Should I store my 35mm rolls in the fridge?

  • I have bought a bunch of 35mm film canisters (24 and 36 exposure canisters, no bulk rolls). They are new films (Expiration date sometime in 2016), but I won't be using them all immediately.

    My apartment generally has a temperature of around 72 °F (22 °C), but on hot days it can go up to 80 °F (27 °C).

    I heard that storing film in the fridge or freezer prolongs its life greatly, but people also caution because of condensation. Most threads I've seen revolve around bulk rolls however.

    For canisters, should I store them in the fridge to make sure to maintain the best quality/life expectancy even if it may take a year before I finally use them?

    My local shop stores them in the fridge before selling them to me. Their experience and knowledge is enough to keep me doing the same.

  • It depends on the type of film and on your post processing.

    For black and white films there is no need to cool them at all. When they mature well beyond their expiration date, they might get a bit slower if at all.

    It is different for colour emulsions. The three or four colour "layers" may mature at different speed which may then result in unwanted colour shift, while a minor change to the overall speed of the film may not matter that much, similar to b&w.

    For colour negatives, you could still correct minor colour shifts with your enlarger or have that automatically done in the lab where it is typically done for free anyway.

    For slides it is different though. A slide is a slide with no chance of corrections due to the absence of any post processing. (Unless you plan to scan them or enlarge them on reverse paper or so.) The slide itself cannot be corrected in terms of speed (density) and colour. Slides should be kept cold when stored for some years.

    And then there are the pro films. Pro films are typically used when ever very constant results in ever repeating processes are required. Such as Portraits in Photo Booth etc., where the operator is not even necessarily well trained. In order to keep constantly reliable results it is strongly recommended storing them at constantly cool temperatures, preferably in dry environments. No need to freeze them either.

    B&W films should be cooled too if you store them for a long while - they loose not only their sensitivity but also dynamic range which is one of their major advantages.

    Not to my personal experience. I even had the impression that the dynamic range actually increased. Just an impression of course, no scientific measures.

License under CC-BY-SA with attribution


Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM

Tags used