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Developing Really Old Film


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#1 Noah Kuntz

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 09:07 PM

Please excuse the newbie question, as I've never shot 16mm before and have limited experience with traditional film. I picked up an old Bolex yesterday and with it a couple sealed tins of film. What I'm wondering is there any point to shooting and developing Cine-Kodak Super-XX B&W that expired in 1954? I know that is crazy old but I've read some stuff about B&W lasting a really long time. There is also a Sealed Kodachrome II but I know all those labs shut down. 

 

A side question, does anyone have a recommendation for best affordable lab in the US that will develop just 100ft at a time? (regardless if I use this particular film) Thanks.


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#2 Alan Duckworth

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 10:10 PM

It is unlikely that it is worth the effort, even B&W will have probably fogged to a degree and lost some speed, and has probably also shrunk somewhat. With a "new-to-you" camera you really should buy fresh film, that way if there are any problems that show up, you know it is the camera and not the film.

Spectra Film & Video deal with small quantities of film and processing - spectrafilmandvideo.com

If you know of any film archivists you could donate the old film to, they appreciate old, shruken film - it can be used in their work.

All the best with your "new" camera.


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#3 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 11:10 PM

Spectra will, like Alan said, process 100' loads. Be warned though, they will take their sweet time doing so. I had to wait 2 full weeks to get my roll processed because of their "piggybacking" policy and that was with ECN-2 processing which is real common. Tracking says I should get it back tomorrow which would make a total turn around time of about 3 weeks.


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#4 Simon Wyss

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 01:06 AM

The camera belongs into the hands of service people and the films into the trash.


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#5 Alan Duckworth

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 02:01 AM

Please don't trash old film, it is useful for the repair of other old films which are shrunken. See here for info on perf repair of shrunken film - http://www.nfsa.gov....oration-repair/

 

Unprocessed old film can be either cleared back to film base for use as clear leader, or processed out for black leader. Again, these can be used for leadering other old shrunken films. And [bonus points!], the Super-XX that expired in 1954 will almost certainly be 2R [perforated on both edges].


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#6 Chris Elardo

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 12:28 PM

Colorlab in Rockville, Md. does a lot of archive work. They process 100' rolls no problem and have excellent turn around time and service. A great lab.


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#7 Doug Palmer

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 04:10 PM

I occasionally use Ilford FP3 b/w 16mm film.    I couldn't resist a tea chest of the stuff I saw on a market stall some years back, I think ex-BBC.  Surprisingly it still produces reasonably good images and does not appear to be shrunk either. Perhaps some veiling, and the speed has dropped to about 50 asa from 125.  Must be early to mid 1960's I should imagine. So I suggest do try that old film.

 


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#8 Noah Kuntz

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 08:41 PM

Thanks for all the responses. I think I will start with new film, but may go back and experiment with the Super-XX if I get things working smoothly. I definitely have to spend some time cleaning up this camera and getting familiar with it first. It does seem to run quite well. I have been watching 16mm films for a couple years and also restoring and using Polaroid pack film cameras, so I'm not totally new to vintage photography. 


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#9 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 01:07 PM

http://www.filmrescue.com/


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