Long-expired film

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by nealjpage, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. nealjpage

    nealjpage multi format master in a film geek package

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    The Speed Graphic I bought came with four boxes of long-expired film. The Tri-x expired in 1983, and the two boxes of Vericolor II expired in 1982. The owner said that it's been refrigerated since it was new.

    The question: any suggestions on what to do with this stuff? I figure I could use the Vericolor for cross-processing and maybe use the Tri-x at half its rated ISO? Mainly I want to use it for practice, but I don't want to waste it.
     
  2. doobs

    doobs TPF Noob!

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    I hear older stuff is used often. You should be fine. Your plan sounds good.

    I'm curious to see how those prints look as well, don't forget to post em ;)
     
  3. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    How long film will keep and the quality of the end result depends largely on how it has been kept.
    If it has only been refrigerated then it will have degraded to some extent.
    Freezing is by far the best method for keeping film.
    Film degrades over time through various mechanisms covered by physical chemistry. The colder the film is kept the more the chemical effects are retarded.
    For B&W the worst consequence of long term storage is an increase in base level fog. This reduces shadow detail and so effectively reduces the contrast.
    Colour film is basically three B&W films sandwiched together and each one of the three alters differently over time giving strange colour casts, a reduction in effective film speed and a drop in contrast.
    You could also find that water ingress/condensation has caused the film to stick together and/or go moldy. Some plastics and paints give off fumes that can fog films, and so on.
    25 years is a long time but even so the B&W film could well prove satisfactory. The odds are against the colour film though.
    I would use the colour film for experiments.
    Shoot a couple of sheets of B&W at the rated ISO and process normally. Visual inspection will tell you if it has been affected and by how much.
    It might only be a case of reducing the ISO by 1/3rd stop or so.
     
  4. joyride

    joyride TPF Noob!

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    Could you just adjust the filter in the enlarger to compensate for the lack of film contrast? Im only asking becasue I have some bulk Tmax100 that I think needs to be used badly.
     
  5. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    You can... But it is better to assess the level of fog increase and then adjust exposure and development to compensate. Using a different filter when printing won't give you shadow detail that isn't there.
    An increase in base fog means that there is a higher density in the 'clear' parts of the neg when processed. This has the effect of compressing the tonal range so what you do is move the exposure up the curve a little (increase the exposure, that is reduce the ISO), the trade off being a slight increase in grain and exposure times when printing.
    How bad the fogging is determines how far up the curve you go.
    Of course, if the fogging is too much then no account of compensation will solve it.
     
  6. nealjpage

    nealjpage multi format master in a film geek package

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    Well, it worked. I rated it at 200. I did one shot plain and one shot with a Kodak Wratten A (red) filter, adjusting the f-stop by 3. I don't have a scanner capable of these, yet. I'll report back once it dries.
     

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