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How to develop old film



 
 
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  #1  
Old February 2nd 05, 12:47 AM
Bob
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Posts: n/a
Default How to develop old film

I recently was asked by a friend to develop 5 rolls of old pictures
that were taken by his mother, and then put away in a drawer and
forgotten. There were 4 rolls of Verichrome (not Verichrome Pan), and 1
roll of un-named "panchromatic film" (the only identifier). The
changeover from Verichrome to Verichrome Pan apparently took place in
about 1954, so 4 of the film rolls were about 50 years old. The other
roll is probably about that old. I tried several different methods with
these rolls, and checked the densities on my Kodak Color Densitometer
Model 10-k. The results were somewhat unexpected, so I thought I would
share them.

I checked development recommendations for Verichrome, and found the
prevalent recommendation was 17 minutes in straight D-76. I processed
the first Verichrome roll this way. The result was extremely high
background, but some picture detail was observable in the
freshly-processed film. However, as the film dried (I hung it in my
darkroom and left if for a week), it got progressively darker. At this
point almost no detail is observable. I measure an optical density (OD)
of 1.84-2.05 pretty much everywhere. Comparing this with zone system
densities I found on the net, this corresponds to approximately zones
XI-XIII, and is approximately the maximum achievable negative density.


The next roll of verichrome I processed in straight D-76, but added on
Kodak anti-fog tablet to 1 quart of developer (as prescribed in the
directions on the anti-fog bottle). Here I followed the previous
procedure. Some detail was initially observable, but the negatives got
progressively darker with drying. After 1 week I found OD of 1.95-2.0.
Again, approximately zone XIII. The antifog tablet did nothing to
reduce fog.

The next roll I processed in straight D-76, but reduced processing time
to 13 minutes. Again, some detail was initially observable, but the
negatives got progressively darker with drying. After 1 week I found OD
in the base +background (fog) of 1.62. The darkest area has OD=1.90.
Here some detail is observable, with a density range in the negative of
about 0.3. This is about 1/3 the density range in a "properly exposed
and processed" negative, encompasing about 2 zones. A good negative
should have about 7 zones.With high contrast paper I may be able to get
decent prints.

I processed a 4th roll using the same parameters as in the paragraph
directly above. I found OD of base +background =1.44. The maximum
density is 1.70. Again, approximately 2 zones range.

The panchromatic roll I couldn't identify, so I followed my usual
procedure and processed it in Diafine (which processes all films the
same, 3 minutes in each of 2 developer baths). Here I found base
+background = 0.67. Maximum OD=1.08. This density range of 0.41 is
about 2 1/2 zones, only a slight improvement in tonal range. However,
the overall background level is greatly reduced. I believe these
negatives will produce acceptable (not great) prints. I'm uncertain
whether the film is much newer (I doubt it), or whether the Diafine
produces much less background (the view I favor).

I'm uncertain at this point how to recommend processing of old
verichrome. I definitely wouldn't use 17 minutes in D-76. I would use
either 13 minutes in D-76, or Diafine. I have several rolls of old
unexposed Verichrome 122 that I want to try in a Folding Pocket Kodak
3B, and several rolls of expired Verichrome Pan 620 that I want to
shoot in my Kodak Medalist. If I resolve the issue I will publish the
results here.

  #2  
Old February 2nd 05, 03:06 AM
Richard Knoppow
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Bob" wrote in message
oups.com...
I recently was asked by a friend to develop 5 rolls of old
pictures
that were taken by his mother, and then put away in a
drawer and
forgotten. There were 4 rolls of Verichrome (not
Verichrome Pan), and 1
roll of un-named "panchromatic film" (the only
identifier). The
changeover from Verichrome to Verichrome Pan apparently
took place in
about 1954, so 4 of the film rolls were about 50 years
old. The other
roll is probably about that old. I tried several different
methods with
these rolls, and checked the densities on my Kodak Color
Densitometer
Model 10-k. The results were somewhat unexpected, so I
thought I would
share them.

I checked development recommendations for Verichrome, and
found the
prevalent recommendation was 17 minutes in straight D-76.
I processed
the first Verichrome roll this way. The result was
extremely high
background, but some picture detail was observable in the
freshly-processed film. However, as the film dried (I hung
it in my
darkroom and left if for a week), it got progressively
darker. At this
point almost no detail is observable. I measure an optical
density (OD)
of 1.84-2.05 pretty much everywhere. Comparing this with
zone system
densities I found on the net, this corresponds to
approximately zones
XI-XIII, and is approximately the maximum achievable
negative density.


The next roll of verichrome I processed in straight D-76,
but added on
Kodak anti-fog tablet to 1 quart of developer (as
prescribed in the
directions on the anti-fog bottle). Here I followed the
previous
procedure. Some detail was initially observable, but the
negatives got
progressively darker with drying. After 1 week I found OD
of 1.95-2.0.
Again, approximately zone XIII. The antifog tablet did
nothing to
reduce fog.

The next roll I processed in straight D-76, but reduced
processing time
to 13 minutes. Again, some detail was initially
observable, but the
negatives got progressively darker with drying. After 1
week I found OD
in the base +background (fog) of 1.62. The darkest area
has OD=1.90.
Here some detail is observable, with a density range in
the negative of
about 0.3. This is about 1/3 the density range in a
"properly exposed
and processed" negative, encompasing about 2 zones. A
good negative
should have about 7 zones.With high contrast paper I may
be able to get
decent prints.

I processed a 4th roll using the same parameters as in the
paragraph
directly above. I found OD of base +background =1.44. The
maximum
density is 1.70. Again, approximately 2 zones range.

The panchromatic roll I couldn't identify, so I followed
my usual
procedure and processed it in Diafine (which processes all
films the
same, 3 minutes in each of 2 developer baths). Here I
found base
+background = 0.67. Maximum OD=1.08. This density range of
0.41 is
about 2 1/2 zones, only a slight improvement in tonal
range. However,
the overall background level is greatly reduced. I believe
these
negatives will produce acceptable (not great) prints. I'm
uncertain
whether the film is much newer (I doubt it), or whether
the Diafine
produces much less background (the view I favor).

I'm uncertain at this point how to recommend processing of
old
verichrome. I definitely wouldn't use 17 minutes in D-76.
I would use
either 13 minutes in D-76, or Diafine. I have several
rolls of old
unexposed Verichrome 122 that I want to try in a Folding
Pocket Kodak
3B, and several rolls of expired Verichrome Pan 620 that I
want to
shoot in my Kodak Medalist. If I resolve the issue I will
publish the
results here.

This is an instance where development by inspection might
have been useful. Because Verichrome is orthochromatic it
can be developed under a dark red safelight (Wratten No.2).
The published charts for Verichrome show that the
contrast for 17min @68F is pretty high, a gamma on the order
of 0.85. Contrast is now more often measured by Average
Contrast (Bar-G) or Contast Index, either of which will
usually give different values from gamma but a gamma of
around 0.7 is more like what films are developed to now.
Guess what, that corresponds to a time of 13min for D-76.
Obviously the problem is age fog. Increasing the amount
of Benzotriazole in the developer will reduce the fog
density, but at some point, it also begins to destroy the
latent image.
There are people who specialize in developing old filmm,
for instance http://www.filmrescue.com/. I don't know for
certain what technique they use because it is proprietary
but I suspect it might be the use of a very active developer
used at very low temperatures. There is just not much in the
literature about this.
The stability of the latent image depends on many
factors. Formost is the emulsion itself. Additives are put
into emulsions to stablize them and to stabilize the latent
image. Age fog is much dependant on storage conditions.
Exposure to heat and to moisture are bad. Roll film tends to
survive well because the tight wrap tends to protect the
emlusion from oxidation and polutants.
I don't have any better solutions than what you are
trying.
I also don't remember when Verichrome Pan replaced the
original Verichrome but it must have been close to the date
you remember. I used lots of Verichrome when I was first
starting out. There must be billions of family snapshots
which were photographed on it.


--
---
Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, CA, USA



  #3  
Old February 2nd 05, 05:22 AM
David Nebenzahl
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On 2/1/2005 7:06 PM Richard Knoppow spake thus:

"Bob" wrote in message
oups.com...


[...]

... However, as the film dried (I hung it in my
darkroom and left if for a week), it got progressively
darker. At this point almost no detail is observable.


Richard--I was hoping you'd tell us what happened here to cause the negatives
to darken *after* being developed. Either you did and I missed it or you
omitted to say that. I'm very curious about this.


--
Today's bull**** job description:

Collaborate to produce operational procedures for the systems management
of the production Information Technology infrastructure.

- from an actual job listing on Craigslist (http://www.craigslist.org)

  #4  
Old February 4th 05, 03:01 PM
Jean-David Beyer
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

David Nebenzahl wrote:
On 2/1/2005 7:06 PM Richard Knoppow spake thus:

"Bob" wrote in message
oups.com...



[...]

... However, as the film dried (I hung it in my
darkroom and left if for a week), it got progressively darker. At
this point almost no detail is observable.



Richard--I was hoping you'd tell us what happened here to cause the
negatives to darken *after* being developed. Either you did and I missed
it or you omitted to say that. I'm very curious about this.


I do not know what you mean by darkening, and how long it took. When I
first learned to develop B&W film, I had some fixer that was dead, but did
not know it. It must have gotten some of the fixer out, but within a day,
the clear part of the film turned dark purple and I could no longer print
them. Could you have dead fixer?

--
.~. Jean-David Beyer Registered Linux User 85642.
/V\ PGP-Key: 9A2FC99A Registered Machine 241939.
/( )\ Shrewsbury, New Jersey http://counter.li.org
^^-^^ 10:00:00 up 15 days, 18:14, 3 users, load average: 4.37, 4.23, 3.84

  #5  
Old February 4th 05, 04:06 PM
Keith Tapscott. Keith Tapscott. is offline
Senior Member
 
First recorded activity by PhotoBanter: Feb 2005
Posts: 112
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Knoppow
"Bob" wrote in message
oups.com...
I recently was asked by a friend to develop 5 rolls of old
pictures
that were taken by his mother, and then put away in a
drawer and
forgotten. There were 4 rolls of Verichrome (not
Verichrome Pan), and 1
roll of un-named "panchromatic film" (the only
identifier). The
changeover from Verichrome to Verichrome Pan apparently
took place in
about 1954, so 4 of the film rolls were about 50 years
old. The other
roll is probably about that old. I tried several different
methods with
these rolls, and checked the densities on my Kodak Color
Densitometer
Model 10-k. The results were somewhat unexpected, so I
thought I would
share them.

I checked development recommendations for Verichrome, and
found the
prevalent recommendation was 17 minutes in straight D-76.
I processed
the first Verichrome roll this way. The result was
extremely high
background, but some picture detail was observable in the
freshly-processed film. However, as the film dried (I hung
it in my
darkroom and left if for a week), it got progressively
darker. At this
point almost no detail is observable. I measure an optical
density (OD)
of 1.84-2.05 pretty much everywhere. Comparing this with
zone system
densities I found on the net, this corresponds to
approximately zones
XI-XIII, and is approximately the maximum achievable
negative density.


The next roll of verichrome I processed in straight D-76,
but added on
Kodak anti-fog tablet to 1 quart of developer (as
prescribed in the
directions on the anti-fog bottle). Here I followed the
previous
procedure. Some detail was initially observable, but the
negatives got
progressively darker with drying. After 1 week I found OD
of 1.95-2.0.
Again, approximately zone XIII. The antifog tablet did
nothing to
reduce fog.

The next roll I processed in straight D-76, but reduced
processing time
to 13 minutes. Again, some detail was initially
observable, but the
negatives got progressively darker with drying. After 1
week I found OD
in the base +background (fog) of 1.62. The darkest area
has OD=1.90.
Here some detail is observable, with a density range in
the negative of
about 0.3. This is about 1/3 the density range in a
"properly exposed
and processed" negative, encompasing about 2 zones. A
good negative
should have about 7 zones.With high contrast paper I may
be able to get
decent prints.

I processed a 4th roll using the same parameters as in the
paragraph
directly above. I found OD of base +background =1.44. The
maximum
density is 1.70. Again, approximately 2 zones range.

The panchromatic roll I couldn't identify, so I followed
my usual
procedure and processed it in Diafine (which processes all
films the
same, 3 minutes in each of 2 developer baths). Here I
found base
+background = 0.67. Maximum OD=1.08. This density range of
0.41 is
about 2 1/2 zones, only a slight improvement in tonal
range. However,
the overall background level is greatly reduced. I believe
these
negatives will produce acceptable (not great) prints. I'm
uncertain
whether the film is much newer (I doubt it), or whether
the Diafine
produces much less background (the view I favor).

I'm uncertain at this point how to recommend processing of
old
verichrome. I definitely wouldn't use 17 minutes in D-76.
I would use
either 13 minutes in D-76, or Diafine. I have several
rolls of old
unexposed Verichrome 122 that I want to try in a Folding
Pocket Kodak
3B, and several rolls of expired Verichrome Pan 620 that I
want to
shoot in my Kodak Medalist. If I resolve the issue I will
publish the
results here.

This is an instance where development by inspection might
have been useful. Because Verichrome is orthochromatic it
can be developed under a dark red safelight (Wratten No.2).
The published charts for Verichrome show that the
contrast for 17min @68F is pretty high, a gamma on the order
of 0.85. Contrast is now more often measured by Average
Contrast (Bar-G) or Contast Index, either of which will
usually give different values from gamma but a gamma of
around 0.7 is more like what films are developed to now.
Guess what, that corresponds to a time of 13min for D-76.
Obviously the problem is age fog. Increasing the amount
of Benzotriazole in the developer will reduce the fog
density, but at some point, it also begins to destroy the
latent image.
There are people who specialize in developing old filmm,
for instance
http://www.filmrescue.com/. I don't know for
certain what technique they use because it is proprietary
but I suspect it might be the use of a very active developer
used at very low temperatures. There is just not much in the
literature about this.
The stability of the latent image depends on many
factors. Formost is the emulsion itself. Additives are put
into emulsions to stablize them and to stabilize the latent
image. Age fog is much dependant on storage conditions.
Exposure to heat and to moisture are bad. Roll film tends to
survive well because the tight wrap tends to protect the
emlusion from oxidation and polutants.
I don't have any better solutions than what you are
trying.
I also don't remember when Verichrome Pan replaced the
original Verichrome but it must have been close to the date
you remember. I used lots of Verichrome when I was first
starting out. There must be billions of family snapshots
which were photographed on it.


--
---
Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, CA, USA
A tip that I read in a magazine article for processing mono films that may be many decades old was by Geoffrey Crawley. He advised that the use of Kodak formula DK-50 diluted 1:1 and developed for 12 minutes at 20 C would usually elicit whatever latent image regression over time has left still available. He goes on to say that when desperate, ghost images can be red toned to obtain some sort of print. ( I assume this may be for scanning purposes). If the images turn out to be important, then it would have been well worth the effort.
  #6  
Old February 10th 05, 06:07 AM
bj
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I've always used hc-110 10 mins at 72 degrees on older unknown film
with good results. Film darkening after development is bad fixer.


bj Niegowski

  #7  
Old February 10th 05, 04:35 PM
Bob
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


bj wrote:
I've always used hc-110 10 mins at 72 degrees on older unknown film
with good results. Film darkening after development is bad fixer.


bj Niegowski


I used new (i.e., freshly-mixed) Kodak fixer, and discarded it after a
single use.

  #8  
Old February 13th 05, 04:28 AM
John
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On 10 Feb 2005 08:35:46 -0800, "Bob" wrote:


bj wrote:
I've always used hc-110 10 mins at 72 degrees on older unknown film
with good results. Film darkening after development is bad fixer.

bj Niegowski


I used new (i.e., freshly-mixed) Kodak fixer, and discarded it after a
single use.


Just because it's "new" doesn't mean it's good. Look at Xtol
for instance.


Regards,

John S. Douglas, Photographer - http://www.puresilver.org
Please remove the "_" when replying via email
  #9  
Old February 13th 05, 11:41 AM
Richard Knoppow
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


David Nebenzahl wrote:
On 2/1/2005 7:06 PM Richard Knoppow spake thus:

"Bob" wrote in message
oups.com...


[...]

... However, as the film dried (I hung it in my
darkroom and left if for a week), it got progressively
darker. At this point almost no detail is observable.


Richard--I was hoping you'd tell us what happened here to cause the

negatives
to darken *after* being developed. Either you did and I missed it or

you
omitted to say that. I'm very curious about this.


Sorry about the delay. I don't read the news groups as asiduously as
I once did.
I don't have a ready answer to this with more data. There is nothing
about the film simply being old which AFAIK would cause this. If it was
very under fixed the remaining halide might have darkened with exposure
to light. This is called photolytic silver. You can demonstrate the
effect by exposing a scrap of any film or printing paper to daylight.
You can actually print a weak image on it with direct daylight. I can't
be certain this is what happened. Degradation of the image from
inadequate washing or from fixing in exhausted fixer takes a long time
and usually results in conversion of some of the image silver to silver
sulfide. This takes months or years.
I have no other explanation than the above.
BTW, I recently processed two rolls of old film but not nearly as
old as this. Both were Ilford, one roll of HP-5, the other FP-4. Both
had expired about 10 years ago. The results were interesting. Both were
developed normally in D-76 1:1. The FP-4 produced good looking images
and fog level about what I would expect on fresh film. However, about
half way through the roll it shows a mottling which shows up on
continuous gray areas like the sky. I have no idea what caused this or
why it is on only part of the film. My guess is that some moisture got
into the packaging at some point and condensed on the film. This film
was refrigerated for much of its storage life.
The HP-5 developed normally and produces good prints. Its fog level
is somewhat high but ISO-400 films tend to have some fog anyway. I shot
both films at about 3/4 stop below the rated speed. This is a general
practice of mine because I find I get better shadow detail. I also
expected both rolls to be a lot foggier than they were. I'm glad the
HP-5 came out well because I discovered I have a fairly large stash of
it and like the stuff.
--
Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, Ca, USA


 




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