1988: a good vintage for Plus-X?
I recently found 3 100' bulk rolls of Plus-X stuffed into a drawer where I work, labeled to expire in 1988 and 1989. I have no idea for how long they were refrigerated, if ever, before being relegated to the junk drawer, but there they were. So I purloined them.
I'm barely older than this film, having been born in 1982.
One of the boxes had been opened, so that could potentially be a total loss at the hands of some overly-curious packrat, but the other two boxes were sealed. I opened the 1989 box the other night and spooled up a 12-exposure roll, just for the hell of it, and ran a "quick" test around my apartment with a spare Pentax at varying ISOs. A couple days later I developed in Rodinal 1:50 for a nominal 13 minutes, agitating for 30 seconds and then 5 seconds per two minutes thereafter. Shockingly, they came out! Here're my findings.
First of all: The undeveloped leader looks beautiful, bluish gray on one side and pale white on the other. The base is hardly any darker than my fresh rolls of 400TX. That represents some fogging over time, but by how much I can't judge. Also, the film base is labeled "SAFETY FILM" with the emulsion number, which I find amusing for some reason. It's good to know this film won't spontaneously combust.
The negatives don't look too thick or thin developed as such, nor do they look super contrasty. My scanner, an Epson 4180, thinks they look a little overexposed, the pre-scan histogram being pushed further to the right than usual, and I think it might have clipped the highlights. They look perfectly printable.
It's barely less grainy than 400TX and appears to be missing a little shadow detail, but indoors at 1/15th and f/1.4 is hardly an optimal condition by which to judge the toe of a film. There are a couple pictures of a Heinekin bottle for which I used a tripod and cable release, and they are quite sharp. Attached to this message are select results from my 12-exposure, utterly unscientific, beer-fueled test.
Summary: I think this might work if I shoot at ISO 64-100.
01: 1/30th, f/2.0 (ISO 100)
02: 1/15th, f/1.4 (Mislabeled file, probably more like ISO 64)
05: f/1.4, ISO 64 (Did not record shutter speed)
12: f/1.4, ISO 64 (Did not record shutter speed)