With old film, conventional wisdom says it’s best to develop it in black and white chemicals, regardless whether the film was originally color film or black and white. Apparently the different colored dyes not only break down more quickly than black and white chemicals, but also at different rates. I decided to try anyway with two older rolls of color film, of the same type, but different sizes. The larger roll looked like this:
The smaller roll was similar, but 127 size. And it turns out that conventional wisdom was accurate, as both rolls are not only dim and hard to make out any images, but you can also see where the colors have degraded at different rates.
The smaller roll was found in a Kodak Starflash from Kentucky. A Kodak Starflash is a relatively inexpensive plastic camera from the late 1950s and early 1960s that looks kind of like this one:
Despite being pretty cheap, it is possible to take somewhat decent pictures with this camera. Here’s one I took recently with one:
These are the only four pictures that came from the roll.
I’m not sure what’s going on in the last two photos – some sort of harvest decoration – pumpkins and cornstalks? Anyway, I like the fashion of the day in the first two.
In the case of the second roll, the seller helped try and figure out the origin of the film. apparently she had a collection of cameras, and this particular roll was inside one of those cameras, a Kodak Tourist folding camera. This model was a pretty high-end camera for its time – 1948 to 1951 – and can be seen below.
In any case, she notes that the roll was in the camera for “at least 25 years, maybe more since I don’t remember when I purchased this camera.” However, despite the age of the camera, the film itself was not introduced until 1972, meaning it is anywhere from 25 to 40 years old. Apparently the owner left the film unnoticed in the camera until very recently.
I’m guessing the camera’s owner (before the person who sold it to me) used her last roll of film to document what looks like a holiday season dinner for two. Or maybe several dinners. Maybe the dinner didn’t go well, or maybe it went well, but in either case, she never bothered to develop the film. The photos show the same uneven, age-related color dye degeneration as the roll above.
The photos probably would have turned out better in black and white, but at least I gave it a shot.
…and in the final photo, we catch a glimpse of who must have been the dinner guest.