old film

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I have just received 36 boxes of 25 sheet 8x10 hp5+ and Fp4+ film from a gentleman that is no longer shooting 8x10. He has taken pity on a poor college instructor. The film has an expiration date of 1993. It has been frozen since before it expired. I don't have room in my freezer for this film so I bought a small refrgerator and have it set at the lowest temp it will go. My question is. How in the world should I test all this film? Should I just test one box, shoot it up and then go to the next or should I test them all? I am mostly concerned about age fog. I was wondering if there is a chemical out there that I can add to the developer to minimize fog. Seems like a long time ago I used something called Orthozite, but when I go to the local camera store they just stare blankly when I ask about it. My other question, how long do you think this film will last, being refrigerated now and not frozen. I have e-mailed the local Ilford rep with no response. Any recomendations will be greatly appreciated.

-- jacque staskon (jacque@cybertrails.com), December 12, 2000


If the stuff's been stored at -24 Celcius or below, then I wouldn't worry too much. Just test the first sheet out of each box before you use the rest.
I'd be surprised if the fog was bad enough on the FP4+ to make it unusable, but the HP5+ might have suffered a bit more. I'd give them a fog test by developing a sheet, or half a sheet, straight from the box with, say, 30% extra dev time than normal. If the fog is noticeable, then try adding some restrainer to the developer.
Potassium Bromide at 1 gram per litre of developer should be a good starting point, but you'll need to decrease the film speed to compensate. An alternative would be Ilford IBT restrainer. I'm not sure if this is still available, it was a solution of Benzotriazole in water and Iso-Propanol. IBT, or Benzotriazole controls fog better, and has a lesser effect on the film speed.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), December 12, 2000.


I too came into some old film. It was (is) twelve, 25 sheet boxes of 8x10 Plus-x that has been kept in a deep freezer since 1976. My first thought was "no way." Well, not only is the age fog minimal,(less than .1) but, in T Max Dev. it has one of the straightest response curves of any film that I currently use!

Granted, this is anecdotal and may not apply to the Ilford products you mentioned but gads, 36 boxes is a lot of film.

Aging will add a bit of a toe first and, in extreme cases, a shoulder to the curve. So, in your tests, if you find any of these characteristics, simply select a straight line dev. like T-Max and stay away from toe-prone devs. like HC-110.

And if all fails, let me know....I'll make you an offer.

Good luck, Bruce

-- Bruce Wehman (bruce.wehman@hs.utc.com), December 12, 2000.


As others have mentioned, if the film truly has been cold stored, you should not have any problems. I've used 20+ year old Tri-X that was frozen and it was fine.


-- Pete Caluori (pcaluori@hotmail.com), December 12, 2000.

On the other hand, I recently tried some film that must have been about 25 years old that was not cold stored, and it not only showed about a stop's worth of base fog, but rated at an ISO slightly lower than fiber-based paper (should have been about 200).

Is each box from a different emulsion batch? There should be numbers on the label indicating the batch. I would just test one sheet from each batch, presuming they were all stored together.

Edwal makes Liquid Orthozite, which is benzotriazole plus a little sodium sulfite, if you need an anti-foggant. Kodak Anti-Fog No. 1 was straight benzotriazole, but it seems to be out of production.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), December 12, 2000.

I might be all wet....yuck...but doesn't Benzotriazole retard chemical fogging? Does it really have much effect on the non-chemical type of fog?

-- Bruce Wehman (bruce.wehman@hs.utc.com), December 12, 2000.

It might well work even if it hasn't been cold stored. Hell, with 36 boxes you have enough to gather your own empirical data. Sounds like a potentially awesome teaching tool to me.

-- Chad Jarvis (cjarvis@nas.edu), December 12, 2000.

Bruce: I believe a restrainer like Potassium Bromide works by introducing free halogen ions into the developer. These effectively reduce the film speed and raise the development 'threshold' by aiding re-combination of development sites in the emulsion, as well as interfering directly with the action of the developing agent.
This mechanism is like an accelerated latent image regression, and should work regardless of how the crystal dislocation was initially caused, either by light, gamma rays, or chemical fogging.

As for the mechanism of organic restrainers like Benzotriazole, I don't know.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), December 13, 2000.

Benzotriazole enhances the effect of potassium bromide, which may be present in certain developers as a restrainer, and it increases the effect I believe of bromides formed in the development process (the so-called "bromide drag" that is avoided by agitation).

The common use for benzotriazole is for freshening old films and papers, but some people add it to paper developer as a matter of course for keeping highlights bright.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), December 13, 2000.

Jacque: I have several boxes of Tri-X more than 10 years old that I use without problems. It has been frozen since day one. I notice a tiny bit of fogging, but you have to compare it to new film to see any difference. The fogging is not detremental...just print through it like it was a tiny bit of pre-exposure. I have some great prints made on this film. I also used a box of 8x10 XX Pan that is 20 years old. It has a good bit of fogging due to storage, but still gives great negs for contact printing. It has slowed down a little, but still works fine. I would use the film you have, and as suggested, test a sheet or two. I think you will be well pleased. Look at prints, not negs to see how it does. Sounds to me like you got pretty lucky with the gift.


-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alaweb.com), December 13, 2000.

I really wanted to answer or comment with another question. Last week I bought 100 rolls of 120 fuji provia film that has an expiration date of august 2000 and have put it in the freezer at home. i am getting ready to test this film this week. if it turns out with good results i can use it with my newly aquired toyo field camera and the 67/45 roll film back. My other part of this is to kindly ask if there are specific places that might have 4 by 5 sheet film that is slightly out of date for some substancial savings or any recommended places to order 4 by 5 film from for a savings thats worth going to the trouble for. Thanks folks!

-- miles feigenbaum (mfa1@ix.netcom.com), December 13, 2000.

I would be very hesitant about out-of-date E6 film, but Freestyle always advertises Fuji cold-stored film past date, much of it sheet film. www.freestylesalesco.com and they usually have an ad in _View Camera_ magazine.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), December 13, 2000.

I recently bought a few boxes of Fuji Astia 8x10 with and expiry date of 12/98, reportedly kept in a Freezer. I shot it last weekend, with no resulting negative effect. I, too, keep it in the freezer. It all depends on whether or not the history is accurate. Ross

-- Ross Brechner (epistatdoc@speedchoice.com), December 14, 2000.

gracias guys!

-- miles feigenbaum (mfa1@ix.netcom.com), December 14, 2000.

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