EDIT: To save from more replies to this, I'm not looking for alternative slow films - I just wanted to know whether it's possible to specifically process this one film that I have. I have tried a number of slow films, and I shan't be buying Dia Direct again.

I've just ordered a roll of Dia Direct ASA32 which should arrive in the next few days.

Had I been more forward thinking, I would have checked the process before hand as the only lab I've found which can process it charge about £65.

Considering this film expired in 1987 and I'm not sure how well it was stored, added to the cost of processing it, I'm not certain whether its worth shooting it.

Having seen the quality of the prints from this film, it's certainly tempting to use it, however I don't know how well this film holds up to storage.

I'm curious whether anybody has used this film in the past and what their opinions are of it. As I'm unfamiliar with it, I'm not sure whether it's worth taking a punt.

Having shot long expired colour film before, I don't mind some visual effects from aging, however when the cost is so high, its a lot to spend to satisfy my curiosity.

With it being such a slow film, I'm guessing it's less prone to degradation than films of ISO 200 and upward, but it's a costly experiment.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I've never heard of it. What's the process? \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Dec 6, 2017 at 17:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's a black and white slide film which si very slow, but produces some beautiful images. As I understand it, it uses a variation on the Gaveart process - lostlabours.co.uk/photography/formulae/developers/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex
    Dec 6, 2017 at 19:02
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's kind of hard to see any answers to this being more than judgment calls. What's worth it to one person might not be to another. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Dec 6, 2017 at 19:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Judgement calls is essentially what I'm after. If there is a consistant response saying that this film is incredible, it might be worth be giving it a go. With it being a pretty old film, I'm keen to hear the thoguhts of anybody who has used it to get an idea if it's well liked or not. That said, if it were really incredible, it probably wouldn't have been discontinued in the late 80s.... \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex
    Dec 6, 2017 at 19:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I shot a roll or two back when it was current and I have to say that the quality of the images was breath taking. I'm a fan of slow emulsions and would love to be able to get a film that slow these days. I couldn't recommend spending the quoted £65 to have it processed. Perhaps there is a simple B&W process that might allow you to use it as a negative, I don't know, but if I had £65 I'd buy 10 rolls of Pan F. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ted Bear
    Jul 14, 2019 at 14:00

1 Answer 1


I would avoid this film. When you shoot it you are faced with broadly three possibilities:

  • the pictures will look crap, and your time shooting them will be wasted
  • the pictures will look super awesome, and you will never ever be able to obtain another roll that was stored for thirty years in exactly the same conditions
  • the pictures will look nothing special, and so nothing is lost or gained compared to shooting a modern film

Given that the utility of the first two options is negative, and the third one zero, I would not go on to shoot the film regardless of the probabilities of the outcome (the first one is by far the most likely).

More seriously: If predictable results are what you after then stick to current films. On B&W scene there are lots of them.

If you are after B&W reversal process (not exactly mainstream, but still has its fans - especially among the alternative process people) then consider Fomapan R which is available in 135 format, or reversal processing of generic Ilford films.

If expired film look is what you after than consider Soviet Svema or East German ORWO films. There are still tons of them around and they take the normal sort of chemistry.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It's not specifically a reversal process I'm after, but a decent tight grain b&w film. I've just received a roll of Pan F so I'm going to give that a shot. Slightly faster than the Dia Direct, but not by much and I can actually get it processed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex
    Dec 10, 2017 at 19:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Pan F is one of the finest grain films around and a solid performer. Two comments: it comes from the process side of photography, and combines high resolution with high contrast. Some people find the contrast hard to tame. Also it has reputation as the emulsion with worst keeping of latent image. It really should he processed as soon as practical. It is a good emulsion, but keep these two in mind. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 11, 2017 at 8:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, the Pan F has become my go-to for landscapes, flower shots and anything long exposure. Utterly excellent film, which really has been worth trying out. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alex
    Apr 4, 2018 at 10:19

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