out of date?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by BimmerJake, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. BimmerJake

    BimmerJake Member

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    what actually happens when film is past it's date? is it ok to buy past date film to same some $$ ? or does it really start deteriorating.

    i've seen some shots taken with old film and they seem fine. is there something else i should know. :confused:
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Depends entirely on how it's been stored.

    All manufacturers cut their expiry dates a few years ago to meet ISO 9001? I think that's the right one, but it meant higher quality controls.

    Outdated films are fine as long as you know how they've been stored, I buy short dated rather than outdated :smile:

    Ian
     
  3. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Wirelessly posted (BlackBerry9000/4.6.0.167 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1 VendorID/102 UP.Link/6.3.0.0.0)

    As long as it does not get hot and it is not too old, in all likelihood you want see mch of a drop off in film speed. But seriously aged film or film kept in a sauna can slow right down by stops.
     
  4. BimmerJake

    BimmerJake Member

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    i was more talking about about when places like freestyle sell off film that expired a month or two ago. sounds like that's probably ok more often than not.

    what can i say, i'm a cheap skate. :smile:
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    That's going to be fine :D

    Cheapskate :smile:

    Ian
     
  6. wogster

    wogster Member

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    In general slower films age slower then fast films, cold stored film, will last longer then film that is stored at warmer temperatures. A dealer like Freestyle, your probably okay, just keep it in the freezer until the day before you want to use it.

    Now for economy here is what I have discovered in more then 30 years of shooting:

    Get really good at 1 or 2 films, say one 100 speed and one 400 speed, use the same chemistries all the time, use a consistent process. Buy good quality film that is not expired, put it in the deep freeze. Keep your camera and darkroom equipment in good repair. Learn how to properly focus and select an exposure so that you don't produce unusable negatives. Buy good quality paper that keep that in the freezer as well, and use the same chemistries and process. Use a scanner or contact sheet so you don't waste time printing negatives that you don't want to print right now.

    How to waste more money then the military:

    Buy different films all the time, and lots of expired stuff, experiment with the developer de jour, go cheap when it comes to equipment maintenance, let the camera select focus and exposure, and print everything on cheap oft expired paper, using the process of the week. You end up producing a lot of crappy prints and redoing a lot of work all the time. You end up machine gun shooting a lot of the time, and most of it is garbage.
     
  7. BimmerJake

    BimmerJake Member

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    wogster,

    that's good advice i plan on using. i've chosen ilford fp4 and dd-x as my film/developer combo and plan on sticking with it for a while, probably until i move up to medium format sometime later this year (and i might still stick with the same film). but if i can get the film i want a month past date for a couple bucks less i'm probably going to jump on it.

    thanks again, it's nice to hear that i'm on the right path (as far as picking something to work with and sticking with it for a while).
     
  8. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Spending hundreds or more on equipment and saving a few bucks on film and chemistry... Isn't this purchasing behavior what is killing off the film companies in the first place?

    Just a thought.
     
  9. BimmerJake

    BimmerJake Member

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    maybe... the film i just bought wasn't cheap or expired, so this thread is more theory than practice anyway.

    i think the digital purchasing behavior is more responsible than me saving a couple of bucks on film.

    and in all reality i haven't spent very much on equipment either. and really, when the rubber meets the road i'm generally more likely to spend less on the equipment and then not cheap out on the film and chemicals. for example i'm only have one lens for my nikon and i'm spending my other money on inford film and chemicals (not past date ftr). the question i posed was more about my curiosity than anything else.
     
  10. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Ha:DHa:DHa:DHa:D

    Well put.
     
  11. GJA

    GJA Member

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    I think that its crazy that on July 31st, the film is perfectly fine, yet on August 1st its not.

    I would happily past date film if it was what I really wanted. I think the bigger mistake would be to buy a cheap film even though you would rather have something else. In my personal opinion it would be much better to buy expired Delta 100 than fresh AristaEDU.
     
  12. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    "Cheap film" isn't necessarily bad film. Arista.EDU film happens to be Fomapan, and it's actually pretty good film. It's grainier than Ilford, Kodak or Fuji but it has a nice tonality that is different from other films.

    If you wanted to use the logic somewhere else, why do most people use 3-cent teabags to make tea instead of buying $200 per kg first-flush Darjeeling? (I actually do buy Darjeeling because it's delicious, and it's still only about 40-50 cents per cup.) There's good, and then there's good enough. For some people, the cheaper product suits their desires and preferences just fine.

    As far as expiry goes, of course film doesn't go bad the day after it expires, but it gradually deteriorates as it gets closer to its expiry date (and at faster or slower rates depending on how it is stored).

    Another issue is that faster films deteriorate more rapidly than slower ones. This is because cosmic rays eventually fog photographic films, and they are unavoidable unless you store your film kilometres underground. For this reason, expired Pan-F Plus is a much safer bet than expired Delta 3200.

    Incidentally I actually find that the base fog of Delta 3200 and T-Max P3200 is too high for my tastes by the expiry date - I prefer to shoot it as fresh as possible. Some of the best Delta 3200 shots I've ever taken were shot on ultrafresh film.

    Colour film, particularly slide film, is a bigger gamble because there tends to be colour shifts as the film ages. With slide film, you cannot correct this. With colour print film, you can to some degree correct in printing so it's less of an issue.

    Freezing your film (or at least refrigerating it) slows down the degradation, which is why the 2006-expired bulk rolls of 35mm Ilford Pan-F Plus that I bought just as it was expiring are still really good to shoot, but fast films are not going to last as long even if you freeze them.

    I shot some 1978-expired Kodak Vericolor II film a couple of weekends ago and it turned out really well, but it had been frozen since 1977. Still, I'm not shooting important stuff with it. If I had a shoot I had to nail, I'd be using fresh film for sure.
     
  13. wogster

    wogster Member

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    Maybe it's my old film learnin', but I've always preferred to come home with 5 good photos, then 5,000 crappy ones.
     
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  15. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    I'm using up a few boxes of Plus-X 4x5 that I found in a box in the garage a while ago. Base fog is acceptable but it has to be shot at ISO 64. It expired in 1989 so 20 years have taken a toll but I'm just using it to mess around and see what I get. If the work was critical I would be using fresh film. I don't think taking shots of the dogs counts as critical.:rolleyes:
     
  16. clayne

    clayne Member

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    The lady down the street with her D700 and kit lens tells me that "yes, pictures of dogs is critical work."

    In general i'll shoot any aged film. But I do pull (I almost always pull in the daylight as well) a stop for each decade.
     
  17. wogster

    wogster Member

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    It's not a 1 day thing, as soon as a roll of film is made, it starts to age, the quality is acceptable up to a certain point, after which it has degraded to the point where the results are sub-optimal. The manufacturer has to pick a specific date, so they do.

    As for cheap film, it depends on who makes it, and how good their quality control is. The big name brands (Kodak, Ilford, and Fuji) have very high standards for quality control, and fairly conservative expiry dates. Some of the other manufacturers have much less stringent quality control and more optimistic expiry dates.

    I think it really depends on what your photographing, if your going on a $10,000 Alaskan Cruise, where most of your photos will be once in a lifetime opportunities, then trying to save $50 on film, is probably not a good idea. Because you can't really re-shoot without buying another cruise :rolleyes:



    If your just goofing around at home taking pictures of the cat then it is much less critical.
     
  18. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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  19. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    excellent advice!!!
     
  20. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    I'm not sure about film, but I can tell you from experience, the logic works with airport sandwiches!
     
  21. BimmerJake

    BimmerJake Member

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    mmmmm... airport sandwiches...

    anyway, i'm certainly not taking any super expensive alaskan cruises anytime soon, i can barely afford the expired film :smile:

    since i'm just getting back into film i'm really just trying to get the hang of it while spending the least amount of money possible. but like i said before, i'm pretty much set on using fp4+ and DD-X for a while, and not jumping around to whatever film and developer is on special.
     
  22. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    It's ok far more often than not. Freestyle is not a fly by night operation and is in business to stay in business. They have a reputation to protect. It stands to reason that they're not about to ruin that reputation with shady business practices. If there were to sell something that might be a bit dodgy, I'd expect to see a full disclosure statement from them.
     
  23. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    Fyi, freestyle doesn't refrigerate expired films they've got in the store. It may be different in the warehouse but I've seen stuff like 8x10 infrared sitting around there for months with a 50% off tag. The store also doesn't cold store b+w sheet films and many off-brand b+w films like efke and foma. I don't see why when their fridge has plenty of empty space. The last time I bought polaroid type 669 they pulled it from under the counter. When I asked why it wasn't cold stored they said "it doesn't need to be". Again, it may be different in the warehouse.
     
  24. wogster

    wogster Member

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    The problem with expired film is that it's a little like a box of chocolates, your never really sure what your going to get. If it was stored well, and it's a slower film like FP4+, with a rather conservative expiry date, you should be okay, but if the film was stored a little warmer then it should be, it's a little faster, maybe the expiry date was a little optimistic, then you could get a lot of base fog. Remember re-shoots will cost more then using a good quality film in the first place.

    If your ordering film online, then remember the first rule of shipping, the first 1lb is the most expensive, it's not uncommon where the first 1lb is $20 and the second 1lb is $0.20, so when ordering film, you don't want to order just a few rolls at a time, because you will spend a lot on shipping. So order 20 rolls or 30 rolls, and pop it into the deep freeze. Take out the film today, you will use Monday so that it warms up nicely. If your a low volume shooter like I am, take out 1 or 2 rolls at a time. Same goes for paper.
     
  25. cmacd123

    cmacd123 Subscriber

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    Back in the 1970's Freestyle based a large part of their business on outdated film. They had a two page ad every month in Popular Photography with lots of film and paper, and a disclaimer at the bottom that "items not marked "fresh" are outdated but fully guaranteed" I believe that they were getting a lot of material as Government surplus in those days. I recall one purchase I made as "Plus-X Areo ASA 80" which had no markings and no anti-halo. but it was 3.95 for 100 ft, when fresh Tri-x in the store was about 20 bucks. I assumed that they had converted it themselves from 5 inch wide stock.

    These days they seem be concentrating on their private label stock and the wildest they get is parallel imports.
     
  26. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    When I worked as a lab manager at KMart, we often had film on the shelf that expired; often it was simply because the amount supplied to us was way too much for what we sold. The temperature in the store was always consistent, and the lab faced away from any windows.

    I used to rotate the stock whenever we got new stuff in, but sometimes the supply outweighed the demand. Quite simply, the customer got some great deals. Yes, it doesn't "go off" the day after, but I'd mark the stuff down 20% to start it moving the day after the expiry date. Even then, it would sometimes take a couple of weeks to clear. And for those rolls that didn't move, free for the staff after being "written off".

    As long as it has been kept out of the sun and the temperature has been consistent and not extreme, you should be fine with it.