In this article, we will tell you about expired film, how to buy it, how to store it, and how to shoot on it.
When shooting on expired film, you can get a variety of, sometimes the most unexpected results, which can both please the film photographer and upset.
You can have all sorts of reasons for shooting expired film. It can be both a desire to save money, and a desire to get unusual effects. But in any case, you need to know the fundamental principles of storage and shooting on expired film.
What is Expired Film
The film has its own expiration date, during which it retains its properties, laid down in it by the manufacturer. Expired film loses its original properties, becomes more grainy, changes color balance, loses light sensitivity.
The film is a flexible polymer base on which a thin chemical layer of photographic emulsion is applied. Like any chemistry, film emulsion changes its properties over the years. And as with any other chemistry, being in the cold slows down all the processes in the film emulsion.
A film stored in a refrigerator can retain its properties for many years and even decades, while a film that has been in unfavorable conditions for it can lose its properties much faster and begin to produce “unexpected effects”.
In addition, film sensitivity is important. The more photosensitive the film, the faster it loses its original properties. On average, film loses one ISO step every 10 years.
When buying an expired film, pay special attention first of all to the appearance of the box and canister. If you see that the box and canister are in poor condition, then most likely the film itself inside will also have very noticeable expired film effects.
Also pay attention to when the film was expired. Ask the seller under what conditions the film was stored. If you want old film from the 80s or 90s to have the properties of new, then look for film that has been stored in the freezer, but if you want to get the most unusual and unexpected effects, then look for film stored in less favorable conditions.
As mentioned above, the film loses its properties more slowly in cold conditions, and practically ceases to lose its properties when frozen.
This means that if you want to keep the color balance, contrast and other characteristics of the film as it was intended by the manufacturer, put your film in the freezer.
If, on the contrary, you want to get even more unusual effects from the film, then it should be stored in a warm place where the chemical processes will go more actively.
The first thing to remember is that expired film changes the properties of not only the photo emulsion but also the base, and shooting in very cold weather can lead to the fact that the teeth advancing the film can tear the perforation.
Also, keep in mind the rule that film loses its ISO speed by 1 stop every 10 years. This means that if you have ISO 400 film, you should shoot at ISO 200.
Shooting on expired film is an activity that probably all lovers of film photography have gone through. All in all, this may save you some money, but it will take some work to find the right film for your needs.
Expired film is great for experimentation. For example, you can buy film from the 80s that was stored in the freezer, and using it with a camera and lens from the 80s, as well as shooting in this entourage, get very interesting and atmospheric photos.
Or you can take a film that has been stored in the most unfavorable conditions and use the most unpredictable camera (for example LOMO LC-A) to get truly unique and unusual photos in the style of Lomography.
In general, expired film opens up a huge scope for you to shoot and experiment. In this article, we have told you the most important things you need to know about expired film photography, and whether you need to shoot on expired film or not, you can now decide for yourself.