35mm · Film photography · Photography

The Expiry Files – preparing to shoot a load of expired film

I’ve aquired some more expired film, some of past it’s best date by quite some margin – the oldest roll being the Ilford FP3 which is dated 1970! Now, normally I would stay away from old film such as this, but this didn’t cost me too much and I thought it might make for an interesting series of blog posts as I shoot the stuff and present the results here.

For the curious, the batch includes the following (in chronological order – oldest to newest):

  • 1 x Ilford FP3 – 1970
  • 1 x Ilford FP4 – 1981
  • 4 x Ilford HP5 – 1982
  • 1 x Kodacolor VR 400 – 1989
  • 5 x Kodak Vericolor HC – 1991
  • 1 x Ilford FP4 – 1993
  • 1 x Kodak Vericolor VPL – No date on packaging, but I expect 1980s / 90s
  • 1 x Kodak Tmax 200 – No date on packaging, but again probably 1980s / 90s (it was manufactured from 1986 I believe)
  • 1 x Polaroid Polachrome – No date on packaging, but sometime after 1983 which is when it was introduced.
  • 1 x Polaroid Polapan – No date on packaging, but sometime after 1983 which is when it was introduced.
  • 1 x Polaroid Polablue – No date on packaging, but sometime after 1983 which is when it was introduced.

My plan is to try and shoot at least a roll of this each month. The HP5 and Vericolor both have the advantage of there being multiple rolls so I can shoot one and then re-assess exposure times for the remaining film. All the others are something of a crapshoot though, so I’ll be using the 1-stop of overexposure per decade of expiry rule for the colour stuff, and probably the same but with just half as much overexposure for the B&W. I’ve not decided on what chemicals I’ll use to develop the B&W (the colour will go to the lab), but probably not my expensive DD-X. Maybe Adox Adonal, but we’ll see.

The Polaroid film is possibly the most interesting of the lot – each roll comes with it’s own developing cartridge (and the film needs to be processed in a dedicated Autoprocessor device), so I’m looking forward to seeing how that stuff turns out.

It may be that the whole lot is an absolute waste of my time and effort, but I’m going to aim for optimism and, at the very least, there will be some blog posts falling off the back of the experience.

The oldest roll of expired film I’ve shot previously was some Kodacolor Gold 200 which had expired in 1989. While that showed definite signs of deterioration (odd colours and a mottled appearance) I was quite taken by the results, and I managed to win a prize in Expired Film Day from one of the shots. You can see some of those results here. I still have another roll of that same film in the feezer too.

As this post has been about expired film that I plan to shoot, here’s a photo made on some expired film that I did shoot five years ago. That roll was over twenty years expired and still produced lovely images, including this one.

FILM - White rose

Nikon F70, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D & Kodak Tmax 100 (expired 1994 – shot at 50asa and developed for box speed).

Taken on 19 August 2017

3 thoughts on “The Expiry Files – preparing to shoot a load of expired film

    1. In for a penny, in for a pound. 😀

      Thanks for the link, I’ll have a read of those.

      It’ll be interesting to see what, if any, results I get from the Polaroid films – especially the Polablue, which was originally intended for making white on blue title slides, but which I’ll try to do something more creative with.


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