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View Full Version : Old 11x14 Super XX - Specific Experience?



John Layton
11-Jan-2017, 06:46
In a recent foray into my darkroom "archives" (don't ask!) I discovered several 10-sheet boxes of 11x14 Tri-X - expiration date 1988. More searching has also revealed a 10 sheet box (but only 4 sheets left) of 11x14 Super XX - same date.

While it was Cole Weston who'd turned me on to the Super XX/ABC Pyro combo back in the day...and while I'd love nothing more to go on a nostalgia trip - experience dictates that I'll need to treat this venerable old film a bit differently to get acceptable results. Problem is, I only have four sheets...and so cannot afford to waste any of this through experimentation/testing.

So...anybody out there with specifics they could share about processing old Super XX sheet film? Possibly a scenario that might still show some of its amazing (silver-rich, and straight line to the moon) qualities? (my gut tells me to go with HC-110, dilution B - possibly with some additional benzo...but I'd hate to destroy what might remain of this films great character). Thanks!!

Will Whitaker
11-Jan-2017, 07:33
Just thinking out loud, John, but could you not cut four 5x7 pieces of film from one sheet of 11x14, thereby quadrupling your testing assets?...

Best case scenario is the information you glean has a very limited shelf life.....

John Layton
11-Jan-2017, 08:00
Thanks Will! Great idea! If I'm careful enough...not only would I have four 5x7 films (my favorite size), but also an extra 1x14" strip which could then be further cut to do some initial tests. Perfect!

Will Whitaker
11-Jan-2017, 08:09
Nice! Please share your results with us, John. Just in case someone else discovers some forgotten vintage film...

LabRat
11-Jan-2017, 08:44
The main factor for this film will be;

A/ If the film is fogged evenly...

B/ If the moisture content is/has been even (to absorb dev + process chems evenly)...

C/ The film will have to be rated for a new EI as it looses speed over the decades... (John N on here advised me that the general rule of thumb with old film EI is that film might loose 1 stop per decade, and it was pretty close for a starting point for my same era film tests on different stocks..)

The suggestion to cut up one sheet into smaller formats for testing is a good one... It will take a few tests, and you can see how it behaves then...

Good Luck!!!

Steve K

Mrportr8
11-Jan-2017, 09:17
I had some old 4x5 Super XX and it fogged horribly. I cut the effective speed to 50 just to get enough separation to print well enough.

Lou Baleur
11-Jan-2017, 09:56
I had some old 8x10 super xx from the 80's, I think about 5 years ago. The stuff that was not in the sealed packets was bad, but the stuff in the sealed packet was totally good. I have no idea how it was stored and now I can't remember where I got it from--it was from some purchase--filmholders maybe?--and it was included.

I did have some 10 year old TXT that I bought new that was stored at room temperature about the same time--same story--the opened packets were badly fogged but the stuff in the sealed packets was good.

Mark Sampson
11-Jan-2017, 16:17
Ask Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee. They bought and froze a large amount of Super-XX when Kodak discontinued it c.1992 and are still using that film, as far as I know.

sanking
11-Jan-2017, 19:07
Ask Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee. They bought and froze a large amount of Super-XX when Kodak discontinued it c.1992 and are still using that film, as far as I know.

Some 10-12 years ago I tested some of the Super-XX film from Michael and Paula's cache. It had very high B+F (about log 0.60 as I recall), but speed was still about normal, and the films ability for N +/- development was very good.

My advice would be to develop it in a standard soup like D76 1+1, and divide the film into four parts for exposure/development control in testing. You do not want to develop this film in a pyro staining developer since the general fogging stain will likely be much, much higher than with a non-staining developer.

Sandy

Michael Kadillak
11-Jan-2017, 19:47
Some 10-12 years ago I tested some of the Super-XX film from Michael and Paula's cache. It had very high B+F (about log 0.60 as I recall), but speed was still about normal, and the films ability for N +/- development was very good.

My advice would be to develop it in a standard soup like D76 1+1, and divide the film into four parts for exposure/development control in testing. You do not want to develop this film in a pyro staining developer since the general fogging stain will likely be much, much higher than with a non-staining developer.

I would add to Sandys advice that only if you are printing with Azo would I use pyro, the time tested compliment to Super XX. I witnessed Michael print fogged Super XX negatives a few years back from their trip to Chicago that were developed in pyro that looked so dense they appeared unprintable. Yet long exposures with a 300 watt R40 bulbs that lasted several minutes yielded excellent results on a Grade 3 Azo paper. If I did not see the results first hand I would be inclined to speculate that it was possible. The safe alternative would be D76.

Sandy

I would add to Sandys advice that only if you are printing with Azo would I use pyro, the time tested compliment to Super XX. I witnessed Michael print fogged Super XX negatives a few years back from their trip to Chicago that were developed in pyro that looked so dense they appeared unprintable. Yet long exposures with a 300 watt R40 bulbs that lasted several minutes yielded excellent results on a Grade 3 Azo paper. If I did not see the results first hand I would be inclined to speculate that it was possible. The safe alternative would be D76.

LabRat
11-Jan-2017, 20:01
Using a non staining dev that contains a restrainer (like DK50) would be an even safer bet...

Steve K