I didn’t imagine that film which over 30 years expired would yield any result, decent or otherwise. Following the unwritten rule of adding a stop of exposure per decade my ASA plummeted from 80 all the way down to 12 ASA. Not ideal for anything that moves, such as children or sports!
To keep things in Soviet spirit I shot with the Kiev 4a. I think the match of camera and film made perfect senses for the experiment I had in mind. A real blast from the past, so to speak!
Expired Svema Foto 65 film
All in all I’m very content with the exposure and contrast of the images produced by the Svema film. I choose 12 ASA and added a little more development time. I ended up with little to do in post processing. I simply scanned the images and removes spots and scratches. There are some black spots in the images which I left. These are from the decaying film itself.
I find there is a certain air of mystery to the photographs. Whether it was the combination of the foggy day and the ageing film. It some how works for what I had in mind. If what you imagined in the first place, came close or exceeded your wishes, I guess then it is a success.
Of course working with expired film always adds an unexpected variant to the mix. So I did tell myself beforehand not to be too hard on myself if things didn’t work at all. It always important to keep this in mind when venturing into the unknown!
I put together a video which talks about the Kiev 4a and Svema film in detail. There’s also some location footage and closes up off the images themselves.
Ten Things about Svema Film
- It was produced in the city of Shostka situated in Ukraine
- Svema began its work on October 1, 1930
- “Svema” means light-sensitive materials
- Svema was one of the main suppliers of cinematic and photo film within the former USSR
- In its hay day pretty much the whole city worked at this plant. Of the 80,000 inhabitants, 15,000 worked at this plant.
- They made black-and-white photographic film, photographic paper, B&W / colour cine film and also magnetic tape.
- Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union, Svema continued to work quite steadily for some time into the mid 90s.
- Just before the government decided that the country no longer needed the plant, they had just completed the DS-100 photographic film, supposedly similar in quality to the Japanese “Fuji Superia”.
- After that, Astrum is a photographic supplies company located in Ukraine and established in 1995. It operates equipment once used by Svema to produce similar product lines.
- A modern Svema film is now produces from old equipments in New Jersey in United States. The Film Photography Project Store is the official US distributor of Svema Branded Film!
Developing Svema Foto 64
I used Rodinal 1:50 dilute and developed for 15 minutes with my Spinmatic device.