Expired Film, Any Concern?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by hoang_nguyen|2, Jun 30, 2003.

  1. I would like to know if there is any concern with shooting expired
    film, especially professional film like Fuji NPH400 or NPS160. I
    always keep them in the fridge. How long pass the expiration date can
    film still be used with good results? Thanks.
  2. Film is more tolerant of long and/or improper storage than we usually give it credit for. Chances are that if your film is several months past its expiry date, you could shoot it, and a roll of fresh film, and not see any difference between the two.
    But film does change as it ages. Keeping it in the fridge or the freezer doesn't stop these changes; it only slows them down. Keep in mind, too, that the expiry date on the film is based on the assumption that you're storing the film according to the manufacturer's specs; NPH, for example, requires refrigerated storage (the brochure says it's to be stored below 10C/50F). High-speed film also suffers radiation damage, which is not affected by refrigeration, so the higher the speed of the film, the less leeway you have to use it beyond its best-before date.
    Me, I'm usually pretty cautious, so I'd suggest one of two approaches as being pretty safe. One is not to use expired film for anything you really care about, just in case. The other is that if you have several rolls that were bought together and have been stored together, they should all behave the same way, so if you're going to need some film soon, shoot one roll as a trial, and decide based on that whether the other rolls are good.
  3. jbq


    Some people say that you can keep ISO 100 film for 10 years without a problem. The slower the film the longer you're likely to keep it (fast film gets fogged by cosmic rays). Personally, I use film 2 years past beyond the expiration date and have absolutely no problem with it (and it's not even obvious that the film has been in the fridge all its life).

    Of course, it depends on what you do with the film. If you're doing very precise fashion work where color matching is veyr important, try to use fresh film.
  4. Everything should be OK, as long as it expires before you do.
  5. Keep in mind that this is negative film. A minor color cast caused by ageing can easily be corrected at the printing stage, as long as the film is not TOO old - a year or so after expiration should be OK. I'd be more cautious with slide film, especially if you want to project it - no way to get rid of color casts. On the opposite side, B&W negative film has almost no expiration date - it fogs a bit, but seems to last several decades otherwise.

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