Expired film - how will it look after processing

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by jono1515, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. jono1515

    jono1515 Member

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    I recently picked up a bunch of expired film from a guy on craigslist. It was all expired, but had been kept cool and dark. I've shot quite a bit of it, there was a bunch of tmax in 120 format and also a bunch of bulk loaded tri-x in 35mm. So far all the film has turned out fine after processing. However, I just finished processing two rolls of the tri-x together at the same time. One came out totally black, unexposed. The other is fine. Presumably these were bulk loaded at the same time, but I have no way of knowing for sure. They were shot in different cameras, but I know the one that looks unexposed is working ok, I just checked to make sure the shutter was opening at all speeds, and it is. Some of these I was actually trying to overexpose by a stop, so I really doubt I completely underexposed the entire roll to the point that there are no images.
    What happens when film is totally expired? Would it come out looking totally black like this roll?
    Thanks for any comments.
    Jono
     
  2. kapro

    kapro Member

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    If there is a sun above us black film should be overexposed or illuminated...
    I just shot HP5 (expired in 1993, stored in freezer) with excellent results in Prescysol. It only lost one stop in sensitivity and must be exposed as 200 instead of 400.
     
  3. jono1515

    jono1515 Member

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    So my film is totally overexposed... hmm ok... so should I look for problems with my camera or is this what would happen with expired film?
     
  4. kapro

    kapro Member

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    Depends on whether the film is totaly black or has just black 24x36mm frames. If is totaly black it should be illuminated, most probably during loading into cassette (or the cassette was leaking). Expired films shouldn't turn totaly black. As I wrote you my 14 years old films were fine...
     
  5. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    As Kapro says, if the film (negative strip) is completely black, then it was almost certainly fogged. This could have happened when the film was bulk loaded or in the camera, but my guess would be when bulk loading. If you've got black rectangles and clear sprocket holes and spaces between frames, then the camera was severely overexposing the images. I doubt if expired film would produce a totally black result, although a modest increase in base fog might be expected, depending on how far out of date the film is.

    To go into more speculation on light leaks, I doubt if a leak in the film cassette would cause a completely black result. In my experience, leaky cassettes produce fogging around the edges and/or at the very start of the roll. Light leaks I've seen in cameras tend to produce periodic blotches. I'd expect a camera light leak bad enough to completely and uniformly fog an entire roll would be extremely obvious, like a door hinge that's flopping loose. A problem at the time of bulk loading is a more likely candidate. Depending on the design of the bulk loader, it's conceivable that the operator "spaced out" and forgot to close it up, thus fogging the whole roll. This would be an extremely obvious mistake, though, so as a hypothesis it works better if you suppose the person making the error was drunk, drop-dead exhausted, or otherwise impaired. A somewhat more satisfying hypothesis is that this roll was used for practice in loading a developing tank, including use in full light, then mistakenly tossed in with the rest when everything was sold on Craig's List. You might want to contact the seller. It's conceivable he's got some idea of what went wrong, and whether you might have another "time bomb" in the lot.
     
  6. jono1515

    jono1515 Member

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    Thanks guys, the film is totally black, not just black frames, the area around the sprocket holes is black too, start to finish, entire roll. I had light leaks on the camera (an old Canonet) before, but I've had them replaced and have put lots of film through since then with no leaks at all. And the leaks it did have weren't altogether too bad, random here and there areas of the film would be overexposed.
    I'll see if I can get in touch with the guy that I bought it from. I got such a good price it's really not a big deal, it would be nice to know if any other rolls might be like this though.
    I guess the good thing in all this was that I doubt there were any good shots on the roll. I basically forced myself to shoot the whole roll in a day trying out Mike Johnston's not much of a system system for exposing/developing. Basically giving more exposure for high-contrast scenes and less exposure for low-contrast. I guess I'll have to have another go at it.
    Thanks again!
     
  7. like2fiddle

    like2fiddle Member

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    Any chance you exposed the film to light while loading onto the reel? I only suggest this because I accidentally did this recently. I was using a changing bag. I did one roll and placed it into the tank, closed cover etc. When I was loading the second roll I stupidly removed one arm from the bag so I could turn off the light (which I had forgotten to turn off) as soon as I did it I had a sick feeling.... first roll was fine, second roll was totally black. I roll my own cassettes, so it's possible it happened then, but highly unlikely as the two films were from the same batch.
     
  8. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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  9. jono1515

    jono1515 Member

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  10. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    You could load a foot or so of the bulk film onto a reel and process it and see if it's fogged.
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i was going to suggest that :wink:

    don't even expose the film in a camera,
    just clip a bit off and process it.
    maybe somehow your film is shot ( as in bad )

    i only shoot expired film ( color, black and white, slides and xp2 ).
    sometimes it looses a bit of contrast - but most of the time it is a-ok.

    sorry to hear of your troubles
     
  12. jono1515

    jono1515 Member

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    That's a great idea, I have like 9 rolls of it left, I could do a foot from each and somehow keep track of which roll goes with which foot of film and make sure they're alright. I think if I put thin strips of like masking tape on the outside of the canisters I could tell by how many strips of tape there are which roll it is by feel.
    Thanks bdial!
     
  13. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    Commercial photofinishers stick labels onto their film with serial numbers on them to help them match up each roll with each customer. You could do something similar -- prepare masking tape with numbers, stick it on each canister and each film snip, and then process it. (I'd test to be sure whatever pen you use has ink that doesn't come off in your process, though. Sharpies work for me on the backs of prints, so I'd expect them to work well in this role, too.)
     
  14. like2fiddle

    like2fiddle Member

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    mystery film

    Years ago I was given a bulk film loader and several cassettes, some of which contained film. The person who gave them to me told me the film was long expired at that time. A few days ago I found these loaded cassettes and decided to see what might, or might not, happen if I exposed a few frames. The only cassette with any writing said T-max written in ink on the label. I guessed at 100 speed a took a few shots, developed them in HC-110 dil B for 6 minutes, and some of the results are attached. Scanner is a flatbed, no touching up with any software. What would you do regarding exposing what is left of this roll? I'm just doing it for fun.
     
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