Shooting expired color film, even when it’s always been stored frozen, is such a crapshoot. When you’re fortunate, you get mild color shifts and slightly more noticeable grain. At the other end of the fortune spectrum, you get unusable photographs.
If you have many rolls of the same stock from the same source, sometimes you can keep adjusting the exposure index at which you shoot the film, roll to roll, to dial in best results.
The giant stash of expired films a reader sent to me some time ago included a couple three rolls of Kodak Vericolor 160. I put the first of them through the Pentax 645 not long ago, on an evening photo walk along Main Street in Zionsville. I used the 75mm f/2.8 SMC Pentax-A 645 lens that came with the camera. Here’s the best image from the roll. It’s well exposed, even if the in-focus patch is a little off, leaving that first chair slightly out of focus.
The sun was low enough in the sky that the west side of the street was completely in shadow, and the east side of the street was partially in shadow, partially in light. The Vericolor 160 did not deal well with this, even though I overexposed it by one stop (EI 80). Some images were not salvageable. This one was barely salvageable.
The lab I used included a note with the emailed link to the scans — “Whew! These were rough lol. I would probably shoot the rest of that 120 at +3 over base ISO. These were mostly pretty dark.” The next time I shoot this film, I need either to be in full sun, or to overexpose it a lot more — maybe EI 25.
It’s a good thing that I enjoy the process of shooting so much, or I would feel like this whole roll was a waste.
Whenever my subject was in full sun, exposure was fine and noise was minimized.
I shot many of my usual subjects on this walk. There’s something comforting about knowing that I have reliable subjects that just work, even if it does lead to a lack of variety in my output.
Kodak made a number of different films under the Vericolor name over many years. This roll of film was labeled as “Vericolor 160” with the code VPS. The only other Vericolor film I’ve shot was Vericolor III, also an ISO 160 film that crucially also carried the VPS code. I think these are the same film.
I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but I tag film-photo posts with the film(s) I used. I do that mostly for me – that way, I can easily find all of the posts that involved a particular film. But I’m not sure how to tag this one. I have an existing “Kodak Vericolor III” tag, but this film is not labeled Vericolor III. Maybe I just need to change this tag to “Kodak Vericolor (VPS)” to cover all bases.
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