Film Got Wet!

Discussion in 'Nature' started by rmi, May 25, 2003.

  1. rmi


    Just returned from the Redwoods and Yosemite and noticed that several rolls
    of exposed 120 and 220 Velvia and Provia were sitting in some water in a
    ziplock bag in my cooler.

    I don't know much about the processing of film, so please tell me if these rolls
    are likely to be ruined.

    (I put them in the Ziplock bag to keep them dry!!)
  2. Yup, heard that story before here many times. As you found out the hard way Zip Lock bags will leak if submerged in water. <p>
    Unfortunately your film is probably ruined. It all depends on how wet it got and how far it penetrated. Take it to a pro lab, tell them what happened and see if they can do anything for you.
  3. I can relate to this problem. exactly what happened with me 2 years ago. I slipped into the river at the end of a whole day of shooting, about 5-6 Provia 100F exposed rolls in my pocket.

    This is what worked for me -- I came back to hotel and immediately put the rolls in the freezer (Took out all ice-trays etc so that there would be least moisture inside). After one night I put them in zip-locks *while inside the freezer* and then slowly brought out to room temperature.

    After I gave them to my specialist lab they confirmed it was a prudent thing to do to dry those inside the freezer. After processing some had water marks but most were OK!

    You may want to try and see if it works the same way for you ...
  4. Water won't chemically hurt film, but it may cause the emulsion to swell and if it then dries it may all stick togther. The best bet would be to get the (wet) film to a pro lab ASAP and have them process it. You might get lucky.
  5. >but it may cause the emulsion to swell and if it then dries it may all stick togther

    Bob, that was my understanding as well. However, I found out that the emulsion-side is the one prone to swelling/becoming sticky, but it does not stick so well with the shining side of film -- thankfully!
  6. There used to be a Nikon advert about a photographer whose cameras fell in the sea. According to the advert he put the cameras in a bucket of fresh water and took them home and the films were fine when processed a day or two later (so were the cameras - which was the point of the advert).

    Not that you would want to go by such an advert but I was always told that if you get a film wet you should keep it wet until you can process it. Mind you, the question arises: how would the backing on roll film stand up to such treatment?
  7. Hi Phillip--
    I once put a 35mm roll of Provia through the washing machine (cold cycle). My lab told me I wasn't the first person. Of the 36 exposures, about 20 turned out reasonably unharmed. It's probably worth getting your 120/220 developed, especially by a lab that expresses experience doing so. In my case, it was the soap that damaged the film more than the water. I'd try a small number of rolls first and then decide on the rest after seeing the results.
  8. rmi


    Only one roll of 220 out of twenty had any damage at all and it was confined to the edges of the frame. Guess I'm one lucky dude!
  9. Just wondering...was it all dry by the time you got it to the lab? or was it "kept wet" ?

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