View Full Version : Really Expired Film

13-Dec-2014, 22:21
I recently bought an old 5x7 which came with a few boxes of early 1960s era Tri-X. I have no plans to use it. It certainly was not frozen or carefully stored.

Is there any use to this stuff? Huck it? Burn it and recover a gram of silver from the slag?



Emmanuel BIGLER
14-Dec-2014, 07:25
Hello from France!

My advice would be : by all means use it.
Black & White film is incredibly resistent to ageing, even when it has been exposed and not processed!
What could happen with very old film is: loss of sensivity / constrast and increased base fog.
There exist some chemicals (quoting from memory: benzotriazole) to be added in the developer to decrease fog, but simply do a test and process it as usual with your preferred chemicals.

There are many reports of silver-gelatin photographic plates that have been exposed and not developed for more than 50 years, and for which the image could be retrieved.
In your case, the film is brand new and you won't be facing the question : how long a latent image can be stored in an unexposed film?
What could damage the film is: moisture or chemical vapours or X rays getting into the film package.
If the film has been kept sealed and away from any source of chemical vapours or X rays, the probability that you can use it is very high, but you'll know about it only by exposing and processing it.

I'm mentionnig X rays or radioactivity because radioactivity was discovered by accident by Henri Becquerel, because he had left for months or years in a forgotten drawer, unexposed film loaded in LF film holders covered by metallic objects and some uranium salts on top of the stack. He did not remember if the film had been exposed or not, so he processed them and discovered the shadow of metallic objects imprinted on film!!

So if your film has been kept reasonably far from uranium salts or leaking X ray generators, you have no chance to re-discover the bad effects of penetrant radiation ;)

Good luck !

14-Dec-2014, 07:32
if you don't want or trust the old film, there others who would love to have it--me included. Price of shipping plus a little extra?

John Kasaian
14-Dec-2014, 07:57
Certainly test some of that Tri-X before deciding what to do. You've got nothing to lose but a wee bit of chemistry.

14-Dec-2014, 08:24
i only use expired film and paper.
some say the rule of thumb is the film drops in speed 1 fstop / decade.
some also suggest hc110 is a good low-fog developer
personally, i would do a few tests / bracket exposures using a darkslide infront of your lens ( like a test strip on your film )
starting at about iso 100 maybe 4 exposures. i have never used hc110 but dilute print developers like dektol and ansco130.

who knows, maybe you will like the look ? i know i do ...

14-Dec-2014, 12:12
I recently found some TRI-x sheets that I exposed about 1980 and forgot to develop... 34 years!

I used HC110 dilution B about 7 min at 68 degrees and the results were very acceptable. FB+F was about .3, as expected, but the image was printable. Noted lower contrast and loss of shadow detail.

It would be interesting and helpful to know what success others have had in processing film exposed long ago and the specific developers and processes used.

Can anything be done to better preserve shadow detail ?

Peter Lewin
14-Dec-2014, 13:21
If I had to guesstimate, you'll find it works ok at ASA 25 or 50. That's why everyone suggests some test shots. But one of the joys of long-expired film like that is that you can shoot "for free," i.e. try things you might not attempt at $1 per exposure. Its very freeing.