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Can decades old exposed film be successfully developed?

Ron Holmes , Mar 29, 2006; 12:59 a.m.

Hello all, my mother passed away a couple of years ago and among her possessions were several rolls of exposed film. I can only guesstimate that the film is from the nearly to mid 1960's. One roll reads Kodak verichrome Pan 620. Can it be developed? Is there anyone in my area that can help me with this? One option may be to take the film to the University of Louisville Photographic Archives and see if they can help. Any help would be appreciated, these could potentially be valuable family photos. Thanks, Ron H.

(I didn't know where to post this so can Admin. please put it where it fits best?)


Donald Grindstaff , Mar 29, 2006; 01:09 a.m.

Gene M proves it can been done all the time. Some come out some don't but he is the best at it around. He might do it for you if you do not want to pay R****M******labs an arm and a leg and wait months to get it back. It is a panchromatic black and white film so it can be easily processed the problem is it will have developed a strong base fog by now and you need a special tweaked developer to overcome the fog and still get some contrast. I think he uses a diafine like 2 part developer. Good luck. Let us see the results :)


Paging Gene M. Paging Gene M.

John Shriver , Mar 29, 2006; 07:56 a.m.

Anyplace that can develop B&W film in 120 size should have no trouble with this. Same size film. Just use Kodak's last times for Verichrome Pan, and it will come out quite useable. Long shelf life and strong latent image keeping were important design goals for Verichrome Pan.

Just find a pro lab that does real B&W.

Bill Tuthill , Mar 29, 2006; 11:49 a.m.

Another place to check would be Filmrescue.com, although Verichrome Pan uses relatively standard B&W process (620 is size, like 220). Because you won't have color-fading issues, it seems promising.

Stephen H , Mar 29, 2006; 01:22 p.m.

That would be Rocky Mountain labs up there- look for them on the internet. I had some old film done by B&W Imaging here in Dallas several years ago.

Results: Sometimes good, sometimes not, sometimes in-between. Depends on the film, the age, the storage conditions.

If you think there are family pictures on there, try a lab that specializes in that work.

Donald Grindstaff , Mar 29, 2006; 06:31 p.m.

The problem with just letting anyone process it as a new roll of B&W is base fog. The fact that the paper could be stuck to the film and the emulsion is going to be brittle along with the film base. If you would like to give it a go yourself I suggest lots of patience and diafine and be prepared to scan instead of printing them.


Ron Holmes , Mar 30, 2006; 12:14 a.m.

Thanks all for your responses, I have no experience at developing film myself so I won't be trying that. I will check out the services you recommended here. If someone can hook me up with Gene M. in the meantime I'd like to see if he would be interested in helping out. I really think that these photos have some sentimental value so I want to send them to the person who could get the best chance of positive results. Does that make sense? Thanks, Ron

Matthew Currie , Mar 30, 2006; 09:56 a.m.

Pop over to the "classic cameras" forum here, and you will find posts by Gene M. He's the man for this job.

Ron Holmes , Apr 10, 2006; 04:40 p.m.

Thanks everyone, 5 rolls of film are in Gene's hands, he or I will share the results when finished. Thank you all for your help. Ron

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