Cooling & freezing film | Why and how?

There's little doubt as to whether film should be stored cool or not. However, there's some uncertainty about when to cool or freeze and whether one is better than the other.

Should film be stored cold?

The simple answer to this question is: YES!

But, there's more to it... If you buy film and plan to shoot it in the next few days/weeks, you don't need to worry too much as long as your film is not stored at high temperatures or subject to excessive humidity and/or sunlight – or at worst all of it.

Film is a perishable product, similar to food, and should therefore be stored in a cool place to avoid premature ageing.

Keep film sealed in the fridge

Your precious film can go next to food like apples, onions, water, yoghurt and everything else you eat to survive. We hope you have more food than film in the fridge than we have in the Lab.

Speed, contrast and colour change gradually over time. Unfavourable conditions accelerate changes of these characteristics. As a rule of thumb: black/white film is less affected than colour film, for both types however: film will age faster if not cooled.

Keep the analogy of food in mind and you'll naturally avoid situations that could harm your film, e.g. direct sunlight, storing it in the car on hot summer days, leaving it for the cat (or dog?) to play with, etc.

All in the fridge - Does it extend the expiry date?

Expiry dates printed on the box are provided based on average storage conditions (mostly at 18-20°C). Assuming you get fresh film with an expiry date 2 years from now, you can extend this time to 4-5 years from now by keeping it in the fridge (at ~6°C).

If you don't have super fresh film but still have about 1 year left (off the shelf), keeping it in the fridge will still extend the time by about ~1 year.

The ultimate thing is to freeze film at -18°C or lower. By doing this you basically bring any degradation to a halt. Your film will remain fresh basically forever. Do this whenever you're in the need to keep film fresh for very long periods of time.

Regardless of what you do, we recommend that you store your film well packed to ensure that no excess moisture gets in contact with your film or builds up when you take it out of the fridge/freezer.

Out of the fridge - How long to warm up?

When using film from the fridge, allow your film to warm up to room temperature for at least 1 hour before using it. If you're in a rush, 30 minutes should be fine, too.

When using frozen film, we recommend placing it in the fridge for 24 hours to allow it to defrost slowly. Then take it out of the fridge and allow it to warm up to room temperature for 1 hour.

Remember food: defrosting too quickly might cause damage.

Should exposed film be stored cold?

No matter if a film is exposed or not it's always better to store it cold.

Keep exposed film in the fridge, if you don't plan to get it developed in the coming weeks only. Several days/weeks at moderate temps/humidity levels won't cause any harm.

Zurück zum Blog