Black and White Photography · Developing Adventures · expired film · Kodak Film · Leica Camera

Developing Adventures – 34 year old Kodak Plus-X 125

A while back, a reader sent me a couple of rolls of expired black and white film. One was a roll of Kodak Plus-X 125 that expired in 1988. That is only one year after I was born! After my great experience with a roll of Kodak Pan-X, I was excited to give this one a try.

Developing Kodak Plus-X 125

I developed this roll in HC110B (1+31) for 6 min according to the directions on the sheet in the box.
From what I read of others experiences, most people saw a bit of fogging on their expired Plus-X, so I decided to shoot at ISO 50 and then develop regularly. That way the film would be over exposed and hopefully compensate for any fogging.

Fortunately, my decisions paid off! I didn’t see any fogging, just a bit of grain. Kodak’s HC110 has really been my go-to developer these days. I’ve really been enjoying the results it’s giving me.

A Little About Kodak Plus-X 125

This was a very popular black and white film that was discontinued in 2011. It was a sharp and fine grain film that most photographers loved and still miss today. You can read more about it over on Mike Eckman’s site.

My Results

Kelsey and I went to our usual spot in Tradition to shoot this roll before going shopping for the baby. At the time of writing this we are 35 weeks along! Below is Kelsey with the baby bump back in June.

I really love the contrast of this film. The gradient from black to white is pretty full allowing for a lot of detail.

You can see the grain in the sky, and since this was marketed as a fine grain film I’m guessing that is from either the film’s age or the way I processed it. Either way, it doesn’t bother me.

Kodak Plus-X 125
Inside the Gazebo Leica M6 Kodak Plus-X 125

It retained plenty of information in the shadows and highlights despite over exposing, as you can see in the photo above.

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I’m not one to shy away from mid-day shooting, and this day was no different. The sun was out and raging, but I don’t think it added anything negative to my photos.

We walked around by the river for a little while before getting back in the car to drive over to a different bridge in the area.

Kodak Plus-X 125

Blazing Sun and Spanish Moss

Over on the other side of the square are these big, beautiful Spanish Moss trees by the river. We parked and walked along the bridge nearby.

I have always loved to photograph these trees. They look ancient and next to other trees, they look like giants.

Kodak Plus-X 125
Spanish Moss Tree

I noticed these two guys below that were fishing. I asked them if I could take a photo of them fishing. They said sure. I only wish I had more frames, because seconds later he caught a big fish.

Kodak Plus-X 125
Men fishing Leica M6 Kodak Plus-X 125

Final Thoughts

I really like this film. I wish Kodak would bring it back. With the high price of film these days, this film may not be a bad choice if you can find it for sale. Even a 30 year old expired roll faired well.

For some footage of my day shooting this roll, watch my YouTube video below.

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8 thoughts on “Developing Adventures – 34 year old Kodak Plus-X 125

  1. No doubt a good film. Have used it in the past, but always preferred Panatomic-X or Tri-X. Many of these black and white films seem to work satisfactorily with relatively wide variations in exposure and development.

  2. Aly, I appreciated seeing your beautiful results with this expired film. Especially loved seeing your detail shots of the water, tree closeup next to the water and the discarded “admit one” ticket on the edge of the sidewalk. I also admire you and your courage for asking the fishermen if you can take their picture—I probably wouldn’t have been brave enough to ask—and respect you for asking their permission. I recognize the work, effort and energy it took to get out and make these images, develop your film and scan your images and I’m thankful you were able to enjoy some film photography. Thank you for sharing your images and experiences with us!

  3. Nice work, as always! When I was in high school (1978-1982), this was one of our go-to films. (The other was Tri-X.) As you observed, it’s very versatile with lots of latitude. We typically developed it with Kodak D-76. I wonder if your grain might’ve been less noticeable if you’d used that. I suspect it would have been less noticeable if you had used the Microdol I sent you some time ago, but I’m not sure I’d have opened a bag of vintage Microdol for a 34-year-old roll of Plus-X. Back in the day, we used Microdol either to mitigate the larger grain of a faster film like Tri-X (or maybe for push-processing Plus-X) or to make the already fine grain of Pan-X practically undetectable to the naked eye.

    1. Thanks Mark. What’s funny about that is D76 has always been my go-to but lately I’ve switched. Lol should’ve switched back for this roll.
      I still have the Microdol but I’m nervous to handle it. I need to do it when I can fully focus and test it on fresh film. That way I’ll know what the issue is if there is any.

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