View Full Version : Expired E6 film - how long is still OK

Matus Kalisky
6-Feb-2009, 00:56

When I bought at some point several boxes of 4x5 Kodak E100G and E100VS (close to expiry date then) from a large seller than claimed he stores the film in a freezer. Now - my consumption was smaller than expected and now I have still 3 boxes of E100VS and 4 E100G. The expiry date are 12/2006 and 09/2006 respectively.

I am going to New Zealand on end of March and planned to take about 80 sheets of 4x5 film what is about 200 euro here. I am wondering whether I could expect problems with the expired film.

Last time I used was August 2008. At that point I did get a bit of funny place on one of the slides (like "pepper colony" with diameter of about 1cm with cyan color in the reagin where there was deep dark water - it was still "repairable" with PS) which could have been processing problem too. Also that film was quite long loaded = long out of the freezer.

I know I should go ant test, but few OK test shots must not show the problem with rest 30.

Bottom line: How long to trust expired E6 film when it was most of the time stored in a freezer.


6-Feb-2009, 05:33

Last time I used was August 2008. At that point I did get a bit of funny place on one of the slides (like "pepper colony" with diameter of about 1cm with cyan color in the reagin where there was deep dark water - it was still "repairable" with PS) which could have been processing problem too. Also that film was quite long loaded = long out of the freezer.

i was thinking of a slightly different response till i read this paragraph. seems to say it all to me! buy new stuff. at least get 10-20 sheets of new stuff and bring some old stuff.

E6 is funny stuff. i have used film that was 4-6 years old and had no problems. then i had some problems with much "fresher" expired E6.

as you noted you can fix most any problems with photos shop. so if you are handl maybe you do not need to buy more. my problem batch of E6 had missing pieces of emulsion....almost like pinholes.

a bit OT but i would suggest you buy color C41 film anyway. while i love E6 i find the C41 film a bit more useful in all the "less-than-perfect" lighting conditions. the latitude is far better. E6 rules in early morning late in the day perfect light but after that you may encounter difficulties. i finally realized this in a big way in the grand canyon and bryce canyon a few years back.

test a few sheets of what you got. they all should be similar.


Frank Petronio
6-Feb-2009, 07:08
I think the emulsion lifts over time and heat exposure, and it's probable the color will shift as some dye ages differently than the others. Old B&W seems tougher.

6-Feb-2009, 07:38
Alot of my film is E100G dated 12/2006 and it has been indistinguishable from new.

The pepper colony was most likely an issue on the emulsion from new or a problem in the processing I would think. If it has been stored in the freezer there should be no problem. However if this is a trip of a lifetime and you really want to be sure, then buy new and have confidence in the film.

I wouldn't recommend C-41 for grand landscape shots, especially if you haven't used them before. I've been testing out loads of C-41 films in 35mm with some interest in this. For intimate scenes, they can be quite nice, but there are several things I do not like about them (at least the ones available in 4X5) when used for grand landscapes. Kodak Ektar, UC100 and Fuji Reala 100 have all been pretty good, but none are available in sheets. The most prominent problems are the lack of true blue skies and the tendency for grain to appear in highlights rather than shadows. The only film I've used with a very clean blue sky comparable to slide film is Reala.

6-Feb-2009, 07:46
I've recently been shooting some Agfa RS in 4x5 that expired in 1992. Everything else I use is at least a couple years old.

Dan Fromm
6-Feb-2009, 07:53
I keep my E-6 film in the freezer. Aged (at room temperature) E-6 tends to go a bit magenta, so if y'r film's been warm for a significant length of time, test before using if you can.

Matus Kalisky
6-Feb-2009, 11:17
thanks. I will probably take the old but also get some new.

Although I did not mention it I will take some C-41 as well (Fuji Pro160S). I used it before and know what to expect. But C-41 I have to buy new as I have only one opened box.

It is just a pity there are only 10 sheet boxes available around. 25 or even 50 sheet boxes would be much more practical and look less suspicious to the custom officers. I may still order from abroad though as they seem to be available abroad.

If you know any source for 25 or 50 sheet boxes in Europe please let me know.

6-Feb-2009, 20:12
My experience is that, properly stored E-6 film looks good till it gets 3 years or so out of date, and after 5 years, its' rather dicey, and will have some kind of colour shift, and may not be usable. So, my guess is that your film is likely still good, but I would test a few sheets before a trip, or any kind serious shooting, to make sure.

8-Feb-2009, 05:35
after all of this be sure to let us know how the trip went....we are counting on you so we can live vicariously through you.


Matus Kalisky
9-Feb-2009, 15:41
Thank you all. I will indeed try a few sheets before taking off. Once I am back, have my film freshly developed and scanned - I will post my experiences. Though it may take some time (=developing + scanning).

Ben Syverson
10-Feb-2009, 19:28
E6 is extremely resilient, at least compared to C41...

I don't hesitate to use E6 that's been expired for years. The only time I ever saw any discernible difference was when I shot a slide film that had expired 7 years previous -- that stuff came out a little pink. I actually liked it, but it's easy enough to remove color casts either digitally or (less likely) when you're printing photochemically.

2006 stock should be fine still. I think they make the expiration dates conservative to make you buy new film, and so they can guarantee absolute color accuracy for people who care about that kind of thing (product photographers?).

10-Feb-2009, 22:19
ive shot very old E6 with no issues... 15 year old EPP and EPR. I actually like the way it looks! the shot below is from a roll of 120 with an expiration of 1994.

10-Mar-2009, 17:23
I too have shot very old E6 film, 10 or more years out of date, with essentially no noticeable problems. Since I don't process my own film, I have experienced problems with certain labs over the years which had absolutely nothing to do with the age of the film I was using. I actually prefer Fuji RDP II over its newer version RDP III and I have a refrigerator full of the older stuff. Out of date several years already. Although I'm no expert, I suspect that constantly fluctuating temperature is one of the major sources of lost film quality. I always keep my film in a separate refrigerator, in doubled zip-lock bags, and rarely open the door for more than a few seconds except to remove what I plan to use. My suspicion for those that report significant problems with outdated film is that they weren't careful enough about keeping the temperature steady. My opinion for what it's worth........ Bob G