Can I shoot bad "vinegar" smelling positives?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by viniciuscruz, Feb 26, 2018.

  1. Hey guys and gals.

    Today I found 2 rolls of hand-rolled positives that were lying down in the geology lab I study. They were hand-rolled back in the day professors still used 35mm positives for slides presentations. I asked around and there was no problem and I grabbed both of them, once I got home I notice the really strong vinegar smell the films had, researched a little bit and found out about the " vinegar syndrome". My question is; is it okay to load those films and expose them? I'm just curious about what is gonna show up but a little scared to screw something in camera/lab.

    I'm aware that there's probably a lot of fungi on the film base, and the speed (which was originally 100) is probably much lower now..
  2. Sounds like the acetate base is breaking down.

    Is it really worthwhile wasting time and processing chemicals on this film? Saving yourself - what? 10 bucks?

    FWIW, there were two or three types of 'positive' film.
    1) Slow copying film that needs a negative original.
    2) Film designed for reversal processing, which you won't find a lab to carry out these days.
    3) High contrast film that was pre-fogged and relied on solarisation or the Sabatier effect to work. Again, you'll get no commercial lab to touch that, and I suspect the pre-exposure might have regressed to the point where the film no longer works to produce a positive.

    My advice: bin the stuff or put it back where you found it.
  3. Thanks for the reply.

    I got lost on the whoke positive film explanation; as far as I understand those are E-6 process films, which is rare to get processed, so I thought about cross processing in C-41 at a common lab.

    I sounds silly but Im curious of what gonna come out of it. And E-6 films are pretty expensive around here, so it would be a way of fooling around with cross processing.

    But, oh god, they stink. (the film)
  4. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    throw it out. even if you did get pictures, what good are they on rotting film?

    btw it would be nice to know where people are from since pn doesnt put your location under the avi anymore... primative software i guess
  5. What's all this about E-6 processing not existing anymore?

    I'm about to step out the door on my way to work and am going to drop some E-6 at a lab down the road. I'll pick it up tomorrow, although they'll PROBABLY run it today(meaning I could have it this evening if I had the time to go get it). If I didn't have a local lab, there are a dozen highly visible mail order labs that do E6 processing and will get it back to you in a few days.

    Aside from that, though, I agree that this film is likely junk and it's best to not waste the time or money on it. Buy it fresh!
  6. In many areas, E6 processing is hard to find, or more complicated to deal with - and in other areas, it's a very minor issue.
    Where I lived before, the only option to get E6 processed was sending the rolls by post to one out of two labs handling it in the country, paying around as much for development as I'd pay for the film itself (the price of a new, fresh non-expired 36 exposure roll of Provia). Where I live now, a large chain still offers E6 processing at a price equal to developing C41.

    So, the OP may have a point that E6 processing is hard to find, and may seem non-existing. Just depends which country you live.

    As for E6 film being expensive: yes, though I'm currently using Agfa Precisa CT100, and I must say it doesn't disappoint at all. Looks a lot like Provia 100, and some people say that's because it's very likely to be "second pick" Provia in fact. Costs a good deal less.
  7. If you're really curious and open to processing it on your own, here's what I would do:

    Open one of them up to see what it looks like. It's very possible that the film has also deformed which means it may jamb and not advance properly. It may not sit flat even if will move through the camera.

    If the one roll looks OK (choose the worst smelling one), you might try to shoot the other but I'd only process it myself and have it be the last roll for that batch of chemicals.

    Then scan it and throw it out. Keep it way from any other film and clean up anything it's touched. Film with vinegar syndrome can contaminate other film.
  8. Nope. All it takes is a couple minutes with Xenforo. I have my own board (ArtistsFora) set up this way, and most other boards show it as well. I got after Glenn a number of times to add this function when the mess was newly happening--we have no info. Would be nice to see how long someone has been here, and whether they are a subscriber as well without clicking on the avatar...
    paul ron likes this.
  9. Back in the days of Pnet 1.0, we all had a nice bubble next to our names to signify paying subscribers and also membership milestones. I wouldn't mind having a 10 next to my name :)
  10. I just went nuts on buying film as B&H had(I think still has) short-dated 35mm stock for $6.99 a roll. I ended up with I think 50 rolls of Velvia 50, 10 of Velvia 100, and 20 of Provia 100f. Velvia 50 is my most used transparency film in 35mm and 120, which is why I bought so much. Plus, spring is coming up.

    Fortunately, 5 roll packs of 120 are holding steady at $40 each.

    The real killer though is sheet film. Our only options in the US are Velvia 100 and RDPIII, both of which run $80/box($4/sheet). I have some well expired but still good 4x5 RVP(not RVP50) in the freezer along with a box of RVP100. RVP50 sheets can be bought from Japan, but the guy on the Large Format Photography forum gets ~$100/box when all is said and done including shipping(and he's not making a huge amount of money at that price).

    I was given a partial box of RDPII not too long ago. I'll shoot a few sheets and see how it looks.

    BTW, due to the lack of any kind of color sheet film processing in this area, I do E6 myself. I primarily do 4x5, but usually end up doing some 120 also to get the most bang for my buck on chemistry.
  11. @tomspielman

    That sounds like a good ideia, I'll end up losing a roll but at least I'll have some ideia of what it looks like. Even in the casa of throwing those rolls in the bin I'm probably gonna open them up for curiosity.

    For anyone wandering, I live in Brazil and things here are a lot different when it comes to supply; film is expensive here. A roll of Kodak Colourplus 200, which is the cheapest still in production film I've found, cost around 5,8 u$. And that's a cheap consumer grade film. Tri-X cost around 14 u$. So I'm always looking for cheap film, I've recently found I guy who sells very cheap movie films reloaded in 35mm cannister. I'm very interest but afraid because of the Rem-Jet and further difficulties in processing the film (would have to be in C-41, good luck trying to find someone in Brazil with the chemistry for the original movie film process).

    When it comes to lab, it's very limited. I live in a capital altough is not one of the huge ones (São Paulo and Rio), so I'm pretty much stuck with C-41 minilabs. I've been trying to contact a professional photographer that has an actual darkroom and see if he could give me some classes on it.

    I'm shooting film mainly for the novelty it represents to me, and I've been reading a lot about develpoment and printing darkroom process. Haven't been able to actually develop a film myself; the only film developing tank I've found in Brazil is being sold for 90 u$ (That's just stupid) so I've been holding off on buying the supplies until something better comes off. " Fortunately " developing C-41 in minilabs is pretty cheap, you can get it as cheap as around 2-3 u$ a roll.
  12. For tanks and things like that, I'd see what you can find on the used market. Since you live in a major city there should be people around with equipment they're not using and would be happy to part with for free or little money. It's just a matter of finding them. Chemicals are another matter.
  13. Vinegar is acidic. If the film is giving off even mildly acidic fumes, I do NOT want it next to the precision shutter mechanism in my camera. In fact, I do not want it anywhere near my camera.

    Discard the film.
  14. E6?

    If it's old enough to rot, it might be E3 or some other non-Kodak process.

    I was assuming the film was B&W positive stock since it's 'hand rolled' and for lecture slides. I also assumed that means loaded from bulk into anonymous cassettes - not wrapped in a Rizla paper!

    Whatever. Even if it's E6 colour stock, the stuff's junk. The reloadable (?) cassettes might be worth keeping though.
  15. @rodeo_joe|1

    You're right ; it is loaded from bulk (for lack of better words I used " hand rolled" ) into anonymous (actually is a Kodak Gold cassette) cassetes. I know it is a positive slide 100 film because someone wrote on top of de cassete. Never heard of film wraped in rizla paper, it's usually other stuff. Isn't any film cassete reloadable though?

    For now I'm gonna hold off on shooting it, probably will open it up some other time just to see how the film base looks.
  16. Apparently it takes about 50 years for acetate base to break down at room temperature and average humidity. Badly stored colour film that old is going to be useless, and B&W positive needs special processing that no lab is going to do at an economical cost.

    Open a cassette to see how 'wrinkly' the film has got out of curiosity, by all means, but I really wouldn't waste time putting it through a camera and trying to process it.

    What colour is the leader of the film BTW? If it's neutral grey or slightly greenish, then it's black & white film. If it's yellow/orange then it's colour film. But unless you can find the tin of bulk film, or the cassette-loader, then knowing what process it needs is pure guesswork.

    "Isn't any film cassete reloadable though?"

    - Cassettes made in the last 25 years or so usually have glued-on end cheeks. Opening them means practically destroying the cassette.

    50' and 100' reels of bulk film are practically unobtainable, or at least unaffordable, these days.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  17. Interesting.

    I used to participate in a Super 8 forum. I was there because I was interested in shooting it, but the bulk of the participants were collectors. What did they collect ? Well, before VHS, DVD, and now BluRay, feature films were packaged and sold on Super 8 for home viewing. These could be full features on multiple reels but often times just digests of selected scenes. Some prints sell for thousands of dollars.

    While many of these guys fuss and fawn over their equipment, they are often more protective of the prints. This is where I first heard of vinegar syndrome and they dreaded it. But they also came up with ways to manage it. They'd douse the film in "film renew", wrap it backwards on metal reels to try and flatten it, etc. If it wasn't too bad, just putting the film someplace where there was airflow would often put a halt to the progression of the problem.

    They'd still run these films through their precious projectors. It was thought to be good for the film, - if it wasn't too far gone.

    Anyway, I suspect the mildly acidic condition of film suffering from vinegar syndrome isn't going to hurt a camera of any quality. It might even clean things up a bit. ;)

    Viniciuscruz: Old film can still produce images and sometimes good ones but in this case since the base has started to deteriorate, chances are the emulsion has too. Storing film in a cool, dry place can help a lot but that's not how this film was kept. My guess is that if you're really lucky, you might get a few pictures on the roll to turn out reasonably well. The others will give results that are more interesting, - maybe pleasingly so, but very possibly not.

    It's definitely not a way to save money over buying new film. I'd only shoot it and process it out of curiosity and then only if I had the chemicals on hand to do it myself.

    If chemicals are hard to come by, you could take a shot at processing it in caffenol. Search for E-6 and caffenol and you'll see the results that some have gotten.
  18. @tomspielman

    Thanks for the tips man! The whole thing about Super 8 seems really cool, did you ever got a chance to shoot something in this format?? Truth is I got overly curious and loaded the roll on my Fm-2. After leaving the roll in the fridge for a while it just didn't seem so bad, and the first frames that I pulled the base actually looked Ok (no visible fungus). Probably gonna send it for developing some time soon, since I have no means of developing it myself. I`m curious of the " mess" it might come out from this expired slide film that`s probably gonna be processed on C-41 chemistry (easier and cheaper). I`ll get back to you guys if get some workable pictures.

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