A friend of mine gave me two rolls of Ilford Delta 400 films expired in 2001. It’s so precious that I decided to use them with my Olympus PEN EE-2 half-frame camera. Here are the results shooting the 10 year old film with a half-frame camera.
Read the Tipster section and you’ll find that fellow Lomographers have been advising others to set a lower film speed rating to give more light to expired films. However, when shooting fresh black and white films, Lomographers have also been advised to use a red or yellow filter to enhance the contrast in the photos.
As I don’t have a red or yellow 43.5mm filter for the Olympus PEN EE-2, I decided to shoot the expired Ilford Delta 400 films at box speed to get the contrast desired.
For my first roll, I bit the bullet and shot a performance by young musicians from China at its box speed of ISO 400. Fortunately for me, the photos came out better than I expected.
Hoping that my luck will hold out, I decided to stick to shooting at the box speed during one of my lomo walks. This is what I discovered. Even in a well-lit environment, the film is unpredictable. It can turn out overexposed.
Or it can turn out underexposed as well. The following photos are that of a traditional tin can maker’s shop. The entrance is well-lit, yet the photos came out underexposed.
When you’re shooting in the open on a sunny day, the photos will turn out usable. Not great, but good enough as a record shot.
Shooting the film indoors without the use of flash again produced some surprising results. They were comparatively well-exposed for a 10 year old film.
I don’t expect razor sharp photos when shooting with expired films. In fact, I expect golf ball sized grains, yet the photos weren’t that grainy at all. I’ve seen worse from fresh films. With only two rolls tried, I am convinced that I should go look for more of such film to experiment with. So if you do come across expired Ilford Delta 400 films, don’t think, just get some to try.