What Is Expired Film?

Expired film is bad film. Or that’s what I hear a lot. And a great number of times that’s quite a true statement. But not because of the film. The film didn’t do anything. It just is. Mostly it’s due to the films’ keeper. Who doesn’t put it in a fridge. Because fridges (or freezers, I’m not quite sure which one’s best, IF any), slow down the chemical process that started once the film was made. Film degrades over time which usually results in film becoming less sensitive, it’s colors are shifting or in extreme cases it could become brittle. But that’s really old film you found in a shoe box in your grandfather’s attic.

Reality is that expired film doesn’t have to be bad at all, if it’s kept well. That’s hard to know if you just bought 50 rolls via eBay, or from any other vendor actually. So there’s always some guesswork involved. And to me, that’s the fun part of it. I like shooting with expired film, just for the unknown factor. It’s a bit of a waste of money at times, but ah well. The already existing anticipation of ‘how will my images come out this time?’ is doubled by the ‘yeah maybe okay but that film I used was 20 years old!’

There’s a nice article over on I Still Shoot Film, with some handy tips on what to do if you’re thinking of venturing out to finish that stack of highly suspicious rolls your Secret Santa sent you this year.


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