Help identify and develop old 120 film

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by giverin, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. I was chatting to some guy where I work about photography and I mentioned that I develop and print my own B&W film. He asked if I did 120 film and I said yes. He asked if I could develop an old roll for him. I said I'd give it a go but when he gave me the film today, I can't really tell what it is apart from it being 120 and Kodak. He say it was in an old Brownie camera and was at least 15 years old. I reckon its older than that. I've been looking through Google images of old 120 film rolls and I think it may be Kodak Verichrome 125 asa but I'd love to confirm that. Photos of the roll attached.
    Next question is about development of that film. I use D-76, TMax developer and Rodinal. What would be best to use? Thanks in advance.
  2. Look at how Gene M does it on his old film at where he sometimes tells what he did.
    For Tri-X film that was only 20 years out of date, I just developed it according to new instructions in D-76 (which has been my only developer since about 1948 or so).
    That was old film, recently exposed however. Latent images may require compensatory development ( as I say, Gene discussed that, and there are older threads here on too).
  3. Your age estimate is waaay off.
    I've been in photography for over 56 years, and I've never seen a roll like that.
    Probably from the 1930's or earlier.
    - Leigh
  4. My Guss is it is an ortho nitrate base film from the 30s.
  5. Could be as late as the 1940's. It is Verichrome. Not Verichrome Pan. Orthochromatic. Official processing time was 17 minutes in D-76, but that will be too long for such old film. You can develop by inspection under a red safelight. Maybe 10 minutes in D-76, or 7-8 minutes in HC-110 dilution B. Fix for 10 minutes, this stuff is much harder to fix than modern film, the emulsion is very thick.
  6. Thanks to all for the response. The depth of experience here on is wonderful.
    John, I've only been developing film for a few years. When you say " develop by inspection under a red safelight", are you saying that I can give it 10 minutes in the developer and then inspect it under the safelight and perhaps give it more time in the developer if needed?
    Thanks again.
  7. I wouldn't worry about developing by inspection. Try around 7 minutes in HC-110 dilution B, or 10 minutes in dilution H. I'd probably use Microphen, at the risk of increased fog, mostly because I've had good luck with it for some older film - but nothing nearly as old as your roll.
    You'll get at least some sort of results, and scanning with a decent film scanner can help salvage even very thin negatives. Scanning and digital tweaking can do wonders for overcoming foggy negatives that would be difficult to enlarge well conventionally.
  8. Good advice, all around. I hope you'll post your results. Good Luck!
  9. I would go with Rodinal semi stand 1-100 for one hour at 21C. one minute inversion to start out and then one inversion at 15-30-45.
  10. That is some old film. My guess is earlier than 1945. I would recommend HC110 for the developer. Here is one site that helped me a lot when I developed an old roll of film last year. Old film developing on My thread is Here.
  11. One strange thing I never get from old Ortho film is base fog. I though get a bunch of microbe damage. If using HC-110 and you think Fog may be an issue then Dilution A or B. Even Dektol diluted 1-7.
  12. I would carefully re-roll the film onto another 120 spool in total darkness and see if the leader has the film type on it.
    Processing at 650 reduces fog in my limited experience.
  13. Oops, I just noticed Paul specified he has D-76, TMax developer and Rodinal. I wouldn't use D-76, and have no idea about TMax, never used it. If you do go with Rodinal, you might add a pinch of borax to reduce fogging. Take a peek at Patrick Gainer's article "Begone Fog!"
    I tried that tip a few times years ago, especially on Tri-X for nighttime long exposures, and it worked very well. Seemed to effectively reduce fogging that sometimes occurred with Rodinal in stand development.
  14. From the name '2 Brownie' I would reckon that this film is 1930-ish at the very latest, so you are looking at an 80 year-old roll of film there.
  15. Thanks again for all your advice. Chis, I reckon you could be right about the age, which makes me more determined to get something off this film. I know its not my film but I'm quite excited about it.
    Lex, you said earlier that you would recommend using Microphen. I have used this before for pushing Tri-x and Tmax 400 to 1600 and beyond but it doesn't keep that long and I was often throwing it away because I hadn't used it in time. I decided instead to buy the TMax developer for large pushes because its liquid concentrate and I don't waste any. I think I'm right in saying that like Microphen, Tmax is a high speed developer and I'm willing to give it a go but I don't have a clue how long to give it.
    As for the Rodinal, I've only tried stand developing with it a couple of times and I don't think it went that well. I hope you guys can educate me with regards to the principles of stand developing. As I understand it, you leave the film soaking with minimal agitation until the developer strength has depleted. How does that work with an old film like this that needs less development time because of its age? With normal development you can compensate for various factors by varing the timing. How do you compensate for very old film when stand developing?
  16. Whatever you decide, Paul, please let us know how it turns out.
  17. I am pretty sure that your film is Verichrome.
    I found this roll inside a Kodak No1 Pocket Kodak Junior.
    I have tried to add my images from my flickr page but it won't add them using the insert images button for some reason.
    I have also tried to add a properly sized photo with the post and it is not letting me.
    I will try again later to post a photo.
  18. Talk about multiple postings.
    Don't know why it won't let me post an image.
    It is telling me that the file type is the wrong type. It is a jpg that is sized to 700 on the large side and under 100k.
    Any help?
  19. Still no joy.
  20. Repulled the image from my digital camera, reprocessed it to 700 pixels and resized to under 100k and still no joy.
  21. Kodak Verichrome
    Exposed Wrap
    Kodak No1 Pocket Junior
  22. My grandfather used to have a pawn shop, years and years ago. He was also a bit of a hoarder. When he died about a year ago, I found a few rolls not much newer than this one out in the shed. They had been exposed to heat and freezing temperatures in an uninsulated building it Upstate New York for forty years. The oldest roll was (I believe) first-generation Verichrome Pan, and the newest was Pan-X, expired in 1971. I used Rodinal 1:50, and I got usable images from all of them. Not good images mind you, but usable.
    The only problem is that since they were most likely pawned cameras, nobody in our family recognzes any of the people in the vast majority of the photos.
    There was one image of my great aunt and uncle on their wedding day, and I printed them an 11x14 of it. It turns out that the day I gave it to them just happened to be their 51st wedding anniversary - I had no idea.
    Usually you get nothing good from these old cameras, but every so often it's worth all the fuss.
  23. There has been a lot posted on this site about rockymountainfilm, none very good. User beware! and other google searches for kodak film, vintage kodak film, and similar revealed that until the late 1930's or early 1940's film was listed by the camera it fit only. I could not determine if there was more than one type of B&W not. Newer film could be used in the older cameras if it was the correct format.
  24. Update on mine. There is a paper tail taped to the trailing end of the film, about 3 inches long. On the lead of the paper, the original paper wrapper has Verichrome printed on it.
    And something that I did not expect, the tape is still sticky and the film is pink.
  25. Regardless of whatever developer, temp, dilution, etc. you try I'd do a clip test. There are so many variables that affect film that old, you need to test it and fine tune the development. Good luck.
  26. I finally got some time to develop mine. It did not turn out well, I believe part of it was the storage factor. When it first came out all I saw was black but after it dried I held it up to a light bulb and I think there might be enough to possibly get something with a scanner.
    HC110 Dilution B @64ยบf for 20 minutes, water stop and fixed it for 20 minutes, 30 minute wash and hung it up to dry.
  27. 20 minutes.. that's a lot. I hope you can pull a good image from the scanner. We would all love to see them.
    I have heard that Farmer's Reducer can thin them out a bit. Maybe someone here can advise?

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