows to cross process. is there anything they need to do while processing in regular negative chemistry to compensate for the fact its actually a positive film? longer in the bath etc etc?

    • Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      November 18, 2022 at 12:47 pm

      Sorry, I don’t know any details regarding the processing itself – I just tell the lab they shall treat the film in C41 chemistry and they know what to do.

    • Reply
      shannon
      November 18, 2022 at 1:37 pm

      There’s an extensive discussion ar Emulsive for cross-processing color reversal (slide) films as negatives; the writer states that C-41 x-pro pushes the reversal film and recommends under-exposing the film by one or two stops to account for it. I started to experiment with x-pro more than ten years ago and didn’t know to under-expose the film, but was completely happy with the results from exposing fresh film at box speed. This year (2022) I pulled some decades-expired Agfa, Kodak, and Fuji color reversal films out of cold storage and shot them in summer gardens, full sun to shady spots, underexposed by two stops. The Agfa emulsions (ASA 100 and 200) were glorious, high contrast & very saturated colors, with fantastic nuances of red and pink tones. Fuji and Kodak films examined directly as negatives resemble color infrared images and sometimes I liked the negative image better than the positive. I just love this posted set of images too! =^.^=

      • Reply
        Christian Schroeder
        November 18, 2022 at 5:21 pm

        I’m happy that my approach – exposing at box speed or slightly over – turned out to my liking. Wouldn’t have expected that it’s recommended to under-expose the slide film when cross-processing – however, I remember that a two-stop over-exposing should be necessary when you work the other way round, cross-processing color negative film in E6 chemistry. Well, I’m not an expert on the chemical part of the road, so I’m glad that my lab knows how to do it. – Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  • Reply
    Ted Ayre
    November 18, 2022 at 11:41 am

    Wow Christian! These photos are so detailed and rich in contrast and definition. Really interesting process as well, thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      November 18, 2022 at 12:47 pm

      Thanks Ted for your kind words! Glad you enjoyed them as much as I did. 🙂

  • Reply
    Ted Ostrowski
    November 18, 2022 at 5:03 pm

    Full disclosure. I haven’t read th e article , only brief excerpts from it. Rather I found myself deeply engaged with the images. Brilliant, Incredible, very pleasing to my eye. Cross processing is the technical aspect of it but your sense of composition and intuition really brought it all home. Really nice work, congratulations.

    • Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      November 18, 2022 at 5:22 pm

      Hi Ted, really encouraging your feedback. Thanks a lot!

  • Reply
    mike
    November 18, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    Yeah, that first shot is great, Thought for sure it was a larger format film

    • Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      November 20, 2022 at 12:10 pm

      Surprise, surprise! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kodachromeguy
    November 19, 2022 at 3:02 am

    I love the still life of the vegetables. Maybe I should eat dinner with your in-laws 😄

    • Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      November 20, 2022 at 12:11 pm

      Andrew, I’ll manage to get you a nice dinner from home-grown vegetables once you visit Germany’s northern hinterland. 🙂

  • Reply
    Gary
    November 19, 2022 at 7:39 am

    I second the earlier comments. Wonderful renditions. I have some old slide film (not refrigerated, alas) and I’ll try cross-processing. Thank you for this article.

    • Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      November 20, 2022 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Gary, definitely try this, it’s well worth the effort. (I struggled in the beginning: will the images turn out or will I just have wasted good professional slide film?) Happy to hear that I could inspire you!

  • Reply
    Bill Brown
    November 20, 2022 at 5:06 am

    As always Christian your images don’t disappoint. I really enjoy each of your posts and had actually wondered recently about what you were up to since I hadn’t seen anything posted with your byline. These images are beautiful and they display your critical eye for knowing where to point your lens depending on what you are working to photographically explore. I really respect your adventurous attitude towards the unknown. I can’t say I have that ability and my film archive will never have the scope of yours because of that. Thanks for once again showcasing one of the many rabbit holes of film photography and proving that there is more to film making than a preset or simulation algorithm. I’m already looking forward to your next post whatever that may be. Alles Gute.

    • Reply
      Christian Schroeder
      November 20, 2022 at 12:12 pm

      Hi Bill, these are some very encouraging words, thanks for this motivation boost! It’s true, I haven’t posted an article here for quite some time. Although I took many photographs during the months in summer, I didn’t see a good set among them that felt adequate for a new post. But especially the autumn days gave me some fresh ideas. And with the dark season being back in the northern hemisphere, conditions are favorable for night-time photography, which I appreciate a lot! By the way, I really enjoyed the photographs of your road trip in the 1980s – a beautiful glimpse into the past.

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