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  1. #1
    Snapshot's Avatar
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    Film Freshness and Aging: B&W versus Colour

    Hi All,

    In terms of aging, does B&W retain overall "freshness" longer as it applies to aging? I would imagine that it does, especially when kept refrigerated or frozen, due to its simpler layer structure. Colour film has several layers and uses dyes, making colour shifting is a likely possibility if even it does not have other aging issues. However, does grain become more of a problem for colour or not? B&W "expressess" grain more in my experience, so would color have less of a grain issue given similar speed and age.

    Any thoughts or comments?
    Last edited by Snapshot; 06-04-2014 at 11:41 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    "The secret to life is to keep your mind full and your bowels empty. Unfortunately, the converse is true for most people."

  2. #2
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    From my experience, color transparency film as it ages goes from green to magenta. I've heard from my former boss and friend that fresh chrome film is greenish and shifts to magenta as it ages. The professional film is aged for color balance. I don't know if it's a fact or not. BW film ages very well. People have given me very old film and it seems to be fine. But I've heard film loses it speed and sometime fogging is an issue. I'm told that freezing color film will hold the color balance for a long time or even indefinitely.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
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  3. #3

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    fruit

    My understanding is that color, at least, film is like fruit. You buy it fresh and it is pretty ripe. But if it sits on the store shelf or your shelf for a while, it starts to go bad. Photo pros who needed to have their film in the very best condition would be very picky about how old the film was when they bought it and tried to use it right away. Storage condition -- frozen or whatever -- was important, too.

  4. #4
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    Isn't film more like..

    Quote Originally Posted by snapguy View Post
    My understanding is that color, at least, film is like fruit.
    Isn't film more like meat with the gelatin emulsion?
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
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  5. #5
    yurisrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainecoonmaniac View Post
    The professional film is aged for color balance. I don't know if it's a fact or not. BW film ages very well. People have given me very old film and it seems to be fine. But I've heard film loses it speed and sometime fogging is an issue. I'm told that freezing color film will hold the color balance for a long time or even indefinitely.
    in regards to color stocks for pro use that've been vault-stored (in cine digi-inter at least) we usually send off a test strip to the lab before shooting to provide the data for color correction that is done in post, IDK 100%, but I'm sure there is analogous procedure in still.

    B&W does age nicely, though, I think though that the slower speed the better, ei. below 100 (less prone to speed loss).
    "The real work was thinking, just thinking." - Charles Chaplin

  6. #6
    jp498's Avatar
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    I think B&W film and color film are different animals with different uses and wouldnt attempt to compare such details.

    I'm not into grain personally

  7. #7
    Pioneer's Avatar
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    Black and white is great if stored correctly, although the faster stuff ages quicker.

    Color is a bit different but I have had pretty good luck with outdated color stock that has been kept frozen.

    I tend to avoid color slide film that is outdated unless color fidelity is not a big issue.

    I have had some weird results from outdated fuji slide film (very magenta tones.)

    I also got my hands on a batch of outdated Kodak UltraMax 400 that must have been left in someone's car for a few years. Not even worth developing because of the color shifts. If they had been consistent across the film it would have been one thing but the colors would change visibly within a single frame sometimes.

    Bottom line, hard to tell until you do your own testing. If it is yours and you kept it refrigerated or frozen then you are likely safe enough. But if you are buying from someone else, be careful. Unless you know the seller and know that the film is well stored I would personally pass.
    Dan

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  8. #8
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    I see fresh Black and White and old stock.
    As I am loading onto reels Jobo, I am of the opinion that old film curls incredibly and is almost next to impossible to load without damage.

    Moving forward we are encouraging photographers we work with to use fresh film and not old stock they think they are getting a deal on.
    We have raised our prices for clients using old stock and keeping our prices the same for those using fresh film.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snapshot View Post
    Hi All,

    In terms of aging, does B&W retain overall "freshness" longer as it applies to aging? I would imagine that it does, especially when kept refrigerated or frozen, due to its simpler layer structure. Colour film has several layers and uses dyes, making colour shifting is a likely possibility if even it does not have other aging issues. However, does grain become more of a problem for colour or not? B&W "expressess" grain more in my experience, so would color have less of a grain issue

    given similar speed and age.

    Any thoughts or comments?
    Don't buy old film but if you are given old film test it carefully. And you need to be sure it has had identical storage.

    You will get different effects with

    mono retained silver
    mono c41
    colour c41
    colour transparency

    you may need to cross process the last type to get anything.

    Do you buy rancid butter?

  10. #10

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    I am using 53 year old black and white 320 speed film that "works" at EI 25. Its foggy and requires lots of testing to develop satisfactory results. Still, its grainy as heck, but lots of fun!
    I have some 20-ish year old 5302 that has no grain at all. Its very slow film at EI 12 to 32.

    For fun,hobby work. Why not?



    sent from phone. excuse my typing.
    "If its not broken, I can't afford it."

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