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  1. #1
    hchapman's Avatar
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    Developing unknown film

    I was given a 35mm half-frame camera (Tessina). It uses special film reels which must be loaded from a separate film source, bulk or canister. A dozen rolls of exposed film were included with the camera. There is no information on what kind of film is in them. I'd like to develop them for the previous owner of the camera. They were likely shot in the early 1960s. I developed film from one of the canisters in Pyrocat HD along with some TMax 400 I loaded and shot with the Tessina. The TMax 400 developed fine but the unknown film came out all black. This old film has a thicker base than the TMax 400. I thought that if the film was C41 it would probably develop OK in the Pyrocat to give a BW negative? If it was color slide film would it turn black using the Pyrocat? Not sure what to do next to figure out how to develop this old unknown film.
    Thank you for your help.
    -Harlan
    hchapman

  2. #2

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    Try a two bath developer like Diafine where development is independent of film type.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  3. #3
    hchapman's Avatar
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    Hello Gerald,
    Thank you for your suggestion. I should have been more specific: the film came out all black out to the edges, beyond the image area. So it was either completely fogged before development or it didn't get along with my developer.
    hchapman

  4. #4

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    Sounds like light fogging. Age fog usually still shows some image and is not completely black.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  5. #5

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    BTW--if there was any color film from the 60's it was C-22, if that matters. Slides were E-4.

  6. #6

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    Kodacolor-X was sold until 1974 and was processed in C-22 chemistry.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  7. #7
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    It could also be transparency film.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  8. #8

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    You said it came out all black but you didn't specify whether the emulsion side was black or the backing was black. If the undeveloped film has a medium gray emulsion and a shiny black backing that sands off easily with fine sandpaper, you're probably dealing with Kodachrome. If so, it can be developed as a negative in D-76. Do a trial run at 15 minutes on a snippet and stop/fix as you would any other BW film, then soak in a 10% solution of borax and scrub the black anti-halation backing off with a sponge. It could come out very dense and muddy, in which case you could bleach it.

  9. #9

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    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20130605_180518.jpg.noexif-1090621620.jpg 
Views:	31 
Size:	253.0 KB 
ID:	6971616mm Kodachrome showing emulsion side and rem-jet anti-halation backing including an area sanded with 600 grit sandpaper to show how thin the coating is. Despite being thin, it is extraordinarily opaque.

  10. #10
    hchapman's Avatar
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    Thank you for your information Clovis, prompted me to look a bit closer. The developed and undeveloped film base looks nearly black. When I sand the back some white dust comes off but the base remains black in both the developed and undeveloped film. The emulsion looks a bit more tan than gray. A bit of undeveloped film put in fix slowly lightens a little and becomes slightly translucent but only to very bright light, nothing like BW film that goes clear.
    So, likely some kind of color film? Transparency or negative?
    hchapman

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