Developing old films

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neiljenkins
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2007 9:17 am
Location: South west France

Developing old films

Post by neiljenkins » Thu Sep 13, 2007 9:35 am

Hi Everyone,

I've been a visitor to these fine pages for a little while as I get back into photography, and today I've registered and am submitting my first posting!

Anyway, for reasons that I won't go into here, I put my photography on hold largely for around 6 years but am picking things up again. As part of going through the old photo gear in the shed to see what I can still use or not use, I noticed a bag of exposed but undeveloped films. As a test (and as a personal little refresher in film development!) I developed a roll of Agfa APX 400 in Xtol 1+2 using the standard published time (leading to around 12 minutes at 22-23ºC). Knowing the films were exposed long ago I wasn't expecting anything exciting, but the resulting negative was very dense - I wasn't even sure anything had come out until I held the film up close to a light bulb. I guess if I'm going to get anything out of the remaining films I need to extend the development times, but can anyone advise as to how much? And should I lean towards a particular dilution strategy?

Looking at the images on my (randomly!) chosen test film it would be about 7 years old, but some films will be 5 years old. And there's a mixture between APX 400, APX 100, HP5, FP4, TMax 3200 (don't hold out much hope for that!) and Fuji Neopan 1600 (nor that!).

Also, is there a developer(s) that might work better than others for this task?

Any advice welcome, and (if it's of any interest) I'll publish the results up here.

Best regards,
Neil "New Boy" Jenkins


pentaxpete
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 7:19 am
Location: BRENTWOOD,Essex,(UK)

Post by pentaxpete » Fri Sep 14, 2007 11:05 am

Just reading what you did : If the negatives are 'very dense' (ie black) then you need to CUT the development time, not extend it. I use lots of outdated films; I have developed recently some 1978 Ilford PanF 120 rollfilm : I rated it at 25ASA instead of the 50 and used 'the dreaded Rodinal' at 1+50 dilution for 13 mins and it came out well. If the films are undeveloped then the 'latent image' usually fades, which means results can be 'thin' unless you extend the development time, but in your case with THAT film sounds like you have over-developed it !
Got COMPUTERISED and 'slightly Digitised Pentax K10D' but FILM STILL RULES !

neiljenkins
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2007 9:17 am
Location: South west France

Post by neiljenkins » Mon Sep 17, 2007 6:36 am

Hi PentaxPete,

Thanks for the response.

And sorry for causing confusion. I often wrongly use the term "dense". What I meant was, the negs seemed to be underdeveloped; i.e. they appeared darker that I was expecting, which would lead to thin, low contrast prints.

As a further test, I intend to use some HC-110 (since I understand it's good for processing older films and helps reduce potential fogging) and will do a roll at a time, starting by pushing by 1 stop (increasing dev time by 30%) and see what happens.

As you speak of Rodinal, I've been interested seeing various people on this (and other) forum(s) slagging it off. I used it for a few years as a standard film developer and always liked it, finding it gave me good contrast, grey tone coverage and fine grain and sharpness. What, specifically, is it that people hate about it?

Anyway, I'll let you know how I get on with the old films test. Seeing as you've developed such old film in such a hated developer with good results I guess my quest should be plain sailing! :-)

Best regards,
Neil

Ornello
Posts: 875
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 9:49 am

Post by Ornello » Mon Sep 17, 2007 9:07 am

neiljenkins wrote:Hi PentaxPete,

Thanks for the response.

And sorry for causing confusion. I often wrongly use the term "dense". What I meant was, the negs seemed to be underdeveloped; i.e. they appeared darker that I was expecting, which would lead to thin, low contrast prints.

As a further test, I intend to use some HC-110 (since I understand it's good for processing older films and helps reduce potential fogging) and will do a roll at a time, starting by pushing by 1 stop (increasing dev time by 30%) and see what happens.

As you speak of Rodinal, I've been interested seeing various people on this (and other) forum(s) slagging it off. I used it for a few years as a standard film developer and always liked it, finding it gave me good contrast, grey tone coverage and fine grain and sharpness. What, specifically, is it that people hate about it?
It's an old formula that is inferior to most developers and far inferior to the latest ones. Specifically, it does not give full speed (you lose about 1/2 stop compared to D-76, for instance); it does not give very fine grain; it does not give very good sharpness.
Anyway, I'll let you know how I get on with the old films test. Seeing as you've developed such old film in such a hated developer with good results I guess my quest should be plain sailing! :-)

Best regards,
Neil

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