A year that will live in infamy.

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by glen_h, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. I now have an unopened package of FX520, Panatomic-X sheet film in 2.25 x 3.25in format, 12 sheets.

    "This film must be developed before Jan 1941" it says on the box.

    I have used 30 year old Tri-X and 50 or more year old VP, so, extrapolating, 80 year old FX should be just fine.

    With a date of Jan 1941, I am not actually sure when it was made. I should save some until Jan 2021, and maybe Jan 2031 and 2041.

  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Almost a shame to open and use it - like firing an intact box of antique obsolete cartridges.
  3. But much less hazardous to the "shooter"..........
  4. There is a lot of older film around, if you want old film.

    There are rolls of NC (non-curling) which is early in the Kodak film line.

    I have some rolls of V116 from the 1940's, and once decided to use one.
    At the time, I did think about the loss of historical value.
    (Given the bad results, I haven't opened any more.)

    I do have 12 sheets, and don't need to use them all. Is the factory seal so important?

    I believe I asked a similar question in the Philosophy forum, after a discussion on using old cameras that have never been used.

    But seeing the results from 80 year old film seems to have some value, too.
  5. Unless you're going to display it or give it to somebody that will, I don't see much historical value in an old box of film. I'd shoot it.
    AJG likes this.
  6. I agree with tomspielman.

    Have some fun with it and give it a try.
  7. I've shot a large number of images on Polaroid type 52, but even though I've got a few sheets left, I'm sure they're beyond shooting now, since the developer pods have dried up.

    If they still made this film, I'd still have a 4x5 camera....

    Old Boxes


    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  8. For film obviously beyond its useful age, might as well keep it for show.

    But I bought this one for using, to see if 80 year old FX still works.

    (In case anyone didn't figure out the title, it comes from an FDR speech, slightly modified, but the same year.)
  9. An interesting project, Glen. I hope you will post some results.
  10. Well, I could wait until Jan 2021. Does anyone know how far ahead the date is from when it is made?
  11. Looks to me like you gotta take a camera to Pearl now.......;)
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  12. We were there just about a year ago. Might be Maui next December.

    I have 12 sheets, so I can spread them out, over the years.
  13. Glen, your picture of the box of film gave me an idea. How about starting a Panatomic-X version of THE FLAT STANLEY PROJECT? LINK.

    It would be kind of novel to set up a project of photographing film instead of making photos with it!

    Since it's got that 1941 date, you could even somehow pay homage to WWII, perhaps asking people to photograph the box of film with a WWII memorial in various countries or with a veteran of the war or with a meaningful background relative to the war.

    If you do decide to actually shoot with the film, maybe set up a trip to a dozen important WWII locations and call the series of photos "The Infamy Project."

    stuart_pratt likes this.
  14. Probably has a nitrate base and quite likely perished or extremely brittle by now. It's very flammable, too, if that's the case.
  15. Interesting point.

    5.1 A Short Guide to Film Base Photographic Materials: Identification, Care, and Duplication

    indicates that nitrate pack film was made until 1949, but doesn't say when the transition started, or for which films.

    The package is factory sealed, which I suspect is supposed to keep moisture out, but maybe not as well as one would expect today.

    It doesn't have a nitrate or acetate smell from the outside.
  16. I now have a roll of FX 410, use by Dec 1961. That is way after the 1938 transition for 35mm roll films.

    (FX 410 is the pre-tongued five rolls of 35mm 36 exposure, for 27.5 feet.)
  17. Not sure about sheet or pack film, but roll film and 35mm film would have "safety film" printed on the box which would mean it is not nitrate based.
  18. Yes, I don't see "safety film" on the pack box.

    The 1961 roll says it, but I almost missed it. It says "Panchromatic Safety Film", but I was pretty sure by 1961, anyway.

    As I understand it, the deterioration reaction needs water, and if the factory seal is still good, it should stay dry.
    (As above, no acetate or nitrate smell from the outside.)
  19. This would work great in my Graflex Jr. I have several holders for this.
  20. Maybe you could make an interesting pinhole camera using the box!

    In any case, I too would be interested to see what "develops."

Share This Page