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  1. #1

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    cold bw film does it really make that much of a difference ?

    it isn't hard to find photos and comments about film in the freezer or fridge
    and how wrapping it in aluminum foil saran wrap, waxed paper, ziplock bags and in tupperware type containers
    will preserve your film and paper &c.

    has anyone actually compared film that is just constant temp shelf stored for 5-10 years with stuff that was in the cold?
    i've read good and bad, seen freezer film that was terrible, and shelf film that looked new ...

    what's your spin, and do you have proof?

  2. #2

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    cool good, hot bad

    It was 110 degrees here where I live the other day but when I lived along the Colorado River it would regularly get 125 degrees, plus, in the summertime. Not a good idea to leave your film in the car trunk when it is that hot. If it is too hot to touch the metal on your camera it is too dang hot for your film.

  3. #3

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    thanks snapguy

    yeah i know excessively hot is not good,
    but i am talking on a shelf in your house in the basement ... or in a drawer ...
    people go to such extremes and claim it makes such a huge difference ..
    i'm just wondering if anyone can VERIFY the supposed difference ...

  4. #4

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    scientific

    So you're looking for a scientific test conducted over many years by a leading university or government entity? Most of the photographers I know (and I have worked professionally with hundreds over the years) go by what they see for themselves and what other trusted fellow photographers say. The higher degree of quality a photog wants out of his film and paper, the more careful he is about storing them in a cool, dry place. And they buy film when it is ripe, but not over-ripe. And they pick everybody's brain to see what works. Can you prove scientifically of course that leaving film and paper out where it is hot and himid makes absolutely no difference? Just wondering.

  5. #5
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    I've been wondering the same thing John.

    With B&W film I can't remember even one issue caused by age or heat regardless of storage.

    My work for the last 6 years has put me in -20f weather in the winter and 110f in summer. There's always film in the camera and camera bag on the front seat while I'm outside working. The windows are open when warm and closed when cold. The A/C or heater runs when I'm driving but not while I'm working. The ambient temperature in the cab swing by 100f (-20 to +80) 5-6 times a day in winter as I move from job to job or just get in to warm up. Summer swings run closer to 40 or 50f.

    Even with color the only issues I've had where a problem became apparent was with some very old Vericolor. Developed some Portra from 2002 last weekend that I bought second hand earlier this year without any claim of refrigeration by the seller and it turned out just fine too.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  6. #6

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    hi snapguy

    not so much a multi year university grant science experiment, but personal experience, just as you are talking about.
    just like mark has chimed in with ( thanks mark! )

    it is well known that some films have a very bad shelf life, i got some cn400 given to me by a guy who
    had a little mini lab in his dry cleaner ... it had expired a longitme ago and was on the counter
    he said " you want it, take it" well needless to say no matter what i did it didn't record an image.
    but i am saying regular middle of the road film ( color and b/w ) and paper.

    people go through great lengths to hermetically seal their stash, and put it in the freezer because they
    read somewhere or heard someone chatting about how deep freeze preserves film ( and paper )
    but does it really ? when i was a kid growing up in the 70s it was common to find batteries ( d+c cells )
    in the fridge now i don't think anyone bothers.

    i wish back in 2001 i stuck some film in the cold so i could test side by side with stuff on my shelf
    seeing i have shot expired shelf film with no fog at all, no loss of speed and like mark's film it seemed just fine.
    ( both color and b/w, both cn+e6 , and i regularly use almost 15 year old polymax rc paper that by all reports should have been
    kept frozen or "it wouldn't work" ... )

    im just wondering if it is all just an urban myth

  7. #7
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    I have some very old papers that do show fog, most of paper though younger than probably 10-15 years seems to be fine.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  8. #8

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    Do I recall reading that Ilford/Kodak/Fuji/whoever store master rolls frozen?
    If true, then presumably freezing or cold storage has some benefit for long term, but for the average user who keeps film a few months or even a couple of years? Who knows ... well, probably PE does

  9. #9

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    film aging/fogging is a chemical reaction and cold slows down chemical reactions. That's a general rule.

    Different films react differently, of course, because they have different chemistry. I had a 100 foot roll of Ilford Pan F in the freezer for 35 years that I thawed and used and it was just fine. I had some film packs of Tri-X that were more like 40 years old, maybe more, and I was told had been frozen, but they had a base-fog.

    So different films react differently, but as a general rule, keeping film cold will slow down any chemical reaction going on in it. I doubt anyone has done any more strenuous tests than that.

  10. #10

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    Even without special science numbers I find it safer to assume that it's better for any chemically sensitive item to be stored in a quiet environment away from wide swings in temperature and humidity. Just so happens that a ziploc baggie in the freezer is just that kind of environment.

    The question then becomes not why, but why not? The cost is not onerous, the outcome more controlled, and I sleep better knowing that I've got a hundred pricey sheets of 4x5 that aren't baking in my uncooled apartment while I'm away all day working.

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