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Thread: Unprocessed film

  1. #1
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    Default Unprocessed film

    Sorry for another thread folks. I'm just getting into film photography so just want be safe.

    I understand that after taking photos, there is a supposed spread of chemical chain reactions on the film plane. However, that is slow enough to not process the film for some time. My query is how long can you store exposed film before it starts to degrade too badly? I know degradation issues are subjective too. So-o-o... just gimme your opinions of what you would do if say you were at some place that has almost everything EXCEPT a photolab. And you shoot film. And you'd be stuck there for half a year or longer.

    I Googled and found some people who have 60year old unprocessed film and it still turns out ok. Haha! I think that's rather extreme. Still, I'd like to minimize changes, that's why I'm asking here.

    Oh... would there be a difference between 135 and 120 film? As in, would the rate of degradation be different? I personally would think not la...
    incywincyspider climbup the waterspout...

  2. #2
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Unprocessed film

    I think half a year is pretty long.....

  3. #3
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unprocessed film

    Usually the film manufacture will recommend photographers process their exposed film as soon as possible.

    If I remember correctly, there are no study on about how long you able to keep your unprocessed exposed film without degrading. so no one able to give you a definite answer, and I usually don't buy that kind of answer of "looks OK" from the net, his standard of OK may not be my standard of OK.

    anyway, you can keep your exposed film in a air tight container and store in fridge, wait till you able to process them, or send them to process via mail.

    btw, the main different of consumer grade film and professional grade film is the later having very tighten control on consistency of results, professionals usually buy them in bulk of the same batch and store them in fridge.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Unprocessed film

    The problem would be the gradual enroachment of UV rays into the film which would fog it and turn it useless. I also want to know how exposed film kept for long periods react. Keeping exposed film for 2 weeks is no problem as tested by me when I was too busy to process my developed rolls. I also have a rool of exposed 135 colour film that I've kept since I was sec3. (I'm now in my 3rd year of studies in Singapore Polytechnic, so it's been round 5 years) I'll go develop it and let you know again.

    Samuel
    f/8 and be there.

  5. #5
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Unprocessed film

    The issue with "looks okay" can never really be known because there is no test sample to test against. Ie, you need to shoot two rolls with the same settings, then process one, keep the other, then process the other after X period of time, and then compare.

    Most just process the second roll with no means of comparison to one which wasn't kept for a long time.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Unprocessed film

    By the way, I've shot TriX film from 1985 with no hazard save a lower contrast and some hazing. Colour film does die out earlier as you get weird colour casts. Don't you worry about it, with proper storage you'll be enjoying your negatives for a long time indeed.

    Samuel
    f/8 and be there.

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    Default Re: Unprocessed film

    Haha! Ya, I know "looks ok" is very subjective. So... I shan't ask about "ok"...

    But hey, catchlights did mention something I was pondering: that you could store exposed film in the fridge till you're ready to process them. Does it really work? What about freezing exposed films? Because, since it's exposed, it's exposed to moisture as well right? So like, wouldn't moisture on the film strip cause some weird bad thing to happen?

    And about UV exposure, how deep can UV penetrate? U know Fuji uses clear containers while the other brands use black containers? Logic tells me the black ones block off UV better than the clear ones?
    incywincyspider climbup the waterspout...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Unprocessed film

    Quote Originally Posted by karnage View Post
    Haha! Ya, I know "looks ok" is very subjective. So... I shan't ask about "ok"...

    But hey, catchlights did mention something I was pondering: that you could store exposed film in the fridge till you're ready to process them. Does it really work? What about freezing exposed films? Because, since it's exposed, it's exposed to moisture as well right? So like, wouldn't moisture on the film strip cause some weird bad thing to happen?

    And about UV exposure, how deep can UV penetrate? U know Fuji uses clear containers while the other brands use black containers? Logic tells me the black ones block off UV better than the clear ones?
    UV light doesn't give a rats a$$ about what colour your film canisters are. They go through plastic like butter since they have no special coating. The good thing is most film has a strong antihalation layer which prevents UV rays from affecting the film too much.

    You chill the film to stop the degrading process, however store it too cold and the film base might crack. There is not too much problem with moisture, film being pretty sterile. It is god practice to leave your film to defrost for an hour if you chill them, double that if you froze them. If you are afraid of moisture, store the film in the airtight canisters the film came in and do not open the canisters until they have defrosted.

    Samuel
    f/8 and be there.

  9. #9
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Unprocessed film

    Put in the fridge is okay, but please not in the freezer.

    Quote Originally Posted by karnage View Post
    Haha! Ya, I know "looks ok" is very subjective. So... I shan't ask about "ok"...

    But hey, catchlights did mention something I was pondering: that you could store exposed film in the fridge till you're ready to process them. Does it really work? What about freezing exposed films? Because, since it's exposed, it's exposed to moisture as well right? So like, wouldn't moisture on the film strip cause some weird bad thing to happen?

    And about UV exposure, how deep can UV penetrate? U know Fuji uses clear containers while the other brands use black containers? Logic tells me the black ones block off UV better than the clear ones?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Unprocessed film

    Quote Originally Posted by vince123123 View Post
    Put in the fridge is okay, but please not in the freezer.
    But people store film in the freezer all the time!

    Quote Originally Posted by alternatve View Post
    UV light doesn't give a rats a$$ about what colour your film canisters are. They go through plastic like butter since they have no special coating. The good thing is most film has a strong antihalation layer which prevents UV rays from affecting the film too much.

    You chill the film to stop the degrading process, however store it too cold and the film base might crack. There is not too much problem with moisture, film being pretty sterile. It is god practice to leave your film to defrost for an hour if you chill them, double that if you froze them. If you are afraid of moisture, store the film in the airtight canisters the film came in and do not open the canisters until they have defrosted.

    Samuel
    How cold is too cold? Is freezing too cold? Or is "too cold" like -20C that kind? By the way, how low does a normal home freezer go down to? Haha!

    And I think keeping film in the airtight canisters the film came in to prevent condensation is for unused film, since moist air hasn't got a chance to enter yet. But once you pop it, there's no easy way to get rid of the moist air in it right?

    So-o-o... is it alright to freeze exposed, unprocessed film?
    incywincyspider climbup the waterspout...

  11. #11
    vince123123
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    Default Re: Unprocessed film

    I recall reading that you should put it in the fridge compartment but not the freezer compartment.

    Quote Originally Posted by karnage View Post
    But people store film in the freezer all the time!


    How cold is too cold? Is freezing too cold? Or is "too cold" like -20C that kind? By the way, how low does a normal home freezer go down to? Haha!

    And I think keeping film in the airtight canisters the film came in to prevent condensation is for unused film, since moist air hasn't got a chance to enter yet. But once you pop it, there's no easy way to get rid of the moist air in it right?

    So-o-o... is it alright to freeze exposed, unprocessed film?

  12. #12

    Default Re: Unprocessed film

    Quote Originally Posted by karnage View Post
    But people store film in the freezer all the time!


    How cold is too cold? Is freezing too cold? Or is "too cold" like -20C that kind? By the way, how low does a normal home freezer go down to? Haha!

    And I think keeping film in the airtight canisters the film came in to prevent condensation is for unused film, since moist air hasn't got a chance to enter yet. But once you pop it, there's no easy way to get rid of the moist air in it right?

    So-o-o... is it alright to freeze exposed, unprocessed film?
    I don't see the need to.

    On the manufacturer's box, it states to keep it at around 20-24 degrees so I pop it in the fridge. I have a roll of Konica Centura that I kept in room temperature for 2 years and nothing happened to it, but yes I do chill my "pro" film in the chiller section.

    The moist air in the canister is only so little, and your film can take much more then that. i think you might be anal in the wrong area. Film can take quite a range of temperatures but of course it'll be better to keep it nice and cool.

    If you want 100% consistency, shoot digital and never look back.

    Samuel
    Last edited by alternatve; 28th May 2008 at 10:50 PM.
    f/8 and be there.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Unprocessed film

    Haha, yeah. I might be anal with the wrong things. But better to start out anal and relax as I gain knowledge than to start out nonchalant and realise I should've done this and that. At least now I know you can leave it out at room temperature for quite awhile.
    incywincyspider climbup the waterspout...

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Unprocessed film

    Just to share my experience today:

    Had two rolls of film, Kodak MAX 400 (expired 2005?), and Kodax T400CN (expired 1999?). Both came back from lab BLANK! No fogging, colour casts. Blank! As in, the developed film negs were totally transparent. Hmm.

    Camera used: Olympus IS-3000, previously used with no problems. Film advanced normally as far as I could tell.

    I had another 5 rolls of Sensia200 (expired 2007) and another 1 roll of T400CN (expired 2005), but those turned out okay though.

    Hmm. Can the film actually degrade so much until it can no longer record exposures at all?

    BUt not really big deal lah, cos those shots weren't really critical anyways.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Unprocessed film

    Different way they were kept I guess. As I said, I shot film from 1985 before and it turned out great.

    Samuel
    f/8 and be there.

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    Default Re: Unprocessed film

    Quote Originally Posted by synapseman View Post
    Just to share my experience today:

    Had two rolls of film, Kodak MAX 400 (expired 2005?), and Kodax T400CN (expired 1999?). Both came back from lab BLANK! No fogging, colour casts. Blank! As in, the developed film negs were totally transparent. Hmm.
    Hi synapseman, I'll share my experience too.

    During the CNY period this year, I loaded a roll of Ilford Pan400 into my FM2n and went Chinatown to take photos. Happily snapping the whole day, but didn't manage to finish my 36 shots. It was nearing the end though, and I know sometimes a 36-exposure roll can take 38 or so. So I went out after that to take more.

    I guess I was unreasonably naive, coz I could wind many many more shots after 40 exposures. Hahaha! When I finally decided to wind it back, it only took a few turns to roll it back in! To my horror, I realized that the take-up spool didn't take up the film at all when I advanced the film! Haha! That's when I started this thread... =)

    Maybe that's what happened to your Olympus?
    incywincyspider climbup the waterspout...

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Unprocessed film

    Quote Originally Posted by karnage View Post
    Maybe that's what happened to your Olympus?
    I doubt it lah. It's one of those hi-tech (during its day) film bridge cams, the IS-3000QD that uses an infra-red film counter. If it didn't load properly, the LCD panel would give an "E" indicator. I think it was the MAX400 that was loaded (about 10 months ago!).

    The other was a T400CN loaded into an Olympus Mju-II. Different film, different camera, same results.
    Sony Alpha system user. www.pbase.com/synapseman

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