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Thread: Followup On Processing Very Old (1961) Film

  1. #1

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    Followup On Processing Very Old (1961) Film

    I finally got around to making some test prints from the negatives I made from Super-XX that had expired in January of 1961.

    Scans of the prints here:

    https://ozzie.tundraware.com/SuperXX/

    Notes:

    • Shot handheld with a 2x3 Speed Graphic ... hence the lack of absolute sharpness.
    • D-23 1:1 and Pyrocat-HD 1.5:1:200 both semistand processed (1 midpoint agitation after initial) for 60 minutes.
    • The image imperfections on the D-23 image likely were caused by the first sheet of film in the box being stuck to the wrapper. Not shocking after 61+ years.
    • The Pyrocat negative shows more apparent fog where the D-23 negative shows nothing remarkable. I cannot tell whether this is truly fog or merely the very visible presence of Pyro stain (likely).
    • Both developers delivered the full box ASA 200.
    • To my eye, the Pyrocat negative shows less grain, noting that Super-XX was considered grainy in its time, and would be especially so compared to modern film.



    All-in-all, it looks like semistand processing of very old films yields entirely useful images. The only question for me is whether I should try this with films made in the 1940s
    Silver Photographers Never Die, They're Just Getting Fixed

  2. #2

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    Re: Followup On Processing Very Old (1961) Film

    They look very good, with the PCat the better of the two in several ways. The reduced grain is a normal result of using PCAt.

  3. #3
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Followup On Processing Very Old (1961) Film

    image

  4. #4

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    Re: Followup On Processing Very Old (1961) Film

    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    That's really cool.

    I am aware of the various "old film tricks" like using Potassium Bromide. I am specifically looking at low agitation as a technique for bringing old film to its full potential. So far, with one exception, semistand Pyrocat-HD (preferred to D-23 because of grain) has been flawless. The only exception was old Plus-X which showed horrible bromide drag semistanding in P-Cat, but not in D-23.
    Silver Photographers Never Die, They're Just Getting Fixed

  5. #5
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Followup On Processing Very Old (1961) Film

    I'd be worried about reticulation or frilling off of the emulsion with long soak times, especially with old thick-emulsion films. Seen it happen.

  6. #6

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    Re: Followup On Processing Very Old (1961) Film

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    I'd be worried about reticulation or frilling off of the emulsion with long soak times, especially with old thick-emulsion films. Seen it happen.
    So far at least, I've not seen that. The trick to avoiding reticulation appears to be to keep temperatures consistent from bath to bath to wash to avoid thermally shocking the film.
    Silver Photographers Never Die, They're Just Getting Fixed

  7. #7
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Followup On Processing Very Old (1961) Film

    image

  8. #8

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    Re: Followup On Processing Very Old (1961) Film

    Addendum: Upon inspecting some of the unexposed sheets, I see that the non-emulsion side shows blotchy discoloration and at least one of the emulsion sides shows an imperfection. This isn't shocking, given the age of this stuff. My overall conclusion is that - while it is indeed possible to get very usable negatives - the physical imperfections of film this old make is unusable for anything important.
    Silver Photographers Never Die, They're Just Getting Fixed

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