The Vintage Minolta Love Project is in its preliminary stages. Shooting every major Minolta SLR necessitates buying more cameras. Since I’m buying on a budget, every camera is tested when it arrives in case I have to send it back. I wish I could buy the remaining cameras from KEH or other retailer, but that would quadruple the average cost. Of course, testing requires film, so I also need cheap film. As it happens, Ultrafine Extreme is a good quality, inexpensive B&W film, so that helps. While looking through the inventory of PhotoWarehouse (they sell Ultrafine film), I discovered they also sell expired Fuji color film.
PhotoWarehouse sells 10-roll packs of Fuji Color 100 for about three bucks per roll, a great price. Because of the lockdown, I started doing color development at home using CineStill’s 2-step color kit (that’s a future post). Not wanting to waste Portra while learning, I decided to use expired color film. Using cheap color film allows me to test cameras and experiment with color at the same time! Wonderful!
The prevailing wisdom says to shoot one ISO stop lower for each decade. Since I have 100 ISO to start, shooting at 50 ISO is a challenge hand-held, so most rolls are shot at box speed. However, the only day I decided to shoot at 50 ISO was overcast, so I got out the trusty tripod.
So far, the results have not been bad for film that expired in 2010. The usual color shifts are present, but not unpleasant. Some changes have even been desirable. The reds are more muted, but greens, blues, and some yellows seem enhanced, almost painterly. Those frames shot at 50 ISO look close to normal.
Not every encounter with expired film has been so pleasant. I shot two rolls of Kodacolor 200 last year without knowing they had expired. The images were darkened with muted colors. They almost look like they had been shot at night. Since I’m experimenting with color development, I shot a roll of Fuji Color 200 that came with a camera. I have no idea how old the film is, but much of it came out with a grayish tinge and muted colors.
Well, I learned two valuable lessons: cheap color film is available and expired film can yield pleasant results.