Tips on Shooting Expired Film: Taking Note of Expiry Dates


Photographers around the world have been using expired film to get various effects according to the expiration date of the film. Sometimes the colors are saturated, sometimes they are muted. The results will always differ and this makes using expired film so exciting.

What we can consider as expired film are those that are a couple of years older than its expiry date. A film that has a couple of months passed its expiry date, will not provide different results than a non-expired film. So how do I use expired film? Usually, I overexpose by one stop and edit in Photoshop or select some options of color correction before scanning. I do this in order to get results similar to a cross-processed film. Here are some results from applying this method.

There’s a rule that states that a film loses one stop of its speed after a decade of expiry. So, if you’re lucky to own a film with 10-20 years of expiry, apply this rule. At every 10 years, overexpose by one stop. If it’s ISO 400, after 10 years will be ISO 200. Easy, right? Here are some photos I’ve taken with an expired film:

Feel free to experiment with outdated emulsions, you’ll never know what interesting results you can get!

This article was written by Community Member pvalyk.

written by pvalyk on 2012-03-30 #gear #tutorials #film #expired #120 #35mm #shoot #expose #tipster #medium #format #lomography #iso #expiry-date


  1. icuresick
    icuresick ·

    Hi @pvalyk! If your film is ASA400 and you set your camera's ASA setting to 200 that is over exposing :)
    But I think you should actually overexposed one stop per decade.
    The last paragraph says: "At each 10 years underexpose by one stop. If it’s ISO 400, after 10 years will be ISO 200." I think it's just a typo error :)

  2. pvalyk
    pvalyk ·

    @icuresick you're wright, it is an error but not from me. I wrote the correct way, which is: After 10 years of expiration, the film loses it's speed by one stop and it should be overexposed not underexposed.

  3. dearjme
    dearjme ·

    Great tips on expired dates! And your photos are great, too. I just wish they weren't Photoshopped to get a "cross processed" look.

  4. pvalyk
    pvalyk ·

    @dearjme no, the photos are not "photoshopped". The photos are made with a roll of Agfa Vista 200 expired 5 or 7 years ago..

  5. esaaveni
    esaaveni ·

    are you sure about the last paragraph? because @pvalyk is right if you set the camera in 200 asa when you film is 400 is overexposed not under...

  6. brianpew
    brianpew ·

    I have just come across a bunch of 100 speed medium format film with an expiration date of 1997. Do you think I'll be okay shooting in bright sunlight on a Holga camera?

  7. jennifer2707
    jennifer2707 ·

    I have kodak plus x pan 125 1994, Kodak ektachrome 64 1993 and Neopan 1600 pro from 1993 hpw do I expose them ?

  8. amsiglela_yallehei
    amsiglela_yallehei ·

    Hi @jennifer2707. The Neopan 1600 would be fine if exposed at 400 ASA. The Kodak plus x pan would be fine at 25 ASA. I'm not sure about the ektachrome 64; maybe it could be exposed at 25 ASA outdoors on a sunny day, or maybe it would need to be exposed at about 12 ASA.

  9. montagu
    montagu ·

    Wow, i just found a roll of 1989 expired Konica 3200 SR-G Color film! Hmmm, I guess i'll shoot it rated at 640ISO lol

More Interesting Articles