Expired Colour Film: Like Fine Wine, Gets Better with Age


Like fine wine film, in my opinion, is better the older it is (well to a point). All film has an expiration date printed on to the box, like food it states when it’s “best” before, but expired colour film brings about unexpected results, colour casts, crazy colour shifts, colour saturation and colour desaturation.

As Lomohgraphers, we want to shoot lots of different films. Many times, the films we get are expired. For us, this can be a good thing since it can enhance the characteristics and colours produced by the camera we use.

Here are a few tips I suggest when using expired colour film:

  • Over expose it by 1/3rd of a stop for every 2 years it is expired.
  • Use slow films. Anything over 800 when expired will get increased grain, unless you want the grain, then use slower film. Also fast films deteriorate much quicker. I don’t know the reasons behind this but they do. Although this does make them even more unpredictable, so you can be even more experimental.
  • Use the sun and other light sources to get crazy colour casts and effects on your film.
  • Use a camera which produces high colour saturation and this saturation will be enhanced.
  • Most importantly just go out there and have fun.

Here are some of my shots using expired film. These are shot with Fujifilm Superia extra 400 expired in 2006 shot in a Fisheye No.2:

As you can see the colours have stayed relatively unchanged but I think they have become less saturated. This may be due to the fact that the film was 400 speed so it will have deteriorated quicker than say an ISO 200 film. I think the results are great. I really like the contrast the film gives and it has a unique look about them, there is also a few expected colours in there.

Here is another roll, these are shot wit Fujifilm Superia 200 expired in 2005 shot in a Pentax Espio Mini.

As you can see this roll has great colours and has enhanced the qualities of the great lens on the Espio Mini. In some of the shots the colours are very punchy and are contrasty. I really like the green tones in the photos which could be due to the film being expired. I have used this film fresh and I greatly prefer the expired results. In my opinion, the results look almost as if they were shot on slide film but Fuji Superia is Fuji’s budget negative film.

Anyway, I hope this tipster helped you. The best tip I can give anyone is to pick up lots of rolls of different expired colour films, different ages different brands and go out and have fun shooting with them. You will get some beautiful unexpected results.

written by brandkow93 on 2012-04-05 #gear #tutorials #expired-film #unexpected #tipster #lomography #colour-film #fisheye-2

One Comment

  1. thejunkman
    thejunkman ·

    I love expired. I found a roll of kodacolor 1000VR in a thrift store that expired in 1984. It was 1000iso but I risked it and shot it at 200 iso on a very overcast day at the beach. 19 of the 24 shots came out and many of them very well. You can see the album here www.lomography.com/homes/thejunkman/albums/1823958-expired-…

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