View Full Version : out-dated color film

08-03-2005, 10:47 AM
Maybe this is a question that's been answered a thousand different ways here, but I couldn't find it, so I apologize if that's the case.

I found some out-dated (by 5 or more years) color 4x5 Readyload sheet film in a thrift store the other day. There are probably 30 or so boxes of 20 count. I realize color is alot more touchy than b/w, but I wonder if it is most likely completely unusable, or might I just get "interesting" color shifts. I bought 2 boxes (Kodak E100SW color reversal and Ektrachrome 100plus) to try and if it is usable, I'll go back for more when it goes to 50% off next week. However if someone can save me the lab costs on a lost cause, I'd really be grateful. Thanks alot!


08-03-2005, 11:58 AM
I have a bunch of E100SW that expired in 98 or 99 I think. It's 120 format but that shouldn't make I huge difference. I shoot it all the time in my Holga and cross-process it (my local pro lab is very accomadating).

Of course there's no telling how the stuff you've got was stored so it could be in better or worse condition. If the price is right, I say buy it and use it for experimental stock when you don't want to use the good stuff you paid more for.

08-03-2005, 12:09 PM
thanks for the info. btw, what do you mean by "cross process"?

08-03-2005, 12:35 PM
ok, I looked it up and learned something. I'm new to color (duh). Thanks alot for your help.


Tom Persinger
08-03-2005, 02:00 PM
i'd def. buy it if it was in expensive...

cross processing is great. i highly recommend it. nice saturation and color shifts. though you may have to convince the lab that it won't harm their equipment, the little lab i use was hesitant and tried to tell me they'd have problems and that the color would be messed up... they had a hard time understanding that's what i wanted... when they saw the results they thought it was pretty cool.

good luck!

08-03-2005, 02:11 PM
Hey, that thrift store line sounds really interesting...I'm tempted to ask '''how much?

I lucked out on some not-too-out-of-date 8x10 EPP100-something, plus, maybe? 3 boxes at a photo store, still refrigerated, originally $375/box, for $10/box. Sold one on eBay to pay for the other two....someday I'll have a camera that big & drop the $ to develop one sheet.


08-03-2005, 02:48 PM
it's currently at $7 a box but will go down to half that in a week or so. I'm still trying to figure out what it'll cost to process, since I don't do color myself. The local pro-lab says $2.20 a sheet. I'm swallowing hard because I have a lot to learn about color and there will be a lot of waste. the old quandry...shoes for the kid...pinhole experiments...hmmm

08-03-2005, 04:29 PM
It's summer, most kids would rather be barefoot anyway. And you've got another month before they need shoes for school, right? ;)

If you can save up enough sheets to make good use of the chemicals, you can most likely save 50% off the lab price by processing your own C-41 color with one of the various kits available. Temperature control doesn't need the half degree you're always told about, and since it'll always be above room and tap water temp there's not a probelm with having to cool the chemicals -- hot and cold tap water mixed to the right temperature will make a perfectly fine tempering bath and get you close enough to get good results.

Of course, with ready-loads, you'll need either the correct proprietary holder or a Polaroid 500 or 545 packet film holder (545 is preferred; the 500 doesn't have a stop for the envelope); that adds a one-time expense. But, if you already process B&W, you'll already have all the equipment you need except bottles and extra graduates for storing and measuring the color chemicals.

08-03-2005, 05:25 PM
I have never really thought about developing my own color, but if it's as straight-forward as you make it sound, I'll definitely look into it. Thanks so much for the great advise. I already have the film holder as I do some b/w polaroid stuff. Wow...I feel a whole new (somewhat scary) adventure coming on!

08-04-2005, 04:07 PM
The simplest C-41 kit, the Tetenal 3-bath, isn't significantly more dificult than B&W. You need a higher temperature and a bit better control of temperature, and the color dev time must be dead-nuts on or you get color shifts -- but it's not really more demanding than developing modern B&W films with HC-110 Dilution B at 80F, in terms of either temp control or timing (I've done Dilution B at 95 F once -- dev time was under two minutes). The chemicals are more expensive (quite a bit more expensive) than B&W, but the Tetenal kit is all liquid (not sure that's true for all of them), so you can mix just what you need, shoot a little butane into the bottle to keep oxygen out of the liquid, and it'll be fine for next time. And when the kit says how many rolls it'll do, it's four times that many 4x5 sheets.

I did E-4 once in high school -- that was temp plus or minus one degree F, maintained for (IIRC) fourteen steps (including a daylight reversal exposure) that took just over an hour before the film was ready to hang. Modern E-6 and C-41 kits made for amateurs are much, much simpler.

08-04-2005, 04:30 PM
and once you have the negs processed, printing is a whole other matter, I assume.
do the same basic rules apply? (actually, I will look for more info on this, but internet info always seems so daunting. your description sounds so do-able!)

08-05-2005, 03:42 PM
Simplest way to print is to scan the negatives, burn the files on a CD-RW, and take the disk to the nearest one-hour photo place for printing on their machinery. Cost you just over a dollar for 8x10 inch, around here, and only about $5 for 11x14. The common 4x6 inch, for proofs, is about fourteen to seventeen cents -- but if you can scan the negs yourself, you only have to pay for printing the good shots...

08-05-2005, 04:32 PM
thanks so much for all your help! I have a scanner with transparancy adaptor, so that will work swell. Can I ask you one last question? Is shooting in a larger format a moot point if the images are intended for scanning only, since you adjust for the final print size? Thanks again for all the time you've given this question and really providing me with the beginnings of an education in shooting color!

08-05-2005, 06:00 PM
Scanned images are just like negatives enlarged onto photo paper: the larger the negative, the more information that is available for the print. Scanning will not help a 35 mm negative rival the sharpness and the tonal gradations of a 4X5 negative. This is even more evident with pinhole images, where the minimum size of the smallest usable bit of information is limited by the size of the pinhole. There is as much information on one 8X10 inch negative as there is on a whole roll of 35 mm film. Suffice it to say that in photography, size matters.

08-06-2005, 10:05 AM
Thanks Earl...that exactly answered my question.