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  1. #1
    jnanian's Avatar
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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
    jnanian's Avatar
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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 ...

  3. #3
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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

  4. #4
    jnanian's Avatar
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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

  5. #5
    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

  6. #6

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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

  7. #7

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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.

  8. #8

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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.

  9. #9

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    Think strawberries

    Decades ago I learned to treat film as if it were fruit. I'll use strawberries as an example, #1. The very first of the season usually are not the most flavorful (translate this to super-fresh film straight from the manufacturer and most PRO films) #2. The best strawberries are the ones that are vine ripened and consumed ASAP after picking. (same with film, the best results will come when the film is used within the expiration date and processed immediately) #3. If you take that same basket of strawberries and set them on your kitchen counter for say 2 weeks they are not going to be very ediable. (film stored at room temp past the expiry date will start to show signs of deterioration slowly over the course of a few months--getting worse over years till it is useless). #4. Now, if you chill both the strawberries and the film both will last longer without much deterioration and if you freeze both they will last for a very long time.

    PROOF: Why do you need proof, common sense should tell you that all of those posts about freezing/chilling are quite true. If you feel that you still need proof then do your own tests.

    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    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?

  10. #10
    jnanian's Avatar
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    hi randy

    my only test is that i have been shooting shelf stored and / or expired film ( never refrigerated, never chilled, never frozen ) since 1981.
    i have a lucite shoe box of film purchased in about 1991 ( both color and b/w ) and expose and process when i find time
    .. and to be quite honest, none of it has never shown any problems. a couple of years ago i processed a roll of tmz from the 1990s
    that was stored in the equivalent of "a sock drawer" for 20 years and processed it in sumatranol 130 ,, no base fog,
    i also have been shooting about 4000 sheets of expired shelf stored tmx/tmy and tri x sheets, again, no problems.
    rolls and rolls ( and rolls and rolls and rolls ) of 35mm + 120 film as well ... no problems.
    film is not strawberries, but if that is how you like to think of it more power to you ! ..

    yes, some film degrades faster than others (i'm not saying otherwise) but personally i think some of the whole
    "put film in the freezer or fridge because it will go bad before you get a chance to use it"
    goes kind of overboard, it is extreme .
    if you think pro-grade film in the fridge is that much different than other film, it really isn't. i used to do side by side tests
    and the negatives and chromes of my fuji consumer always looked the same as the stuff i paid 14$ a roll for .. in the fridge.
    besides its not shipped from wherever in a cold car, it sits in a box in a hot truck.
    i know of someone who used to deliver and pro film i used to buy - from the freezer -
    it was revealed to me used to bake in the back of a van for hours ...

    i was told by the manufacturer of my dishwasher that it was supposed to die 5 -7 years after i purchased it.
    its been about 15 years with no problems. at a certain point i think manufacturers of "stuff" don't want to be liable
    for things "going bad" so they give consumers an exp date, and tell them to perform herculean tasks to keep the "stuff" usable
    i wouldn't be surprised if was all a joke ...

    again, just what others' experiences might be ... ...
    because as you can tell from my personal experience, it sounds like a bunch of hooie
    Last edited by jnanian; 06-14-2014 at 02:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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