Expired Film Day 2016 results: 2003 Kodak Plus-X 125 (Leica)

Leica IIIc on Expired Film Day
My Leica IIIc is back from repairs and a thorough CLA, so I took it out for Expired Film Day with some expired Kodak Plus-X from my stockpile. (Daniel J. Schneider)

I took several rolls of Kodak Plus-X 125 (expired in 2003) with me on Expired Film Day, part of a bag given to me by a new film friend — some of which was added to the giveaway pool, too.

My first stop on March 15 was at Key Camera in Longmont, Colo., where Dave Feely had my Leica IIIc ready to go. I trimmed the leader of a roll of Plus-X in advance so the Leica could get in on the fun.

These pictures are all from the historic heart of Longmont. And the Leica worked just great, netting me several comments and at least a half dozen bewildered looks.

I will need to work to understand framing with the Leica, as you can see. The viewfinder doesn’t seem to be exactly calibrated to match a frame with the 50mm lens — I’d guess it shows an area closer to the field of view of a 40mm or 45mm lens. That will likely take some getting-used-to, as I habitually crop in-camera as much as I can.

Key Camera in Longmont
Key Camera in Longmont. The first photograph made with the Leica after the CLA they performed. Still learning framing. (Daniel J. Schneider)

Mike, the benefactor of the expired film, warned me in advance that he’d had trouble getting decent results with the batch. Moreover, it was a mixed batch — despite the fact that most of the rolls expired in the same month and year, they’d come from two different sources, and he suspected one source was harder on the film than the other.

I decided to rate it at ASA 80 for purposes of exposure, and then push it in development. As you’ll see in a day or two, I did a second roll in a different camera with the same rating and developing.

I developed the film in Kodak HC-110 at Dilution H (1:63) at 68°F for 14 minutes and 30 seconds. The results were dark — I probably could’ve pushed the film a bit more. At least another whole stop.

Nevertheless, the results were useable. I think they would be difficult to get a great print from, but I was able to mostly rescue them by bringing up the exposure just a little bit more after scanning. This increased the grain a bit, but the scans were grainy even without any sharpness applied (I never did apply any, just to be clear). The grain, still, isn’t much worse than my past experiences with Plus-X, and maintains the characteristic evenness I love this emulsion for.

Ralph Castle in Longmont
Ralph Castle, a one-time gas station in Longmont, tried to make it as a convenience store after the road was widened, forcing the removal of the fuel pumps. Sadly, it was not to be. (Daniel J. Schneider)

I didn’t know the condition of the lens, but the results look very sharp, and the out-of-focus areas are very pleasantly blurred. The bulk of the photos were taken in bright sun at 1/200 second and f/5.6 or f/8 (or as close to those as I could get — the Leica Summar lens features some aperture markings that aren’t very similar to what we’re all used to today).

On the whole, a very satisfactory roll of film. I loaded some fresh Plus-X (well, technically it expired in 2014, but I’ve had in the fridge since new and I’m not considering it Expired Film Day film) into the Leica afterwards as the first test roll for my eventual review.

Next up: The Agfa Silette and another roll of Plus-X 125.

Other Expired Film Day 2016 posts:

Mountain View Cemetery
Mountain View Cemetery in Longmont, Colo. The first recorded burial was in May, 1876, predating Colorado’s statehood. (Daniel J. Schneider)
915 Main Street
915 Main Street, Longmont. Apparently once a jail, little information is available about this building. (Daniel J. Schneider)
The Dickens Opera House
The Dickens Opera House and Dickens Tavern in Longmont. Still didn’t know about framing with the Leica, obviously. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Adorn bicycle
A vintage bicycle — painted rusty orange all over — stands in the bright sun outside of a shop called Adorn in Longmont which has a large sign on the door prohibiting photography. (Daniel J. Schneider)
Weathered plywood
A texture test with some weathered plywood at a boarded up building on Main Street in Longmont. (Daniel J. Schneider)
The Speakeasy in Longmont
The Speakeasy, a jazz bar in downtown Longmont, is modeled after Prohibition-era Chicago speakeasies. The stairs would be unremarkable without the awning. (Daniel J. Schneider)