I need advice to salvage this film


multi format master in a film geek package
Sep 16, 2005
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When I was home for xmas, my younger brother gave me a roll of Ilford Delta 400 Professional that he shot 5 or 6 years ago but never processed. Since then it's been in his hot car, his un-air conditioned apartment, and god knows where else. :er: Anyways, he gave me this roll to process for him but I'm not sure where to start with it. I have at my disposal D-76 and Diafine. I was thinking that I should go with the Diafine since it's a single-timed developer rather than trying to manipulate times associated with D-76.

What says you guys? Let me add that there's pictures of people on here that I really want to see, and my family does too, so it's not a roll that I should really screw around with. If it was a roll of random architecture shots from downtown Minneapolis I'd be souping this stuff in Dektol! :lol:
Not sure what you mean by "manipulate times associated with D-76?" Use it stock, 1+1 or 1+3 with times: 9-10 mins, 13-15mins or 18-19 mins respectively at 400.

If you want to see how things are going, get a green safelight 7 - 15 watt max, 3-4 feet away from the film, and check progress looking from the base side, when 80% of development is done. OR, cut off a small strip and do test process, this may be the way to go and you may just loose a frame or two this way, as DBI takes some experience.

Other than that you have no way of knowing what damage has or hasn't occured.
Thanks, JC. I could've sworn that I remember reading somewhere once that the longer the film sits after exposure that the development time must be increased, too.

Maybe I'm thinking of exposure times for old film...
I'd be inclined to process with D-76 as this is very similar to Ilford's ID-11.
Processing times and other useful data for Ilford films can be downloaded as a PDF from here:

It's very difficult to assess how long-term storage of B/W has affected the film without processing because there are a lot of variables. But what tends to happen is some latent image regression, normally just affecting fine shadow detail. You have to leave film quite some time to lose it all, although you get an associated increase of base fog so the resultant neg is generally lower in contrast.
You will usually get something useable that prints with a Grade 3 - but it won't win any awards.
I have known people get reasonable results from a film kept for 20 years in an attic so...

As JC1220 says, do a clip test first. Cut six inches or so off the film and process (I wouldn't bother trying to develop by inspection under a Kodak #3 - it's so dim you can barely see anything) - maybe increasing the dev time by 5 or 10 % to start - and assess the results. You might lose a frame or two but that is nothing to losing the whole film. If you don't get any frames in the test you can still use the edge markings as a guide.
If necessary do a second clip test. A 36 exposure film is around 5 feet long so you still won't lose much.

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