[Kodak Verichrome Pan] How to develop such an old film ?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by pierre_yves_p, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. Hello everybody !

    A friend of mine had a very old film (Kodak Verichrome Pan) that was
    taken by his grandparents (with an old box camera), probably in the
    late 1960s, that he wanted developped - and he asked me to try it.

    This is "risky" in terms of results, and I told him, but he prefers to
    have this film developed, rather than to have it in his desk.
    This film is discontinued. Yet Kodak still has the datasheet (look at
    jhtml), that gives the correct processing time.

    e.g. 7 minutes in D76 @ 20�C (68�F)
    I need help... This film was exposed aroud 30 years ago, and I presume
    that this factor has a strong impact on development times.
    The first idea that comes to my mind is that time must have diminished
    the sensibility - I should therefore increase the processing time.

    *Note* I do assume that the film was exposed at its nominal
    sensibility (125 iso).

    Any help / advice will be wellcome :)
    Please forgive my English,
  2. The folks who develop old film on the Classic Cameras forum here have found Kodak's HC-110 to be a good choice of developer. A little better at keeping fog down. However, I've also had fine results with D-76.

    Certainly, you could increase the development time a little. But, it will only make the fog worse. Expect a low contrast negative, no matter what you do.

    There was no film more designed for keeping properties, both unexposed, and of the latent image, than Verichrome Pan.
  3. Verichrome is only just discontinued. It was selling in some markets only a few years ago. The comment above about fog is very relevant, and the compromise is to find a speed enhancing developer than tends to produce minimal fog. Maybe someone can come up with a suggestion, but the HC-110 sounds like a good bet to me, giving reasonable speed, low fog, and, if Verichrome was anything like Tri-X, a very good combination with this sort of film. My guess is that a fair bit of overdevelopment would be worthwhile, even if the negs are a pain to print.

    With such a camera, exposure was very hit and miss. In those days, the processing of film and paper minimised contrast and so exposure errors.

    Please let us know how it goes.
  4. I would use Microphen because it does not exaggerate fogging. HC-110 would also be a good choice for the same reason. It shouldn't be difficult to find suggested times for these developers and Verichrome Pan. I would use the time indicated for normal exposure and not develop any more than necessary.
  5. For optimum results, find a professional lab that can develop the film by inspection.
  6. I recently was asked by a friend to develop 5 rolls of old pictures
    that were taken by his mother, and then put away in a drawer and
    forgotten. There were 4 rolls of Verichrome (not Verichrome Pan), and 1
    roll of un-named "panchromatic film" (the only identifier). The
    changeover from Verichrome to Verichrome Pan apparently took place in
    about 1954, so 4 of the film rolls were about 50 years old. The other
    roll is probably about that old. I tried several different methods with
    these rolls, and checked the densities on my Kodak Color Densitometer
    Model 10-k. The results were somewhat unexpected, so I thought I would
    share them.

    I checked development recommendations for Verichrome, and found the
    prevalent recommendation was 17 minutes in straight D-76. I processed
    the first Verichrome roll this way. The result was extremely high
    background, but some picture detail was observable in the
    freshly-processed film. However, as the film dried (I hung it in my
    darkroom and left if for a week), it got progressively darker. At this
    point almost no detail is observable. I measure an optical density (OD)
    of 1.84-2.05 pretty much everywhere. Comparing this with zone system
    densities I found on the net, this corresponds to approximately zones
    XI-XIII, and is approximately the maximum achievable negative density.

    The next roll of verichrome I processed in straight D-76, but added on
    Kodak anti-fog tablet to 1 quart of developer (as prescribed in the
    directions on the anti-fog bottle). Here I followed the previous
    procedure. Some detail was initially observable, but the negatives got
    progressively darker with drying. After 1 week I found OD of 1.95-2.0.
    Again, approximately zone XIII. The antifog tablet did nothing to
    reduce fog.

    The next roll I processed in straight D-76, but reduced processing time
    to 13 minutes. Again, some detail was initially observable, but the
    negatives got progressively darker with drying. After 1 week I found OD
    in the base +background (fog) of 1.62. The darkest area has OD=1.90.
    Here some detail is observable, with a density range in the negative of
    about 0.3. This is about 1/3 the density range in a "properly exposed
    and processed" negative, encompasing about 2 zones. A good negative
    should have about 7 zones.With high contrast paper I may be able to get
    decent prints.

    I processed a 4th roll using the same parameters as in the paragraph
    directly above. I found OD of base +background =1.44. The maximum
    density is 1.70. Again, approximately 2 zones range.

    The panchromatic roll I couldn't identify, so I followed my usual
    procedure and processed it in Diafine (which processes all films the
    same, 3 minutes in each of 2 developer baths). Here I found base
    +background = 0.67. Maximum OD=1.08. This density range of 0.41 is
    about 2 1/2 zones, only a slight improvement in tonal range. However,
    the overall background level is greatly reduced. I believe these
    negatives will produce acceptable (not great) prints. I'm uncertain
    whether the film is much newer (I doubt it), or whether the Diafine
    produces much less background (the view I favor).

    I'm uncertain at this point how to recommend processing of old
    verichrome. I definitely wouldn't use 17 minutes in D-76. I would use
    either 13 minutes in D-76, or Diafine. I have several rolls of old
    unexposed Verichrome 122 that I want to try in a Folding Pocket Kodak
    3B, and several rolls of expired Verichrome Pan 620 that I want to
    shoot in my Kodak Medalist. If I resolve the issue I will publish the
    results here.

    Note that I was able to get marginally acceptable prints off all of the rolls of film by using high contrast paper and long exposures (via a point source head).
  7. Hello Pierre, Verichrome Pan is one of my favorite film next to Tri-X. I love to develop this with Microdol-X 1:3. I'm still using this film that I have so much of it packed in the frig;-) Everything still works for my taste. Here is a photo shot over the summer 2005 high noon. Good luck with it. It will work with just about any developer. I've been using it with just about anything I can get my hands on. But I have to favorite in Microdol-X 1:3
  8. Robert, thanks very much for your contribution about Verichrome (not Pan). I haven't developed any "found film" Verichrome, but I have developed "found film" Verichrome Pan.

    I did try to use one 1948 roll of Verichrome 616. I think I developed in DD-X, I'll have to look. But I got a mostly fogged result, with some image visible. Even worse results on similar vintage Super-XX 828, D-76 to the very long times on it's data sheet, jet black. My conclusion is that unprocessed Verichrome is unstable. Or maybe the older backing papers reacted badly with the film over time?

    Of course, there is the option of easy development by inspection for Verichrome, since it's Orthochromatic.

    I'd certainly be interested in figuring out if there's any hope of getting positive results from Verichrome, as that would increase my stock of 122 film by a few rolls. At least Verichrome in the 116 and 616 sizes provides very rugged backing paper for loading 70mm Efke R100 into.
  9. John-

    I shot and developed( by inspection) a couple of rolls of Ansco Plenachrome from '46-- (D-76 straight 12 min.)
    with pretty good results. I am not experienced at developing by inspection,so I think I might have pulled them a little early. I didn't weigh the K-bromide, as I didn expect to get any images -
    I'd guesstimate about 4-5 grams in 16 oz. of developer---also I overexposed by quite a bit.I got 6 rolls of this film at the junk store--the owner told me he took them out of a basement in Hartford--they were not refrigerated.Fog was low and so was the contrast, but they printed OK

  10. Here is a photo of some of my old school toys that work;-)
  11. Hello !

    I'll try it with HC-110 or Microdol-X and, of course, I'll keep you informed of the results !

    The film is rolled on a 620 spool ; the backing paper looks... old. The only thing I know about storage conditions is that it was stored in a rather dry place... we'll see !

    Anyway, I think my friend will be more than happy even with foggy prints !

    Have a nice day :)
  12. jtk


    Rothelle's grandmother has beautiful skin, wouldn't you say?
  13. Another vote for Microphen. Last year I exposed a 55 year old roll of 35mm Super XX and souped it in Microphen and acually got some images.
  14. The last rolls of Kodak Verichrome Pan I have has an expiration date of 2004 to 2005. I got a brick of it from your buddies :) at Cambridge Camera, long after B&H ran out. Long ago in the 1950's it was Ortho film; easy to develop by inspection under red light safelight. The asa was then was about 50.
  15. Hello !

    I am back ! It took me quite a lot of time because I had a lot of work to do these last weeks... plus I didn't find find any HC110 or Microdol in my town.
    Yet, I had some Tetenal Ultrafin+ and I was told that the results will be good (no fog). So I tried it using 8min at 20ᄚC/68ᄚF as a basis, and the results seems to be good !

    I don't know yet about the paper prints (the film is currently drying), but the film looks fine. There are some dusts, because the backing paper was kind of sticky from time to time ; and tiny light leaks on the edge of the film (I blame the 620 metallic spool for this).
    Still the results are quite nice ! Grain is very fine, fog is very limited.

    Thank you all for your help !

    I'll try to scan one of the picture a.s.a. I can.

    See you

  16. rdm


    Hello Pierre. Its been about a year, do you think we can see a print yet? i am very interested
  17. I was handed a 1925 - 1928 No.1 Autographic Kodak Junior today. It had a roll of Verichrome Pan in it and I attempted to process it for 8 mins at 24'C in T-Max. The film had definitely been exposed due to the back being opened and had two frames unshot. I took some quick readings and exposed these, however what I discovered when I processed it was lots of wierd patterns and spots along with an imprint of the numbering from the backing paper. It seems the backing paper (or the printing on it) causes problems. Interesting I presoaked the film in a slightly alkaline filtered water and this washed off red in colour!
  18. rdm


    Holey crap Rothelle Cooke, great picture. I have the same camera and developer i just don't have any unexposed Kodak Verichrome Pan film, I do have a roll of exposed that was in the camera, wish is why i purchased the Midordol.
    Does anyone know where i could buy the lasted dated Kodak Verichrome Pan film? would be nice to shoot some before i mix up the Microdol to develop.
  19. I have some rolls of unopened Verichrome Pan (620) and recently tested a roll. These were from an estate I helped clean out, they kept in a cool root cellar type basement, sealed in boxes and in a dark area. Developed a roll with Microdot-X for 9 minutes, 68* exactly what the label recommended. The results were better than I possibly imagined. Hardly any fogging. But maybe due to the fact that this was stored so well over the years?

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