Expired Film Resurection

A friend of mine gave me an old Pentax film camera (“I know you collect these, have fun with this one”). He told me that the camera had been stored unused in his garage for several years.

The battery was missing so I wasn’t able to get the camera working immediately. But I noticed that it had a 24 exposure colour negative film inside. The camera had electronic film advance and rewind mechanism so without a battery I was unable to rewind the film.

I took the camera with me to the dark room and opened the back cover. The film was mostly wound on the takeup spool. As I was not familiar with the camera model, I was not sure if that meant that the film was mostly exposed or unexposed (some cameras unload the whole film from the cassette when it is inserted). I decied to try developing the film.

After the C41 process I opened the tank and saw a completely black film. Not even the factory exposed frame counters in the perforated area were visible. I did not wash the film, unloaded it from the tank spool and was about to throw it away. But then I looked at the film once more against a light source. There was something barely visible that proved that the film had been exposed.

I dried the film with a hair blower and launched my scanner. Much to my suprise I was able to scan some frames with content and even some colour. When I showed the scans to my friend who gave me the camera he said that the pics have been shot by his son at least six years ago.

These scans are from the expired film that had been sitting in the camera for at least six years and nobody even remebered taking them. It was great fun to be able to find something on the film.


  1. Bill Penn

    Most likely someone had opened the back and fogged the film. The exposures at the start of the film would have been partly protected by the film wound around them on the take-up spool.

    • Antti Penttala

      That’s very well possible. However, all parts of the edge printing were black. Both in the part on the take-up spool and the part inside the cassette. That’s why I thought the film was expired after years inside the camera.

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