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Undeveloped 50 year old Ilford film delivers results

The debate concerning the longevity of film and photographs viz-a-viz that of digital storage and output took a decided leap forward for the film corner when an old roll of 'ILFORD Selo Extrafinegrain Panchromatic' film was discovered which was able to produce prints of a very reasonable quality.

| Film
Ilford Selo
Undeveloped 50 year old Ilford film delivers results: Undeveloped 50 year old Ilford film delivers results
Keen amateur photographer Mike Ellis purchased a photographic job lot through e-Bay from a seller in New Zealand. When the consignment arrived, Ellis found it included a Leitz reloadable cassette which contained the roll of ILFORD Selo film which ceased production some 50 years ago. Ellis decided to see if there were any images on the Selo film, so he put it into a bath of ILFORD ID-11 for seven minutes with fingers tightly crossed.

Although the film was very tightly rolled and was showing what appeared to be emulsion cracks, I was able to process 10 usable images, says Ellis. Judging by the cars shown in the images, which feature a campsite, I estimate these were shot in the 1950s, or possibly earlier.

The name 'Selo' first saw the light of day in 1920 when a company by that name was formed by ILFORD and two other filmmakers, Imperial and Gem, to manufacture film which each company sold under its own labels.

While the Selo company continued until 1946 when it was incorporated into ILFORD, as was Imperial and Gem, the brand continued to be used until the early 1960s on products such as Selochrome Panchromatic in 120 format. In the mid 1940s, the company was selling Selo H.P.3 film which became ILFORD HP3 some five years later and was the forerunner to today's world-renowned HP5 film.

ILFORD Photo director Simon Galley saw Mike Ellis's results: These images are quite fascinating, he comments. I agree they appear to date from the late forties/early fifties, though it is impossible to be precise.

Selo-branded film was first manufactured in 1938 but I do not know exactly when it was phased out. However, that particular roll of exposed film has obviously been lying in the cassette for over 50 years, and given that it has also probably been in the southern hemisphere all that time, I am amazed that any images were recoverable.

Given that images stored on a Flashcard would not last so long, this find emphasises the benefit of capturing images on film - especially ILFORD film - at least in the first instance. It is a lesson which modern photographers could do well to heed.

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shaun 19 368 England
Excellent! I'm off to backup my PC to some ILFORD HP5 Wink
deviant 18 3.1k 1 United Kingdom
I've just made a RAID array with Tri-X. Job Done!
User_Removed 19 17.9k 8 Norway
Given that images stored on a Flashcard would not last so long, this find emphasises the benefit of capturing images on film..."

deviant 18 3.1k 1 United Kingdom
Who stores images on a flashcard anyhow!?
Who thinks ID-11 and film-developing tanks will be around in 2055??
Who thinks ID-11 and film-developing tanks will be around in 2055??
vfr400 21 886
Interesting, but who says that a flash card won't have images on there in 50 years? TDK CDs have an extremely long retention time too (in excess of 30yrs if I remember right).
Film has a use-by-date, and flash has a guaranteed retention time... but it could well exceed that time, just as this Ilford film did.
spaceman 18 5.3k 3 Wales
"Who thinks ID-11 and film-developing tanks will be around in 2055??"

ID11 is just a chemical formula; anyone with the recipe could make it, or any other B&W developer (indeed, some people still do home-brew their chemicals). Similarly Dev tanks are just light-tight boxes, and if you had a dark room you could probably find a way to just develope the film in a dish. Precision microelectronics and copyright-protected firmware may prove a little harder to cook up in your garage...
Must be cool to find something like this and get it developed.

I have never really understood this argument of digital longetivity. if you keep your current pc and current s/ware in storage say, why will it suddenly be incompatable in 30yrs when you want to look through your old photos ?

The floppy is dead is always an mentioned but you can still by a drive from anywhere.

If you really like your digital photos why not have them professionally printed.
This really amuses me ... we gasp in disbelief that a roll of film will produce images in 50yrs ... well that is the longest seen so it is hardly representative of the norm ... I for one have had new rolls that don't stand a little misuse AND has anyone here ever forgot to develop their CF Card ?? And you may ask the question as to whether a CD will be readable in 50yrs time but I for one will have backed mine up onto another media and copied it for convenience and safety many times in that 50yrs with absolute ease in a matter of seconds - and probably nanoseconds in a few years time - it hardly compares to the hassle of perfect storage conditions for a roll of film and the somewhat more complex procedure of copying a 35mm neg or slide ... is there really a comparison that stands scrutiny when you have removed your rose-tinted photographic spectacles and replaced them with newer more efficient ones ???
zoe b 18 55
Why the need to rate one media over another I love my bronica ETRS just as much as my 20D can they not both be appreciated for their particular merits,im just learning darkroom skills and find it fascinating a total art form in its self but on the other hand I would be lost without my didgi so why can I not embrace both ?????
I prefer Kodachrome and have just realised that I was some of my slides date back to the late 50's. I must be getting old.

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