Really, really old Delta 3200 - ideas? :)

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by PhotoJim, Dec 31, 2008.

  1. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

    Messages:
    2,223
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Regina, SK,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My father-in-law passed away in June. He was a pretty avid photographer (I joked at my wedding reception, when I married his daughter, that he we welcomed me to the family by building me a darkroom in his basement :smile: ) but over the past few years had migrated to digital, as so many have.

    My mother-in-law is gradually going through his things and I am getting piles of things photographic now to use, discard or sell. One of the things is a fairly large pile (probably 15 rolls) of Ilford Delta 3200 film in 120 format. Unfortunately, it's 2002-dated and I know it wasn't frozen. I don't even think it having been frozen would have been much help, given its speed.

    So, I know the base fog level is going to be ridiculous.

    My instinct is to discard the film (don't worry, I'll recycle the film spools, backing paper and boxes). But is there something useful I could actually use the film for?

    And if you think there's something useful you could actually use the film for, and promise to actually use the film, you might even get it. You never know.

    :smile:

    Jim
     
  2. jmxphoto

    jmxphoto Member

    Messages:
    179
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Location:
    Saginaw, MI
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    My experience has been that with b&w age doesn't really matter. I've been prining on some graded paper that expired in 1968! If the age fog exists and is uniform you'll just print through it. If you don't trust it, send it here and I'll shoot something on it (and cover shipping) :smile:

    -edit-
    Funny, I have a Graflex Pacemaker, a Yashica Electro G, and a Bronica SQ-a as well! Nice setup.
     
  3. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

    Messages:
    1,607
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'd shoot it.

    I really have no qualms about shooting outdated film. Any outdated film. I've used Plus-X that was from the year before I was born.

    I've been wanting to try development in coffee-based developers. I don't see any reason to just junk a film because of a little (or a lot) of fog. I'd experiment with it before doing that.
     
  4. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,814
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    Location:
    Elk, Califor
    Shooter:
    Plastic Cameras
    Get a Holga camera and go crazy!

    Jon
     
  5. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

    Messages:
    2,131
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yes, get the Holga. Why not!

    Other uses: shoot it and dev in HC-110 or Diafine. Both are said to be great for outdated film.

    Use it as a seasoning film for new batches of Diafine or PPD devs (Sease, 777 and the like)

    Find someone else who's learning MF and let them have it. If nothing else, donate to the local college/high school as rolls to practice loading reels with.

    On the other hand, 'o2 wasn't THAT long ago, the fog may be less than you think.
     
  6. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2003
    Location:
    Milan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    find out if the film has lost any speed, check the base fog to see if it is managable and go out and have fun. If the base fog is not too bad and if it has lost a stop or two you could focus on getting really gritty images -- maybe pulling it a stop or two to enhance the effect. If you decide to toss it, I'll buy it from you instead.
     
  7. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

    Messages:
    2,223
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Regina, SK,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm expecting it to be really awful. Fast film really doesn't age very elegantly.

    Among the film is an unopened 100' spool of HP5 Plus, but I'm going to give it a whirl since it's only ISO 400.

    If there is a consensus that the 3200 might be worth shooting, I might give it a try, but I really am not going to be very optimistic!
     
  8. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Tufts Univer
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Well the film fog will be bad but that just means you'll have to print higher contrast. Best to expose it at 1200, the regular EI, and process for that speed. That will diminish the fog. You could also try pulling.
     
  9. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,004
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You can use it for pix where you want low contrast and grain...Delta's strong points even when fresh!
     
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,004
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    There is no such thing as a "regular" EI, except as it pertains to an individual photographer. EI is a flexible thing that will vary from individual to individual and situation to situation. The ISO speed of the film is 1000.

    Also, exposing and developing normally and simply printing at a higher filter will raise the contrast, but it will not solve the problem of the fog eating up shadow detail.

    Pulling will exacerbate the low contrast. If anything, he will need to both overexpose to get over the fog threshold, and push to get it to have "normal" contrast. Once you get to a certain point of overexposure to get over the fog, however, you will not be able to do anything with pushing except to smash all of your tones onto the shoulder of the film, and also raise the fog level.

    Basically, you will effectively be using pre-exposed film. There is a brief and easy to understand explanation of this in "The Negative", by Ansel Adams. The theory is the same. However, the difference is that he talks about precisely (and mildly) controlling the amount of pre exposure in order to tame deep shadows, while you are stuck with whatever the cosmic radiation gods have thrown at your film, and may not necessarily want to tame deep shadows.

    At any rate, just so you can start figuring out the next course of action, I would start by doing a simple zone I test. If you don't have a densitometer, you can have a pro lab read it for you on their black and white densitometer, or use a step wedge on a light box to get close enough.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2008
  11. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

    Messages:
    2,131
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hey, why not take fogged film and shoot fog with it? Seriously. Here in the Adirondacks, we don't get much of a winter anymore. We'll get a nice snow and everything will be fluffy and nice and then it rains and then freezes everything into concrete. However, before it freezes again we sometimes get some lovely fog and I try to take advantage. Fog is great for shooting the open woods in the parks and for photographing cemetaries. Grain adds to the mystery.

    Now, I've never been to SK, but I'd guess you get fog every now and again. What the 'ey.
     
  12. John Shriver

    John Shriver Member

    Messages:
    447
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Heck, I use expired Kodak 2475. That was ISO 1000 film, and my 35mm stock expired in 1984. (Frozen all the way.) Of course, I have to pull it hard, exposing at EI 200, and developing in DD-X. Took two rolls to get a good developing time and EI. Yeah, it's got base fog, something like density 0.4 to 0.6 if I remember correctly.

    Next adventure here is 2475 sheet film. I bought the recent lot on eBay, 4 boxes of 4x5, expired in 1967, storage utterly unknown. I'll be working up developing times with HC-110, and a proper EI.

    Yes, of course the density range of the negatives is limited. But if you pull the film enough, you can get a reasonable scene brightness range. But, oh that 2475 grain...

    So you can do the same with Delta 3200. But the grain isn't as interesting.
     
  13. Michael W

    Michael W Member

    Messages:
    1,430
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I shot a roll of 120 Delta 3200 that was outdated & badly stored. This was a few years ago & the result was very under exposed with high base fog as you expect. So perhaps a test roll or two exposing at 1,000, 800 etc. As for dev you could try adding some benzotriazole if you have any. I tried this recently with some old glass negs & it made a noticeable difference.
     
  14. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

    Messages:
    2,223
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Regina, SK,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm actually surprised that so many people think I should try to get some results out of it. I honestly expected most of you to say "Toss it!" and one or two to go "It's garbage, but if you mail it to me, ...". :smile:

    I've tossed it in the freezer for now, but I will fire a roll through my Bronica soon and see what I get.

    I normally shoot Delta 3200 at 1000 (I really like the results I get at this speed, and I very seldom need an emulsion faster than that).
     
  15. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

    Messages:
    1,607
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'd say shoot it at 640 or lower at first to see what you get out of that, and then go higher or lower as necessary to produce the effect you want.
     
  16. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

    Messages:
    1,480
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Location:
    Greece
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hello PhotoJim.

    Ok, I never needed to use seriously expired film, not even slow, but why don't you bracket and see what comes out? Set a realistic upper limit in speed, say 800 ISO. Then shoot the same scene, but with longer exposures. Shoot 6 frames for 2 different scenes. Then pick a development time that seems reasonable and develop the film. Make a contact sheet and see what the best EI is.
     
  17. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

    Messages:
    2,223
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Regina, SK,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I assuredly will bracket.

    I have no need to use this film - I'm just curious. (If you saw my freezer and saw how much film I have right now, you would probably shake your head. :smile: )
     
  18. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

    Messages:
    2,131
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ...or stare in awe and envy? :wink:
     
  19. wogster

    wogster Member

    Messages:
    1,267
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Bruce Penins
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Now I know who to call if I need to borrow a roll or two:D
     
  20. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,004
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Why bracket for 15 rolls to make sure you get good exposures? If you shoot three pix per composition, that's like having only five rolls. Just do simple film speed and normal development tests and you are set for the remaining 13 rolls.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 1, 2009
  21. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

    Messages:
    1,480
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    Location:
    Greece
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hello 2F;

    my bracketing proposition was meant for only one film. Just to have an idea of what a reasonable EI is. That procedure would reveal quite a lot. If Jim wants to fine tune, then he can spend one more film with limited bracketing this time. Something like 3 exposures per scene. After that, he will still have 13 rolls. Not bad.
     
  22. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

    Messages:
    2,223
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Regina, SK,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Turns out I have ten rolls, not 15, but the logic still applies.
     
  23. John Shriver

    John Shriver Member

    Messages:
    447
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2006
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Well, I just did a speed test with my newly acquired 2475 Recording 4x5 sheet film that expired in 1967. Storage unknown. I developed 9 minutes in HC-110 dilution B at 68F, using the Nikor sheet film tank. I shot sheets at EI 800, 400, 200, and 100, and put in one fogged sheet, and one unexposed sheet.

    The background fog is serious, film base plus fog is a density of 1.06. The Dmax of the fogged-out sheet was 2. That's a reasonable Dmax, but longer development might increase the fog more than I would gain in density for highlights. Plus, higher Dmax makes it less scannable, this film isn't going to be printed optically. So I will stick with 9 minutes.

    As for the film speed, even EI 100 is really not quite enough. Of course, it has 4 stops of fog, so that's no surprise on a film that was originally ASA 1000. I think I can safely go out and shoot this stuff at EI 50, and have tolerable shadow detail.

    Grain is the classic 2475 grain -- although in large format that's not so serious.

    The film base on this stuff is 0.004 Estar (polyester), which is unusually thin for sheet film. It's somewhat curly right out of the box, a trick to get into the film sheaths. (My 4x5 is a Pony Premo #4 using plate holders with Kodak film sheaths.) Once processed, they roll into 1" diameter sausages when dry -- even more annoying than 2475 Recording in 35mm size! I have no idea why they made it on such a thin base, maybe it was a special order and they cut up a master roll made for 35mm film. Kodak certainly had Estar Thick Base by 1967, that would have stayed flat.

    At any rate, it's pretty crazy, 40 year old film in a roughly 100 year old camera. But, heck, if I can make this stuff work, the Delta 3200 can be made to work, at least somewhat.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 10, 2009