Determine age of found Tri-X Pan 400

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by mikepadua, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. mikepadua

    mikepadua Member

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    I found a roll of Tri-x pan film, ASA 400, and I want to shoot it. However I've never exposed this kind of film, and I have no idea how old the roll is.

    See the picture below; can anyone estimate how old it might be by the print/design on the roll? It doesn't have any DX coding on it.

    I've also never shot black and white before...so assuming I can figure out roughly how old it is, how would I go about adjusting for exposure? Pretty much all of my experience is in color negative films.


    tri-x pan film.jpg
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Welcome to APUG.

    That film has an ASA speed rating printed on it, rather than the current ISO nomenclature.

    That indicates it is at least 25 years old, and more likely older.

    It has likely undergone at least some deterioration over that period of time. This means that it would be hard to predict whether it will perform well, perform adequately or disappoint entirely.

    If you had a bunch of the film, and at least some indication that it had all been stored together, we could give you advice on how to test it for usability and how to modify your technique to take into account its age.

    But without at least a couple of rolls to first "waste" on tests, it would be a bad idea to take any photos on it that might matter.

    A fun experiment might be to shoot a new roll of Tri-X beside this roll, and see how they compare.
     
  3. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Looks like early/mid 70s. Then rule of thumb is usually 1 stop per decade, but I'd try shooting it at EI 100. Don't be quick to write it off though.
     
  4. mikepadua

    mikepadua Member

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    I only have the one roll; I figure, why not give it a shot. Thanks for the insights--I'll try shooting it and I'll get what I get.
     
  5. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Bare in mind that the current version of Tri-X has other developing times than the previous version. Don't know about your version, but check first before developing it like "standard" Tri-X.
     
  6. mikepadua

    mikepadua Member

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    Thank you! I'm new to this so I appreciate the heads-up.
     
  7. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    mikepadua,

    clayne gave a good estimate. I found old Tri-X speed was 64 once. So anywhere around 100 to 64 are good speeds to try.

    This is why: Since the film is so old it will have very likely "fogged" with age. Fog makes the whole film look a little gray (you would get gray results if you developed it as-is).

    So when you use exposure speed 100 to shoot it, instead of the normal speed 400, you overexpose enough to "rise above the fog".

    In the end, your negatives will be denser than usual, and a little grainier. You print for longer exposure times, and effectively do not see the fog at all in the print (except for the grain it added).
     
  8. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    I shot cassetts that looked like that in 1982.... the cassetts started changing to other graphics about 1984 then on to dx ect in the later 80's.
     
  9. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    It's older than that DX codes came along 25 ish years ago.
     
  10. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I notice also it has DIN 27 on it, which gives away it's age.

    Jeff
     
  11. foc

    foc Member

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    ASA and DIN were superseded by ISO in the mid 1980's around the same time as DX codes on film cassettes and negs was introduced. That would put your film nearer to 30 years old.
     
  12. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    They still make Tri-X that you can buy and use. If you have never exposed or processed B&W before, you can use your old roll of film to practice loading a film processing reel.
     
  13. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Better yet: get an expired film (any brand) for $1 to practice with and use the Tri-X for shooting.
     
  14. avortex

    avortex Member

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    To shoot it at 100 ASA is a good idea, as has been stated before.
    I recommend to process it using "Stand development" after that...
     
  15. mexipike

    mexipike Subscriber

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    Someone posted in another thread that the best thing to use for really old film is d-76. I remember Simon from Ilford agreed but don't remember all the details. Maybe someone else can refresh my memory.

    Good luck!
     
  16. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    If it has a short (current) leader on it it is post 72 long leader pre but forgotten when they changed exactly.

    Id stick it on eBay people will pay for nostalgia more valuable if you have tub and pack.

    edit

    if you wanna try load and shoot one frame rewind cut and soup in ID11 with added KBr and BZT.

    Id not bother normally lots of fog.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 30, 2013
  17. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    I agree....if you're just wanting a film to use to take pictures (as against any particular interest in experimenting with old films), I'd put this one on Ebay as a collectors items, and use the proceeds to buy a fresh film. Old films are becoming very collectable.
     
  18. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    My prudent suggestion is to do a 'clip test'. That will definitively tell you which direction to go.

    In the dark, cut off about two inches of UNexposed film and place it on the film aperture of your camera (of course, in the dark). Shoot a scene with much variety of tones at EI 100. Process normally. Wash and dry. Now, with a magnifying glass and a white piece of paper behind it, scrutinize the negative carefully to observe both shadow detail and highlight rendition, as well as general contrast. You can make your final analysis for the film doing this.

    About ten years ago I bought two 100 ft rolls of Tri-X that 'expired' in 1958. Its current speed is about EI 32 and fog is surprisingly manageable. It is amazing how good some really old B&W film can be. It's just that too many (most) simply guess and shoot the whole roll and then are disappointed. - David Lyga