Why Shoot Expired Film

Everyone has shot and seen results from expired film. And it still is a topic that one can often read on forums or facebook groups. One viewer brought to my attention what was the fair price of expired film and my opinion on the matter. So here are my thoughts on the subject. 

I will divide this article with cons and pros and a conclusion. Some aspects of expired film can be on both the cons and the pros depending on the user. 


Pros:

  • Price - Back when I started shooting film again studios where dumping huge bundles of film onto Ebay. Prices where low and expire dates where pretty reasonable. Once a seller from ebay offered me 1200 rolls of Kodak Portra 400NC in 220 format, at the price of 2$ a roll. As you can imagine I jumped on the offer and had film for years in my freezer.
kodak-portra-400nc-220_5185249908_o.jpg

 

Now forward a few years and you find that most expired film is selling mostly more expensive than new film. Why? I can't tell you why but I can imagine sellers have a small stock of expired film and they bump the price as they see the market going wild for expired film. 

  • Results - The biggest expired movement is the Lomography user group. They die for rare color shifts or extreme grain. This is something that has to be valued by the end user. To me the fact that one can't really rely on repetitive results makes a film not interesting. But for many people its become a language and a very popular one. Same thing happens with cameras that produce random light leaks or artifacts. Its a artist tool and they use it that way. Not an issue in my eyes, but many people get fired up with such use of film and gear. 
Expired Astia

Expired Astia

 

  • Shooting Dinosaurs - As the catchy name suggests film has been slowly loosing emultions and that makes certain films more desirable, expired or not. If you died for Neopan 1600 and still want to shoot it, it will have to be expired. Same thing with Plus-X, Neopan 400, Astia and many great films that we lost on the race to the future of photography. I used to die for the Portra NC and VC but now I find the film brings too much grain and muddy blacks in the shadows, even overexposed and have assumed I have to stick to the new stock. 

Cons: 

  • Price - As I mentioned before prices have gone wild for expired film. To such a point it sells more expensive than of the shelve fresh film, and Im not talking rare film, many times its normal film that just expired. This is when I find it ridiculous to buy expired and think its in our hand to support companies still making film and buy new film. 
  • Inconsistency - Also a double view on this. If you consider the price of film (even if its free) and add lab developing and scanning plus the moments you froze on that piece of expired gelatin one doesn't want to play the lotto and see if they won or not. I don't shoot film for money (yet) but if I do shoot I want perfect results, at least from the film. If something goes wrong I want to make sure its under my control. So you decide what you want for your results. 
  • Grain and shadow detail - Film is alive and once it's manufactured its on its way to decompose. The chemical reactions that happen on a emulsion are sensitive to time, heat and other unstoppable reactions. For this once the film is made they highly recommend you store it in a cool place. Your fridge, freezer or car (during winter) are ideal for its conservation, but it wont stop the slow degradation of the emulsion. So expired film will expand grain more or less depending on storage and age. But also will loose strength to retain information in the shadows. As you can see in the example below and the crop the black has turned brown on this old Portra 400VC film. 
Mamiya 7 and Expired Portra 400VC

Mamiya 7 and Expired Portra 400VC


Tips:

  • Overexpose - As film looses its strengh with time overexposing will help make the faults in it look less obvious. The general recommendation is one stop overexposure per decade (10 years). 

Black and white holds its characteristics much better so don't be too scared to buy expired b&w. Then the next is color negative film (C41 process), it holds pretty well and overexposing will help a lot for old film. The worst one if not taken good care for is slide film (E6 process), this film will turn bad fast and give color casts that are not easy to fix. Some people cross process slide (developing it in C41 chemistry) to make it go wild and look different. It's up to you. But don't say I didn't tell you when your girlfriend turns into a alien in that 15 year old Astia. 

  • Freeze it - Many sellers will say the film was kept in a freezer but true or not its in your hand to get it under 0ªC as fast as you can. This will slow down the process of aging and help prevent the issues mentioned above. 
  • Buy new film - As much as old film is fun we need film being made. So try to support existing emulsions and companies by buying some new film every now and then. Also if you hear of a film being discontinued its a good time to break the piggy bank and invest on a good stock of that emulsion.
  • Expect failure - Many times one takes a risk on a bundle of cheap expired film and looses. The film is way too bad and might not work for you. Try devopling it in Rodinal and see if you like that, it might be horrible as color negative but great as a b&w ultra grainy and contrasty film. 

Conclusions:

As every tool in ones art, film is just part of your way to express yourself. If you are into expired film go ahead and try it out, but do make sure that at least you are not paying premium money for something you can still find in a store. 

But lastly its all up to you to decide if you want to use such a medium. A lot of people use it and love the look and feel of expired film. 

 

Thanks to Svein for bringing up the topic. 

Live Stream nº7

Another Wednesday and another live video. As you might not know when I go live I answer in real time questions users have about analog photography. If you can't connect at that time here is the upload on Youtube. Also you can ask me anything on Instagram and I will feature it on the video first thing. 

Special thanks to Bruno Candeias for sending such a nice zine! 

NPN 22 AKA Nico's Photo News

Live Stream nº6

As every Wednesday I went live the past 24th of May for an hour to help the film community with any doubts or questions they may have. But my usual channel is Youtube live and now I have been flagged for some mistake (I hope). If you want more info on the "flag" I made a video on it. 

So now Im forced to use other mediums to maintain the chats with you guys every week. As you might have seen on the video above I will be going live at the same time but on my Instagram (@nicolasllasera). Then I record the stream on a camera (actually two) and edit to post properly on Youtube. Its a pain for me and for you but its the only way to keep going, at least until the lift the ban for live videos (90 days). 

So here is the video from last Wednesday. Sorry if its a little messy but it was hard coordinating so many cameras, screens, mics and so on. 

If you want to join the stream and can't connect you can leave any questions here or on my social media accounts and I will address them live. 

NPN 21 AKA Nico's Photo News

Another Tuesday another news video. 

Sorry my video was flagged by someone and has been removed. Now I can´t do live streams for 90 days and will have to accept its like that. 

 

Nico´s Photo News (aka NPN), featuring news in the traditional photography world.

If you have any information you think might be interesting please reach me at:

nicosphotonews@gmail.com

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The Italian Camera:

https://www.theitaliancamera.com/

https://www.instagram.com/bluparise/

Intrepid Camera Co:

https://intrepidcamera.co.uk/

New55 Patents:

http://www.new55.net/2017/05/15/instant-film-maker-new55-film-builds-patent-ip-positions/

Photog Hotel: 

http://www.japancamerahunter.com/2017/05/camera-geekery-nandha-hotel-bangkok/

Kodak Opens Labs for Cinematography:

http://www.indiewire.com/2017/05/kodak-film-lab-london-new-york-atlanta-cannes-1201817950/

http://www.in70mm.com/now_showing/

Ilford Harman Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLarwq93oldzTPKIn4-RMP6w9_khSkuD-I

Ilford redid their website:

https://www.ilfordphoto.com/

Photo Blog List:

https://blog.jimgrey.net/2017/05/15/film-photography-blogs-you-should-follow-in-2017/

Missing some like:

www.japancamerahunter.com

www.35mmc.com 

FilmLab App Kickstarter: 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/175814937/filmlab-an-app-for-viewing-and-digitizing-analog-f

Intrepid Camera 8x10 Kickstarter:

https://intrepidcamera.co.uk/

RIP Superia 200, 800 and 1600:

https://www.zorkiphoto.co.uk/2017/05/superia-fujifilm-200-discontinued-film-photography/

5$ Leica M2 find:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ThriftStoreHauls/comments/6b25hb/i_found_a_leica_m2_35mm_camera/

Ferrania update: 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/filmferrania/100-more-years-of-analog-film/posts/1832247 

http://www.filmferrania.it/news/2017/quiet-means-busy

Interesting Laser cut 4x5 camera:

https://www.instagram.com/everydayphotographics/

Inverso App:

http://printerattic.com/inverso/

Retouching Course:

http://ofcourseware.xyz/

Kodak Backing Paper:

Hi Nico! On your last live stream I asked you about backing paper from Kodak. Just wanted thank you for the suggestion, they've offered to replace my rolls but more importantly the rep had this say:

"At the start of this year we implemented some modifications to the backing paper which should eliminate the potential for this type of imperfection going forward.  

EKTAR 100 produced with this new paper starts with emulsion 1232"

Hopefully good news for those of us that have ran into this issue with their 120.

Intrepid Camera Co: Interview

We have all heard of Intrepid Cameras from their first Kickstarter. It was a affordable 4x5 wooden camera made out of plywood and laser cut wood. It looked like a make it yourself camera at first but their reasonable price point and a good campaign made them successful. Now three years later they are shipping 60 cameras a month and have backorders because of how successful they are. Some say they might have made more 4x5 cameras than any other company. We don't know that for sure but being 2017 its impressive to see such a amount of cameras being made by one single company. 

Later this month they will start a new crowdfunding campaign to make a 8x10 camera. Here is a Skype interview with the owner Maxim Grew. 

NPN 20 AKA Nico's Photo News

Another Tuesday another news video. 

 

Nico´s Photo News (aka NPN), featuring news in the traditional photography world.

If you have any information you think might be interesting please reach me at:

nicosphotonews@gmail.com

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FilmLab App:

http://filmlabapp.com/

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/175814937/filmlab-an-app-for-viewing-and-digitizing-analog-f

https://www.casualphotophile.com/2017/05/09/we-go-hands-on-with-filmlab-a-new-app-for-scanning-film-with-your-smartphone/

https://youtu.be/RDT4a6GG8-M

Ferrania scaling up PT. 2:

http://www.filmferrania.it/news/2017/scaling-up-pt-2

Lab-Box update:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2017788873/lab-box-the-first-multi-format-daylight-loading-fi/posts/1880764

Polaroid bought by “Impossible Project”:

http://www.polaroid.com/news/polaroid-acquired-by-new-ownership-group

F1 shot on a Graflex RB:

https://petapixel.com/2017/05/13/photographer-shoots-f1-1913-graflex-4x5-view-camera/

Self made 20x24:

https://petapixel.com/2017/05/11/spine-injury-left-immobile-built-giant-20x24-camera/

8x10 Contact prints Kickstarter:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2129301902/silver-gelatin-8x10-contact-printed-photographs

Woodyman 8x10:

https://www.ulule.com/woodymanproject/

https://www.facebook.com/WoodymanProject/?ref=br_rs

APS is back:

https://www.instagram.com/apsographic/

New 35mm film camera is coming:

No link

Color implosion no more:

http://www.adox.de/Photo/adox-color-implosion-2/

Ferrania story part 2:

https://artfulcamera.com/blog/dave-bias-and-the-film-ferrania-story-part-2-223

Support the channel:

https://www.patreon.com/nicosphotographyshow

Follow me on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/nicolasllasera

https://www.instagram.com/nicosphotographyshow

Follow me on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/nicollasera

Shop on Amazon (affiliate link)

http://amzn.to/2jjNysF

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Nico's Photography Blog

I´ve never been much of a writer or a video kind of guy, but slowly I have realized one has to try to improve at the things they are "scared" at. And I mean scared as worried about failing. 

A few years ago I almost lost my job and that made me start my Youtube channel Nico´s Photography Show. Ever since that horrible first video I have felt more confident and proud than ever before. Video so you can understand how bad my start was. 

After reaching out and seeing that much had to be improved I got to work and kept uploading as much as I could. One always starts with a specific idea on what they want for their projects but things always shift. Mine shift was going from the "reviews all film youtubers do" to finding information I would love to see myself. And have been producing news, interviews and other future content I yet have to see online. 

So because of my constant changes and need to reach out to more people in different manners Im starting this blog. Its just another tool for me to keep creating content. This, the youtube channel, film and beer and other things I manage will merge here. Not that I will stop the other channels but grow a solid core to which I can send viewers, readers or supporters. 

Hope we can all enjoy our common passion which is film photography and all it contains.