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  1. #1

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    Long term storage of developed negatives

    Currently, I keep my developed negatives in my freezer. They're triple-bagged using ziplocs and attached to them are my notes on that particular roll of film. They're still in the plastic sleeves you get when from the minilab. I'm aiming for very long term storage. I want to able to look at my negatives (and positives) twenty years (and more!) from now and still find them in good condition. Anyone have tips for this?
    Gear: Broken Minolta SRT-101 with MC Rokkor 50mm f1.7 | Canon EOS 500 with 50mm f1.8 II, 75-300mm f4-5.6, 24mm f2.8.

  2. #2

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    I don't think what you are doing is really necessary. I don't know what film you are storing but it is important that the film is properly processed and thoroughly washed. I store in archival mylar (polyester) sleeves in acid-free print envelopes kept in archival flip top boxes. The negatives are in pristine condition even after forty years. It would be best to find out what the lab is doing and using for sleeves.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/

  3. #3

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    Hmmm... I figured that freezing would slow down the chemical processes that degrade the film. I'll continue to do that until my mom gets mad at me for taking too much freezer space. I'm storing 35mm film; mostly cheap film like Kodak Gold, Fuji Superia, etc. The sheets that the negs came in with are made by Fuji. They look pretty good but I'll be sure to look for archival sheets for extra protection.
    Last edited by Kugerfang; 10-27-2011 at 12:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Gear: Broken Minolta SRT-101 with MC Rokkor 50mm f1.7 | Canon EOS 500 with 50mm f1.8 II, 75-300mm f4-5.6, 24mm f2.8.

  4. #4

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    Some time back a special wrapping material was made for this which was a laminated ply of alum foil
    and polyethylene, which you could seal with a tacking iron. I still have some big rolls of it somewhere. The problem is getting the air out before you freeze it. So what works good for this
    is one of those automated freeze-dry baggers for vegetables etc with their own bag system. I bought one for about a hundred bucks but never have used it. The newer color neg films don't seem
    to fade significantly, at least in my climate. I'll probably donate the gadget to my wife for the kitchen. But if you do use one for film, I'd double-bag everything and add the aluminum foil too.

  5. #5

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    I process my own B&W but have the color done by a lab. I know the B&W is done correctly but have not had any problems with the color and have never kept negatives in the freezer nor the refrigerator. If you have to defrost them better do it gradually in the refrigerator so as not to get condensation. Personally, I would not keep them in the freezer.

  6. #6
    jp498's Avatar
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    Fresh film is good stuff to freeze, but processed film should not need freezing. The risk of freezing processed film is condensation from when you remove it or the freezer loses power. Wet film is OK, but wet film in pages is bad news.

    Best to store processed negatives in a clean dry place. They should last >100 years with no special care as long as they are kept dry and clean.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    They should last >100 years with no special care as long as they are kept dry and clean.
    Good! That's how I store my 5.25 inch floppy disks.


    s-a

  8. #8
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    Properly processed and properly stored B&W negatives can last indefinitely; like a hundred years plus.

    But, I would guess that the Philippines is pretty humid and you're shooting color film. So in that case, storing them in the freezer isn't that crazy actually. Many archives and museums do store their color material at low temperatures. You just want to make sure that there's no humidity in the bags and there are some methods for achieving this.

    Tell us a little bit about your climate there and whether you use climate control in your homes. I suspect that color film in archival sleeves (get rid of the paper envelopes and make sure the sleeves are safe, which they probably are) and in an air-conditioned home will easily last 20+ years and I'm certainly counting on much longer than that!

    But... but but but... if you don't use climate control, it might be a different story.

  9. #9
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    Some of my negatives were made as long ago as 1939. All are in perfect shape. They have been stored in a huge variety of envelopes, folders and notebook pages. One large set of pages, Unicolor, fell apart after a few years, but the negatives were not damaged. None have ever been stored in cold circumstances. They have always been stored in a room away from the darkroom, but other than that, no special conditions.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by holmburgers View Post
    Properly processed and properly stored B&W negatives can last indefinitely; like a hundred years plus.

    But, I would guess that the Philippines is pretty humid and you're shooting color film. So in that case, storing them in the freezer isn't that crazy actually. Many archives and museums do store their color material at low temperatures. You just want to make sure that there's no humidity in the bags and there are some methods for achieving this.

    Tell us a little bit about your climate there and whether you use climate control in your homes. I suspect that color film in archival sleeves (get rid of the paper envelopes and make sure the sleeves are safe, which they probably are) and in an air-conditioned home will easily last 20+ years and I'm certainly counting on much longer than that!

    But... but but but... if you don't use climate control, it might be a different story.
    Our climate is tropical. We have the rainy season and the dry season but there's no need for climate control except for air conditioning during the summer months. Even then, it's optional and electric fans can do the same thing. So, no climate control necessary except during summer and even then it's optional. I triple-ziploc-bag my negatives and inside the ziploc with the negatives are silica gel dessicants. When I remove the bag out of the freezer I let it warm up for an hour or two first before opening it. I press out all the air from the ziplocs before returning them to the freezer.
    Gear: Broken Minolta SRT-101 with MC Rokkor 50mm f1.7 | Canon EOS 500 with 50mm f1.8 II, 75-300mm f4-5.6, 24mm f2.8.

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