Processing old film

Discussion in 'The Darkroom' started by Actor, Aug 15, 2009.

  1. Actor

    Actor New Member

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    In rummaging through all my old photo stuff I've come across 10 exposed but unprocessed rolls of verichrome pan. These have to be 40 years old if not older. I'd like to try processing at least one roll myself before shipping them off to Rocky Mountain Labs. Assuming that any image remains on them is there anything I can do to increase my chances of success? Say like pushing the film, using a different temperature or using some special developer?
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2009
  2. Torus34

    Torus34 Active Member

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    40 years old? Nope.
     
  3. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker New Member

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    I'm giving you a link to someone with the same question. I did not read it all so some of what I'm going to say may be in there.

    You can always do a test by cutting off part of the roll and see how that comes out and then adjust as needed. You will most probably lose one photo unless you are lucky enough to cut right between 2 frames. I see no reason to send this to a lab. Quite the opposite.

    [Kodak Verichrome Pan] How to develop such an old film ? - Photo.net B&W Photo - Film & Processing Forum
     
  4. Dwig

    Dwig New Member

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    40 year old exposed film might yield adequate images assuming it was exposed while fresh. It will have significant "age fog", a background greyness caused by heat "exposing" the emulsion. As film ages, the exposed image "fades" or weakens and ambient heat exposes the whole emulsion. The end result is generally a heavy grey fog over the whole image and the image itself seems underexposed.

    Processing should be close to normal. You do not want to do any increased developement time, at least on the first roll, for risk of increasing the background fog. You will probably find that a modest to significant increase in agitation proves advantageous for increasing the contrast between the weak image and the heavily fogged background. I would suggest that you use a developer like D-76 and agitate every 15-20 seconds, whatever frequency yields 25-30 agitation cycles total.

    Verichrome Pan was an unbelieveably rugged film. It could yield usable images after extreme abuse, in terms of exposure and developement.
     
  5. compur

    compur Well-Known Member

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    I would try Diafine. It is a push developer and uses the same times for
    almost all films. It is a 2-part developer (A & B baths) and can be used
    in a wide temperature range.
     
  6. Actor

    Actor New Member

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    I want to thank everyone who responded. You've been great. With these films being as old as they are it's going go be like opening a Christmas present if they have any image at all. Thanks to all you Santas. :lol:
     
  7. JC1220

    JC1220 New Member

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    DK-50 works well in controlling fog on its own. Or, you can add some benzotriazole (BZT) or potassium bromide to control the fog. Ideally cutting some test strips would be best to find out what extent the fog exists. Process normally, I would be hesitant to try anything that would increase contrast at first without knowing the extent of fog, as the fog itself can act as a contrast shift hindering your ability to print through the highlights. While the potential image on the negative will most likely have faded some, again you don't know to what extent or if the orginal user of the film had a tendancy to over or under expose their film, unless that user was you and your memory is good 40 years back;). Some testing is going to be required.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2009
  8. Actor

    Actor New Member

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    I was the user. The camera was a simple Kodak box camera. Point, shoot and pray. Over/under exposure was probably the norm rather than the exception.

    Guess I forgot to mention that it's 127 film. I'll have to find or modify a reel. One of them is KodaColor.

    In addition to the 10 there are two verichrome pan 126 cartridges and a 35mm roll of slide film that uses E-6. The slides may not be as old as the rest. I'll be sending the color stuff off to Rocky Mountain Labs.
     
  9. Dwig

    Dwig New Member

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    Finding a reel for 127 is next to impossible. You might consider tray processing, though that a bit labor intensive.

    The 126 will fit standard 35mm reels, but the images go almost to one edge and can suffer some uneven development along that one edge.
     
  10. Actor

    Actor New Member

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    There's one for sale on eBay right now.
     
  11. Actor

    Actor New Member

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    I made my first attempt at developing one of the old spools. I it felt sticky. I had to peel it from the paper. It was the devil to get on the reel. The instant I got it off the spool it sprang out of my hands. Took me several minutes of groping on the floor to find it. It was really springy, like trying to unwind a clock spring. Once I got it loaded in the reel it just didn't feel right so I took it off and did it again. It still didn't feel right but I plunged ahead.

    I processed it normally. I start with a bath of tempered water for one minute. Previously this bath has a slight purple tint to it when dumped. No so this time. During washing I've gotten this same purple tint. Again not so this time.

    The first 6 frames seem to be OK, albeit not as dense as normal. Starting about 2/3 across frame 7 the rest of the roll is wiped out, i.e., fb+f, except for something small that I can't identify about frame 10.

    My wife does not think anything on the roll is worth printing.

    I don't recall taking any of the pictures. Frame 1 is of a large dog on a leash being restrained by someone off camera. I'm beginning to suspect that the film is older than the 40 years I previously estimated and may have been taken by my father or mother. We'll see as I process the rest of them. I can do one per day.
     

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