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  1. #1
    thelawoffives's Avatar
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    Expired film speeds

    Recently, I have had a number of people give me bags of old film. The expiration dates range from 1972-2003. Most of it is c-41, with a few rolls of B+W thrown on for good measure. I am not expecting much, but I plan on shooting it and having a bit of fun. The only thing I want to know in advance is a rule of thumb for exposure on old film. Some of the film was well stored, most of it not, but I am hoping that there is a rule for estimating what the likely speed of the film is now.

    To be clear, I am not trying to turn old, bad film into sparkling, fresh film, I am just looking to not pump out roll after roll of black frames if I can avoid it.
    Bill Henderson

  2. #2

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    since it's C41, you should just be able to overexpose it. If it's 400 speed, shoot it at something like 50 or 100. If there's ALOT, crank one out just to see what happens when you do that.

  3. #3
    Ottrdaemmerung's Avatar
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    Be aware that really old C-41 film can be severely (and I do mean SEVERELY) grainy with much loss of detail in the shadows, if it's around 20 years old or older. If it's that age, don't count on your shots being keepers. Based on what I've seen, I'd overexpose by a stop -- maybe two for the oldest film. The B&W should be relatively fine, though.
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    "Embrace the negative with absolution, your final positive reward." --IQ, "The Province," Frequency

  4. #4

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    Why waste your time with old film. What will you discover, what will you prove? only that it is in very poor condition.
    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
    thelawoffives's Avatar
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    "What will I discover" is probably the point. It is fun to do things, even if I can't justify my actions to others. I like to try, rather than to not. Does that answer your question?
    Bill Henderson

  6. #6

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    Its immensely important to know how the film was stored. 10 years in the freezer is better than 2 days in a car in the sun probably...

  7. #7
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    Have fun with the film! Just bracket one roll heavily and see what you get. who knows, maybe it will have some interesting color rendition.

    If it were I, I would start by assuming that it's lost half its speed.

    Might be worth a try cross processing too, who knows.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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