Freezing film. Worth while? Any tips or tricks? : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

I'm going to buy as many rolls of APX25 in 35mm as I can. I'm assuming that the best way to store them is to put them in the freezer. Any tips on storing and thawing it would be greatly appreciated.

-- Michael Chappell (, November 07, 2000


Freezing does slow down all chemical processes, so it should be worth while. It is common practice with IR films, and to avoid condensation of moisture on the film leave the film out of the freezer, but in the sealed canister for a few hours before putting it into the camera.

-- Thomas Wollstein (, November 08, 2000.

I've used frozen B&W film (T-max 100) that was 5 years out of date with good results. Infrared film will last maybe 1 1/2 to 2 years past its data with acceptable results. Beyond 2 years major fogging occurs. I store all of my film in the freezer along with the pork chops as a standard precaution. Let the film warm-up for 2-3 hours before opening the box.

-- Gene Crumpler (, November 08, 2000.

Re Gene's experience with IR film, I have had mixed experience. I have a few rolls of 35mm Kodak IR film in the freezer which is five years out of date and (as of three months ago) had no fog problems. OTOH, a few sheets of 4x5 IR film I shot this summer which was two years out of date (and had been frozen the whole time) was so fogged as to be worthless.

-- John Lehman (, November 08, 2000.


Freezing is an excellent way of prolonging the shelf life of film. Just make sure you pack it so as to avoid condensation, both inside the freezer and out. I've used Tri-X that was frozen for 20 years and it was great.


-- Pete Caluori (, November 08, 2000.

My 3 inputs to this thread:

1. I have read somwhere, in a reasonably trusted book, that you should in theory freeze film at 0C to -10C (err, 32F down to, erm, a bit less than this) I have tried comparisons myself with -10C and -20C (the difference between a refrigerator freeze draw and my large freezer) and I saw no difference whatsoever, but the test was only for few weeks.

2. I chill film in the fridge first before freezing it (in unopened original packing, supplemented by press-seal freezer-food bags to stop the boxes going mushy with condensation upon defrosting). I am a little paranoid, but I feel that -ve thermal shock might somehow stress a film. Also, it stops the freezer warming as it struggles to freeze down the 200+ 120-size rolls of APX25 you just dropped in it...

3. Gene, I'm not sure I fully understand the significance of your standard precaution of including pork chops :-)

PS - if you are freezing something like TMZ or D3200, why not slip it into those redundant x-ray bags you bought a few years ago? They are too heavy to carryanyways and delight perverted x-ray operators at London Heathrow Airport who insist on first emptying the whole bag then x-raying the contents upwards of 10 times in a row, all the time telling you that "X-rays don't harm film Sir, only magnets can do that" :-( These bags may stop some of the enviromental radiation that might fog these fast films stored for a couple of years past the use-by date.

-- Gord Slater (, November 14, 2000.


Lead bags don't stop cosmic rays, and that is what is fogging long sorage of fast films. Heck, the earth itself barely slows them down.

As tot he freezer temp, it doesn't really matter. Chemical reactions are slower by a factor of two for every (I think) 10 degrees C reduction in the temp. So the lower the better. You will NOT see any difference in a few weeks. A few years of testing would be required.

-- Terry Carraway (, November 15, 2000.

The pork chops give a 1 to 1 1/2 stop ISO speed boast :)

-- Gene Crumpler (, November 20, 2000.

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