My first Twin Lens Reflex camera was a Kodak Brownie Reflex Synchro Model. However, it takes 127 film which is not easy to find. Luckily I got my hands on Kodak Verichrome Pan 127 format film, expired for 30 years! My conclusion: it’s just like wine — the older the better!
When I bought the 127 format Kodak Verichrome Pan film for my Kodak Brownie Reflex Synchro, knowing it had been expired for 30 years (since March 1980), I thought it would probably yield no results. The toughest thing was to find a lab that would agree to develop 127 format film, but after asking around, I did.
When I got the negatives back from the lab I couldn’t believe all the photos had turned out! Not only was I happy the film had turned out better than I thought, I was also happy to know my lovely TLR camera from the 50’s was working perfectly.
I had already read Kodak Verichrome Pan was a very good film that lasted very long past its expiration date, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this good after 30 years. It did come out with beautiful grain but after 30 years I was expecting excessive grain and other defects. To be honest, I was slightly disappointed at first that I didn’t get a more dramatic expired look but at the same time I was really amazed and happy that such an old film still gave such good results!
I did notice most photos came out with very low contrast but I think it might have more to do with how I scanned the negatives than with the actual film: It was my first time scanning B&W film negatives on my new Epson V500 scanner and I hadn’t gotten the hang of it yet. Also, the contrast seems alot better when looking at the negatives.
I had a funny interesting story while shooting this film: I went to a cemetary and I noticed that one of the gravestones had the name, date of birth, and date of death of the deceased written on top as usual. However, on the bottom it had “NADA” written in caps. Nada means “nothing” in Portuguese and I thought it was rather odd that someone would have that engraved on their grave. I had the Kodak Brownie Reflex Synchro with me and I only had one shot left so I took a photo. Because it was the last photo of the roll I started advancing the roll until the end to take it out but although the roll had advanced perfectly until then it suddenly jammed! I had to wait until I could go into a dark room to open the camera and only then was I able to release the film.
As stupid as this might sound, I actually thought it could be the spirit of the deceased that did not like the fact that I had taken a photo and was trying to ruin my roll to prevent it from getting developed (I have a very fertile imagination). My boyfriend kept telling me that was ridiculous but until I got the film back from the lab I still thought maybe all the photos would show except for this last one. I kept imagining I would get a blank photo or a photo with weird strange creepy shadows. But of course, it came out normal!
In conclusion, the Kodak Verichrome Pan film holds up to its reputation: it lasts well past its expiration date. So if you ever find a roll of this film that has been expired for decades don’t hesitate to use it. You can trust it will always give you great results!