5 frames of 40-years expired Kodacolor II

By Philip

Almost immediately along with getting into analog photography about three years ago I developed an interest in expired film. The excitement of getting pictures out of film that’s well past its expiring date was and still is one of the main reasons for this. So, it was no surprise that some funky images from a basically ancient roll of Agfa color negative film in a magazine got me into a quest to find the longest expired color negative film possible. What I got was a bunch of Kodacolor II rolls that expired in 1983. According to the seller they were stored dry in a basement but not in a freezer.

Kodacolor II was released in 1973 and got discontinued in the early 80s. It was the first film to use the C41 development process, which is still the standard procedure for color negative film today.

For my first test I put one of the rolls into my trusty Spotmatic SP1000 paired with my Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 55mm f1.8 and took them out for a stroll to Mühltal (mill valley) north of Starnberg in Upper Bavaria. Mühltal is a hamlet at the river Würm that includes a former mill, a turbine house, a pub/ restaurant and a former hermitage a bit upwards on a hiking path. There’s also an old train station that got closed almost twenty years ago. The station building is now a private residence.

For the most part I took three photos of each motive: One at box speed (ISO 100) just for the fun of it, one at ISO 25 and one at around ISO 12. The latter unsurprisingly produced the only kind of usable pictures. Also, a tripod was used since I mostly set the aperture at f8. I scanned the negatives with my Plustek Opticfilm 8200i and SilverFast software.

This trailer near the main parking lot has obviously been abandoned here a long time ago.

This is my favorite frame of the roll and the one with the “mildest” amount of color shifts. The oldest part of the house in this picture (the round tower) is from 1736 and was originally a hermitage. The rest of the building was added in 1850 and once was home to a royal chief hunter. In 2023 the house had been sitting abandoned for already about a decade, but it recently got sold to an investor whose plans are unknown to the public as of now.

The turbine-house was finished in 1892 and supplied Pasing (since 1938 a district of Munich) with water. Its turbines ran without interruption from 1895 to 2002 when they were decommissioned.

The coffee-truck of a local roasting company from Starnberg. It is usually open all year round on Sundays with good weather and serves great coffee along with a small but fine selection of cakes. The perfect stop for a relaxed Sunday walk.

The coffee-truck of a local roasting company from Starnberg. It is usually open all year round on Sundays with good weather and serves great coffee along with a small but fine selection of cakes. The perfect stop for a relaxed Sunday walk.

This is how the photos look like that were taken at box speed (ISO100).

Most frames had massive color shifts that gave them a strong magenta and/ or yellow cast and especially the ones taken at box speed were obviously severely underexposed. After a bit of fiddling around in GIMP the ones that were shot at ISO 12 didn’t look too bad though, so I am all in all satisfied with my attempt to get pictures out of this roll. However, I most likely wouldn’t use the remaining rolls for more “serious” projects.

Thank you very much for reading my first article! If you want to see more of my photos including pictures from a variety of expired films feel free to visit my page on flickr.

 

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About The Author

By Philip
Amateur photographer from Munich. I mostly shoot abandoned and historic stuff and have a special interest in expired, discontinued and/ or obscure film stocks.
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Comments

Kampus Terbaik on 5 frames of 40-years expired Kodacolor II

Comment posted: 15/02/2024

What were the different ISO settings used by the author during their photography experiment, and how did they impact the resulting images? Regards, Telkom University/a>
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Philip replied:

Comment posted: 15/02/2024

I mostly took three frames of each motive - one at ISO100, one at ISO25 and one at ISO12. Photos 1 - 4 shown in the article were shot at ISO12 and photo #5 was shot at ISO100 (original box speed of the film). Aperture was mostly set to f8. The pictures taken at ISO100 were, as expected, extremely underexposed and non salvageable (see picture #5), so I didn't scan all of them. The photos taken at ISO25 still were noticeably more underexposed and had stronger colorshifts than the ones taken at ISO12. The color shifts in general mostly leaned into the magenta and/ or yellow. At least that was how my scanning setup (Plustek Opticfilm 8200i and SilverFast software) presented the unedited scans to me.

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Robin Berry on 5 frames of 40-years expired Kodacolor II

Comment posted: 07/02/2024

I was amazed by your piece you wrote on the 40 year old Kodak film. I worked at Kodak Park in Rochester, NY and perforated 35mm film. I started work there in 1979. I do have to say, the film hung on pretty good for being in a basement all those years. Thank you for the great article and pictures.
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Philip replied:

Comment posted: 07/02/2024

Thank you for your comment, much appreciated! Pretty cool to hear from someone who worked at Kodak at the time that this roll was manufactured.

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Eastwestphoto on 5 frames of 40-years expired Kodacolor II

Comment posted: 01/02/2024

I shot at least 8 rolls in the last 3 years of very expired kodacolor film 400, 200, 100 etc. In all cases -3 stops is necessary for almost perfect exposures. I shoot Topcon re super and Dm models, the outstanding ultra sharp Topcor lenses. Many think Nikon and Pentax was the best, well bs, Topcon made the best SLR cameras and lens. Fit, finish feal and superb metering were invented by Topcon in 1963. Find out what the real pros knew in the 1960,s.
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Kodachromeguy on 5 frames of 40-years expired Kodacolor II

Comment posted: 31/01/2024

Well done! I think it is amazing that you extracted these frames from 40 year old film. I like your subject matter (from another abandoned decay fan).
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Philip replied:

Comment posted: 31/01/2024

Thank you very much! Your your articles about Panatomic-X and Ektar 25 actually played a certain part in kickstarting my interest in discontinued film stocks...now there's no turning back :)

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Paul Quellin on 5 frames of 40-years expired Kodacolor II

Comment posted: 31/01/2024

Enjoyed this Philip and I am finding these stories of very out of date films really inspiring. Producing such results from what might have been considered waste... just brilliant.
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Philip replied:

Comment posted: 31/01/2024

Thank you Paul!

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Lance Rowley on 5 frames of 40-years expired Kodacolor II

Comment posted: 31/01/2024

Amazing subjects in these photos and they turned out so beautifully! I’m amazed that they turned out so well. They have so much character.
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Philip replied:

Comment posted: 31/01/2024

Thank you! Yes, the quirks of expired film can definitely add character to a photo, though it's often a bit of a gamble ;)

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Röd White on 5 frames of 40-years expired Kodacolor II

Comment posted: 30/01/2024

Very nice look to these (compensated) pictures. 40 years expired is a long time and must be a bit hit or miss with results, but in this case at least, looks like it paid off. Thanks for sharing.
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Philip replied:

Comment posted: 30/01/2024

Thanks for your kind comment!

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Scott Edwards on 5 frames of 40-years expired Kodacolor II

Comment posted: 30/01/2024

This was wonderful! Thank you for sharing.
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Philip replied:

Comment posted: 30/01/2024

Thanks :)

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Murray Leshner on 5 frames of 40-years expired Kodacolor II

Comment posted: 30/01/2024

Thank you. I am also glad to see/read about elderly film that has spent considerably time 'improperly' stored. Did you use standard C41 lab development or...?
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Philip replied:

Comment posted: 30/01/2024

Yes, this roll was developed by a lab with the standard C41 process.

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Geoff Chaplin on 5 frames of 40-years expired Kodacolor II

Comment posted: 30/01/2024

I really like the images (except the last!), particularly the two buildings. Digital and modern fresh emulsions are too scientific, clinical, in their rendition resulting in tedious images - great for some purposes but not for 'artistic' results. Thanks for the post and lets see more!
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Ibraar Hussain replied:

Comment posted: 30/01/2024

I concur ! I do find it amusing that many people using state of the art digital cameras want to give their images a ‘film look’ in terms of colour and nuance

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Philip replied:

Comment posted: 30/01/2024

Thank you all for your kind comments!

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Ibraar Hussain on 5 frames of 40-years expired Kodacolor II

Comment posted: 30/01/2024

Thanks man! Really inspiring write up! Takes some creative spirit to do what you do! And the photos are Lovely - I really Like the look the warmth and the feel!
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Philip replied:

Comment posted: 30/01/2024

Inspiring others with what I do is one of the greatest compliments that I can imagine. Thank you very much :)

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Bob Janes on 5 frames of 40-years expired Kodacolor II

Comment posted: 30/01/2024

Were there consistent settings you needed in GIMP to get the shots you showed here? Would have been interested to see some of the other shots to see the extent of the colour shifts. Many thanks for the interesting article!
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Philip replied:

Comment posted: 30/01/2024

Thank you very much! I didn't take much notice of the exact settings to be honest, but in retrospect I feel that they couldn't have just been applied from one image to the next one without any change. Maybe I'll add a few less edited pictures to the album on my flickr page (it's named "Kodacolor II").

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