I Shot A Roll of Expired PhotoWorks 400 Film

I like shooting expired film. There is something fun about not knowing what’s going to come out of the camera. When I shoot expired film, I prefer to shoot color. The flaws are more dramatic. B&W film, just loses speed, increases grain, and gets a bit of fog. Where as color film gets very pronounced grain, loss of contrast, and interesting color shifts.

Shooting film is not for everyone, shooting expired film, is for even fewer. There’s a lot of chatter out there about how to properly expose expired film. The general “rule” when it comes to exposing expired film, “over-expose by 1 stop for every decade of expiry.” I used to follow that rule, but nowadays, I’m not so sure it matters.

There is just no telling how the film is going to come out. Old film is unpredictable. It’s not uncommon to get back film from the lab and there’s nothing on it. No amount of over-exposure is going to change that, and if the film even lets you expose some pictures, you’re lucky.

This roll of PhotoWorks film, came to me from my local camera shop. Janet knows I like to live life on the edge, so gave me a few rolls of expired film to shoot. This film was sealed in the canister with a plastic shrink wrap. It was clearly marked, “develop before 05/2002.”

I saw a 200 ISO roll of it expired in 2005 on eBay. My roll did not have special developing instructions. Just that is C41 process, the roll I saw on eBay had an address to mail the film to, 1260 16th Ave, Seattle. This is the old Seattle FilmWorks address.

After figuring that out, I read on Wikipedia, that Seattle FilmWorks was sold off and renamed PhotoWorks in 2000. It’s actually an interesting read, I personally like the Seattle FilmWorks film. It was a movie film repackaged for photography. Read more on Wikipedia.…

This C41 film is marked as Made in Italy, Finished in America. I suspect it was made by Ferrania. I bet it was pretty nice when it was fresh.

Below are some images from my one role, shot on a Nikon N8008. The one that I noticed, or rather didn’t notice, was any difference when shot at ei 200 and ei 400. I shot the first half of the roll at ISO 400 and the second half of the roll at ISO to 200. While I found that the film did seem to have some color one stop over exposed, there really wasn’t that much of a difference. I also noticed that it picked up reds very nicely. The expired film held on to that color very nicely.

I doubt this film was cold stored for 18 years, it probably spent most of its life in a box in someone’s closet. It stands to reason, if you can give some over exposure because you have plenty of light to work with, then you probably should.

Shooting with expired film is so unpredictable that I say, “shoot at box speed ’til your heart’s content.” It doesn’t really matter, as long as you’re having fun. Besides that, you’re pictures comeback looking old-timey.

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