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Thread: Developing old films

  1. #1

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    Developing old films

    Digging out my film processing gear from storage (yay i have a patterson #4 tank i forgot about. ) i found about five rolls of 120 hp4 film we must have shot 14 years ago, plus a roll of indeterminate film that was in one of our antique cameras when we bought it. I have to see if there's an indication whether it is color or b&w.

    Any adjustments to processing this kind of thing, or just do the normal developers and times and then compensate in scanning/printing? (still have to buy chemicals, so i'm flexible on what to get)...

  2. #2
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Developing old films

    I don't know, but I do know if I post, others will come

    That film is not that old, I have shot and processed 120 year old glass negative plate

    My hat to the left was that plate

    I suggest stronger concentrations of whatever Fresh! chems you have

    Ilford PQ will work too

    Test one frame or sheet
    Images vastly preferred

    not game trying to


    focus


    In Time

  3. #3

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    Re: Developing old films

    I agree that 14-years old is not that old. D-23 and HC-110 are frequently recommended as low fog developers. If I were you, I’d try whatever normal developer you’re used to and give it 20% more development.

  4. #4

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    Re: Developing old films

    Quote Originally Posted by j.e.simmons View Post
    I agree that 14-years old is not that old. D-23 and HC-110 are frequently recommended as low fog developers. If I were you, I’d try whatever normal developer you’re used to and give it 20% more development.
    Yeah, umm, "what i am used to" - last time i developed film was 14 years ago. And back then i let hubby do the heavy lifting - he was the photographer after all. Maybe i should develop some other stuff before dipping my toes in with this stuff. I was just kind of hoping i'd find some photos of him in the bunch... no notes as to what cameras they were shot on, so no idea as to the exposures. I'm sure they'll be all over the place. (The clack only had one shutter speed anyhow, and the other cameras we never tested, so they're unknowns too).
    I'll try one roll at +20% and see how it turns out before doing the others :-)

  5. #5
    David Schaller
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    Re: Developing old films

    I would get reacquainted with developing before doing these old films, especially if there's a possibility of meaningful photos. If you wait until you're consistently developing roll films again, and confident in your process, you'll be less likely to make mistakes from being rusty. I would practice with a bunch of fresh rolls of HP5 first, and get your normal times and process worked out.

  6. #6

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    Re: Developing old films

    Ha, thought i had replied.

    Good advice, David. Guess i am just being too impatient...
    Nearly went ahead and used some developer i found in the same box as the film, only the stores being closed saved me from trying that experiment, since i had no stop or fix on hand.

    Turns out the technidol developer i found sells for 30 bucks a pair on ebay. - i should list it and buy a whole set of fresh chemicals in its stead. And it likely would not be the best choice for my old film anyhow...
    i like what i am reading bout the hc 110. Ah, so much to learn...

  7. #7

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    Re: Developing old films

    If you haven’t found it, look this over about HC-110
    http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/hc110/

    I used HC-110 for many years and was happy with it. I only changed because I wanted to use a staining developer.

  8. #8
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Developing old films

    I see you are in Toronto

    I suggest buying local, https://www.filmplus.ca/film.html is open Monday

    I prefer Blazinal (formerly Agfa Rodinal) as it lasts forever, it never goes bad, also cheap.

    I usually mix it 1 part to 100 part distilled water which is good for one use of one roll of 35mm, one roll of 120 or 4 sheets of 4X5.

    A thin liquid, no powders to inhale

    Stop bath is plain distilled water, fixer bath take your pick, some smell less than others, again distilled water may be desirable

    All steps should be close in temp

    I use this for times https://www.digitaltruth.com/devchart.php





    I like this developer as it easy to use, one of the oldest still in use

    Everybody here has a favorite developer and many ways to make developing film very difficult

    It's actually very easy at first...
    Images vastly preferred

    not game trying to


    focus


    In Time

  9. #9

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    Re: Developing old films

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    I prefer Blazinal (formerly Agfa Rodinal) as it lasts forever, it never goes bad, also cheap.
    Oh there are some heated debates on Rodinal and HP5.

    Anyhow. Since i don't know just how much (little) film i will be developing, the Blazinol does seem to be the cheaper option. (The plan was to get into 4x5 via paper negatives) so I'm not sure i want to spend triple the $$$ on hc-110.
    Also, never was big on ISO 400 film, so in the long run, the Rodinal is likely a decent option. I only have one more roll of 120 hp5 so that should really not factor all that highly into my consideration.

    Gotta admit, this is the part of photography i am not too big about. The large format, the tilts and shifts etc is geometry, i have a decent handle on that. Even the exposure calculations. But the chemistry, is just always a bit too abstract for me. Maybe as i do more developing it will start to make (real life) sense to me.

  10. #10

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    Re: Developing old films

    I’m trained in the arts, not science, so the mad scientist aspect of photography fascinates me.

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