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Life expectancy for refrigerated film

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I have a dozen rolls of colour print and slide film from my pre-digital days which have been taking up fridge space

since about 2001.


I'd like to mail it to a friend who shoots landscapes with film.


Most of the expiry dates are 2004. Is it worth the postage to ship it to her, or would even refrigerated film be past its

prime by now?


Thanks for any advice.

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Should be fine.


I regularly shoot film from 04, 06. I have a large batch of C 41 from 02 that has shifted a bit but it's easily corrected in



B&W is more robust than color but if it hasn't been exposed to harsh conditions it is for sure worth trying.

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In all cases where we are using film past its expiration date, the only safe approach is to try a roll OF EACH

PRODUCT and evaluate it before shooting the rest of that product. The stability of film products is different for different



Having said that, here are some general guidelines. The expiration date for many products is about 2 years after

manufacture. Refrigeration will preserve the the chemical properties of film for 2 to 4 times longer than at room

temperature. If you bought fresh film and refrigerated it, the chemical properties should last 4 to 8 years

instead of 2.


Freezing will preserve the chemical properties for something like 8 to 16 times longer than at room temperature.

Frozen film can be expected to maintain chemical properties for 16 to 32 years.


Unless you have access to a salt mine, background radiation cannot be stopped by any process that any of us can

afford. Background radiation causes fog and grain increases in the shadow areas. All films are sensitive to

background radiation ROUGHLY in proportion to film speed. That is, an 800 speed film would be roughly 32 times as

sensitive as a 25 speed film. This is very rough since the current Kodak 800 speed film is about 1/4 as sensitive as

the generation from 8 years ago. All these discussions of keeping film in a refrigerator or freezer should only apply to

low speed films (200 or slower). With high speed films, the background radiation will degrade the film regardless of

the storage temperature.


FWIW, I've shot K-64 that had been in my freezer for 20 years with good results. I don't shoot 800 speed film that has

only 6 months until expiration.

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Whats interesting with food is there are goobs of research with cold storage. Many foods can last along time frozen but the taste goes away. Due to safety reasons of being sued a radio program of modern book often preaches chucking out items.They have to do this since consumers mix all sorts of foods together in the freezer and often fail to date/mark items. An old HVAC engineering book here copyright 1939 thru 1970 shows a maximum storage period for<BR><BR> frozen poultry of only 10 months at a temp of -20 to 0 F; <BR><BR>Ice Cream 6 to 12 months at -10F or less <BR><BR>Frozen eggs 18 months 0 to 5 F;<BR><BR> Lamb 2 weeks 28 to 30F.
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Re <I>How did we move from Film to food?</i> <BR><BR>Both will not last forever if frozen; but with food folks often are not afraid to try it; see it its OK; to chuck it if bad;. With film folks would rather ask a zillion stangers than try a sample old frozen roll of film! :)<BR><BR>Both compete for freezer space with your film from the Clinton era next to your mother in laws fruit cake from 1999<BR><BR>rBoth food and film are often best when new; worst if from an unknown place; dangerous and risky if from an unknown source. Both are ruined if eaten by a dog; run over by a truck; or if stored in a hot oven like place like a hot car trunk. <BR><BR>Thus what we really need is beef jerky tri-x!
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