View Full Version : Old box of film: no notches?

Marco Buonocore
18-Apr-2005, 17:44
Hello all,

I've got a question in regards to some old boxes of film I got when I purchased my 4x5 camera.

In particular a box of 50 sheets of Ektachrome 64 (EPR 6117) expired in 07/1996 (if that helps). Feeling around, I noticed that many of the sheets in the box have no notches. At first I thought maybe they were spacers in between film, but when I yanked one out, it was not the case. It's certainly film, although I couldn't tell you if it was transparency or negative by looking at it.

Anyways, what I'm wondering is: would there ever be a case where Kodak would have *not* notched their film? I'm just not sure if it's all EPR 6117, or if the fellow I bought it from mixed and matched boxes of film willy nilly. Is there anyway of identifying one of these un-notched films?

Also - on a slightly different note: I notice alot of this older film (I'm told it was frozen, but who can say?) has a slight bend in it. It's not as rigid as some of the new film I've bought. I know it's not ideal to use older film, but I'm kinda broke, and the temptation to practice with all these old boxes of Pro 100 is hard to resist. Any thoughts on whether or not this 'bend' is a bad sign or not?

Thanks in advance,

Mark Sawyer
18-Apr-2005, 18:25
Marco- I never heard of un-notched Ektachrome; all the stuff I shot (back in the `80's) was notched. Ektachrome would be trasparancy film, unless someone put a different film in the box. When you pulled the one out, did you note the orientation so you'll know which is the emulsion side when you load it? (Guess you can always pull another...)

I'd say shoot one sheet at ASA 64, get it processed, and find out whether it's worth practicing on or not, or even if it's an E-6 film. Processing at a lab can be as expensive as the film, but if it was frozen, it could still be fine ten years later. I don't know if another type of film would harm the E-6 chemistry; you might mention to the lab that you're not sure of the film type, maybe take the exposed sheet with you to show them.

Joe Smigiel
18-Apr-2005, 19:01
Can you describe the color of the sheet you took from the box? That may provide a clue as to what you have.

My guess is that someone loaded a darkroom film into the Ektachrome box based on the fact you say the film is not as rigid as other stuff you are used to. Ortho lith film like Kodalith is on a thinner base that makes it more flexible than pictorial film. If the film is sort of dark maroon on one side and a lighter maroon/flesh color on the other, I bet that is what you have.

Some older black and white emulsions tend to have sort of a greenish white emulsion and Tmax films are sort of magenta & metallic in appearence. Color negative emulsions are sort of orangeish.

If it doesn't sound like one of these types perhaps it actually is a transparency film that someone cut down from a larger stock size. If 3/4 of the film is not notched, maybe someone cut down some 8x10 into four 4x5s. This would leave only one sheet notched out of every four.

Marco Buonocore
18-Apr-2005, 20:01

Cutting the 8x10's into 4x5 makes sense as to why one in four is notched... Feeling through the box, it could very well be a quarter notched, the rest not... But who in their right mind would do that? Wouldn't it be a bit of a nightmare? The sheet I took out looked like it'd been handled, and looks like marks that were not made by myself.

As for the colour: one side is a sort of caramel browny yellow, and the other is a very dark maroon (like dried blood). I'm sure if I knew pantone colour codes, I could be a bit more accurate than that. It curls inwards on the side that is a lighter colour.

As it were, when I developed some ages ago one sheet came back all yellow and blown out, but I expected it was my fault as I was still sussing out using sheet film. Being the clever lad I am, I chucked it and didn't even pay attention to whether it was notched or not. If something like Kodalith were developed in E6, is that what the results would look like?

I apologize for all the silly questions - perhaps I'll just chuck this box and move on to the next. So far this is the only oddball, and all the velvia has been a pleasure to use. The results are fine by my (albeit low) standards.

Cheers, and thanks for the help.

Joe Smigiel
19-Apr-2005, 06:25
Well, if it seems as if only 1 in 4 sheets has a notch someone probably did cut down some 8x10 film. Pull one of the notched pieces and check the notch code against the published codes. You can find the codes on film boxes, online, in Kodak's Professional Photoguide or Films booklets, etc.

Steven Nestler
20-Apr-2005, 06:38
Once you ascertain what you have, here's a tip that may help you find the emulsion side when you're unsure. Wet your lips, and then blot them almost dry. When you put a corner of the film between your lips, the emulsion side will stick slightly.

Not the most scientific; or even hygienic; but the old-timers used it a great deal.


Matt Mengel
26-Apr-2005, 19:03
Kodalith Ortho 2556 type 3 in 4x5 has no notches. Dont ask me how you load it.