Images made on old and well expired sheet film

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Mahler_one, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Just for fun, I took out some expired ( 8 years ) FP4 sheet film that hadn't been stored with any particular care. After developing, there was no general fog ( as seen on the film margins ). However, there was very little evidence of an image....a bit of shadows here and there. Since I am trying sheet film in the 2840 tank ( 11x14 ) for "fun" I am curious if the lack of an image is likely due to the age of the film, or an error in processing. Hence I wonder: What is the effect of age on the emulsion of black and white sheet film? I am aware of the general "fog" caused by cosmic rays, but as noted, the film margins are clear....would aging make the silver emulsion less "sensitive" to light? Thanks for any possible help and opinions.

    Ed
     
  2. David William White

    David William White Member

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    I suggest lack of image is due to lack of exposure! 8 years past expiry is nothing.

    My experience with old film is very positive. In the past year alone, I've made successful negatives and then prints from:
    1. Super-XX, "expired" in 1956.
    2. Dental X-ray film, "expired" in 1951
    3. Tri-X Pan, "expired" in 1979
    4. Geveart Panchromatic, no expiry, but known purchased in 1966, probably the worst of the bunch but still viable, see hand sculpture image in my gallery.

    These were all stored indoors, but not fridged or anything.
    In addition to these treats, my regular stock of Delta 100 expired in 2000, never fridged, and I'm not the least bit concerned.

    Very high speed film may suffer sooner, but not FP4.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2009
  3. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Thanks David....information I can really use! Can one tell if the problem is "exposure" vs. development?
     
  4. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    You know, I looked at the sheet today and I think there is really some over all fog on the film...edges are clear...puzzling.
     
  5. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    Exposure, rather a lack thereof.
     
  6. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    If the edges are clear then it's not fogged. If it was overall fogging then you wouldn't differentiate between the "image" and the film edges. Try developing one sheet without any exposure and see how that looks. If it's relatively clear, (there's bound to be some higher b+f density on this than on fresh film) then the issue isn't with the film.

    Bob H
     
  7. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Will do Bob, and thanks.
     
  8. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Bob....would the age of the film indicate that a longer exposure might be needed?
     
  9. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    Probably - films tend to lose speed with age. I'd probably do an EI test based around 80 or so. You will likely have higher base fog than with fresh film, but as long as you have exposure nailed you'll just print through the higher b+f.

    Bob H
     
  10. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    OK Bob...I checked the shutter, and holders. I checked the developer dilutions, tank loading, etc. etc. Exposure was correct according to film curves. Still nothing much image wise. The only variable is the film age. I guess that the only way to be certain is to get some sheets of "in date" 11x14 film and see what happens. Thanks to all for the help.
     
  11. Joe VanCleave

    Joe VanCleave Member

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    I don't mean to sound demeaning, but have you ensured the film was loaded emulsion side toward the lens? Basic mistake we've all made. If loaded backwards, the antihalation coating on the backside would pretty much prevent an exposure.

    Also as a ballpark guess on your process try much stronger developer concentration, just to see if anything comes up.

    ~Joe
     
  12. David William White

    David William White Member

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    ^that's a good one to rule out!


    I just clued in to it being 11x14 film, so economics indicates a clear resolution.

    If I can summarize...stop me if I'm wrong...an exposed and developed sheet shows fog (or uniform density) all over the sheet, but not on the edges which are masked by the film holder. The edges are clear film base. Is that correct? If so, then unwanted exposure occured in camera afte the darkslide was pulled. Check your bellows for a large gaping hole (okay, not likely), or maybe you didn't close the lens before pulling the dark slide? Sorry if that is insulting your intelligence, but it's definitely the most popular way to uniformly fog film.

    If it was fog, it would be across the entire sheet, and the holder rails wouldn't be visible.

    If I'm way off base, can you scan a corner of your film, something which shows the image you were exposing for and the fog?
     
  13. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    The oldest i've gone is tri-x and plus-x pack film that expired in '78. One was partially exposed. Came out a bit thin but were printable. The packs that were unopened and stored in an air-conditioned room were outstanding.

    Now that box of kodak 11x14 paper from the 70s/80s that had obviously been stored in a hot, damp warehouse for years (a shame, 250 sheets..) didn't fare nearly as well.

    I miss pack film.