I was just wondering if anyone might like to share experiences or opinions on how long film can be used without image degradation beyond its "use by" date. And, how far past the use by date can you go before you start to experience image problems. How much does refrigerating the film prolong its useful life? Is freezing the film a better alternative and how much would that add to a film's life?
I just bought a bunch of old Velvia 50 with a use by date of 12/07 and I'm wondering how far beyond that date I can safely go.
I have two F5 bodies that are both in absolutely pristine, like new condition and I also have two D200's. The truth of the matter is I like the F5's every bit as much as the D200's and maybe even more. I don't know if that makes me crazy or what but there's just something about handling and using film that's soothing to my soul.
Which reminds me... I also just bought some new Velvia 100 with a 12/08 use by date and I'm wondering what kind of reputation it's developing.
I'll really look forward to and be very grateful for any thoughts you folks might like to share on any or all of the above. Many, many thanks, in advance...
#1. "RE: Wondering about film life..." | In response to Reply # 0the jedi master Registered since 28th Aug 2006Sat 25-Aug-07 06:11 AM
I've used slide film and Kodak HIE that were stored in the freezer that were 4 years past it's expiration date. From what I heard you can use film that's up to 2 years past it's expiration in the freezer, and a year in the fridge..
Oh, don't forget to let it thaw in it's plastic container for 2 hours in room temperture before using...don't open before or you'll risk condensation and spots on the film..
#2. "RE: Wondering about film life..." | In response to Reply # 1amateurphotog Registered since 22nd Aug 2007Sat 25-Aug-07 09:47 PM
I'v shot nearly every brand of film out there including Velvia. Do NOT leave film in a room that is over say 90degrees or you run the risk of it color shifting. Make sure you did not put any in a car glove compartment, the best place to store film is in your refrigerator or better yet in the freezer. If it is in the fridge, do not open the film can for about an hour or so, then load it in your camera. If its in the deep freeze of the freezer let it sit for 3 to 4 hours, then load it in the camera so condensation does not form on the emulsion. If the store that you purchased the film from did it's job and stored it correctly, and it was not sitting in a hot post-office or mailbox on its way to you it will probably be fine. Have the velvia processed as soon as possible after exposure so that the image does not degrade. If you have to wait a few days to get the exposed film processed, rewind the leader all the way back into the cassette, put it back in the can, make sure the lid is on tight and take it and put it back into the freezer. It should be fine then until you get it processed.
#3. "RE: Wondering about film life..." | In response to Reply # 2amateurphotog Registered since 22nd Aug 2007Sat 25-Aug-07 09:54 PM
I did not see that you also purchased Velvia 100, keep in mind that there are TWO VERSIONS OF VELVIA 100. VELVIA 100 AND VELVIA 100F, THE F VERSION I HEARD IS A LESS SATURATED.
However, there are only 3 velvias in the US. Fuji makes 2 more versions that usually are only available in Japan, and has given them different names.
Fuji Fortia SP (designed to photograph Cherry Blossoms) and Fortia 50, both of these films are apparently sharper, more contrasty, and more saturated then the US versions of Velvia. Unfortunately they are not available for sale here. Shucks!
#4. "RE: Wondering about film life..." | In response to Reply # 0
You might be interested in reading this thread:
I "lost" some film in my freezer for 12 years and it was still good.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#9. "RE: Wondering about film life..." | In response to Reply # 4
#10. "RE: Wondering about film life..." | In response to Reply # 9Sun 23-Sep-07 02:01 PM
"...I don't know about losing film for 12 years in the freezer, but I clean my fridge/freezer every year.."
I love that one
I think if the hidden bottom contents of every large freezer in the world was emptied on to the floor, we'd have an extremely large pile of food to eat! Disregarding all those "sell-by-dates" on the wrappers of course!
#5. "RE: Wondering about film life..." | In response to Reply # 0
I have used slide film, given to me by a friend, that was over 10 years too old. It had been refrigerated since the day he bought it and the results were fine. I would still try to use film as fast as possible though.
The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.
Alfred Lord Tennyson
#6. "RE: Wondering about film life..." | In response to Reply # 0
On a related topic I knew a railfan photographer who one day decided to stop shooting locomotive B&W negatives and left 200 undeveloped rolls in a plastic bag in his cool basement. That was in 1977. 20 years later he gave it to another fan who developed it all and it looks normal, with only a permanent curl to the film. I think it was all Verichrome Pan.
#7. "RE: Wondering about film life..." | In response to Reply # 6Fri 21-Sep-07 01:10 PM
I have no problem in using out-of-date film, as long as it has been stored properly.
Velvia 50, 100, 100F etc are all OK if kept in a freezer and will keep for many years, and also a long time in a decent cold fridge.
If you are actually buying film in bulk that is already out-of-date then test at least one of the films and if that turns out fine, then this should give a good indicator that the rest of the 35mm canisters are OK.
I've just bought a large amount of Velvia from two different companies that are dated from late 2006 to mid 2007. All has been stored in a freezer and as soon as it arrived I also placed it inside my large chest freezers.
The biggest worry is always on location, especially in hot climates or in over-heated buildings. I tend to just take out the amount of film that I think I’ll need for each shoot and leave the rest in the freezer or fridge until needed; although when travelling by foot with heavy backpacks this is not possible and then I just make sure that the bulk-film packs are kept as cool as possible.
If you are travelling by car, try to always keep the film as cool as possible, and inside a small cooler or ice-bag.
As soon as the film has been used (exposed) it goes straight back in the freezer (sometimes I am filming at remote locations so cannot get it developed straight away).
If you buy out-of-date film, it is far safer to buy sealed boxed films rather than loose plastic canisters, because the seller could easily have said they were recently out-of-date when they could have been taken out of very old boxes!
When I look back on the massive amount of film I've shot over the years, I can't really think of any problems, except once when I ran out of film in Africa and was forced to use a friend's film....not realising until later that he'd left then on his hot car dashboard for a several hours prior to handing them to me!
Even though I do shoot digital cameras, film and the F5 are still my main tools for worldwide professional photography.
Film will never let you down - as long as both you and the film… remain cool!
#8. "RE: Wondering about film life..." | In response to Reply # 0
I'd like to thank you and especially all who've responded for allowing me to get a wonderful education on the pros and cons of using dated films. I have two F5's and they are my very favorite cameras despite the fact I also have a D200. The D200 is a wonderful machine but there's just something about the F5 that touches my heart.
Interestingly, I also just recently picked up an absolutely beautiful, mint Kodak DCS 760 with only 978 actuations which is a F5 body on top and Kodak on the bottom. It's kinda like a digital F5 and a lot of fun to use. But, I digress and I apologize.
I only meant to write and say MANY THANKS to you all in that I have a freezer full of the old Velvia 50 and the new Velvia 100 and I've been very concerned about their expiration dates. Now, thanks to you all, I see it seems I really don't have to worry. Whew...that's good and many, many thanks to all.
The Long Ranger
"Ole' Thick Uncle Dick"
The Long Ranger
A Telephoto Lovin' Nikonian
"There are none so blind as those who would not see..."
#11. "RE: Wondering about film life..." | In response to Reply # 8monte920 Registered since 10th May 2007Mon 24-Sep-07 10:32 PM
I posted a question in the film discuss forum. However, there are very few viewers so far, and no body answers the question yet. Since you are discussing the film preservation issue, let me also post the question here, and ask your precious opinions:
I always like to order films from B&H. They have plenty of choices and the prices are reasonable, if not cheap. During the past summer months I ordered a few from them. When I opened the packages after UPS delivered them, the box inside were pretty warm-hot! This prompted some concerns to me:
1. Ground shipping takes 7~10 days to deliver. Imagine that the box stays in the hot and humid delivery truck for this long period!
2. Is there any X-ray device being used to scan the boxes, whether through air or ground shipping?
I will appreciate if someone can share your view to relieve my concerns. Thanks!
#12. "RE: Wondering about film life..." | In response to Reply # 11Tue 25-Sep-07 05:17 AM
B&W are usually 'on-the-ball' and I'm sure would keep most pro-films in a fridge, but they have no control once it has left the store. I would order my film from somewhere else if it was taken up to 10-days to arrive during warm weather - especially if the boxes are 'hot' on arrival.
Most of the film that I buy arrives in the first post the following morning.
If you live too far from good suppliers, try to take a look at online stores or Ebay.