Your thoughts on antique film development

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by juan, Nov 6, 2003.

  1. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I am about to begin an endeavor that's probably hopeless, but I want to try. I recently was given a 2x3 Speed Graphic camera. Included were four film holders - all showing the black side of the dark slide. I checked them in a changing bag, and all have film in them. Inside the camera case is an unopened box of Agfa Isopan film with an expiration date of January 1945, so the film in the holders may be the same film with a similar expiration date.

    I want to try developing the exposed film. I'm thinking of tray developing it in Pyrocat HD and developing by inspection. I could also try Rodinal. Anyone have any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance,
    juan
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Inspection is a good approach. Base fog will be high, so you might want to add a restrainer like benzotriazole or increase the level of whatever restrainer is already in the formula you decide to use. For Pyrocat HD, ask Sandy.

    I've experimented a bit with very old films, and since speed is often slow, I've found a high-energy developer like Acufine works well.
     
  3. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I just went that route. I developed a roll of Ansco "Plenachrome" - found in an Antique Shop in Charlotte, North Carolina. That film, I guessed, was probably exposed sometime in the mid- `30's, and never processed.

    I used the "oldest" developer I could think of - Rodinal, and after a couple of test "clips" I used 1:25 for 7 minutes.

    Apparently, the emulsion was separating from the base in random places - so - *many* holes in the developed image (black specks on the print), but the images were recognizable.

    I *love* doing things like this ...Ah, the adventure!!!
     
  4. Jorge Oliveira

    Jorge Oliveira Member

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    I had an unexposed roll of very old (by the type of can) TX, and decided to try it, jut for fun.

    First test series (all the same image): from EI 20 to 400, in Diafine. Lots of fog, images barelly acceptable at 20 (Diafine has some fog tendency).

    Second series: from 5 to 40, in HC-110B (since HC-110 is a low fog dev), 50% more than the recommended time. Darker base (maybe less time would have been better), but image at about 20 would even be printable.

    Jorge O
     
  5. wm blunt

    wm blunt Member

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    I once met a young lady who was taking a photo class in collage and found a roll of film her mother had left in an old camera. The student developed and printed her own baby pictures!
    Wm Blunt
     
  6. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    I often use 127 Adox (Efke 100) that is over thirty years old and has only been frozen for the last ten or so.
    I have found that D-23 with high sulphite content and some additional restrainer gives very little base fog

    Mark Layne
     
  7. sanking

    sanking Member

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  8. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    I tried a box of 1968 Tri-x this summer. Since I had only PMK as a developer, this is what I used. I was never able to print through the fog in order to get proper contrast. When I extended development times to increase highlights, it seems the fog density just came along with it. This box was not cold stored, but was on a shelf where the climate is "warm" six months of the year. A different developer would have helped, but I ended up returning the box with a "thank you."
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Here's a test shot on Royal Pan 4x5" that expired in 1965:

    [​IMG]

    and here's a detail to show the grain structure of this film:

    [​IMG]

    This was rated at EI 400 in Acufine with 1 oz. Edwal Liquid Orthazite per quart of developer. Linhof Tech V with 135/3.5 Planar, probably close to wide open using rangefinder focus.

    You can see from the relatively light film edges that the base fog is still pretty high if the scan is adjusted for relatively normal contrast in the image, but the film had a pretty good density range so there's still some room there. Midtones were nice, and I liked the grain structure, but I decided it was not really worth bothering with except as an experiment.
     
  10. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    Now this raises another question - what make and model is that archtop in your shot, David?
    j
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Heh. 1934 Gibson L-50. I fell in love with it in a guitar shop in Seattle when I was a grad student attending a literature conference and couldn't really afford it, but I did take the shop's card, and sent for it about a month later after I got back to New York. It's not considered to be as collectible as one of the larger more ornamented models like an L-5, but it has a sweet sound and a beautiful sustain--better than some of the fancier ones I've tried, I think.