35mm · Film photography · Photography

Curly negs

I’m posting another photo from the roll of expired Tri-X Pan today. Again, it’s a scene form the Derbyshire County Council complex on the hillside at Matlock.

I’ve got a good few day’s worth of blog posts left in this roll yet, but I finished scanning the last of the frames today. And boy am I glad.

I had about a half-dozen rolls of the batch of film which I picked up from someone online. I don’t mind expired black and white film as it usually gives good results still, even decades past expiry, and this Tri-X Pan (produced before the “Pan” bit was dropped from the name) is no exception. Yes, it’s not perfect, and I have to make some compensation at the exposure or development stage, but on the whole the photos look nice.

One problem I’ve had with this roll has been a lot of marks on the negatives. At first I thought these were drying marks, but on closer inspection I don’t think they are. They have a different look to any drying marks I’ve seen on other rolls and I suspect the film has become compromised in some form, either because of its age, or possibly in my use of it. However, these marks have only appeared on this most recent roll, with no signs of similar defects on others that I’ve shot from the same batch. On the whole, they can be cloned out in Photoshop to an acceptable level too.

The main issue with this film though is it’s tendency to curl when removed from the cannister. It’s curly when loading it onto the spools for development, but upon drying it becomes so very much worse. It’s almost aggressive in it’s curliness. Letting it slip for a fraction of a second results in it springing into itself either as a neat, tightly rolled cylinder of film or, sometimes – particularly when I was cutting the roll into strips for storage – a messy viper’s-nest tangle of coils.

Getting the cut strips into the negative hoder for my Plustek scanner took a great deal of effort and an even bigger helping of frustration. In the end I had to don some cotton gloves as there was no way to set it in the holders without physically gripping both sides of the negatives and, even then, it was still extremely difficult to get them correctly aligned. I had a number of choice words to say as I attempted this, none of which are suitable for repeating here.

But now they’re all scanned, for better or worse, and I am glad of that. I’m not sure if I have any more of this particular batch of film left. There might be a roll in the freezer somewhere (I really need to carry out a stock-check on what I have in there!), but I’m kinda hoping there isnt. I think I’d rather pay the price of a brand new roll of Tri-X!


Olympus XA3 & Kodak Tri-X Pan (expired 2003 – shot at box speed and pushed a stop in development). Ilfotec DD-X 1+4 10mins @ 20°

Taken on 18 December 2021