Creative uses for stale film? : LUSENET : Advanced Photography : One Thread

Digging though my freezer I found a few rolls of film that have probably been in there for 10 years! Amongst them was a few rolls of TMZ3200. I know TMZ3200 is supposed to fog even in a freezer due to natural radioactivity and cosmic rays, so my question is does anyone have any creative ("artistic") photographic uses for stale film like this? High Key Shots? Soft focus shots?

I typically use any slightly out of date film for testing (lens sharpness or distortion, focus tests, how slow can I hand hold a lens, tripod stability with long lenses etx.), but I wouldn't even use fresh TMZ3200 for that! Really stale film gets used for camera loading tests or for use in a camera with TTL flash metering off the film for flash metering tests (without film in the camera TTL metering is off the pressure plate, which is black!).

Apart from thowing it away (probably the wisest choice), what do you do with stale film?

-- Bob Atkins (, August 02, 1999



Good question Bob. I wish I had an answer. But if anyone is interested in two rolls of Ektar 25 in 120 size drop me a line and I'll get it on the way. I haven't kept it refrigerated, but it has been in my house for two years. Great stuff last time I used it but no guarantees now.

-- Darron Spohn (, August 02, 1999.

Stay with the frozen theme: do some portraits and reticulate the film. It's already probably junk, so abuse it all you want.

-- John O'Connell (, August 02, 1999.

Thanks. Reticulation sounds like an interesting idea. Modern films are pretty resistant to reticulation, but some ice water and maybe a hot water soak should do the trick!

-- Bob Atkins (, August 03, 1999.

I think I have made the most use of stale E-6 film (including outdated emulsions like Kodak EPZ 100X)by cross-processing. Cross processing is when you process E-6 film through C-41 chemistry. Most labs will do it for you, provided that they know that it will not harm their color line. The results vary tremendously from one emulsion to the next, and just as much by exposure, but they supersaturate the existing colors and blow out highlights. Shadows are almost always too difficult to print, so this is a technique for low contrast. Color balance is nowhere near normal, but hey, even if you don't print from your own color negs, it sure looks impressive. Of course, your mileage may vary, but why spend 9 bucks a roll on some ektachrome 100SW when it feels so much better to know that you spent $1.99 in the bargain box and can acheive the same expected results. The films I recommend are (preferentially ordered) E100X (EPZ), E100S, and EPX (64X) rated at ASA 120-160 and ASA 80 (respectively). The 1/3-2/3 underexposure sufficiently thins out the negative so that they are not too bulletproof (and thus much higher contrast). Films to avoid are neutrals like EPN, anything Fuji and punchy, high speed films (cross processing adds considerable graininess) and Tungsten balanced film and Kodachrome (anything non-E- 6, of course).

Try it and let me know what you think!

-- Ivan Singer (, August 05, 1999.

Not too creative but with the increase in fog you may find the 3200 will work as a "pushcrazy" film, to date i haven't had much luck pushing 3200 to 12.5k or 25.k but....adding some base fog would have definitely improved my tests with fresher film. I've been thinking about this problem for a coupla weeks but now that you've got the materials...please Bob! would you do a quick clip test for me...rate a few frames at 12.5 and 25.k and proc in tmax rs stock for 25 minutes at 70 deg.f.? please? just kidding but before you throw it could send it to me. Anyone ever hear of pre-aging/fogging 3200 in the microwave oven? desperately pushy and i don't want to hyper the film!

-- trib (, August 09, 1999.

Stale film, huh? Silver-based? Look here for a possible use.

Seriously, though -- You might just develop a strip of it unexposed to find out how badly fogged it is after 10 years and decide from there.

-- Russ Arcuri (, August 09, 1999.

If you want to "pre-fog" TMZ3200 to get better shadow detail when pushed, why not just do a double exposure? The first one of a gray card at, say, 3 stops under meter reading, the second one at the meter reading (for whatever speed you chose, e.g. EI 12800). I think that might be a bit more reproducible then aging the film for 10 years in the freezer (or putting it in the microwave!), plus you can play around with the pre-exposure level until you get the effect you want.

If you want to shoot fast, just pre-expose each frame at the 3 stop under pre-fog, then reload the roll and shoot at full speed. With cameras like the EOS Elan and up, the film transport IR sensors give very good frame registration.

-- Bob Atkins (, August 09, 1999.

How would I do that on 120, on a camera with advance/cocking?

-- trib (, August 09, 1999.

Well, even if you don't have double exposure capability, you can still run the film through the camera twice. The first time you shoot for -3 stops uniform pre-fog, the second you shoot at "normal" ISO 12800 exposures. You just have to respool the take up roll back onto another spool, which isn't all that tricky. Frame registration might be a little off (depending on the camera), but you have plenty of negative area in 120, so that shouldn't be a huge problem.

-- Bob Atkins (, August 09, 1999.

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