leaving exposed film in camera
How long can film sit in a camera? I guess this is similar to asking how long should exposed film go undeveloped? More specifically, I'm talking about Tri-X for 35mm and 120 films. Obviously the sooner the better, but I'm wondering if I can safely stretch a roll for a few weeks if I had wanted to. This is assuming that I'm storing my camera in a cool/dark place.
The longest i have stored exposed film was around 2 months I think. It was on my canonet 19 that had sticky shutter problem. I placed underneath the table where I keep my camera stuff and remembered it had film when I was about to give it away. It was very hot and humid then, but I noticed nothing wrong when I developed the film.
As I understand it, the longer exposed film sits around, the less bonded charged electrons become to the film. In the case of Tri–X specifically, the Tri's become separated from the X's and reattaching them can be time-consuming if not nearly impossible. SuperGlue has been known to work as a substitute for fix in particularly recalcitrant films.
Here is a relevant thread...
Originally Posted by Stephen Benskin
Short answer: 30 seconds.
Long answer: The thread discusses how much loss of latent image you can expect.
With 120 you can have film flatness issues also if say you shoot half a roll and come back days/weeks later.
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I remember when I got into photography my Mom handed me a compact p&s 35mm camera with half a roll of kodak color print film yet to be shot still loaded in it. Half the roll had been exposed easily 10 years before. I shot the remainder of the film and processed it, and what I found was that the frames exposed when the film was still fresh looked great, despite being left in the camera for more than a decade. The more recent frames that I took however were underexposed and had a reddish tint (could have been the tungsten lighting, though it was tungsten film). I remember being surprised that the original frames looked so good, I was expecting the whole roll to look like the more recent ones.
Leave it in for as long as you feel comfortable with. I regularly leave a roll of Velvia 50 in my camera for anything from 3 to 4 months. Neither myself nor a medley of printers have ever brought up anything relating to spoilage of any film I have used.
A roll of Provia 100F has been in my Zero Image Pinhole since late June. B&W films IIRC degrade very, very slowly. Film left in a camera and subjected to repeated extremes of temperature (particularly very hot temperatures) will become deranged and show casts. B&W film will lose effective film speed. I don't get in a sweat about it.
Canon EOS1N ('Brutus', 1993—), TS-E 24mm f3.5L, 20mm f2.8, 17-40 f4L, 70-200 f2.8L
Pentax 67 ('Pentaximus', 2010—) + SMCP 45mm f4, 55mm f4 & 165mm f4LS;
Zero Image 6x9 multi-format pinhole (2008—); Sekonic L758D;
Olympus XA, Nikon Coolpix P7700
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A problem with leaving film in a camera is that it can take on a particular curl. This can lead to problems when you try to load it onto a reel. TLR's are the worst offenders in this respect since the film path often has a 90 degree turn. For 35mm choose a fim length 12, 20 or 36 exposures that you can completely use in a single session.
Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 09-27-2011 at 10:58 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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I don't recommend it, but in 2008 I discovered an almost finished roll of 120 Plus-X in an old TLR. Developed in HC110, I got images from it that indicated it had been exposed in 1981! They were certainly not optimum, and the base density was high, but I was able to scan a couple of them for web use. So I don't think I'd lose sleep over a few weeks -- or even a few months.
I recently found a roll of 35mm Kodak 200 film that was sitting in the attic of my home since at least 2003.
Got curious, got it developed and it came out fine with 36 images.
Colors are a bit off but considering that the film has experienced 40 degree celsius summers, about 12-15 winters, and all kinds of humidity, that's okay.
It was shot with a focus free, fixed aperture and fixed shutter camera too so I'm 27 different kinds of impressed with film as a medium.
On the other end of this spectrum, there are d-shooters who crib about their 3 year old RAWs not opening anymore