Shooting 30-Year Old Expired Film

April 11, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Minolta X-570 ready to shoot!

When I inherited my Yashica Electro 35 GSN rangefinder in 2017, the bag it was in also had 2 rolls of Seattle Film Works color negative film that expired in 1992. I thought about shooting it, but when I learned that it had to be processed using ECN-2 rather than C-41, I never gave it a second thought knowing that the results, no matter how interesting, could not justify the price of developing. But for some reason I didn’t throw them away. Then the other day I saw a YouTube video that talked about Seattle Film Works and remembered that I had these rolls sitting in a box.

The YouTuber said that some later film stocks from SWF were re-branded C-41 process rather than the re-packaged motion picture film. I checked both rolls and confirmed that they both have the remjet layer on the back. But that’s OK because my current batch of C-41 chemistry is almost used up and I can develop these rolls once that chemistry can no longer be trusted for developing good film.

So this afternoon I loaded the roll of 200 speed SFW film into my X-570 and headed out for a walk through the neighborhood. I wasn’t sure about how to expose the film, so I set the ISO to 50 and shot the whole roll. The box said 20 exposures, so I got concerned that I had not loaded the film properly near the end of the roll when the shutter count got up to 23. But that’s where it stopped. I rolled it back into the canister and headed back to the house.

I have no idea what to expect from this film. The bag with the camera and film were stored in a closet in my mom’s house, so not the worst conditions although the house was vacant and probably not air conditioned for many of those years. And I’ve kept the film in a box in my office since June 2017, so the rolls have been through at least 4 hot Texas summers without air conditioning. I’m not expecting much...

I’ve got a few more rolls to develop before the chemistry is used up, but no time to develop them right now. So we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out. I’ll update this post when I have results...


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