Preparing for future
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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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.
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).
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.
Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
[font=Courier New]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 , we read "a substantial proportion of the cosmic radiation detected at sea level could penetrate over 1m of lead."[/font]
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
[font=Courier New]Therefore, there isn't any reasonably thin or lightweight substance which offers meaningful protection against cosmic rays.[/font]
[font='Times New Roman'] http://www.prestoncoll.ac.uk/cosmic/...e/cascades.htm[/font]
[font='Times New Roman'][/font]
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
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.
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.