Is 20-year old 110 film still good?
March 5, 2008 9:09 AM   Subscribe

Can I develop 20-year old 110 film? If so, where?

My mom recently gave me a pile of rolls of undeveloped 110 film from my childhood, mostly from the 80's. This film is over 20 years old, and has been stored in a box in a dark closet most of these years. Is this film still good? Will I be wasting my time if I attempt to get them all developed?

If they are still able to be developed, does anybody have any suggestions on where to get 100 film developed? San Diego would be best, but I'm willing to mail these off to see some of my sweet childhood.
posted by afx114 to Technology (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Film does degrade over time. Heat, light, moisture, radiation accelerate this. Film that is refrigerated in moisture-free conditions will keep, exposed or not, practically indefinitely (so I've been told). There are people who specialize in expired film and vintage formats; here's one example of a mail-order outfit. Searching things like develop vintage film or expired film etc. will dig up more. If that closet was relatively dry and cool it's not necessarily a lost cause, though that is a long time. Whether worth a $20+ experiment is up to you.
posted by nanojath at 9:23 AM on March 5, 2008

I developed film that was about that old and a few pictures came out really well. The rest weren’t so good but I think it was the photographer (me at age 6) that was the problem, not the age of the film. I would say it is worth trying just to see what comes out. As for locations, I would call any camera/photography shops to see if they process any film other than 35mm. Ask if they process medium and large format film. If they do, they probably process 110mm.

A quick search brought up the following vendors (obviously not a complete list): - They process film (not just 35mm) and their prices are on their site.

Giant Photo Service – 619-232-1371
Gaslamp Photo – 619-696-8733
Chrome Film & Digital Service – 858-452-1588

If you talk to a reputable camera vendor they can give you an idea where to take the film and if it is worth your time. I’m a sucker for treasures like these so I’d take the leap and process the film. You could also develop one or two rolls and see how they come out and then decide from there.

Good luck! I hope these photos bring you great memories.
posted by MeeMaMN at 9:37 AM on March 5, 2008

In 1992, we found 2 rolls of undeveloped 110 film from 1974-1975. Our local Motophoto was able to develop them. The negatives were, in their words, delicate, and they were able to get 3 photos of out of the 2 rolls. The quality isn't great, but they are priceless - one of the photos is from the day I came home from the hospital.

I say, go for it! Half the fun was wondering just what might be on those rolls.
posted by xsquared-1 at 9:51 AM on March 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

I developed my last roll of 110 not too long ago. I took it in to Black's (chain that does photo developing and sells some camers and photo albums etc. if you don't have them in the States). They had to send it away somewhere, and it took a week or more, but it seemed to be routine as usual for them.
posted by orange swan at 10:58 AM on March 5, 2008

get one roll done before you decide on the rest
posted by wayward vagabond at 11:05 AM on March 5, 2008

oops! didn't preview!
posted by wayward vagabond at 11:06 AM on March 5, 2008

Kodak/Qualex still develops 110 at its regional labs. Any drug store that "sends your film to Kodak" in those paper envelopes will be able to take it (although its entirely possible that the drug store clerks don't know that, so don't expect much advice from them). No spiffy extras like photo CDS, though.

If you would rather use a local lab, just call them and ask if their equipment can take 110 film -- the chemistry is the same as 35mm film, it's mostly a matter of having the properly-sized negative holder for the developing and printing equipment. If the lab's been around for a while, it's entirely possible they've got the negative holders sitting on the shelf in the back room.
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 12:36 PM on March 5, 2008

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