Friday, 18 March 2016

Expired Film Day 2016

Kodak Plus-X, develop before date of July 1972
Having missed the last couple of 127 Days for a variety of reasons, on the 15th this week I participated in the new Expired Film Day ('Take Your Box Camera To Play Day' also happens to be this weekend, 18th-20th March). I frequently use decades-old photographic emulsions, notably in glass plate night photography. I did consider shooting some glass plates on the day, but instead, as part of an unrelated ongoing project of large format photographs around Walthamstow Marshes, I used the opportunity of Expired Film Day to shoot some 4x5 sheet film with the MPP Micro-Technical Mk VI: a box of Ilford FP4 with a hand written date of 11/4/78; Kodak Plus-X with a develop before date of July 1972; and Kodak Panchro-Royal, not dated, but the box looks older than the Plus-X, possibly 1960s. I had previously tested all three films to get a usable exposure index: the FP4 was rated half box speed, while the other two were shot at an exposure index of 25.

Ilford FP4, with handwritten date 11/4/78
Both the FP4 and Plus-X provided results which do not look like forty-year old film (and as such wouldn't win the Expired Film Day prize categories 'Most Obviously Expired Film' or 'Best Use of Overexposure'), but the Panchro-Royal clearly shows characteristic deterioration with age. I used both the 16.5cm Tessar and the Bausch & Lomb Rapid Rectilinear which I've written about in the post Old Lenses; the Rapid Rectilinear is the oldest lens I have, and so it seemed appropriate to use it for the day.

Kodak Plus-X, develop before date July 1972
Kodak Panchro-Royal sheet film, possibly 1960s
There's very little information on Kodak Panchro-Royal online, and this gave the worst performance of the three films I shot (the FP4 and Panchro-Royal came from the same collection of photographic material, and may - or may not - have been stored in the same conditions). As well as having much more obvious fog, it also suffered from a good deal of cusping, the film being far from flat, and this made scanning more difficult. Some of the shots were taken using only the rear elements of the Rapid Rectilinear lens, as described in Old Lenses, as the Panchro-Royal image above, and the shot below on Plus-X. All the sheet film was stand developed in RO9 One Shot diluted 1+100 for one hour, partly due to developing all the films together, but some unevenness was evident in the development discernible in the featureless skies of most of the negatives.

Kodak Plus-X, develop before date July 1972
In addition to the sheet film I also finished a part-used roll of medium format Kodak Plus-X, which had a develop before date of 03/2006 - a neat ten years out of date. This was exposed at box speed and developed in RO9 One Shot diluted 1+29 for 9 minutes at 20ÂșC. Incidentally, I had intended to use this time and dilution with Ilfotec LC29, and only realised my mistake when the wrong developer was mixed and in the tank. However, the times and dilutions being relatively similar, I stuck with the time for Ilfotec LC29, which resulted in perfectly usable negatives.

Medium format Kodak Plus-X, develop before March 2006
Medium format Kodak Plus-X, develop before March 2006


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