Preparing to Develop Some Old Rolls of Film - Kodak classics!

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by holmburgers, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I've been charged with the noble task of developing some old rolls of film for my friend and his dad. My friend's dad (John) had a darkroom back in the day and was always one more reason why the idea of buildling one sounded so appealing to me. So I'd like to do him justice and need your careful deliberation on my processing plan.

    What I've got is:

    4 rolls of Kodak Recording Film 2475
    2 rolls of Plus-X Pan (PX)
    1 roll of Kodak Technical Pan
    2 rolls of Tri-X Pan 400 (TX)
    1 roll of Verichrome Pan (120, and expiry of 1960!)

    One of the Tri-X rolls is labeled 1992, and I suspect that all the film (besides the Verichrome) is of this vintage. I have no other information; like what EI was used or anything. It's likely that this stuff has been sitting in a climate controlled basement for 20 years, but not in cannisters.

    I'll be using HC-110 and here are Kodak's recommendations:

    Recording Film: dilution B, 9' @ 20°
    Plus-X Pan: dilution B, 5' @ 20°
    Technical Pan: dilution F, 8' (EI 50) @ 20°
    Tri-X Pan: dilution B, 7.5' @ 20°
    Verichrome: n/a

    These are published times for fresh film, and I read that a 40% increase in development time would be prudent for old film. Do you think that's a safe bet?

    Should I couple that with lower temperature or higher concentration to beat fog?

    As for the Verichrome, I'm going to have to use the see-saw method as I don't have a 120 reel. I've always wanted to try that anyways. I've found 2 suggestions for old film like this: one is dilution A, cold (he says between 2°-12°C), 5 minutes. This suggested a clip test however. Elsewhere, someone reported good results with dilution B, 18° for 8 minutes.

    Thanks in advance for any help!
     
  2. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I found a Kodak data sheet (http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/j24/j24.pdf) that suggests 5 minutes in dilution B for Verichrome Pan (in a small tank with 30-second agitation intervals, at 20 C). I'm not sure what the "see-saw method" is, but it sounds like it might more closely resemble large-tank development (for which the sheet gives slightly longer times). Interestingly, 8 minutes at 18 C is exactly the data sheet's large-tank recommendation.

    I've only done Verichrome Pan once; I used dilution E for 8 minutes at a slightly warm room temperature (I don't remember where I got the time from). The roll seemed underdeveloped; it didn't have a fog problem, and there were no areas of really good density. If I were doing it again, I'd shoot for more development than that; perhaps the same time with dilution B.

    -NT
     
  3. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Well that's fortuitous! But should I go for the recommendation of fresh film, or tweak it ab it?

    See-saw is when you hold the roll out between your two hands and lower one, raise the other, running it through a tray of chemicals. It sounds tiring.... :wink: Any tips on this would be great too.
     
  4. JohnMeadows

    JohnMeadows Subscriber

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    I recently developed a roll of Verichrome Pan (127 format) that was exposed recently but expired in 1964. I tried 10 minutes in HC-110 dilution B @ 68 degrees. The negatives were a tad thin, but usable. If I were to do it again I would try about 12 minutes.
     
  5. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    How does dilution A relate to dilution B in terms of compensating for time? The roughly proportional statement on Covington's page doesn't really make sense to me (nor does his math).

    The reason I'm leaning towards A is that it will have the least compensating effect, highest contrast to overcome fog, plus lower temperature.
     
  6. ctsundevil

    ctsundevil Member

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    I've processed quite a bit of old verichrome pan. The recommendation of 8 minutes at 18 celsius should give you good results. I tried see-saw development once and it was a mess, very difficult to control temperature. If you can find a 120 reel, you'd be better off. The Tri-X is likely to be heavily fogged, the Plus-X should be a little better. Tech-Pan needs a special developer. The contrast will be very high in HC-110.
     
  7. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Oops, I forgot to mention the age of the roll I developed. I'm pretty sure it was from before 1970.

    Generally I extend the development time a little for old film, but not in any fixed or organized way.

    -NT
     
  8. ParkerSmithPhoto

    ParkerSmithPhoto Subscriber

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    Diafine?

    Sounds like a job for Diafine! You'll get whatever shadow detail is available and also a some restraint on the highlights in case of overexposure.

    In any case, I would definitely err on the side of underdevelopment and count on paper grades and intensification.
     
  9. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Thanks guys. I'll do dilution B, 8 minutes, 18°C for Verichrome Pan from 1960. Fingers crossed!

    Hmm, well I'd love to get something more suitable for the Tech Pan. There's a pretty good darkroom supply shop in KC, MO, and I think they have a small cannister of Diafine. Would that be good for Tech Pan, or the others, or all of it?

    What about the recording film? Exceptionally fogged?
     
  10. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon, Holmburgers,

    I'd be very surprised if you can get anything usable from the 2475. That stuff had grain like boulders; with its high speed, it's probably highly susceptible to fogging. Good luck!

    Konical
     
  11. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Thanks Konical. I bet you're right!; that's like keeping Delta 3200 for 20 years!

    Now, I haven't heard anyone's thoughts on the 35mm film that's not nearly as expired as the Verichrome, and really that's what I'm most interested in getting right.

    Do you think that going with the published times (above) + 40% development would be a safe bet?

    And, let's say I wanted to switch to dilution A and a lower temperature. Is there an easy conversion I can do? Like, "dilution A, minus 3°C and you can use the same time as dilution B".

    Or is changing temperature pointless, same as changing dilution? Or how about keeping dilution B and decreasing the temperature while increasing the time?

    Any advantages, any logic behind this? These are the thoughts I'm grappling with at the moment.....
     
  12. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    Could you do a clip test?
     
  13. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    In theory, but only if I can use the leader. Would that be good for much? I don't want to risk destroying a photograph.

    I could of course do a roll and then compensate after learning something from that one.
     
  14. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Well, I guess a clip test on the leader would tell you how much development it takes to get to full black, but nothing about fog one way or another. On the other hand, HC-110 controls fog pretty well, and in my experience "not black enough" has usually been a bigger problem than "too much fog". It doesn't seem like you could lose anything by trying it.

    -NT
     
  15. donkee

    donkee Member

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    I am getting ready to develop a few rolls I found in the attic from the previous owners.

    One recomendation I got was to do a presoak for 30 minutes to an hour.
     
  16. BobCrowley

    BobCrowley Subscriber

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    I have had excellent results processing very old (30+ years since exposure) rollfilms with Quall's HC-110 monobath formula. Seems to be a very fog-resistant method. I posted several results on the New55 blog about a year ago.

    http://new55project.blogspot.com/search?q=latent
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2011
  17. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I saw that website methinks, and the guy says to do a long pre-soak on one page, but elswhere (and later) says that he used to do the pre-soak but determined that it had no effect. But a short pre-soak is certainly a good idea I guess.

    Bob, is there anything that monobath can't do?
     
  18. BobCrowley

    BobCrowley Subscriber

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    Quall's monobath doesn't process color! But everything else seems to work. I used it on DP paper, and also the emulsion we recently coated.

    What does the pre-soak do and what benefit does it have in processing old film?
     
  19. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    Well, without knowing enough to really say, I'd guess that by swelling and wetting the old and potentially very hard emulsion that it allows for easier diffusion of chemicals.

    You see a lot about Mr. Quall here and there on the internet, but he doesn't seem to be active online anymore. Any idea about him?
     
  20. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Don was in at LFPF in early october and I think I have seen him on f295.org too, but don't quote me on that. :smile: