Preparing for future

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by haris, Aug 6, 2005.

  1. haris

    haris Guest

    Hi all,

    With constant and bigger danger of digital imaging to film photography, I started to think to seriously prepare myself for future. In sense to start to buy and preserve films, paper and chemistry in big quantities for future. I already have some films in freezer, but I would like to know what is situation with paper and chemistry when kept for long time. So, after long introduction, fianlly, my question is:

    What is best way to preserve for long period films, papers and chemistry? What is best method (deep freezer or refrigirator), and what are best temperaures for films, papers, chemistry? I curently use powder developer(ID11) and liquid fixer, so what is best way for powder and what is best way for liquid chemicals? I use Ilford and EFKE films, both 35mm and 120.

    What I have found using search here was that film and paper can be frozen, and refrozen, but I would like to know what are best (approximate) temperatures(deep freezing or ordinary refrigirator), and what is situation about chemicals.

    Depend of my financial situation I plane to finally have stock of few hundreds (if not thousand or two) of rolls of 35mm and 120, few hundreds of different size papers, and enough chemicals for process that stock of films and papers.


    Thank you.
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I wouldn't stock B&W chemicals. Better just to learn to mix them yourself, because you will always be able to find the components for them, and in any case, it's not hard to do, and will give you more consistency potentially, because you can always control the batch size and always have fresh solutions.
     
  3. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Film and paper are best frozen in their original packaging at about -10 deg C or lower. My freezer is set at -20. Even so, change cannot be prevented due to cosmic radiation which will gradually fog photographic materials with faster materials fogging first. Short of storing in a lead lined container, you cannot stop radiation damage.

    As for chemistry, storing chemicals in the unopened package under a dry nitrogen atmostphere will probably double their shelf life if not triple it. I have found that even mixed chemistry will keep for a year or more in oxygen impermeable containers with tight caps and a nitrogen blanket over them.

    Liquid packed chemicals will not keep as well as dry chemistry.

    Even the pure chemicals themselves go bad. Hydroquinone and other developing agents oxidize on the shelf with time and become useless. Sulfite oxidizes as well, turning into sulfate. Cool, dry storage with nitrogen is a good idea even with these.

    PE
     
  4. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    I have been pondering what happens to chemicals in long term storage. When you consider that most of our chemicals are organic, composed largely of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, and realize that two chemicals that have the same empirical formula may be entirely different in function, you wonder what keeps one from turning gradually into the other, or what external influence like temperature or the alignment of the planets might cause the change. I know it's the laws of nature, but I don't know all of them, so I wonder if a lot of what we blame oxygen for might be due to some other influence. I do know that a number of radicals and elements can combine with ascorbic acid to produce dehydroascorbic acid, which is not a developing agent. Chlorine and oxygen are among them.
     
  5. Jan Cornelius

    Jan Cornelius Member

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    I have my films (tri-s and apx100) frozen at -/- 15 with papers however I would be more carefull, I keep these at "normal fridge" temperature I use too keep these deep frozen too but apparantly the condense build up upon de-freezing them influences the quality, keeping the paper closed in it's original packaging does not solve this.
    Chemicals I don't freeze for I can allways make them myself. I do however keep a permanent stock of rodinal in the freezer
     
  6. KenR

    KenR Member

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    Chicken little

    I think that many film enthusiasts are overdoing their lamentations over the demise of film, etc. Sure, some of the big guys will exit the picture, but the small fry will be quite happy to expand and take their market share. We live in a small linked world. If someone sees a market, the product can be ordered via the internet and shipped almost anywhere on the planet, overnight. Yes, you may not be able to get your favorite film or paper, but a reasonable equivalent will be available.
    Unfortunately, the price may rise as well. A limited number of manufacturers supplying a limited market may be able to charge whatever they want, for a niche product without popular appeal.
    Therefore, I am not stocking up on things. Rather, I am prepared to be flexible, to buy from whoever seems to be supplying the products that I need.
     
  7. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    First, I agree with KenR that it's a bit too early to conclude that the sky is falling and begin expending time, money, and electricity (for refrigeration) on stockpiling massive quantities of products. An exception might be if you know or suspect a specific pet product is about to go extinct (like if you're fond of a particular Kodak B&W paper).

    That said....

    If/when the time comes to begin stockpiling supplies, I do agree with this comment, with one caveat: Some of the more photographically-specific chemicals might go up in price as the industry contracts. I'm thinking of things like metol and phenidone. I don't know the shelf lives for all of these, although I've heard stories of decades-old phenidone being perfectly good, so stocking up on it at some point would seem to make sense. Other items, like ascorbic acid and sodium carbonate, are likely to be available for the indefinite future because they're so common outside of photography.
     
  8. PeterB

    PeterB Subscriber

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    I'm afraid to say that even lead lining will not stop all radiation. Lead is good at stopping X-rays and gamma rays, but not cosmic rays. From [1], we read "a substantial proportion of the cosmic radiation detected at sea level could penetrate over 1m of lead."

    Therefore, there isn't any reasonably thin or lightweight substance which offers meaningful protection against cosmic rays.


    regards
    Peter


    [1] http://www.prestoncoll.ac.uk/cosmic/cascade/cascades.htm
     
  9. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    I'm not disputing your claims because I don't know enough about cosmic radiation and such. However, have you ever had any film or paper (other than that stored in a humid, hot basement, go bad from cosmic radiation? Or for that matter, had hydroquinone go bad while sitting on your darkroom shelf?

    I haven't, and my plastic jar of hydroquinone has been sitting on my darkroom shelf for more than ten years ( I rarely use it except for paper developer, and since I use a divided formula, it means that I open and use a couple of teaspoons of HQ about twice a year.) It's still as active as ever. Likewise with all my old paper. I've still got some Portriga that's been hanging around unrefrigerated and unfrozen for more than 20 years, and it's still OK.

    I have had very old color film go bad (color shifts) after more than 10 years on the shelf, but otherwise, everything else seems to weather just fine. I wonder if, perhaps, we make more out of the keeping properties (or lack of them) than is necessary.

    Larry
     
  10. gbroadbridge

    gbroadbridge Member

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    I'd be stocking up on digital cameras to be honest. They have a much shorter shelf life than any film/developer combination out there at the moment.

    Save those 3MP P&S cameras, as you won't be able to buy them in 2 years time.


    Graham.
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes, and you probably have too with your 10-year-old color film, but you don't realize it. High speed films will generally show some base fog even if they've been cold stored due to cosmic radiation, and medium and low speed films to a lesser degree in the same time period, but leave them long enough, and they'll show high base fog for the same reason. I'll send you a roll of 1970s Double-X 35mm cine stock, if you would like to see--I finally tossed 300 feet of it from the freezer a few days ago, but I have some loaded 35mm cartridges still.

    Very slow materials, on the other hand, hold up much better over time, which is why you sometimes hear of people printing on Azo that is more than 40 years old (probably not cold stored the whole time) with no sign of fog.
     
  12. Louis Mutch

    Louis Mutch Member

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    Film will never go away, people are still stumbling for thier newpapers in the morning. If the same logic that is used in the film vs. digital debate would be used; the newspaper would have been eliminated by the radio, TV, or the internet.
     
  13. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    LOL!!!
     
  14. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    "I think that many film enthusiasts are overdoing their lamentations over the demise of film, etc."

    Remember the demise of the pinball machine when arcade video games came around? They were hauling pinball machines to the dump. A few years later they were hot as a pistol. Americans always folow a fad and then go retro..nothing goes away for good!! With gas at $2.60, horses may make a big comeback!! Film will be around for awhile and maybe if all the big players and their prejudices go away, somebody will make an innovative new advancement in film...EC
     
  15. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I think that I should clarify my previous comment. Where I put 'cosmic radiation', I should have put 'ambient radiation'. This is the low energy radiation that we see naturally on the earth due to radon in basements for example, or just solar radiation reaching the earth. The lower energy cosmic radiation is also there, due to collision with atoms of the atmosphere which reduce energy to the level stoppable by practical levels of lead.

    Yes, lead will work. The more the better.

    Yes, I have seen hydroquinone go bad on the shelf. It gradually forms quinhydrone, the green smelly component of green ink. If it does not form that, it just forms a black gooey sludge at the bottom of the bottle. This is usually due to moisture and air getting to it.

    Almost all organic compounds gradually decompose and go bad. It might be fair to say that all organic compounds gradually decompose and go bad given enough time and the right environment.

    Many inorganic compounds also spoil. Sulfites go to sulfates, hypo absorbs water and oxidizes, sodium iodide yields iodine, etc. etc.

    In my experience, the practical limit of darkroom chemicals under optimum storage conditions is around 5 - 10 years. For film, frozen, I have eked out 20 - 30 years with usable but not optimum results. And, this varies from product to product, film, paper, and chemistry. In the paper arena, FB papers kept much less well than RC papers of the same exact brand and grade.

    PE
     
  16. haris

    haris Guest

    That is my biggest concern. I am more afraid of prices getting higher, and too high for me. Me to don't think film, paper, chemicals will gone completely. And if prices get too high, and having in mind custom duties, TAX, and bank expencies, for me will be cheaper to buy big quantity at once than small quantities over and over when products become more expencive. Only, if situation in my country change so custom duties, TAX and bank expencies get lower, than maybe I could survive higher prices of products. Or I win lottery... :smile:

    And of course, if my favorite products are gone, I will use what is there, so that also is not big issue...
     
  17. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Buy metol and put 10 gm in each of 10 sandwich bags. seal each bag and put it back in the bottle it came in seal the bottle.

    Hydroquinone I`m using is 40 years old stored in the dark in a sealed jar. No difference in D76 I made with it and package mix.

    Borax is a laundry product. Lasts forever. Sodium sulfite is from the chemistry srore.com. Very cheap- long shelf life.

    Paper developer is similar mix.

    I`ve been using frozen film for decades. Cosmic rays are a factor for high speed film only.

    Paper could be frozen in the past, but still can be just for not as long at least for Ilford. I have been told by Ilford their paper contains small amounts of developer and freezing will only prolong life a short time. Not large amounts like developer incorporated paper has in it so it is not called a developer incorporated paper. I don`t know about none Ilford paper, but that is the reason the current papers have such short shelf life compared to before. Two years seems to be about it and you get fog.

    I just inherited boxes of paper stored in a basement, mostly Medalist, and it prints just fine. It was left over from a wedding business and the expiration date was 1966.
    The problem is the paper base turned yellow. I think freezing would have helped this.

    I would just keep supporting Ilford as they seem to be the most stable. Kodak wants out of analog business so says their CEO. So that is why I will no longer buy any Kodak product. I wish they would go away as soon as possible giving the business to someone else who will maintain it.

    Maybe I`ll start testing papers to see which have the longest shelf life.
     
  18. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    And if all else fails -- I don't expect instant coffee to disappear any time soon; the Folger's Cofee Crystals that go into Caffenol have been essentially unchanged for more than thirty years and still sell well (presumably to folks who don't want to drink actual coffee, but hey, it makes fine developer). With coffee crystals, ascorbic acid powder (at worst, from a health food store, currently at about $14/lb), and washing soda (which, come to it, I can make from baking soda by simple heating), I can make at least three useful developers, one a staining type and one a speed-gaining low contrast developer suitable for document films like Copex Rapid.

    Ron, will you live long enough to get meaningful results? :wink: