Frozen antique film questions
Please forgive me if anything like this had been discussed, but I couldn't find the answer offhand.
Recently a friend who lives in my apartment complex gave me a stash of film he'd had in his freezer for years. I'll list a few of them below. Im curious about a few things.
1) Are there any of these that are worth shooting and processing?
2) Are there any of these that should go to someone who will make better use of them that an amateur like myself would make of them?
3) One of these is a C-22 process-- is this something worth bothering with?
I'm really interested in any thoughts/ideas/rememberances of these films. I'm not sure what I've been given, but to me it's a treasure trove. :-)
GAF Print film ASA 80, C-22 process 35mm
Kodak Panatomic-X Exp. Jun 1974 ASA 32 35mm
Kodak High Contrast Copy Extreme Resultion Panchromatic Exp. Sept 1966 35mm
Kodak High Speed Infrared 2481 Exp 05/88 35mm
Ektacolor 100, unknown exp. date, 35mm
Ektar 1000, unknown exp. date, 35mm
Konica DX ASA 1600, unknown exp., 35mm
PRN 120 Pro 100, ISO 100, exp. 06/1997
Kodak Ektacolor Type S 120, exp. Sep 1975 ASA 100 C-22 process
Kodak Vericolor II Type S 120 So-172, exp 5/1980
Kodacolor 400 120, exp. 04/1985
All of these films are still sealed in their boxes and have been kept frozen all these years. I know there's no way to know what I'll get until I shoot them, but I don't want to ruin these or waste them if there are any special films here which should be used by great photographers. If there are any jewels here, I want them to be used by someone who deserves to use them, and I'm not so sure I'm that person. On the other hand, maybe I'm meant to use them myself-- I'm just not sure.
What do you veterans think?
Thank you again in advance!
The only one that I would definitely use is the Panatomic-X. That stuff was some of the finest-grained B&W films ever available. Other than that, the lower speed (<400) films should be fine, while the higher-speed films will see increased grain and fog. As for the C-22, unless you do C-41 by yourself so you can do it at 68 degrees, I would toss it or keep it as a collectible.
"Panic not my child, the Great Yellow Father has your hand"--Larry Dressler
Do you do any film processing? That would affect what you can do with some of this film. My first reaction would be to leave the C-22 stuff in the freezer indefinitely.
My second action would be to use the Panatomic-X and the infrared film really soon, on some interesting subject. Read up on those before using them, though.
C-22 films are best forgotten in my opinion. They are unlikely to produce anything useful and the process is long gone, although you could scratch-mix it. The 2481 is unlikely to retain much if any IR sensitivity but it is something you can play with for very little cost. Use a deep red filter and photograph some summer foliage, and use D-76 or D-19 to see what develops. Start with a low speed rating.
The Vericolor II might produce some useful images, but you can be certain of getting good results by using a modern film. If I recall correctly, SO-172 was special order for making CN internegatives from positive slides. In those days prints from slides were almost always done by making internegatives. Kodacolor 400 if frozen will probably work just fine with a reduction in speed to 200 or so. But again, new Portra 400 is one of the best films ever made and a better choice. Ektar 1000 is a C41 film and is probably more like an Ektar 160 after being stored all those years. It was a really hot (and very grainy) high speed CN film that was popular for photo journalism, especially in dark and dangerous places. Just the thing for wars and crime scene photos, and of course just perfect for burning buildings at night. Sports photographers used it too, for night games under lights.
The Panatomic-X is likely to be just fine; I always liked this film but you do need an awful lot of light in comparison with today's films. Back then nobody thought about shooting Tri-X in daylight, but today it is almost the normal procedure. Not many people have any use for high contrast copy film. It was used for microfilming records. Maybe you can photograph some tax returns to try it out?
Playing around with old films that were stored properly can be an interesting route to appreciate how much improved are today's materials. It's amazing to me that anything useful came out of C-22 processes that were done at 75F with soft emulsions and rather unstable dyes. It was a lot easier to mess up in those days; take it from an expert on that score.
By denying the facts, any paradox can be sustained--Galileo
Thank you all so much for the replies. I am reading and rereading all of these posts and taking it to heart.
It appears to me that the Panchromatic-X is the one to use for a special project as it has the greatest chance of producing great images. I gather I should use the others experimentally, which is what I will most likely do. I really appreciate the info about the films, especially the high contrast copy film-- I had, quite literally, no clue how or what to use this film for.
I have done B&W processing at home, but it's something I am not comfortable relying on for good results yet-- I am a novice still and enjoy the work but don't have confidence in the results as of yet.
I think what I may do is to use the Panatomic-X for a series of shots with my close friends and family and shoot the rest as strictly experimental photography. Ideally, I'd love to have the use of a Leica M3 for the Panatomic X, but I hope my Canon A1 will provide quality images with the film.
Truthfully, this has sparked an interest to experiment with older films stored properly, as the previous poster mts mentioned, in order to compare and contrast with modern alternatives.
Specifically regarding the Panatomic X, would you all have a recommendation as to what ISO/ASA to shoot this? The film itself is rated as ASA 32, but with my limited knowledge of the subject, I would put more faith in a recommendation from the forum than the box speed, given the age of the film.
Thank you again for all the help. I greatly appreciate you all sharing your knowledge and experience.
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Thank you for the suggestion on the infrared film. I've never used infrared before, so may I ask what you think good subjects/use of the film might be?
Originally Posted by Dave Pritchard
A friend said he used infrared film to shoot a car engine after running it for a few minutes, but that's the only use so far with which I am familar. I suppose anything with a distinct heat signature would be a suitable subject but I don't know how or if I should adjust the ASA/ISO to compensate for differing temperatures.
IR film is sensitive to shortwave IR, i.e. under 1um. Stuff isn't going to show up brighter on the film unless it's at a few hundred degrees, i.e. just short of glowing - if the film were sensitive to longer-wave IR emitted by things at body temperature then just allowing the film to come to room temperature would expose it; it would need to be kept practically frozen from manufacture, while being used and while being developed.
The usual pictorial use of IR is to photograph people and foliage in full sun - google for the "Woods Effect" and/or look for images tagged with HIE on flickr. You will need a special filter, e.g. an R72.
I can tell you that my experience is that I have used both black & white and color film that has been kept in a freezer for over ten years without a problem. As pointed out above getting some emulsions processed can be a problem and infrared film may show signs of fogging.
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Nothing beats a great piece of glass!
I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.
I don't know if I was given good info or bad, but I was told to keep HIE in the fridge and not the freezer. No idea why. I've also heard that it's not great much beyond its expiration date. I've shot some that was a year or so past the date and it was ok, but grainier. I have one roll left (exp 10-09) and I'll be shooting it soon. Its responses have nothing to do with heat, btw, it just registers colors in different shades of grey than regular B&W film. But still pretty cool. It has to be taken out of the can in total darkness, loaded into the camera in total darkness, unloaded, etc...., so it's best to be able to develop it yourself.
Kodak High Speed Infrared 2481 Exp 05/88 35mm
We can't even cross process C-22 in B&W chemistry and get *something* out of it?
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?