buying expired film

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by destroya, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. destroya

    destroya Subscriber

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    i have never bought any film past its expiration date. I have read lots of things that as long as it was frozen or refrigerated, you should be ok if its only a few years past. I am looking at some film on Craigslist and just wanted to get an idea if it should be ok.

    Fuji Provia 100F 36 exp., color transparency film. . .19 rolls, always frozen, exp date 2006; 20 rolls, always refrigerated, exp date 2006

    thoughts?

    thanks!
     
  2. Alan W

    Alan W Subscriber

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    I'm using Tmax 100 expired in 1996 that has always been frozen,and I cannot tell the difference between it and a batch that expired in 2010-also frozen.I've got Provia 100f 220 rolls that are frozen and expired in 2004-perfect as well.The key is frozen-you've got to be sure that they are/were frozen.
     
  3. vedmak

    vedmak Subscriber

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    I second that, if you buy from a guy that shot film and he tells you it was frozen, film is going to be ok, if the photographer passed away, and it is his family getting rid of film, more likely than not they pulled all of the film out to have more room in the freezer.
     
  4. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    If the film has been consistently stored at low temperature from release to beyond expiry, it will be fine. If stored long-term in a deep freeze will also be fine, but two observations are noteworthy from experience: film may become embrittled (especially thin emulsions) after several years deep frozen storage. Secondly, even after satisfactory thawing, the film may develop sticky spots. These sticky spots can actually damage the emulsion. Cameras with high torque motor drives can potentially damage film that is sticking.
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Do not extrapolate B&W to color film keeping.

    Color films contain so many extra chemicals that keeping belongs in a different ballpark than anything else.

    Wait until you have some responses with the film in question before you decide.

    PE
     
  6. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    The best buy is film sold by a film retailer which is only a few months from its expiry date so nearly expired film.

    Film sold by individuals which is way beyond its expiry date is a gamble unless you can be sure of the seller. Just make sure that the reduction in price is substantial and buy stuff which is only a short time beyond expiry.

    If the film has become less than perfect and remember, you can only find out after you have taken the maybe irreplaceable shots then even a free film may be expensive. If the saving is a matter of only a few pennies/cents then it is not worth the risk. Film is probably the least expensive part of analogue photography

    pentaxuser
     
  7. Alan Klein

    Alan Klein Member

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    I agree with pentaxuser. Why risk ruining a great shot because of bad film? There are enough challenges you have to deal with in developing, printing, exposure calculations, etc. Why add one more? And what are you going to do with the remaining expired film if you don't like the first roll?
     
  8. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Color? Never.
     
  9. destroya

    destroya Subscriber

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    well, the cost has been factored in $1.50 per roll which is cheap. if the guy was local i wold buy a roll or two, shoot it and get more if it came out ok. but there is 40+ miles between us.
     
  10. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Ditto. My photographs and my time are both valuable. I only buy film from stores or trusted sellers.
     
  11. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    ...it's hit or miss. I've shot all kinds of different expired film and some that were the same from different expiry dates with mixed results. It's always a gamble. And people will lie about anything to make a sale, including how it has been stored.
     
  12. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I agree. False economy with old stuff unless you know it's good. I find that the time it takes to shoot, process, proof, and print an entire roll of film is the 'real cost' of a roll of film, which minimizes the actual cost of the film to a small percentage of the entire investment. Two dollars per roll or five dollars per roll, or even 12-15 dollars per roll for some color films these days - I think you should buy the film that you like, just less of it, and use it wisely.
     
  13. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    Also, bear in mind that just because the first roll is good, or bad, doesn't mean the next one will be the same. Six or seven years out of date means there is basically no predictability any more.
     
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  15. wogster

    wogster Member

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    You can't trust anything on ebay or CL has been stored properly, so I wouldn't buy expired film from those sources, just because someone says it was kept refrigerated, does not mean they are being truthful. I would rather buy a few rolls from a dealer that expire in the next 4 to 6 months, which is usually discounted heavily, then put them in the deep freeze,
    there is one rule though, the higher the ISO, the less time it will be good for. In a colour film, 2006 means it's already 6 years out of date, and even frozen since purchase is getting toward the end of the time it should be used, even for an ISO 100 film.
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Transparency film involves the greatest risk if you like to have the choice of projecting the results.

    But at $1.50 per roll it might be one of those gambles worth trying.

    Basically you have to be prepared to have it be worthless. Then, if it is great, you've done well.
     
  17. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    $1.50 is not that cheap for expired film. I never paid more than a buck a roll and from reliable sources.
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    slide film ..
    good luck with that !

    i am not sure how you work with your slides
    but if you use other than analog methods you will be fine ..
    but some people say " cold stored " and it is just BS
    i don't store anything in the freezer or fridge, just on a shelf in a box
    or boxes ... b/w .. i shoot pretty much only expired film and
    can't tell the difference between "fresh/store bought/recent purchase" and shelf stored
    ( and i am talking tmz that was at least 12years old. color film, well i don't usually shoot much
    but i do have a ton of expired c41/e6 and i don't care if the colors are messed-up.
    if you do care, i wouldn't buy from some0ne you don't know but then again
    pro film sometimes goes for hours in a 120ºF truck before it meets another refrigerator ...
    and then if it is shipped, days in a HOT cardboard box .... and then hours on a door stoop in the sun

    YMMV
    john
     
  19. bwfans

    bwfans Member

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    This film should be fine to use if you don't demand 100% color accuracy. The only thing that will make me think twice is the driving distance. 90 miles is a long way to just get 40 rolls of film. You may need to spend 4 gallon of gasoline on the road plus 2 hours of time. That is the most expensive part. This will add at least $1 per roll to your cost :smile:.
     
  20. ThePetor

    ThePetor Member

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    I work at a photo lab and develop lots of slide film..in my experience, it doesn't tend to age too well - it tends to lose density. However if your aim is to cross process, go for it. I've had awesome results from 15 year old slide film sored at room temp and processed in C-41.
     
  21. wogster

    wogster Member

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    B&W film and colour film have different aging characteristics, for that matter colour negative and colour transparency have different aging characteristics. As for pro film, that depends on the shipper and method, I worked in the courier business, and we had stuff that was packed in dry ice and kept frozen, shipped overnight, it got to it's destination and was still frozen, as long as the shipping time was 24 hours or less. So it is possible to ship refrigerated film in a similar container, and have it arrive still cold, ship the package signature required, and it will be delivered to the store directly, the receiver at the store signs for it, opens it, puts the film in the fridge. The big black diamond with the number 9 at the bottom generally tells the receiver that it's something they should open now, rather then next week.

    With E6 you can't really do much with it, except view it or scan it, and if your viewing it, you want the colours reasonably close, that means a tree leaf that is green is green on the slide. If your scanning, then you can always colour correct to some degree, with C41 you can colour correct when printing or scanning, again to some degree. However if the colours are really whacked out, you may be sunk. TMZ is B&W and there you can get away with a lot more.
    If you bought the film fresh, and dropped it in your own deep freeze, for E6 at 100ISO, six years past expiry is the outside limit where it would be worth using, especially at over $10 a roll for processing. You might get another year or two out of it, if you use a hybrid film/digital process for slides. If I were buying film from someone on this forum, and they said it was stored frozen from fresh, yeah okay. Fleabay or CL, you take a huge risk. Besides for $1.50 a roll,you can go into a camera store, offer them $1.50 a roll for their film that will expire this fall and probably walk out with all of it. :D
     
  22. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    hi paul

    sounds like you folks did a great job :smile:
    100% agreement that reputable dealers
    and shippers and buyers are " the real deal "
    and pro-color, b/w, and consumer color are all different fish ...

    i guess it all boils down to if you trust how it was stored + shipped.
    and if someone is an unknown, well ... " stored in freezer for 7 years "
    could just be a selling slogan ... kind of like a used care salesman
    suggesting a car is a "cream-puff" or " just driven on sundays to church by a little old lady"

    john
     
  23. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    For home storage, how much difference in effectiveness is there between refrigerating and freezing? Say, for several months or up to a couple years?
     
  24. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    A couple of years.

    Refrigeration may give protection for up to 5 years beyond expiration, but freezing might provide 10 years or more. This is just a generalization because it varies so much from film to film.

    Ilford, Fuji and Kodak films keep better than others, and B&W films are better than color. Slow films are better than fast films.

    PE
     
  25. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Thanks, PE!
     
  26. destroya

    destroya Subscriber

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    well i passed. i agree about why waste the potential of a great photo to save $4?