50 Year-old Latent Images

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by drpsilver, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. drpsilver

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    08 Sept 2018

    I have an interesting "problem". A friend was cleaning-out the darkroom of her father-in-law and gave me two boxes of stuff that she "just wanted to disappear". While sorting through these boxes I found 9 rolls of 120 Verichrome Pan, and 2 rolls of 616 Verichrome Pan. If this film had not been exposed, I would have used them for experiments, but all this film was exposed in 1968 and 1969. That make the latent images 50 years-old! I am curious as to see if there is any image left to develop-out, or has it faded. I have no idea how the film was stored over the past 50 years, and I have little interest in the images since that were not exposed by me, or my family. The rolls are labeled with topics ranging from "Eric's birthday party" to "Yosemite Valley". They were exposed by my friend's father-in-law with I do not know what camera.

    So, my question is how do I go about developing these films with the highest probability of getting something printable? The developers I have at my disposal are: D-76, Perceptol, Dektol, and Rodinal (a little). I have consulted the "Massive Developing Chart" already, and have that data in hand. Any insight or suggestions on how to proceed would be appreciated.

    Regards,
    Darwin
     
  2. MattKing

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    FWIW, my 1970 vintage Kodak Darkroom Dataguide recommends 7 minutes at 68F in stock D-76 for Verichrome Pan.
     
  3. Arklatexian

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    You have all the chemicals you need. D-76 for the film and Dektol for the prints. Don't be surprised by the quality of the negatives after 50 years.I would develop the first roll of 120 normally. That should tell you if you need to add time to the development of the other rolls. Sigh! wish we could, once again, buy Verichrome Pan. Acros is similar but not the same. Hope you don't uncover any family skeletons...Regards
     
  4. Alan Edward Klein

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  5. Theo Sulphate

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    Develop the Yosemite roll last.

    :smile:
     
  6. BAC1967

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  7. mcfitz

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    I developed a very old roll of 120 that was in a Voigtlander Bessa folder, purchased at a flea market. This https://foundfilm.livejournal.com/16982.html was a very helpful blog post, and I followed most of his suggestions, using HC110.

    The film was unknown, it was in terrible shape, but still, there were a few latent images that came through, enough for me to approximate the age of the film and camera. These are scans of the negatives. It's easy to see just how damaged they were, but there is enough to be seen in the clothing styles to give a rough date of late 1930s and into the early war years. I found it both moving and sad that these images of some sort of family celebration, either a first communion or marriage (a friend and I disagree on this question) had been left in the camera for probably more than 70 years, and were never seen by those who are pictured. What happened to them? Who took the picture? Why was the film and camera forgotten, to grow old and musty, and end up being bartered for at a flea market? Who knows, they are just some of the unanswered questions I have, but will never have replies to.

    So good luck developing those rolls of film, they'll probably be very worthwhile doing, especially since you know more about the films themselves.

    Found1.jpg Found2.jpg
     
  8. OP
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    drpsilver

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    09 Sept 2018

    Thanks to all those that replied to my question. This is one of the reasons I so like PHOTRIO (APUG). I get to ask questions, and learn from a lot of very experienced photographers. I will make an effort to process some these films in the next several weeks/months, as time allows. I will post my results here.

    Regards,
    Darwin
     
  9. Andrew O'Neill

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    Post your results here!
     
  10. Agulliver

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    When dealing with old exposed film, I usually start at 7-8 minutes with ID-11 (=D76) and see what happens. I've got really good images from 30-40 year old exposed film, and just about recognisable but very fogged images from 60 year old exposed films. Your mileage may vary depending on the film and the conditions it's met in the intervening 50 years.
     
  11. OP
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    drpsilver

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    07 Oct 2018

    Of the nine rolls of film I have processes three. I started with my "go to" developer - D76(stock). I processed two rolls at different times (7:30 and 6:00). The images looked good, but there was a lot of base fog (OD = 0.47 and 0.58 respectively). The third roll I processed in HC110 (1+29) for 4:30. The images also looked good, and base fog was equal to 0.35 OD. On this basis I may use HC110 to process the remainder of the rolls.

    I have not had time to print any of the images, but they look very printable. If there are any images that I am interested in printing I will post an example.

    It is fortunate that these films were kept dry and in a dark place. There is not any indication of abuse (mold, mildew, ...). I have found several interesting things.
    1. Each roll only has 11 exposures, not the normal 12.
    2. The images are correctly viewed with the film strip horizontal.
    3. Lots of "photographer error", mostly unsharp landscape exposures. The family/party photos are sharp.
    4. No. 1 & 2 above make me wonder what camera was used to expose this film. Any ideas would be welcome.

    Regards,
    Darwin
     
  12. Theo Sulphate

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    If there were some sort of "lost photos forum" on Facebook or other common social media, there's a chance a family member would recognise them. Although the little girls in the photo are probably in their 70's or 80's, it's likely their children or grandchildren will have seen other similar photos of their family - for example, I easily recognize my grandparents in old photos when they were young and would spot them in any discovered photo.
     
  13. Arthurwg

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    Funny how beautiful those pictures are.
     
  14. Hawkeye

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    An interesting found film site is:

    http://westfordcomp.com/

    Has not been updated in a few years. Many of the images are interesting and his captions are often very funny.

    Any one know him and whether there may be more updates someday?
     
  15. TheGreatGasMaskMan

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    Better late than never, but I pulled off a successful found Verichrome Pan development earlier this year- 9 minutes at 1-9. I add some contrast and had to adjust some through photoshop, but I still got some interesting results- 7 frames total and the quality varied. Developing old film is always a gamble.
    01.jpg 04.jpg 05.jpeg 06.jpg
     
  16. RalphLambrecht

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    I'd go with D76(1+1)or Rodinal(1+50) and follow the chart for dev times; very likely but not guaranteed to get something printable.
     
  17. RalphLambrecht

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    forgot to say: pick a higher ISO recommendation in the chart to compensate for some exposure loss.
     
  18. Svenedin

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    Quite some years ago I developed several rolls of 35mm B&W negative film that were exposed about 35 years before (they were of a particular family trip that I could date accurately). It was a Kodak film, Panatomic-X iirc. On the advice of the knowledgeable people at my local darkroom supplier I used the quoted times in ID11/D76 +20%. This worked to produce printable negatives. The negatives were not perfect by any means. The film was difficult to load onto reels due to developing an extreme set to the curl after being wound in the canister for decades. The negatives also looked very scratched which I think was the affect of slight damp over many years. Nonetheless I was glad I took the trouble as I got to see some family pictures I would never have seen otherwise.
     
  19. ozmoose

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    A Zeiss Ikonta folding camera I used in the '70s and '80s (acquired from the original owner who told me he bought it in 1948 or 1949) produced 11 6x6 cm negatives on a roll of 120 film, always of excellent quality, to be expected with a Planar f/2.8 lens.

    So it's likely the photographer who shot your films used an Ikonta.

    Others may know if any other (probably German) cameras also gave 11 on a 120 roll.

    Excellent processing work on your part to get any sort of images from film this ancient. Developing very old films can be very much a shot in the dark (oops, pun!) and sadly, often results aren't always what we hope for.
     
  20. ozmoose

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    Another point may be of interest to those intending to process old films.

    The oldest films I've ever deveoped, other than a flea market roll of 1950s 120 Agfa color negative film which came out blank after a small eternity in full-strength D76, were six rolls of 35mm Kodak Tri-X which were given to me by a friend who had found them in a shed at the family farm. He recalled having shot them in 1979 or 1981 with a Pentax SLR at family gatherings. Several family dogs and his pair of German Shepherds, by then (this was in 2003) long deceased, were on some of the images and he was particularly keen to see those as he hadn't really taken many of the pets at the time.

    On the advice of a chemist then at Vanbar Photographics in Carlton, Melbourne, I added a very small amount of dilute sodium hydroxide to the D76 and processed for normal times. I kept notes at the time but my notebooks are now lost, so the exact measurement of of this chemical or the reasons why I did this, are long forgotten. Can someone else with chemistry experience come in and help out on this?

    The results were excellent and I made 5x7" prints of the best negatives. All were good enough to print to this size or possibly even larger, but with six 36-exposure rolls, I was reluctant to offer my services to do endless darkroom printing even for a friend, so I just did the images of the dogs and that was it.

    FYI. Someone may benefit from this. I don't process much B&W film now, but I'm curious to read any comments others may have about the sodium hydroxide. I'm aware that this chemical may not have been necessary in the development process, but thankfully it didn't (seem to) do any damage to the images.
     
  21. Europan

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    In 2006 I have developed Plus-X negative ciné film that expired in 1968. Stock was exposed, I got a reasonable negative. My advice is to add some more potassium bromide to suppress fog.
     
  22. Ces1um

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    I love reading this thread because I'm sure there was another thread on this site about a year ago where everyone was saying film MUST be developed within a month of exposing it. There was specific mention of some type of currently produced ilford film that would fade "badly" if not immediately processed. The op was actually discouraged from developing a roll of film that had been shot a year prior.
     
  23. Svenedin

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    That’s Ilford Pan-F+ which is notorious for having an unstable latent image. Ilford recommends processing within 3 weeks of exposure. Pan-F is unusual compared to many other films and is not the norm but despite this, it is recommended to process as soon as practical for the best possible quality. That isn't to say you will get nothing if you leave it too long.

    https://www.ilfordphoto.com/amfile/file/download/file_id/2049/product_id/699/
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  24. OptiKen

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    I've had mixed results developing old film found in cameras at flea markets, etc. Unfortunately, the cameras have often been opened out of curiosity by whoever is selling it and most rolls are ruined. Rodinal stand developing seems to have given me the most success. Here is a link to what I call, 'GHOSTS IN THE CAMERA' - films I've developed out of old cameras:

    https://optiken.shutterfly.com/pictures/35

    Ken
     
  25. TheGreatGasMaskMan

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    I got an 828 plus x off ebay back in October, while I have yet to develop it, here's what the experts have to say about old film developing Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 2.09.59 PM.png
     
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