Expired Film Experiment 1 – Lessons Learned

Expired film. The more blogs I read, the more I read about the holiness of expire film. How you can get some really great color shifts, or lighting effects, or other cool things happen. I know I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I was waiting on a couple of rolls to come back from development.

Unfortunately, they did not turn out how I’d hoped. But, the good news is that I think I learned some lessons about using expired film.

Lesson #1 – Use a camera with more control. The first roll I shot was Kodak UC400 film in my La Sardina camera. This film expired back in…probably 2004 or so? I’ve had it in my fridge for so long, and through many moves. The best pictures that came out were at high noon in bright daylight, but even those aren’t great. I had to do some major fiddling in Lightroom, and even still, they’re really underexposed. I need to use a camera where I can adjust the ISO of the film. I think my Spotmatic can do it, I know my Minolta can. I don’t think my La Sardina or my Konstruktor would be good options for expired film.

Lesson #2 – Store film properly. The below pictures were taken with my Minolta Maxxum 5 with an expired roll of Kodak Gold 200. This film had to be as old as the UC400 above, maybe even older. I found this one in one of my camera bags, and I figured it would be okay to shoot. It…well…wasn’t. Again, I had to do a TON of tweaking in Lightroom to get them looking like this, and they’re underexposed, yellow, and grainy as all get out. Almost all of my film is in a mini-fridge, including the few expired rolls I have left, and they’re going to stay there until I use them.

I won’t lie, I’m really bummed that these didn’t turn out like I expected. I just dropped off the roll that I shot last weekend on the Konstruktor, which was a fresh roll of Lomo 400, so hopefully those come out better. These are still good lessons to learn, and I think I’ll be better shooting the few expired rolls I have left.

2 responses to “Expired Film Experiment 1 – Lessons Learned”

  1. Cam Avatar

    Ahh, expired film is so hit-and-miss. These lessons are gold though!

    1. Karen Avatar

      It is! I still have about four rolls in my fridge, including a roll of Kodak EliteChrome 200, and I’m SO hesitant to shoot it. But nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

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