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Shooting With Expired Film

Photo
Published on
Dec 18, 2019

Using expired film can bring interesting and unpredictable results, abstract colours and light effects.

Written by
Yavor Zografski
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A few months ago, I took my old Exakta VX 1000 to the camera repair shop and decided to make it one of my main cameras for photography. It is an old model from the 60s, produced in East Berlin and during its time, it was considered one of the most sophisticated cameras out there.

Exakta VX 1000
Carl Zeiss Jena Lens 2.8/50

I had some 30+ year old black and white film that came with it. Shooting with old film is a risky business and the results are often unpredictable and full of glitches. Colour shifts and lack of sharpness can elevate some shots from ordinary to surreal. Nowadays, people run their photos through multiple filters and effects to get similar washed out look so I decided to go for the genuine way and experiment with the results.

When I took the film to get it scanned, the photo shop owner was really surprised that I've decided to shoot with it. I told him that I am interested in the effects that are produced with the old film and he joked that once upon a time these 'effects' were called 'defects'. Indeed, most of my shots didn't even come out but I am quite happy with those that did.

Just remember, before you decide to shoot with expired film make sure it was stored in the right conditions and keep in mind that you will need more light than stated on the film. So if the film is 400 ISO, maybe you should shoot it as 100 ISO. Knowing that in advance, you won’t have problems using the insanely fun expired film and the results will be quite interesting.

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