Picking up where I left off.

CJV8

New Member
Registered User
I've been a LF user since around 2005, however as often happens life got in the way and as a result I've barely done any photography since 2013 with my equipment being resigned to a cupboard and forgotten about after a few job changes, marriage and a house move.

I started doing a little bit of digital work early this year when we got an Olympus OMD for product shots for our part time business, but I have to say I find digital 'impressive' and 'convenient' more than I find it 'rewarding' if you get my meaning, but it did rekindle my love for photography.

This year hasn't been great as I've been unwell for most of it, but the silver lining has been more time at home, during which I've done some sorting out and tidying up, and in the process unearthed all my film gear. I was all set to get it all photographed and sold on as I felt it was dead money, and the cost of film and processing was prohibitive these days, and my better half kept asking me "are you sure you want to sell it?". Regardless I dug it all out and set it up expecting the bellows to tear when I opened up the camera (Shen Hao), but it didn't and I was pleasantly surprised how much muscle memory I had in setting the camera up. Then I came across a very dusty Jobo CPE2 which I'd completely forgotten about! I'd bought it but never actually used it, so now the prospect of using LF again is very much back on the cards. I've a lot to learn as I've never done any film processing other than a single roll of 35mm decades ago with my Dad, but I've acquired B&W chemicals to at least give it a go in the coming weeks.

Which leads me on to a potential issue. As the camera and all it's accessories were put in a cupboard and forgotten about 8 years ago, all the film I had was just left and not frozen or refrigerated. There are exposed sheets of both B&W and E6, along with a reasonable amount of unexposed sheets of both, dated around 2009 (process by). The cupboard it was in is fairly temperature stable, but will generally have been in the 15 - 20 degrees range (celcius!), is the film still usable at all? And as for the exposed sheets, are they worth developing at all?

I'm looking forward to getting back out with the camera once I'm fit enough and sharing some images on this forum.

Cheers, Chris.
 

David M

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Registered User
Welcome to the forum.
The good news is that other members here have experimented with old film and discovered that it’s mostly OK. You are all set to go.
As for the mechanics of developing film, you just follow the instructions and it comes out, just like microwaving a pie.
When you’ve done a bit more, it might be time to complicate matters by reading about the Zone system (which is not compulsory, but comes up so often in discussion that it’s handy to know the vocabulary).
Best of luck.
 

CJV8

New Member
Registered User
"it might be time to complicate matters by reading about the Zone system"

I just started reading The Negative a few days ago, perfect timing!
 

thronobulax

Active Member
Registered User
Which leads me on to a potential issue. As the camera and all it's accessories were put in a cupboard and forgotten about 8 years ago, all the film I had was just left and not frozen or refrigerated. There are exposed sheets of both B&W and E6, along with a reasonable amount of unexposed sheets of both, dated around 2009 (process by). The cupboard it was in is fairly temperature stable, but will generally have been in the 15 - 20 degrees range (celcius!), is the film still usable at all? And as for the exposed sheets, are they worth developing at all?

Cheers, Chris.
I have done extensive testing with old monochrome films and can say with confidence that your B&W from 2009 should be just fine and work pretty much as new. The only complication would be if the packaging got wet, mouldy, or was stored in extreme heat. I've happily made images with films going back to the 1970s (and in one case, 1961 as a pure testing exercise) albeit using low agitation techniques for development. These should not be necessary for your film which you should at least initially process as directed until you get back into the groove of things again.

The E6 is another matter. The film is only 12 years out of date and should be OK, but colour is a fussy mistress. The only real test here will be to shoot some sheets and process.
 

CJV8

New Member
Registered User
Thanks for the replies. From the sounds of things the B&W should be fine (it's all FP4), definitely no damp in the cupboard.
I'll maybe run a few E6 sheets though and send away for processing. I know I'll be able to process E6 in my Jobo but until I've some experience of film development I'll leave it to others for now.
 

Ian Grant

Well-Known Member
Registered User
I'm still using 10x8 EFKE Pl25 and Fortepan 200 bought before 2005 with no issues at all, I keep it in my darkroom at ground level. even with the temperature at over 30ºC outside and the darkroom door open (for too long) it still remains cool.

When living in Turkey I stored my film in a drawer at floor level, lickily the apartment is ground floor, I had a 100 sheet box of HP5 I'd bought short dated from the US and over time that did have a slight increase in base fog but that was only noticeable 3 or 4 years after returning to the UK. I should add in Turkey our apartment could go over the 40º C around August if we were out and not using the air con, but even so the temprature in the drawer was only maybe 22º max, my thermometers were stored in the same drawer.

Chris, I used to do a regular weekly E6 (& C41) process with PAterson System 4 tanks in my kitchen, actually it was easy, a Jobo just simplifies slightly. But then I'd cut my teeth with Pavelle prits, and later Feraniareversal processing both needing way greater process controls and no fun. Home processing E4 was easy after that in the E3 chemistry (fully compatible - E4 chemistry was too toxic for non machine use) but E6 is less demanding really only the First Development is time and temperature critical other steps are effectivelyfinality :D

With E3/E4 when push processing you altered both the first and second development time.

I did my pwn E6 largely because I was regularly shooting rock concerts and uprating my films and also using E6 Fuji 100 for business and personal colour work, C41 because I was push processing XP1 and later XP2.

Ian
 
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