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  1. #1
    mikewhi's Avatar
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    Film Storage Conditions

    Hi:

    I have B&W film that I store at home in my darkroom. I live in a mild climate, where it might get up to 80 for a few weeks in the summer, but is mostly in the mid to upper 70's. In the winter, always below 68 deg and in the fall and spring very cool, too. I never see the 90's.

    I personally think these are perfectly good conditions to store B&W film.
    Am I wrong?

    How hot and for how long does it have to get before B&W film will be 'damaged'? What form will this take - increased base fog?

    Is out of date film (say 5 years out of date) stored in my place going to be usable?

    I have some Super-XX that must be at least 15 years old and I've been told it will be fine to use, maybe just some extra base fog.

    Thanks.

    -Mike

  2. #2
    jim kirk jr.'s Avatar
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    I store all of my film(IR and regular black and white)in the fridge and let them sit at room temp for about an hour before loading them into a camera.I'm not sure but I believe fogging and longevity(even in a fridge) is dictated by the film itself not some standard but I could be wrong.
    "An object never performs the same function as its name or its image"-Rene Magritte

    "An image of a dog does not bite"-William James applied to photography

  3. #3
    mikewhi's Avatar
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    Yes, I refridgerate my IR and color film. I do freeze some B&W that I know I want to 'archive'. Like I just obught some of the last 4x5 Plus-X and dropped 200 sheets into the freezer as I may not use it too soon. But for a lot of of my film, I just store it at room temp in this mild climate.

    I know some people store film in the fridge or freezer 'just to be safe' but does anyone have any certain knowledge regarding this?

    Maybe I'll try contacting the manufacturer....

    Thanks.

    -Mike

  4. #4
    mikewhi's Avatar
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    Checked AGFA site for APX films. They give you the storage conditions conditions as basically avoiding high-head and exposure to fumes\chemicals. The say a refrigerator provieds those conditions but they don't say it's required. They say keeping the film in it's original container protects against fumes\chemicals and obvisouly the 'fridge protects against high heat.

    So, it seems that so long as the environments protects agsinst fumes\chemicals\high heat, thit it should be ok.

    They do say that for exposed film, these requirements are even greater and the film should be developed quickly after exposure.

    I confess that I've had EXPOSED film sit around in my normal environmental conditions for YEARS (2-3) and after development they were perfectly fine, at least form a technical point of view<g>.

    I've always thought that this stuff about 'outdated' film and freezing it was kinda anal, but I'm really starting to think it is.

    For me, if I find a good film that's outdated and been stored at room temp then I'm all over it. Like the 100 sheet box of Plus-X that I bought, 3 months out of date. The guy in the store treated it like it was milk a week after it's expiration date and sold it to me for 1/3 price. I acted reluctant, but couldn't get the $$ out of my pocket fast enough.

    But, I'm still open to being convinced that there are real measurable differences between film stored in a freezer for 1-2 years and the same stuff stored at reasonable room temps for the same period (or longer).

    Thanks.

    -Mike

    P.S. I downloaded that protein program frogram from Stanford and it's humming away at home. Kinda makes me feel warm and fuzzy just knowing that I'm contributing to something for a change<g>.

  5. #5
    mikewhi's Avatar
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    I sent the following question to AGFA:

    I have some AGFA AGFAPAN ASA 25, ASA 100 and ASA 400 B&W film that is
    still in date. I am currently storing it at 'room temperature' in a mild climate where the temp never gets over 80 in the summer and is usually cool all year.
    I would like to know if this constitues safe conditions for these films or if I really do have to put it in a freezer or refrigerator.
    I am looking for practical guidance, not the 'ideal' answer (which would be to refreigerate it).

    Thanks.
    -Mike


    Got a response today:

    Dear Michael,

    Thank you for contacting Agfa Consumer Imaging. The conditions that you have described are safe for storage of Agfapan APX films.

    Sincerely,
    Agfa Consumer Imaging
    ---end of response

    Like I suspected, refrigeration isn't necessary, but it does meet the storage requrements.

    Does anyone know any scientific reason why freezing film is good (if it is, that is)? Does it do something specialy to the chemicals in the emultions? Why would it be better than a chemical-free, fume-free 70 degree room?

    Thanks.

    -Mike

  6. #6
    glbeas's Avatar
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    Room temp is fine for short term storage of film but if you plan on long term storage, like keeping it for months or years then refrigeration is a good idea. Cooling film slows any chemical reactions going on in film that would possibly degrade the quality.

    Films are usually aged to get the best balance of film speed and contrast and in the case of color films, the color balance. This is where the difference between amateur and pro film comes in. The pro film is aged to the point of best color balance, etc, so the photographer can use it right away and trust it to be consistent and optimum in its performance. Amateur films are aged a bit short of that as the average non pro shooter has a tendency to leave the film in the camera for extended periods before having it processed.

    This aging is what the refrigeration is all about. If you are buying amateur film you probably never need to worry about it, it'll be fine for a good while. But if you buy pro films its a good idea to be keeping it in a cooler if you aren't going to use it right away. Even then B&W films are a bit more stable than color, especially the slower speed films. I have some quite old Orwo film thats ASA 125 that works great.
    Gary Beasley

  7. #7

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    I would not store the film IN the darkroom, but nearby. The darkroom is a treacherous environment of vaporous doom. Granted I live my whole life in there, but I wouldn't want my film to experience what my lungs and brain get. I have a fridge in the studio with a freezer. The film goes in the freezer and the Sam Adams goes in the fridge. Simple.

  8. #8

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    My vote is to keep all film in the fridge until an hour or two before you intend to start using it. The advantage is that it stops the aging process keeping the film fresh. The disadvantage is that my wife keeps moaning that I'm using up half the fridge with film and bottles of Bud ;-)



 

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