Old B&W Film

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by GaryK227, Jan 19, 2021.

  1. Recently as I was going through an old box of photography stuff, I came across 3 rolls of Tri-X and one roll of Plus-X 35mm exposed but not developed film. The best I can tell is that this film is likely 40 years old, give or take. It has been stored in the original plastic cannisters in another plastic container in a box in my basement, so that temperature fluctuations have been limited.

    So, my question is how do I develop this? I found one article online where someone faced with similar used HC-110 in a 1:63 dilutions at 20 degrees C (68F) agitating for 10 seconds every minute and total development time of 9 minutes.

    Do any of you have experience in developing old similar film and what do you recommend based on your experience?

    This leads to another question - How long does HC-110 concentrate last? In that same box I have an old bottle of HC-110. It appears to have been opened but little used and then closed after squeezing most of the air out. It is probably about as old as the film (40 yrs). I guess prudence would dictate tossing it and buying new, but, again, anyone know from experience?

    Thank you.

  2. SCL


    We used to have a regular poster here who frequently took on other peoples' "found film", often as old as yours, and got acceptable results using HC110, although I don't recall the dilutions he used. Good luck and let us know how it turns our.
  3. More usual is dilution B at 1:31. It takes twice as much of the 1:63, which means you need a bigger tank.

    Others might say differently, but if you basement is as cool as mine, it should be in great shape.
    Develop normally, though you want times for older film.

    At least Tri-X has changed, along with the developing times.

    I get very good results with 40 year old Verichrome Pan, and I expect Plus-X to be close.
    (That is usually shooting old film, but have also done it with exposed long ago film.)

    I had a roll of Tri-X from my last weeks of college that my dad found still in the camera
    (Canon VI) 30 years later. That is, at the time more than half the life of the camera.
    The only developer I had then was Diafine, is in it went. Here is the result:


    This one is VP126 from 8th grade, developed 40 years later, also in Diafine.


    I believe this is on an Instamatic 134 that I borrowed from my grandmother, but I might have forgotten after 50 years.
    (That is, I developed it 10 years ago.).

    Both of these were not stored in my basement most of the time, so I suspect you will do better.

    If the HC-110 is light yellow, that is close to its original color. Light tan might be fine, too.
    Otherwise it is about $30/liter, the 16oz bottles are gone.

    One liter does over 100 rolls.

    (250ml of 1:31 for one 36 exposure roll, so 128 rolls per liter of concentrate.)
  4. For 40 year old Tri-X, it is 5:00 for dilution B at 68F.
    I might suggest 9:00 or 10:00 for 1:63, but use 500ml.

    For old Plus-X 3:30 for dilution B at 68F.

    I suspect it will be just fine.
  5. If the HC-110 has any hint of a yellow colour, treat it with suspicion.

    An orange colour is a definite no-no!
  6. What is the "natural color of HC-110? It has been so long for me that I don't remember
  7. Thanks to everyone for your replies. They are very helpful.

    On another note, I have a roll of 2475 (?) recording film also from many years ago exposed at an EI of probably 3000 from the Phil Ochs Memorial Conert at the Felt Forum in NY. Any suggestions on developing that?
  8. Concentrate is pretty yellow, but not brown.

    Diluted it should have just the tiniest hint of yellow.

    The bottle I have I got new, freshly stocked as the store was out for months before that.

    It was yellow than, and still is.
  9. TMax 3200 looks pretty bad after not all that many years. Otherwise:


    says 9:00 (average contrast subjects) to 15:00 (low contrast subjects)
    in HC-110 dilution B.

    I suspect a little more development will do better than a little less, though it
    will also increase fog level. I would probably go in between at 12:00.
  10. It is yellow (or alt least it was - I don't know about the most recent formulae).

    About a year ago I picked up developing again and I had 2 unopened HC-110 bottles 8 years past expiration, and a half empty bottle 10 years past expiration and 9 years past last use.
    The color was that of Cognac.
    I gave it a try with my old preferred dilution and time; 16ml+1000ml at 24C for 9min and it worked like a charm.
    I have been using this old brown syrup for my last 50+ films with no issues.
  11. Here is a link to the post that I referenced in my original post. The author indicates he used "dilution B (1 part developer to 63 parts water) for 9 minutes at 20 degrees Celsius" but I thought dilution B was 1:31. But the 9 minutes of developing would appear to be consistent with a weaker solution. Thoughts?
    Expired Film: Developing Ancient Black and White Film · Lomography
  12. Wow! In my part of the world HC-110 is arund $90/liter (incl vat)
  13. Yes dilution B is 1:31, and A is 1:15. I forget the letters for the other ones.
  14. US tradition is to not include tax in prices, as they are state (and even city) dependent.

    It seems to be $28, plus (about) 10% tax here, so about $31.
    That is the web site price from the nearby store where I bought mine.

    Shipping for liquids might complicate pricing depending on where you are.
    Still, $90 seems high to me.

    A quick web search says €20.30 for a 1L bottle in France.

    Which country is it $90?
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2021
    NHSN likes this.
  15. Denmark - not the cheapest place on the planet, https://goecker.dk/webshop/kodak-hc-110-film-developer-1-liter-kod5610000354.aspx

    DKK456 ex. vat DKK570 incl. vat. (DKK570 is US$92 according to google)
    It can possibly be found cheaper as this is also a brick and mortar store, but they are usually not unreasonable.

    Anyway, I wouldn't mind a link to the French source - even after adding the usual 20-25% european VAT and postage it looks attractive :)
  16. The one I found with a quick search, not trying so hard, so I am not so sure what kind of store it is:

    kodak hc110

    which also reminds me that 1:63 is not one of the choices Kodak offers:

    1:15, 1:31, 1:19, 1:39, 1:47, 1:79 for A to F, respectively.

    By the way, dilution F works well with TP2415 for reasonable contrast.
    NHSN likes this.
  17. HC110 at 1:63 (some of us prefer the notation 1+63) is often referred to as "Dilution H," but that is not an official Kodak choice. I use it that way all the time as a one-shot developer. There is/was a website full of information on HC110 put up by a guy named Covington who I believe was heavily into astrophotography, and I think that was the source of the "H" dilution. Purportedly HC110 is better than some other developers for producing less fog on ancient film.

    I developed a roll of Plus-X in HC110 that had been laying in a closet, exposed, for about 27 years at whatever temperatures and got images. They were certainly less than optimum negatives -- high base density and some weird grain -- but I was able to scan them and retrieve something recognizable. The rediscovery was about 10 years back and I don't find any notes of what developing times I used.

    The standard claim these days is you need 6ml of HC110 concentrate per roll (80 sq inches) but at one time the Covington site said 3ml, although it was later updated. Presumably the 6ml is a very conservative number and would be most critical where large percentage of the silver halide has been heavily exposed, and not as important on an average landscape scene.
  18. The 6ml comes from the Kodak table. As that is 166 rolls per liter of concentrate, it doesn't seem so bad to me.
    Some developers say 10% more for more used solutions.
  19. I can't disagree, it just seems that perhaps there was a change in the recommendation a decade or two back. Also I use 1+63 strictly one shot. The other problem is that if I develop a 36 exposure roll of 35mm (80 or so square inches) in a single roll tank, it doesn't hold enough liquid to put in 6ml of concentrate at 1+63. But as one who shoots very little 35mm, I have ignored the spec and not really seen anything I'd call a problem.

    I suppose there could be further complications in these guidelines due to the fact that at one time the HC110 concentrate came at a different strength -- in Europe vs North America as I recall. At any rate, it's not too difficult to cobble together a workflow that produces suitable results.
  20. I might have used 500ml of dilution B for two rolls of 120, but more usual is 250ml for one roll of 35mm.

    I don't know how many follow it, but the Kodak recommendation for D-76, unreplenished,
    is 250ml for one roll (80 square inches) unreplenished, or 500ml diluted 1:1.

    However, they allow one roll (135-36) in 237ml of 1:1, or two rolls in 473ml,
    with a 10% increase in development time.

    So, from that, it might be nice to add 10% to the time, with 1:63 in a single tank.
    But for well exposed shots, 10% might be close enough.

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