Last Saturday now that the roads are plowed I went up to one of the nearby ghost towns. I like to use infrared films when I am photographing old ruins and I was using EFKE Infrared that had been loaded into film holders and been sitting in my camera case since last September.
My typical experience with the EFKE (and the MACO brand before that) is to expose at an EI of 1.5 (using a Hoya R72) and develop in D-76 1:1 for 11 minutes. The negatives come out a little thin, but printable.
This latest excursion I was exposing at around my usual EI=1.5 (f/11 at 1/2 sec). It was bright and sunny with thin veils of clouds passing over the sun from time to time at which time I would open up a half stop.
When I returned home I developed the first batch (4 sheets in JOBO drum) in freshly mixed D-76 1:1, increasing to 12 minutes to see if that would improve the density. Instead the negatives were thinner than ever and completely unprintable.
I then developed the second batch in D-76 stock for 12 minutes. The EFKE instructions say 7 minutes with the stock solution. These negatives improved slightly, but are still unprintable. I think their instructions are extremely optimistic.
(1) The expiration date is 9/09.
(2) It had been stored outside the freezer for 6 months, but at no higher than room temperature.
(3) I don't think that longer development times will help much.
(4) I am ruling out any problems with the shutter or the developer because I also processed a batch of HP5+ taken at the same time that turned out with beautiful tonality and density.
So I am asking if any of you have had similar experience with EFKE Infrared:
(1) Has anyone noticed significant degradation when the film has not been refrigerated or as it ages?
(2) Do any of you use an EI lower than 1.5. I am thinking of going to 0.5 or 0.25. I will be trying that when the snow stops.
It may be that I will just give up on EFKE Infrared and simply enjoy Ilford SFX in my MF.