Expired Portra 160VC, 07 September 2009


The story here is that sometime in the past two years, I bought a “pro pack” [1] of 120 Kodak Portra 160VC color film, and apparently forgot about it. I rediscovered the loose rolls a few months back, and was absolutely mystified about where they came from, and when. Hey, these things happen, I suppose; in any event, they happen to me alot. What can I say? I’m not a particularly organized primate. The film, as the title of this post suggests, was expired by roughly 1 year, but I figured that the film was probably still usable; they had been kept inside their foil wrappers and in a darkened environment (a packing box), and they were only expired by a year. [2]


Obviously, the film still works, even though it is expired; this photo, of course, isn’t a good example of the colors the film captured, but I liked the composition. Oh, and I’ve been posting some outrageously colorful images of the past few days, so I figured I’d return to my “first love” [3] for a moment. As with my digital photos, this was originally a color image, but due to the quality of the lighting (or lack thereof, in this case), I determined that this photo would look better in black and white.

Photo Information:

Camera: Kodak Duaflex IV
Film: Kodak Portra 160VC (120 reloaded onto 620 spools) [4]
Exposure: None (approximated based on camera settings)

I’ll write about the camera in a later post. Meanwhile, before you ask, yes, this is my apartment in Chicago; while I’m typically quite ornery about my privacy, the relative lack of detail in this photo alleviated my concerns in this case. Y’all also don’t have an address for this location, and no way to identify the neighborhood due to the glare in the windows, so again, I’m not concerned about my privacy, in this very limited case. And seriously, the lighting looked quite nice in black and white. Or so I think; as always, YMMV.



[1]: Pro Packs are sometimes sold by camera shops that cater to professional and advanced amateurs (guess which one of these I am); they contain multiple rolls of film (in this case, 5 rolls of 120 film), and depending on the retailer, they may even be sold at a discount vs. the loose roll price. Yes, you’ll pay more for buying five rolls at once, but if you use them fast enough, the pro pack is worth the money, assuming that there is a price discount.

[2]: I have heard of photographers using film that is many years or even decades expired, so I suppose one year isn’t all that bad.

[3]: Yes, that’s right…despite my recent infatuation with Velvia slide film, my primary photographic interest remains black and white photography. I’m still not that great at color composition, but I like to think that I’m not so bad at black and white compositions.

[4]: As I’ll explain later in the post dedicated to the Duaflex IV itself, the camera takes 620 spools, not 120. As it turns out, however, 620 film is the same size as 120 film, just loaded onto smaller spools. As such, if you’ve got a few spare 620 spools and a changing bag (or lightproof darkroom closet), you can respool the film yourself. I’ll also mention how to do that in the camera post.


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