Using old b&w films (60')

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Martin V. Cera, Jan 25, 2004.

  1. Hi!
    My grandfather gave me a box full of old b&w films. Most of them are
    labeled "develop befor 1968". They aren't used (exposed). I tried one
    of these "1968". It has got 40 ASA. I took some pictures as if it was
    an normal film and tried to develop it. I used Rodinal diluted 1:40
    with normal times. The result was only dark (nothing could be seen on
    the film). Today I tried one "almost new" film. With expiration date
    april 1981. In some pictures I was able to recognize things I
    photographed. Direct light could be seen very well with excelent
    contrast. Other things are very light and almost invisible. But the
    film is not dark as the previous one. Now it is light. I used Rodinal
    again with standard times.
    Do you know how to expose and develop these films? Should I set my
    camera to lower sensitivity for the expose time to be longer? Or
    should I use longer developing times? Except Rodinal I could use MQ
    (metholhydrochinone) or PQ (phenidolhydrochinone) developer...
    Martin V. Cera, Jan 25, 2004
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  2. Martin V. Cera

    jjs Guest

    You should set the film aside as a curiosity. It's dead.
    jjs, Jan 25, 2004
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  3. The film is probably fogged. Fogging depends mostly on
    how the film was stored. High heat is very bad. If film is
    stored at low temperatures or even frozen, it will stay good
    for many years but exposure to heat will accelerate the
    chemical processes that lead to fog. The way the emulsion is
    made is also important. when the emulsion is mixed chemicals
    are added to suppress the changes whick lead to fogging with
    time. Different manufacturers have different procedures for
    this, some more successful than others. Some films will stay
    relatively good for twenty years, some for not much longer
    than the expiration date. The use of an anti-fog in the
    developer will help but will substantailly reduce speed. If
    the developed film comes out black its probably beyond
    If you know the make and type of the film (it should be
    written on the boxes or on the leaders) the old information
    can be looked up as to recommended developers and times.
    1968 film is "modern" film in the sense that it should have
    good stability. However, given that the expiration date is
    probably two or more years after the date of manufacture,
    this film is getting toward being forty years old, even
    people begin to get foggy at that age.
    Richard Knoppow, Jan 25, 2004
  4. Expiration dates are given to film for a reason. Throw the film out or
    keep it as colectables! Don't use it for photography. It's old and
    Michael Scarpitti, Jan 25, 2004
  5. It isn't always a waste of time to try outdated film. A friend bought a 4x5
    kit at an auction four or five years ago. Included was a pile of seriously
    expired film. He shot and developed a sheet of Ilford FP3 that expired in
    1963. Surprisingly, the negative turned out very well - it was quite
    printable. I suspect there was a little more base fog than normal but I
    couldn't detect it visually. The film likely was frozen and if it was it
    will be usable.

    Now, on the other hand, if it was stored at room temperature it's likely
    dead, and if it was stored somewhere that gets hot, it will certainly be
    dead. Film needs cool to cold temperatures to have any hope of surviving
    any length of time.

    I keep all of my film in a deep freeze at about -17 degrees(except for a few
    rolls of working supply, which I keep in a refrigerator). This kind of care
    isn't necessary, but if I end up finding some five-year-old FP4 in my
    freezer, it will still be fine.

    Jim MacKenzie, Jan 26, 2004
  6. Martin V. Cera

    Mike King Guest

    I have several rolls of Tmax 400 100 ft. that are still quite good five
    years past expiration and some TMax 100 120 that's pushing 10 years out.

    Storage is important but also the end purpose.
    Mike King, Jan 30, 2004
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