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Thread: 4x5 bad processing/old film?

  1. #1
    lharby's Avatar
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    4x5 bad processing/old film?

    Hello

    I'm pretty new here, so apologies if I have posted in the wrong place. And since receiving my photographs back I think I know the answer but it would be good to get some expert knowledge.

    I recently just took my first shots using a 4x5 Sinar camera.

    Due to the cost of the film, I did invest in a single new pack, but I was waiting on ebay to try and snap up something older which had been cold stored. I finally got one pack of Provia 100, and one NPS 160.

    Metering: I have a Minolta electronic light meter which has always given me accurate readings.

    Processing: this was done by an employee of the shop where I bought the camera. He has the same camera system, he has since left the shop but still does this processing on behalf of their customers.

    Scanning: I have an Epson 2450 flatbaed, which has a 4x5 holder. I scanned my photos I think 'face down' (with the text facing me in reverse).

    Given all this I was a bit disappointed with the results. Then I realised the film dated from 1996, the seller said it had been frozen, but now I am wondering if at some point the film got exposed to heat.

    Here are two of NPS images:
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    And here is a Provia one (this film seems to have faired much better)
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    I paid quite a bit for the processing and I have since found out Peak Imaging will do it for 3 per sheet. So I guess the acid test would be to shoot on my new film stock and send everything to Peak.

    I don't know whether it is worth shooting any more of the expired NPS, I am not a fan of that look! Or if I do decide to shoot with it should I overexpose (I am sure there will be alot written about this online).
    Last edited by lharby; 22-Jun-2016 at 01:55. Reason: Formatting title
    Everything should be tried once, except incest and folk dancing.

  2. #2

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    Re: 4x5 bad processing/old film?

    I'm not sure what the colors of the scene were supposed to look like. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say the NPS sheets were either developed in E6 instead of C41, or they were loaded the wrong way round in the holder (if the negative came out really thin) or something went wrong scanning them. How do the negatives look if you examine them directly?
    It doesn't look like a case of expiration or heat damage. I'd expect a more subtle color shift, excess density along the edges and overall fog - provided the package was unopened during those 20 years of storage.

    I once got similar results when processing Kodak E6 interpositive film in C41 chemistry btw.

  3. #3
    multi format
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    Re: 4x5 bad processing/old film?

    nice photography,
    sorry the processing or
    film-life disappointed you !

    when using expired color film, no matter
    what the seller says, unless you bought it yourself
    and stored it yourself it tends to be a gamble / crapshoot.
    with film that old and being color to boot it was in the stars to not
    really come out very well. what i do with old color film like that,
    no matter E6/c41 ... over expose it by a handful of stops and develop it
    in black and white developer as black and white film. it will be dense as hell
    because of the color mask but you will be able to either scan it, or make contact
    prints from it using a very bright light.

    the best things to do with a new camera, and being new to film, is use new film
    so there aren't any variables to worry about other than you gettingacquainted with your gear.
    if you were able to develop your own prints i'd suggest shooting paper negatives, cheap ez fun and useful.

    have fun with your sinar !
    john

  4. #4

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    Re: 4x5 bad processing/old film?

    Why not shoot fresh film? The cost difference is more than made up in predictable results and quality.

  5. #5
    lharby's Avatar
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    Re: 4x5 bad processing/old film?

    Thank you.

    The scene is meant to be a shot against a bright yellow card, one image is metered just using the normal fluorescent lights, the other has been flashed from above and slightly to the rear.
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    I am fairly certain I loaded them correctly, although I was nervous about that I was pretty meticulous.

    I suppose I am slightly heartened by the fact that they could have been incorrectly processed.

    I think I will shoot on the new batch first and send that to Peak, and then possibly take some other shots with the NPS and see what happens.
    Everything should be tried once, except incest and folk dancing.

  6. #6
    lharby's Avatar
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    Re: 4x5 bad processing/old film?

    "Why not shoot fresh film? The cost difference is more than made up in predictable results and quality."

    Yeah I don't disagree with that, but I know I have stored film well I know it will last for many years after the expiry date. But as jnanian points out I suppose it is a gamble.

    Thank you for your comments.
    Everything should be tried once, except incest and folk dancing.

  7. #7

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    Re: 4x5 bad processing/old film?

    For testing, you should shoot a black, white, + grey targets... Black to see if the Dmax is ok and see if blacks are truly black, white to see if there is contamination of the white color, and grey as it it is the middle tone you are metering for and if there is any color contamination, that will make the grey not pure...

    Don't use fluorescent lights for testing, as they will have a weird color balance that is tough to correct, but use strobes or nice sunlight for daylight balanced film, or hot light tungsten lights (3200K) for tungsten film...

    Old E6 film will usually start to loose it's black Dmax, and start turning greenish or some other color cast... You also might send some film to be processed at another pro E6 lab to see if your guy is doing it right...

    Steve K

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