Today I received in the mail a Graflex Super D with “automatic diaphragm”, and more relevant to this article – a graflex pack film holder #523. I have never seen one of these things before – it’s a metal box that has 12 or 16 sheets of film inside that allows the photographer to advance to the next sheet by pulling on a tab. The tab is attached to the far side of the sheet and pulls it around from the camera facing side to the back side of the box. It’s kind of neat! You can see a video on YouTube by Foto98 of one in action here: Tri-X Pan 523 pack film – 16 sheets of 4×5 film
And this is what led me to the subject of this blog post – expired film since I was wondering if I did find a pack or two of film for the 523 holder if it would work or not. I found this article by Daniel Schneider on Popular Photography which I’m linking to. My experience on shooting expired film is pretty limited, but I for the most part I have managed to get usable images except with color polaroid film and 126 color film. It does seem that black and white pan film (Verichrome, etc) holds up better than other types and Mr. Schneider’s article concurs. I’ll be adding some of my own shots with expired film to this post soon.
There are quite a number of film formats that no longer are produced like the 523 pack film, all kinds of instant film, 126 and 110 cartridges, many different emulsions in all formats, and the list goes on.
Shooting expired film is a photography adventure that’s both exciting and affordable.