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How to develop an old B/W film

Jon Ogmundsson , Nov 18, 2000; 11:51 a.m.

I recently found a very old camera that contains a B/W film that is partly exposed. I suspect that the camera has been forgotten for at least 35 years. I believe that the film is Agfa's Isopan ISS that was a 100 ASA film. Does anyone have a clue as to the development of such a film? All suggestions are most welcome.


Don Karon , Nov 18, 2000; 02:35 p.m.

There's probably little latent image left after all these years. In 1974 I developed some film that was exposed five years earlier. Got only a faint image from the most exposed regions, the rest of the frame was clear. Thermal effects or quatum wiggling or whatever seems to cause the exposed halides to revert to ground state.

Ed Buffaloe , Nov 18, 2000; 02:40 p.m.

I remember about 10 years ago they discovered some film that was taken during an arctic expedition prior to 1920. They developed the negatives in some sort of pyrocatechin developer, and they all came out. These negatives had been frozen for 70 years, however.

Paul Oosthoek , Nov 18, 2000; 05:08 p.m.

Don't give up hope yet. I recently developed some film that had been exposed at least 11 years ago, and the negavives came out near normal. I over-developed about 10% in ID-11. I guess my quanta had not wiggled... I do not remember how I developed the old Agfa films way back when, but I believe that the technology involved in the film was noting earth-shattering, and that old fashioned developers should work normally. I vaguely remember that development time depended mostly on film speed.

Nigel Smith , Nov 18, 2000; 08:47 p.m.

I developed some Plus X that had been rolling around in a box for 15+ years... not only that, but 1 roll I'd rated at 250asa, the other at 540. So with a bit of guestimation, they came out pretty good... easyily printable. Got nothing to do with Agfa Isipan though I guess ;-)

David Goldfarb , Nov 18, 2000; 10:12 p.m.

I processed two rolls of TMX circa 1993 this evening, normally, in the same tank with a new roll of TMX. The old rolls showed a bit more base fog, but otherwise not too bad. I have a few more rolls from that batch, so I might use them for something not too important and process with an anti-foggant.


I guess the lesson here is that you never can tell, and a lot will have to do with how the film was stored for the past 35 years. Try a clip test before developing the whole roll.

Manfred Wessendorf , Nov 19, 2000; 05:35 a.m.

Jon, in AGFA literature from 1973 I found the following: AGFA ISS 100 ASA, Rodinal 1+25 5 to 7 minutes, 1+50 9 to 11 minutes, all at 20° C, agitation first minute continuously, remaining time 5 seconds every minute; this will give normal negatives acc. AGFA. As far as I remember I used at least 10 ml of Rodinal concentrate for each film

Dave I. , Nov 20, 2000; 11:45 p.m.

After my grandfather passed away, we discovered a Kodak Duaflex III camera with film still in it. I dropped it off at a lab and found out after looking at the photos, just how old the film was. There were pictures of my aunt and her friend at the beach. She was 16 in the photos and was in her mid-40s (or thereabouts) when I dropped off the film for developing! It was Kodak black and white film (127 size, I believe), but I don't remember the name. It may have been Plus-X or something similar. (This was about 10 years ago that this happened, so forgive my memory.)

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