Shooting with Expired Black and White Film

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Shooting with expired black and white film is much easier and simpler than shooting expired color film, so bargains can be had.

Due to the makeup of black and white film, it lasts much longer and isn't affected as much by age as color film is. I am no scientist so I don't know the exact reason behind this but you'll just have to take my word for it.

Anyway, I primarily shoot black and white film but most of the best b&w films have been discontinued, meaning a lot of the film I shoot with are currently expired.

I have kind of created my own rules but I overexpose the film by a third of a stop for every two years it's expired, so for example if I had a two-year-old roll of expired Ilford FP4, I'd overexpose it by a third of a stop and if it was expired by four years then I overexpose two thirds of the way. This works for most films but if the film has been stored in a fridge, then it probably will need less overexposing and if it's been frozen then it won't need overexposing. Using expired black and white films gives you a great opportunity to shoot old rare films, for example, I have a roll of the highly sought after discontinued Kodak HIE waiting to be shot.

Here are some results I've got using expired film:

Ilford SFX 200

So if you want to experience the beauty of some old discontinued black and white films, don't be afraid to pick some up as they're much easier to use than other expired films, I know the Lomography Shop has a great selection of expired black and white and infrared films.

Thanks for reading this tipster and I hope you found it useful.


This is a post submitted by Community Member brandkow93.

written by brandkow93 on 2012-04-04 #gear #tutorials #film #black-and-white #exposure #expired-film #tipster

7 Comments

  1. emilios
    emilios ·

    Great results! Especially the first one on top and then the flowing river!

  2. zekalinova
    zekalinova ·

    nice pictures :)

  3. psychicd
    psychicd ·

    i do have a couple rolls of Fortepan 200..120mm..expired 1997..any suggestion on using this expired film..??should i overexpose this film for a couple of seconds to get a clearer picture..??

  4. brandkow93
    brandkow93 ·

    @psychicd urm id say shoot it at iso 50, but if its been cold stored then 100 and 200 if its been in a freezer, you will probably get increased grain, but other than that should be fine

  5. psychicd
    psychicd ·

    i bought it last year and kept it in the fridge since then..but still need to shoot it at iso 50 right..??thanks..

  6. brandkow93
    brandkow93 ·

    yeah id say iso 50, you may get increased grain and inconsitant reesults but should be corectly exposed

  7. mohariz
    mohariz ·

    i got lucky shd 100 black and white film exp in 2005,but after i bring to lab to get develop,the results of my photo is grainy..more grainy i said.. so whats wrong with this? :) *sorry for my bad english

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