Can you identify this film?

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

  1. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Hi

    Just came back from a used-stuff dealer, I was scanning the place for used photographic equipment ^^
    Found mostly pretty nasty and dusty Canon FD cameras and a few soligor lenses.

    In one of the isles, I found what seemed to be a Agfa bulk film.
    The canister is pretty large though, about the same size as the Polypan boxes (10-12 cm in diameter or 4-5 inches).

    As far as I know, the box has been sitting there for "ages", in room temperature, so I really have my doubts if the film inside is shoot-able.
    The box seemed to be well sealed (never opened), due to the thick, black tape that was on there, but you never know, right? :D

    Does anyone know what kind of film we are talking about (ISO etc)? See the photo-attachment.

    I wonder what, if anything, I should offer the store for this box, because in my mind, the film is probably pretty funky by now. :smile:
     

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  2. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    The canister seems very old as you stated. There is a lable on the top stating that it was for an Arriflex which as far as I know is a movie camera. They were made in 35mm and 16mm sizes. It also states that it is panchromatic and judging by the size of the can it is probably a 200 ft length. I would also hazard a guess at it being for Black and white only and going by the films available at that time I would say it is probably no more than 50 or 100 ISO

    I have just looked at the lable again and it is 35mm and in a 177feet length

    At a rough estimate (guestimate) I would put it around the 1955-60 date so your reasoning that it is finished won't be far from the truth
     
  3. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    The I.G. Farbenindustrie, Berlin, as the manufacturer would appear to date the film as pre-1951. Agfa was one of the subsidiaries of this group which was broken-up around that time after various war-crime accusations, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IG_Farben
     
  4. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Wow, that's interesting. =)

    Would be interesting to see if the film is perforated, so that it would be used in a 35mm cameras for example.
    I would believe that a 50-100 ISO film, more or less stored in room temperature all it's life, would be very foggy (or even dead).
    - Maybe it's already exposed and contain some unknown war-footage, that would be something! Haha =)

    No idea what I should offer the store-owner though, I could argue that the only value here is probably the box and the label, as the film most likely is dead.

    $5 ? :smile:
     
  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I don't know that I have ever seen any photographic product before with the warning label: "Open Only In Green Light"
     
  6. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    By the label, it is panchromatic negative film for an Arriflex motion picture camera. (I think the Arriflex preferred film with a somewhat special perforation, although it was generally similar to the ASA standard.) Interestingly, the length is marked in English units (177 feet, or about 54 meters). That is an odd length, but it may have fit some magazine peculiar to the Arriflex. It is indeed old; my guess is the 50s. I can't get to my reference materials right now, but maybe someone with a really old PLI of some older Agfa books can find it.
     
  7. cmacd123

    cmacd123 Subscriber

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    outside the Soviet union, Movie Negative uses Bell and Howell Perforations which have rounded ends. the difference is not important to still cameras.

    My worry if presented with stock that old is that it might be on a nitrate base! The sticker does not say "safety Film" or the german equivalent anywhere.
     
  8. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    After a bit more digging about I have come to the conclusion that it could be even pre war or at least during the war. This would also give more weight for the condition of the container. In 1945 the Company IG Farben was seized by the Alies and split up. The Agfa Photo business went to East Germany and was resurrected as ORWO (This was an anagram of Original Wolfen Wolfen was the town where it was established).

    (Interestingly when I was in the British Army serving in Germany in 1976-79 we used to get briefings about security and one of those was not to use ORWO film because it was sent back into the eastern zone for processing and no doubt looked at for any intelligence that could be gleaned from it.)

    The name 'Agfa'. reappeared on film around 1952 after a company using the name AGFA was established in Leverkusen, in Western Germany.

    It is more than possible, almost certainly very likely, that the film base is nitrate (Acetate didn't become common until around 1955) but has kept relatively stable though being cased in the tin and presumably some sort of wrapping internally. However nitrate can deteriorate in air, turn sticky and unstable; turning into what is, to all intents and purposes, gun-cotton. Highly inflammable at best, explosive at worst. I would stay well clear of it.
     
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  9. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Thank you guys for the information.

    I tried some hard-core googling on this and I came up with nothing/very little, at least when trying to search via the camera it was used on. Trying to google the other stuff on the box, gave just about nada. :smile:

    By the way, what will set off silver nitrate film? I thought it wasn't "very flammable", but that it burned well if it did catch fire...? (Not like it's going to explode in-camera is it? =D )
     
  10. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    It has been known to self ignite!!!!!!!
     
  11. jm94

    jm94 Member

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    And not only that, it will burn under water too (obviously without a flame) if it does ignite. it can decompose into a sticky goo, too.
     
  12. Helinophoto

    Helinophoto Member

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    Hahaha, that's hillarious! =)
    I'm going back to the guy and tell him that I can take this fire-hazard off his hands if HE gives ME $5 :smile:
     
  13. cmacd123

    cmacd123 Subscriber

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    Actually the "Nitrate" in this case refers to Cellulose Nitrate - AKA gun Cotton. and is the film base. It is always Very falable, and can self ignite. It is also Auto catalytic in that the gases it gives off as it deteriorates can speed up deterioration. You might very well find a sticky mess instead of a roll of film. with an ignition point approaching normal room temperature. Have a chat with someone from a film archives before handling the can, or pwehaps the Bomb Squad.
     
  14. rhcgn

    rhcgn Member

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    Hi there,

    the film you found has a nitrocellulose base. It is a movie film, on a 50mm reel, and the emulsion is on the inside. If I remember correctly the ISO is around 50. Which was actually quite fast in the late 30's when this film was produced, hence the name. Directors liked to use it for interior shots for this reason. For example Roberto Rosselini used it extensively in Roma, Citta Aperta (a very good movie btw.)
    As other have mentioned, films with a nitrocellulose base pose quite a threat, however, it only gets really problematic for film archives that store vast quantities of the material. However, starting at 38°C (100F)the material can self-ignite, and a tightly closed film container in high temperatures is the worst way to store it. The material can degrade quite badly over time, depending on humidity and temperatures. Basically there are five stages, stage 1 is a bit of shrinking an shifting to an amber colour with a slightly sour smell, stage two it becomes a bit more sticky(sour smell gets stronger), stage 3 bubbly, and stage 5 you have a gooey mass.. you get the idea. (all this pertains to developed film though). I did a bit of research on the matter after I came across quite a few reels of nitrate film from my grandfather. Ours were stored in the basement with low an constant temperatures and they were absolutely fine, except two or three which had gotten wet and were mouldy. They were copied to safety film and properly disposed of shortly after.

    If you can contain your curiosity I would just not bother with the stuff (be so kind and tell the store of the potential hazard though). Usually it's not a big deal to have a look after you cooled it down in a fridge, in a well ventilated space. Since this is most likely unexposed you would have to open in the darkroom, cut off a sample, and close the can before being able to examine your specimen. Personally I don't think it is worthwhile to attempt to shoot with it. The box is quite nice though. Here is a video to give you an idea how it burns:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mZDt8vYMBw
     
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