Can You Shoot Great Photos with Expired Film? This Pro Shows You How (VIDEO)

There’s been a remarkable resurgence in shooting with film lately, as young photographers have become intrigued with 35mm cameras. Likewise, older photographers have rediscovered vintage cameras lurking in their photo cabinets, and plastic bags of expired film in the back of their refrigerators.

The question is, “Can decades-old film deliver pleasing results?” In the video below, pro Mike Holtze attempts to answer this question with a creative experiment that yields some rather impressive images.

Holtze says he hadn’t used a 35mm camera in years, and never shot with expired film. As his retro assignment progresses, he says “there’s a sense of dramatic buildup when you load the film, calculate exposure, and wait for the film to be processed.

He begins with the general rule of thumb to rate color negative film one stop slower for every decade since it expired. Since his Kodak Max 400 is 15 years old, he compensates by 1.5 stops as a starting point. 

The results are very interesting, including the color shifts at different exposures, and the creative flare he obtains because his old camera has a light leak. Overall, we say, “yes” to the question posed in the headline above, and we encourage you to give this a try.

There are more helpful videos on Holtze’s YouTube channel. And be sure to check out an earlier experiment of his in which he compares macro shots made with a cheap vintage lens with those shot using a modern Canon lens.