Developing 18-year-old Tri-X Photos

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Dave Pritchard, May 26, 2009.

  1. Dave Pritchard

    Dave Pritchard Member

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    I am a procrastinator. I took photos of my infant son when he was one day old. I used Tri-X in a Nikon F camera using ambient light and no meter, in the hospital. My son is now 18 years old. My note on the film canister said "push one stop".

    I have started doing more with film lately, so had gotten some chemicals and got out my darkroom gear. The roll of film is now hanging up to dry. It looks printable, but I am a little out of practice evaluating negatives.

    I used Rodinal 1:75, water stop bath, and Kodak Professional Fixer (it has hardener in it). I used a plastic processing tank. All chemistry and filtered wash water was chilled to 15 degrees C. I put the Yankee tank in the refrigerator before loading the film. The room temperature is about 21 degrees C.

    After about a minute, I inverted the tank 3 times. Total development time was 56 minutes. Agitation was very minimal, almost none. The developer had reached about 16 degrees by the end. The chilled stop bath only took about 3 minutes. I left the film in the fix for about 12 minutes. Gentle wash was about 10 changes of water over about 15 minutes. The last couple of wash baths had a few drops of Photo-Flo.

    I was nervous about developing this old exposed film. I don't have an enlarger set up right now, so will probably get these printed somewhere locally. They look good to me so far.
     
  2. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Wow, interesting. Any way you can scan a post one of the prints? I, for one, would like to see it. Not long ago I found undeveloped film, B&W, in a camera my brother-in-law gave me. It was Plus-x and had been exposed, as best we could figure out, 28 years before. OK images, but some base fog.
     
  3. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I processed some of my own 15 year old HP5 a while back but found the film had 'fogged' quite a bit (but still printable). I just processed it like any other HP5 roll. I'm curious with your technique if you have less fog. How clear (or fogged) are the film edges?
     
  4. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Judging from experience, you'll get speed/contrast loss and background fog. You'll end up needing a high filter when you print, like a 3.5 or more. Try this; find a new roll of Tri-x and shoot it and process it and I bet you'll see a rather large difference in the darkness of the base and the contrast of the images. Many people may not notice it at first. I noticed on one roll because I had a "sticky" and the area which had not been developed was much more translucent than the base for the rest of the film.
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i have some 15year+ old xxx 400 5x7sheets i use regularly
    i usually process it in ansco130 1:5ish @ 73ishºF for 8.5ish mins
    the glycin developer does a good job at cutting through the fog.
    the base is clear when i process it
    the developer keeps very well ( i buy 6 or 7 gallons at a time and it takes me about
    a year + to get through it all ) both the chemicals and film are
    basement stored - nothing fancy ... YMMV
    i have some older 8x10 film, mostly xx, and other stuff
    and i will process it the same way ...
     
  6. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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    I'm in a similar situation. I just got 20 rolls of 120 T-max 100 that expired in 1991 (for free, I can't afford that much film at one time, even if its that old). Are there any exposing/developing adjustments I can make to reduce fogging? Sorry for threadjacking :tongue:
     
  7. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Try pushing your old film to increase contrast.
     
  8. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    I'm using up some old Plus-X 4x5 that expired in 1989. The ISO has been reduced to 64 and KBr (Potassium Bromide) is added to the developer to reduce base fog. So far so good. The negs have been printable.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 27, 2009
  9. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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    How big of an effect does KBr have on reducing fog? How much do you add to the developer?
     
  10. gerryyaum

    gerryyaum Subscriber

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    I have a bag of film that follows the same theme as yours, thou mine might be 25 years+ old...I have printed some of this exposed but never developed film and it looked ok. I just gave lots of development and hoped for the best, usually I got a printable neg.
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i usually over expose by 2 stops, not underexpose .
     
  12. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    I just developed some old emulsion Tri-X in HC110 Dil-B for 9 minutes. It worked quite nicely. There was a bit of base fog due to the fact that the film was exposed and unprocessed about 30 years ago. However, they were family pictures of babies and people and stuff, and the base fog mad for a lower contrast negative. The result was a roll of beautifully low contrast creamy portraits.

    I <3 Tri-X
     
  13. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Old film generally tends to have flatter contrast, so if you push it, you will have some nicer contrast and higher acutance.
     
  14. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    The KBr was recommended by one of my photo instructors in college over 30 years ago. It should be crystal form and 10-12 crystals desolved in a few ounces of warm water are then added to 1 QT. of developer. This seems to work well but is not exactly a scientific method of course. More or less might be indicated depending on the age of the film/paper and how it was stored.
    Photo Engineer might be able to shed more light on this as he is a trained chemist.
     
  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    this has never worked for me, and i only shoot expired film ...
    but ... to each their own ...