I shot some 52 year old (!) film and got some decent results, but it took a bit of planning. Read about it.
I got a hold of some Agfa Isopan Record film that had expired in 1960. That was 52 years expired by the time I shot it. After quite a bit of research I found that it was originally rated between 1000 and 1200 ASA. That’s blazingly fast for films of the time. Film loses sensitivity after it expires. The rule of thumb is that film loses one full stop of sensitivity for each decade of “expiredness”. However, faster film loses sensitivity even faster. According to the rule of thumb, I should have shot it at 25 ASA. Adjusting for the fact that it was originally a fast film and that it had probably been stored poorly. Most film is happier being overexposed rather than underexposed. So, I decided to shot it at 6 ASA. That’s about a 7 to 9 stop pull. In other words, 7 to 9 stops overexposed. I developed it for 8 minutes in full strength Kodak D-76. I picked architecture to emphasize detail and contrast. I used an old TLR with a not-too-bright focusing screen, so there were some focusing issues, but I think you can still see that the film held up pretty well.
You can see from the results that my decision to drastically overexpose the film to compensate for its age was a good one. The lesson to be learned is that the main impact of age on film is loss of sensitivity. You can still get decent results by simply treating it as less sensitive film.
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