Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 labeled “process before 2015-05”. I think I bought it new — it’s been in the freezer.
Processing and scanning by The Camera Shop of Santa Fe.
Processing and scanning by The Camera Shop of Santa Fe.
I recently acquired an old Canon Digital Rebel. I don’t have a charger yet so I haven’t used it but it has a CompactFlash card in it with images from July 2013 to August 2015.
Whoever the photographer is, I hope she sticks with it.
Update 1 March 2019
Trying to date a print I found with the camera, I looked up the date codes on the back of the positives. The film is not as old as I thought. It’s Type 667, the successor to the 107C film referenced below. Using the documents from the Phound Photo entry, the B&W film with manufacturing code E1V142801H is:
Made after 1996 (from the format of the code).
E=made in May.
1=2001 (the first 1 year after 1996).
V=made at the Vale of Leven plant in Scotland.
14=identifies it was made on machine #14.
28=shift A on 10th of month.
01=component change (I have no idea what this means).
H=Type 667 film (coaterless, 10 frames per pack).
End of Update 1 March 2019
I pulled the shutter test frame out of the camera in a dark bag and tried developing it. I’d read somewhere that you could develop the negatives from pack film but I’d never seen an example or tried it. On one Flickr discussion group, someone suggested you could treat it like old Kodak Panatomic-X. So, I had to dig for developing info about one extinct film (according to Wikipedia, Panatomic-X hasn’t been made since 1987) so I could try it on another extinct film.
The instructions I got with the 107 film in the camera call for coating the prints. The coater-less version, 107C, came out in 1978. I don’t know if Polaroid kept making 107 after 107C came out but even 107C hasn’t been made since 1998. If I’d realized it was that old I might have saved a frame. Probably not, the first thing people do when looking at an old camera in a thrift shop is to open it. Any way, the instructions I found called for HC-110 dilution B (1+31) at 68F for 4.5 minutes.
I don’t have any normal tanks that can develop large format negatives. The Polaroid image (excluding the border) is 7.3 X 9.5cm. In one of those “buy the lot to get the one thing you want” purchases, I got a Cibachrome color processing drum (PDF manual). It was made to do prints without using a series of open trays. Cibachrome was an awesome process, direct to positive, full color prints. Sadly, I learned about it too late. It too is an extinct product.
This is the shutter test shot. Developed in HC-110, dilution H (1+63) at 68F for 9 minutes. I frequently use half the concentration for twice the time. It’s a little gentler on old negatives (old paper negative in this case) and it helps to have a little time leeway. The results are pretty similar to HC-110 B. This was a go/no-go test so getting anything was the goal.
No idea what it is but it’s not my target, the kitchen lights. I tried bleaching the negative but all I did was take off some of the emulsion.
I had nothing but variables: an unknown film, shot in an unknown camera, developed with an unknown process. I know, I’ll use a different camera I haven’t tested!
I pulled the remaining three frames out of the film pack and put them into a light tight box. Wrangling a Polaroid and a box in a small changing bag is an exercise in patience. Once that was done, I removed the extra paper, developing pods, and positives, leaving just the negatives emulsion side up (I think) in the box. The next magic act was getting a negative out of the box and into the test camera, a Kodak Autographic No. 3A (1918-27) which is nearly as big as the Polaroid.
I shot a test and then psyched myself out that I didn’t have the emulsion facing the subject. Just to be sure, I put the beast back in the dark bag, turned the film over and shot it again. I shot the same subject so I still don’t know if I had it right the first time.
My meter app doesn’t have ISO 3000 so I guesstimated that the film would have lost some speed and used 2500. I used the fastest shutter on the old Kodak, 1/100 second and f/16. That was really fortunate since the aperture on the camera is labeled in US (Universal System) units not f-stops. I have a screen grab of an old table comparing aperture systems somewhere. At least I didn’t have to stop everything and find it because I remembered that f-stops and US cross each other at 16
I was getting impatient so I used HC-110 B for 4.5 minutes this time. The framing is terrible but the blobs of dark on the negative are definitely the kitchen lights.
Did I prove anything? Yeah sort of. I know old Polaroid negatives will produce an image. Is it useful information? Probably not to anyone but me but that was the point. Photography forums (fora?) are as bad as Apple discussion groups. There’s always some snarky little bitch who says, “Why waste time? Just go buy X”. That misses the point. I want to know. I already know I can go buy something — there’s no challenge in that.
Hard to balance. Ektachrome is way less sensitive to red and somewhat less to green than blue.
These are screen grabs from GIMP.
Found photos sort of. I didn’t actually get any images that I can be sure of (stare at them for a while and you start to “see” things) but the scans are kind of cool.
I got a box camera recently and it had three film holders in it — 4X5 inch glass plate holders with dark slides to be more precise. One of the holders had plates in it.
There isn’t much info out there about processing old glass plates. Tons about scanning or making prints or preserving glass negatives that have already been processed but not developing old negatives. I processed them with Arista B&W paper developer from Freestyle, Kodak stop, and Ilford Rapid Fixer. The developer did the job — the exposed silver in the emulsion converted to metallic (black) silver. The trouble is, it was all exposed. Somewhere along the line, the dark slides had been removed.
I had to scan in two passes since the light source on the CanoScan 9000f isn’t wide enough. The exposure wasn’t quite the same but I was able to play with the levels and get it pretty close. I glued the half-images together in Photoshop Elements 15. Version 15 is kind of a POS (not point-of-sale if you know what I mean). It only has panorama stitch in “guided” mode and it doesn’t guess very well. It lined the images up OK but I could not get the exposure of the layers right. I ended up doing it manually with a huge blank canvas and two layers. I made one layer semi-transparent and picked a dot as my alignment point. Nudge, nudge, too far, back, SWEET! It’s not perfect but pretty close for moving the plate on the scanner manually without a straight edge. Once the layers were aligned, I set the transparency back to opaque, picked one layer and tweaked the mid-tone level .01 at a time until I couldn’t see the seam. Since it’s a gray scale scan, .01 would be one hundredth of 255 (0=black and 255=white).
I got a wild hare (hair?) and did the second image in color. I had to scan one half twice to get the exposure close. The Canon software “snaps” to an exposure level depending on how much light or dark is in the selected scan area — move the selection area in or out and the exposure varies in a huge jump. With the color information, more overlap, and using a straight edge this time (an SX-70 print), Photoshop did a much better job stitching the halves together and I didn’t have to do it manually.
Images of the camera and slide holders will have to wait until I feature the camera on 52 Cameras. I have some big film (not 4×5″ big, but big), print paper like I used for the cardboard box pinhole camera, and some Instax wide so it’ll be a fun project.
Note: Not my fingerprints — I used gloves. I’ve read enough to know gelatin emulsion on glass is really fragile and LOVES fingerprints.
These were on the memory card of a Sony DSC-H7. I’ll review the camera shortly since I know I can power it up and get things off of it. I scored the camera from Goodwill Central Coast in Salinas, CA.
There were 350 images total on the card, from June 2011 to November 2012. As usual, when I review the camera, I’ll link to this page so if the people run across the blog or YouTube channel, they can get their pictures.
Varying degrees of color correction and noise reduction. Resized to 1024 on the long side.
And… even reading the manual, I got the LED meanings wrong. + or – means more than 1 stop off. Center dot and + or – means 1/5 to 1 stop off.