Any tips for long-expired Polaroid sheet film?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by adelorenzo, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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    I have some Polaroid Type 51 4x5 sheet film on the way, this is high-contrast black and white positive/negative film. About 30 years old. I'm fully aware that I might get nothing from it but the price was right at less than $1/sheet, compared to the $5-10 or more per sheet that the more recently expired stuff is fetching. Any tips for shooting film this old?

    I have heard 1 stop per decade for old roll film but I'm not sure if this would apply to Polaroid.

    In any case it should be interesting...
     
  2. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    My concern is that after 30 years, the developer pods have broken and/or dried out meaning you will get little (or no) developer spread, but you'll never know until you try. Good luck!
     
  3. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I've never had muck luck with old Polaroid film but others seem to have. Like the Prof said, the biggest problem will be the developer pod. give it a try. If the developer pod is still any good you'll get some image; if not, maybe none. My only advise is to have fun but don't get your hopes up too high until you see a result. Sometimes if the pod is even halfway "gooey" you can get some interesting artistic results. Enjoy!
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    not sure, but this might help ?
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/polaroid-expired/
    i googled about hydrating the monodeveloper
    and some people have attempted with a humidifier,
    and no on had much luck. if it was the #55 film
    you can remove the film/negative and just process it in
    normal developer ( it is reportedly panatomic x-like )

    have fun !
    john
     
  5. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    What is the attraction of old, old film?
     
  6. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Sometimes it is trying to get the last experience of a favorite emulsion; other times it is experimentation. It's all good.

     
  7. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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    The attraction for me is that it exists and it was cheap.

    I paid $1 for a 4x5 Polaroid back because I really hope that New 55 film will materialize in the future but in the meantime I'll try my luck with whatever old film I can buy on eBay.

    Granted 1980s is really old but even the 10-year expired Type 55 is selling for $5-10 a sheet.

    I've never shot a polaroid in my life so I'm kind of excited about the idea. If I get anything at all it will be really cool to see an image on something that was created that long ago.
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I have one pack of this 4x5 film and have tried 2 sheets. In both cases the pod of developer goo was dried out and cracked. It was just as Fred said above. They go bad.

    I sacrificed a 3rd to investigate and prove what was wrong. It was the pot for sure.

    PE
     
  9. jcoldslabs

    jcoldslabs Member

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    I have had really good luck with old Polaroid films; only a few have been dried out.

    Below is a shot I took a few months ago on type 55 that expired in 1981.


    [​IMG]

    Jonathan
     
  10. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    Feel the pods. They should feel a little like putty. If there are hard spots, I am afraid you will have little luck with it. The re humidifying comment may have some merit. Maybe with a syringe and some time you may resuscitate it. Just an idea.
     
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Buy a good piece of analog equipment or film rather than something dried out or useless and especially something that is a total bust!

    PE
     
  12. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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    Fact is if I had the cash I'd buy an 8x10 system only to shoot huge polaroids. So for now what ever kicks I can scrape up from 4x5 film will have to suffice. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    Thanks for the replies everyone I'll try to examine the developer pods when I get the film and see how they feel.
     
  13. amac212

    amac212 Member

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    I still shoot a lot of polaroid and there is nothing quite like it. No grain, just magic. I've had boxes where sheet after sheet were dried and then lo, good sheets! The thing you can count on with expired Pola sheets or packs is, well... nothing. The success / partial success / failure of one sheet will not dictate the prognosis of subsequent sheets. I simply would recommend shooting every last one just to be sure. Best of Luck!
     
  14. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2013
  15. Photo Engineer

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    Very very nice. I am happy that you got some good stuff.

    Maybe I should go back and look to see if some of mine are still ok.

    Thanks for showing us.

    PE
     
  16. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Artsy. Cool! But that's the look that made me stop using outdated Polaroid and "move on". The problem is that there really wasn't anywhere to move on to, so I just gave up on instant imaging, and transfers, and lifts. Oh, how I miss that.