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View Full Version : eBay film holders came with film in them - what to do?



fishbulb
10-Jan-2015, 17:01
I bought a lot of 30 Fidelity Elite 4x5 holders off of eBay recently. When they arrived, I found that they already had film in them! So, at least one is probably wrecked, but the other 59 sheets of film are probably OK.

I have contacted the seller through eBay but haven't heard anything back and I don't really expect to.

Thoughts?

I need to figure out what kind of film it is based on the notches, and also how many have film (all seem to from a few I checked in the bathroom), and how many different types of film are in there.

Is there any way to tell if the film's been exposed, or what age it is? (I doubt it but maybe there is, who knows)

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jbenedict
10-Jan-2015, 17:07
S'pose you could expose a couple of sheets. If you can't tell the film type by the notches, expose one @ 160 ASA and the other side @ 400 ASA and then develop like Tri-X in D76 (or your favorite developer). If the film is any good, you should get some sort of image and give yourself an idea of what might work when you shoot the rest. If you get 'double images' in the processed sheets, maybe try to develop a few more.

My guess is they are unexposed film.

fishbulb
10-Jan-2015, 17:16
Just checked some more of them. The notches all perfectly match Ilford FP4 Plus (ISO 125), looking at the tables of film notches that are available on the web. Also, the white side of the dark slide is out on them all. I am betting unexposed film too.

Jac@stafford.net
10-Jan-2015, 17:26
Given the same sides are showing on all, then developing one sheet each from two different holders should do to raise the chances that the rest will have the same outcome. I would go with that, else go with jbenedict's test. Same thing, really. Regardless, you will be able to see if the film is fogged from age or any other reason.

I'm guessing they came from an estate sale?
.

fishbulb
10-Jan-2015, 17:32
Ack. "Cancel the world search!"

I had the bright idea to check the ebay post again and... "Also they are all loaded with a good sheet of fp4 film."

Well there you go. Teachers always said I needed to work on reading comprehension.... :(

Andrew O'Neill
10-Jan-2015, 19:13
Don't know where you live, or where the film loaded holders came from, but there is a good chance that the film could be buggered from being x-rayed. Expose one sheet (making sure there are some even toned areas in the scene) and process. If x-rays got to it, you will see it as bands of increased density.

koh303
10-Jan-2015, 20:56
why risk it. are your photos not worth the effort you put in to them to risk with unknown film? Maybe the PO did not know how to load?
Buy new film, support the industry, keep the ball rolling - this is how you do it.

fishbulb
10-Jan-2015, 22:01
why risk it. are your photos not worth the effort you put in to them to risk with unknown film?

You may want to wait until you've seen my photos, but no, they're not. Total 4x5 sheets exposed by yours truly to date: 14. I need the practice.


Maybe the PO did not know how to load?

I'm willing to take that chance to get 60 'free' shots. The ones I've checked in the darkroom seem to be loaded fine.


Buy new film, support the industry, keep the ball rolling - this is how you do it.

Ah yes, support the corporations that continue to mismanage their film businesses (often to the point of bankruptcy), failed to anticipate or navigate the transition of amateur photography to digital media, consequently damaging their core consumer business segments to the point that they can no longer support professional and large format film production, and continue to shut down plants, cease production of excellent products, and otherwise disappoint photographers? I think you're right - the wasteful action of throwing $70 of film in the toilet would certainly be in the spirit of the industry.

BrianShaw
10-Jan-2015, 22:47
I've always just pulled the film out and throw it away. I'm not at all curious about situations like that.

Alan Gales
10-Jan-2015, 22:58
I've always just pulled the film out and throw it away. I'm not at all curious about situations like that.

I bought a big cardboard box of 8x10 film holders. Most were empty but some had film. The owner had passed and his daughter was selling them. I tossed the film. I wasn't going to waste my time and money on an unknown.

Liquid Artist
11-Jan-2015, 00:12
I am the opposite, I like trying a few shots and seeing what happens with mystery film.
Although I haven't lucked out and captured anything decent on LF I have on 35mm.

Roger Thoms
11-Jan-2015, 00:19
Well, the holders look clean, they are in Ziploc bags, and the seller identified the film as good FP4. I would definitely shoot a couple sheets and see for myself if the film was any good.

Roger

DG 3313
11-Jan-2015, 00:33
I would shoot the (E) film and replace it with my current film. The holders were what you paid for...the film in them was a bonus. You may find a very special image as an unexpected extra..........

But, I would never shoot a job with unknown film or film handling....

Light Guru
11-Jan-2015, 07:10
why risk it. are your photos not worth the effort you put in to them to risk with unknown film? Maybe the PO did not know how to load?
Buy new film, support the industry, keep the ball rolling - this is how you do it.

Yea the film could be messed up by heat, age, etc. I would not shoot anything important in it.

You can use the sheets to practice loading holders.

I keep some sheets that came in some holders to show people who want to know what the film looks like.

koh303
11-Jan-2015, 07:17
You may want to wait until you've seen my photos, but no, they're not. Total 4x5 sheets exposed by yours truly to date: 14. I need the practice.



I'm willing to take that chance to get 60 'free' shots. The ones I've checked in the darkroom seem to be loaded fine.



Ah yes, support the corporations that continue to mismanage their film businesses (often to the point of bankruptcy), failed to anticipate or navigate the transition of amateur photography to digital media, consequently damaging their core consumer business segments to the point that they can no longer support professional and large format film production, and continue to shut down plants, cease production of excellent products, and otherwise disappoint photographers? I think you're right - the wasteful action of throwing $70 of film in the toilet would certainly be in the spirit of the industry.

if we do not buy new film, there will be none sooner then later. Ilford Adox and Efke and Bergger are not evil, some are even employee owned. Kodak film production is now owned by the UK workers union. Fuji? they make the best (and only in most cases) film available. if you do not by the little they make, they will not make it. its a simple equation.

BrianShaw
11-Jan-2015, 08:03
Bergger?? I thought they stopped distributing film a long time ago. Did they resume?

Sevo
11-Jan-2015, 08:33
Bergger?? I thought they stopped distributing film a long time ago. Did they resume?

They still list one slow ortho film on their site. Positively a niche product, the German distributors of their paper don't appear to be selling it.

jnantz
11-Jan-2015, 08:41
i wouldn't bother with the seller ... he or she obviously doesn't know or doesn't care
about the film in the holders :)
maybe just exposing a few sheets at a time on a whim* and processing it on a whim ..
you could always remove all the film from your film holders
cut it up into small pieces and use them to test your fixer to see when it is exhausted.

* whim meaning on things that don't matter just for fun without a care if the film does or doesn't work out..

TXFZ1
11-Jan-2015, 09:00
Use the film as a test the holders for light leaks.

David

scheinfluger_77
11-Jan-2015, 09:23
I agree with this acually. I've had the same experience with film holder purchase and spent more time trying to figure out what is what than just unloading them and putting in my film in instead.

why risk it. are your photos not worth the effort you put in to them to risk with unknown film? Maybe the PO did not know how to load?
Buy new film, support the industry, keep the ball rolling - this is how you do it.

Alan Gales
11-Jan-2015, 12:01
I remember the Ebay auction where the ignorant Seller opened the box of sheet film to show the film in his photographs.

I wonder if he ever figured out why no one bid on his auction. :rolleyes:

DannL
11-Jan-2015, 12:10
If it were I, I would have tossed the film immediately. I wouldn't have had a second thought about it.

alavergh
11-Jan-2015, 14:14
If you've only shot 14, chances are there is some use for the film. Sometimes it's just getting in the practice of shooting. Develop a couple and confirm that there's nothing on them, then burn them on some tests. Do some landscapes, some portraits, some macro shots. Maybe bracket a bit, or do zone system stuff with this film so you can do a "dry run" before you possibly do it on your own film. I know I'm low on funds, so if I can get some free film to have fun with, I'm going to use it. Being all sealed in ziplock bags and the seller knowing what kind of film it is should be at least some kind of indication that hopefully nobody has rummaged through them.

koh303
11-Jan-2015, 15:08
If you've only shot 14, chances are there is some use for the film. Sometimes it's just getting in the practice of shooting. Develop a couple and confirm that there's nothing on them, then burn them on some tests. Do some landscapes, some portraits, some macro shots. Maybe bracket a bit, or do zone system stuff with this film so you can do a "dry run" before you possibly do it on your own film. I know I'm low on funds, so if I can get some free film to have fun with, I'm going to use it. Being all sealed in ziplock bags and the seller knowing what kind of film it is should be at least some kind of indication that hopefully nobody has rummaged through them.

How could any of these tests other than actual loading unloading tell anyone anything? The film is a mystery, the condition unknown, the age unknown, the time it was in the holders unknown. None of the above will ever be repeated for these tests to be worth anything as far as developing is concerned, not to mention trying to hunt down what appears to be a processing error, but is in fact not.

BUY NEW FRESH FILM and carry on.

Randy Moe
11-Jan-2015, 15:15
Time or money. Which do you have?

fishbulb
11-Jan-2015, 16:45
Time or money. Which do you have?

Both! Double income, no kids. I started using the film today, two (slightly different) shots of each scene I find. Taking a darkroom class starting in February. Hopefully I will expose all of this film before then, so I can use it to learn how to develop. For me, this is all just practice. Maybe I'll get some good shots but I probably won't. We'll see.

scheinfluger_77
11-Jan-2015, 20:30
LOL I remember seeing a couple of listings for agfa paper. the seller had the inner wrapper out of the box, not opened, but might as well have been.

I remember the Ebay auction where the ignorant Seller opened the box of sheet film to show the film in his photographs.

I wonder if he ever figured out why no one bid on his auction. :rolleyes:

StoneNYC
12-Jan-2015, 02:18
If it's for practice that's fine but ANYTHING you shoot that is important you should use film you loaded yourself.

I once bought a Grafmatic holder from someone, it came with film and I was told that in the auction.

Shot it all, developed it, and noticed all this red stuff coming out of the developer.

Turns out...

1. The film was a different film than the seller thought so I shot and developed it wrong
2. It didn't matter because the sheets must have all been exposed as they were all completely black
3. The red was particles of red wax Crayon, the seller's friend had borrowed it and numbered the film 1-6 on the film, presumably to understand how the film cycles or something I don't know.
4. My developing tank and MOD54 and chemistry bottles got ruined because I could never be sure these red wax particles could be entirely removed, they were sticking to everything (and the MOD54 is red so it was impossible to see if it was clean)
5. I wasted an entire day of shooting and developing for nothing.

The good thing was the seller was a VERY honorable guy and felt so bad he refunded the entire purchase cost and let me keep the holder AND bought me a new 2509n reel for my JOBO that got me away from the MOD54 and into rotary professing (his idea) but still not many sellers are this generous and not many buyers could be so fortunate, so this is the kind of nightmare scenario as to why multiple people are saying "throw it out" because you truly never know unless you've done it yourself... And even then you can't be totally sure hah!

Good luck!

Cor
12-Jan-2015, 02:55
Practice is the key word, you could even try to master tray processing, scratches are easily seen..;-) If you are starting out as you say you'll have a lot to learn and you can now for instance practice camera movements, development practices etc. Provided off course you get an image on film. But that should not be difficult to find out: if it's FP4 start with shooting a single image of a landscape (preferably even sky) at 80-100 asa, process this single sheet in trays with developer of choice (see The Massive Development chart on the internet), and that should give you enough answers on the film (provided you did not goof on exposure, closing the shutter, or one of the many other mistakes in LF..)

Enjoy,

Best,

Cor

steveo
12-Jan-2015, 03:39
Just shoot it, you'll quickly burn through those free shots, once you've got the hang of focusing you can worry about supporting the industry or balancing time/money.

By the logic of some of the posters above your first box or so will be a waste of time any way as you'll end up with at least as many ruined sheets as properly exposed ones, and of the ones not ruined by random acts of stupidity half will be out of focus. Don't ask me how I know...

koh303
13-Jan-2015, 09:09
This morning i prepared 80 film holders - most were loaded by PO's. Some were loaded backwards, some were loaded with films which notches are not even listed, some had moisture clung sheets, others had films that if they matched the labels, were at least 15 years loaded.
Is there anytime of day that setting up a 4X5 camera, bothering to compose and taking the time to shoot, worth the effort, if the film is an unknown? Film is cheap, buy fresh film and have no doubt.

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