developing film from 1950's?

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by carlabond, Aug 28, 2004.

  1. carlabond

    carlabond TPF Noob!

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    I have approximately 20 rolls of film dated from the 1950's that have never been developed. Is it still possible to do?
     
  2. Soulreaver

    Soulreaver TPF Noob!

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    I very much doubt it.

    Normal rolls last about two years, and even then they have to be properly stored, not to mention 50 years.

    But it could lead to interesting pictures though :)
     
  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Depending on what you think is on them it might be worth a try. Although 50 years is a bit off the expiration date. :wink:

    What size film is it? If it's not 120, 620, or 35mm you might have problems finding a lab with the proper equipment (reels or whatever).

    I've used a roll of BW film (Tri-X) that was 7 years past the expiration date (and no refrigeration). There was a very light base fog, but they still printed very nicely.
     
  4. rangefinder

    rangefinder TPF Noob!

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    Is it B&W or Color?

    If it's color you'll have to find a lab that will specialize in some of the older processes. There is one in colorado that was featured in "Focus On Imaging" sometime in the last four months or so. If you go to their web site you might be able to find an address/phone/web site.

    Goto www.rangefindermag.com. This is a free subscription. While there you can checkout the sister publication "Focus On Imaging" also a free subscription. Both are really great photo pubs.

    If it's B&W then I would suggest you do it yourself, if you have the tanks and experience. Loading film that old will be a challenge but can be done safely if you know how. If you want give a shout and I'll give you some tips on that. A few years ago I got to process a few rolls from a Korean War vet. It was B&W and we were able to save it. The photo gods were smiling on us.
     
  5. Brently

    Brently TPF Noob!

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    I am going to guess its B&W because its 50 years old.
     
  6. matchframe

    matchframe TPF Noob!

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    I have developed B&W 35 mm film that was 21 years old. I had no idea what was on them, and it was a thrill to view them for the first time. The first roll came out very washed out.

    On the next rolls, I left them in the developer for twice as long as normal, and they came out OK. I just used contrast filters when I printed them to get them back the way they should have been.

    The hard part was rolling them on to the reels in the dark, the film was very hard to straighten out and tried to roll back up tight.
     
  7. the_peel

    the_peel TPF Noob!

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    Can we see some prints??? :)
     
  8. Corry

    Corry Flirtacious and Bodacious Supporting Member

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    Oldest film I've had developed was 5-6 years old. Didn't come out bad at all...probably slightly washed out, but otherwise fine. I couldn't imagine what a 50 year old roll of film would come out like!
     
  9. Floyd

    Floyd TPF Noob!

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    Here's the decider question: was the film stored in a fridge?
     
  10. Firelance

    Firelance TPF Noob!

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    I'd say you use more developer, and way longer then usual...
     
  11. Walt

    Walt TPF Noob!

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    Nothing to lose. If it's B&W and your doing it yourself, you have plenty of rolls to work with. Should be interesting.
     
  12. BernieSC

    BernieSC TPF Noob!

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    it wouldn't hurt to try. I bet something might turn out if you have that many rolls. If its BW film I would just take one roll and develope it with the same chemicals and times as current film and see what happens. Although decades ago BW photo paper contained a lot more silver so if required longer developing times not sure if film was the same.

    Good luck
     

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