Film photography is still very appealing to many photographers, but the problem is that it can get pretty expensive to buy and develop film. You can make it cheaper by shooting expired film, and it should work out well in many cases. But will it work if the film expired 20 or more years ago? Well, it just might. In fact, you may end up with some fantastic shots! In this video, Mathieu Stern tested out two rolls of film which both expired two decades ago. You can see how it worked out for him, and I’ll share a few useful tips for you that I picked up from my DIYP buddy John.
A lot of us analog film photographers love to shoot film but new film stocks can be pricey. A 100ft roll (30meters) of fresh Tmax is about $80 US these days. Deals can be had on “vintage” (expired) film but many purists will disregard this as results are inconsistent and sometimes just awful. I teach on the side and I am always looking to save student monies but give them a positive experience so there is no discouragement.
Last year, Colin Wirth at This Does Not Compute inherited some old camera gear from his grandparents. Along with the usual assortment of cameras, lenses and other items, was a brand new roll of Kodak Plus-X Pan film. A Black & White Panchromatic ISO125 film containing 20 exposures. The only issue was, it expired in March 1983.
Given how long film lasts after being made, that means this roll is over 35 years old. After posting a digital photo of the roll to Instagram, the comments convinced him that it should still be good and that he should shoot it. So, he did.