How to treat 3-month expired Velvia film

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by oliver_mills, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. In early April, I bought my first roll of Fuji Velvia 50 reversal film, from a long-established photography shop (Cambrian Photography, Colwyn Bay). I saw that its expiry date was January 2016. I stored it in the freezer almost immediately after, and plan to use it in the summer. I can't be certain about the film's storage in the shop - I saw that it was taken from below the counter, but the films may or may not have been stored overnight in a freezer.
    Will these few months of post-expiry affect the film in any way?
  2. Keep it frozen then use it. Let it thaw for a few hours at room temp then load it in your camera. Use it as normal then process ASAP. All will be fine.
  3. SCL


    Expiration dates for film are placed there as an assurance to consumers that the film will retain all of its characteristics thru that date unless it has been radically mistreated in storage. Nothing happens after the expiration date except that the film gets older....and obviously increasingly succeptable to the effects of aging, such as color shift, loss of full ISO speed and radiation & heat effects. Most consumer films can be used normally well after the expiration date, professional films typically have been refrigerated to ensure their full complement of characteristics. Films several years past the expiration date often benefit from a modest reduction in the ISO for metering purposes, but B&W films sometimes are good for at least a decade if kept away from heat and moisture.
  4. Just on the point of storage in the shop: In my experience shops either store film in a (visible) refrigerator or else it's on a shelf at room temperature. No shop I've ever encountered has transferred stock to a freezer overnight.

    Having said that, seeing as the film only expired in January, I agree with Larry.
  5. Consumer grade films are aged, and expected to be stored at room temperature, at least in most parts of the world. The date if you buy them as new as you can get is a year or more ahead. Most likely it will be just fine for a year or so past the date with normal storage. Refrigerating or freezing makes it last much longer. Like many things, they change more in the beginning, and aging allows much of the change before you buy it.
    Professional films are not aged, but are kept below 55F, and they suggest keeping them below 55F after you buy them. Even so, they are the same films. If you don't have the exacting demands of professionals, such as color uniformity between rolls, they will be fine in the camera for a year or so.
    I am not sure of the exact room temperature that is expected, but below about 80F should be fine for the rated date, and sometime after.
    Over about 100F or 38C, it starts to go bad somewhat faster. If kept close to 100F/38C for the year or so (maybe one for slides, two for negatives) of the box date, you should try harder to use them soon, or start refrigerating or freezing.
    In the pre-digital days, it used to be easy to find recent outdate, or even almost outdated film on a box near the register for half price. I used to always check that box, and buy some that I thought I could use, keeping it refrigerated if that might not be so soon. That is less common now, though. So, within about a year of the date I wouldn't worry unless it is for a special occasion. I might not take it on a European trip, for example, or for wedding photography.
    As above, I never knew anyone to take film off the shelf at night. Some will keep the stock in the back cold, and bring out enough for normal sales volume. For one, it takes some time to warm up, and someone might want to buy it ready to use.
    All that is for color film. Black and white film will start out with a longer date, and will last much longer past that date. For one, there are no color shifts. Kept at cool room temperature, most will be find for 10 years, and usable past 20 years. Slower films, maybe 40 or 50 years.
  6. Thank you for your replies - I just wanted to check whether the performance and characteristics of this film would change considerably after being expired for a few months. The expiry date must merely mark the end of the film's lifespan where ideal performance is guaranteed, a bit like a best before date on food.

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