Leaving Film in Hot Car

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by tron_, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. tron_

    tron_ Member

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    I was thinking about something yesterday and thought I would get some opinions on here. I shoot mostly 135 and 120 film and I always have my camera bag in the car with me (it's like a habit at this point, I'm more likely to forget my wallet at home than my camera bag).

    I will usually leave my bag in the car for most of the dya while I am at work and in class. Is it safe to leave film in such hot temperatures? I haven't noticed much of a difference in IQ but considering it is best to store film in a freezer, does leaving my film/cameras in the car have any adverse effects on the film?
     
  2. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    How hot is "hot?"
    How long is the film kept in the heat?
    How often does this happen?
    How soon will you use the film?

    The greater any one of these variables, the worse it is.
    If the film gets hot (like 80ºF to 100ºF) once, for a short time before you use it, you'll probably have no trouble at all.
    If the film swelters in a hot car every day, all day, for a week before you use it, that's not good for your film in the least.
     
  3. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    You can't leave a film camera with color film in the glove compartment for the whole summer. The color cast will be extreme.

    Day by day, if you bury the bag under jackets and find at the peak of heat it still "cool to the touch" you are probably alright. But if it gets hot (90-degrees F or more) and stays there, try to do better.
     
  4. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

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    .
    I always try to avoid leaving equipment, and film in the car.
    On the few occasions that I have left it in the car, I have noticed
    some shift in color, or image quality.

    Ron
    .
     
  5. erikg

    erikg Member

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    You most likely should be fine, as long as you are actively taking pictures and not just carrying the same roll of film around. A couple days of heat should be no big deal with most normal film. I've never had any trouble on road trips. It was only HIR film that I took special precautions for, but that film is sadly gone. One thing I do know, don't leave a Diana on the car seat in summer. It never was the same after that.:smile:
     
  6. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Kodak says your good for several months at 75.

    Keep your bag on the floor, toss a towel over it to keep the direct sunlight from heating things up, shoot regularly and you should be fine.
     
  7. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I'd never leave cameras in the car. I've had my car broken into three times.
     
  8. tron_

    tron_ Member

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    I usually just leave my crap in the car since I work at a secured facility where the chance of theft is essentially 0%. With that said I usually go through a roll of film every week or two depending on how busy I am between work/school and how much time I have to go out to shoot. If it takes me 2 weeks to get through a roll of film, Id say out of 14 days my film is left in the car probably 3 or 4 days in really hot temps?

    By hot I mean 90F+ and humid. Inside the car I wouldn't be surprised if it got to 110F-120F.
     
  9. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Never mind the film, you're trashing your camera equipment.
     
  10. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Have a cooler with ice and bag the film.

    Jeff
     
  11. Brian C. Miller

    Brian C. Miller Member

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    How badly did the pictures improve? Did they become sharp and contrasty? :laugh:

    I have used B&W film that sat in my Jeep all summer, and there were no adverse effects. I'd be concerned about color, but not B&W.
     
  12. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Since we are discussing a Diana camera getting worse, to paraphrase Dorothy Parker's famous comment, "How could you tell?" :smile:
     
  13. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    It's probably not great on the film, but go with the recommendations everyone else has given.

    Get a windshield visor (preferably one from the 80's, purchased with cereal box proofs-of-purchase, and featuring Garfield or a giant pair of sunglasses), face towards the sun and crack the windows ever so slightly. Should significantly cool things down.

    I'd have to think that 110°+ for more than 12 hours could do something, plus humidity, but IDK...
     
  14. Stephen Schoof

    Stephen Schoof Member

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    I leave a small kit (35mm body, zoom, a couple rolls of slide film) in my trunk all the time so I can carry it when I'm running or riding my bike after work. I find the trunk stays considerably cooler than the passenger compartment (the car is silver, FWIW). I've never seen a color shift in my slides even when the same roll(s) stays in the car for a couple weeks in the summer with outside temps in the mid to high 80s.

    On more serious photo trips in hotter environments I try to keep the cameras and film in an air-conditioned room when I'm not using them, and in the trunk when I'm out shooting. If you do that, or keep film and cameras in a cooler, be wary of condensation when you go from A/C to the heat and humidity. Letting the camera bag warm up for 15 minutes or so before opening it works for me.

    If your car doesn't have a trunk, you can bury the film in towels, clothes, or whatever, keeping it out of direct sun as much as possible. I've had film canisters heat up to the point that they were warm to the touch and I got a little panicky, but in the end I've never had problems.
     
  15. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    I know Kodak consumer and professional films had different keeping properties. Kodak recognized that consumer film might be in a camera for a couple of years and go through a variety of temperature extremes. Much of the photographic changes to film happen early in its life; thus consumer films were 'aged' at Kodak prior to release to minimize user keeping effects. Professional films were not so 'aged' and were released with the expectation that dealers and photographers would keep the pro films refrigerated. PE may want to contribute further keeping information.

    Anyway, the effect of leaving film in a hot car is probably worse on pro films than on consumer films.
     
  16. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Get a well insulated cooler that your camera bag fits in and keep it in the trunk. You can even add a small ice pack from the dollar store to help it stay cooler.
     
  17. donkee

    donkee Member

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    That is a fact!

     
  18. Mr Bill

    Mr Bill Member

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    I'm in the school that says the camera is more likely to suffer degradation than the film.

    I can't imagine any problems with film over a couple week period, but I'd want to protect the camera from long-term degradation. So I concur with the suggestions to use an insulated cooler, perhaps covered with blankets or towels, etc. (The cooler would keep out moisture.)

    Regarding film degradation, I was once involved in a test to evaluate just this sort of thing. A pro color neg film was heat stressed vs a couple possible alternative portrait films, including at least one amateur film as a control. We were under the same assumptions as stated by Prof_Pixel.

    To our surprise, the pro film, Kodak VPS III (as I recall), easily outdid the other films. None of them would have had any problem with a couple of weeks in a hot car. Of course, current films may be different, so...
     
  19. erikg

    erikg Member

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    Ha! The pictures were just as crappy as ever, but the camera, she melted.