Does unused film go bad or have a shelf life?

11 years 4 months ago #109012 by No Show
I'm buying a package deal from someone that includes a ton of unused film and film camera with lenses. There are nearly 60 rolls of film that are unused.

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11 years 4 months ago #109022 by Screamin Scott
All film has expiration dates but if it has been refrigerated ( preferably stored in the freezer), it will keep past those dates....Colors will shift on improperly stored films...

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11 years 4 months ago #109025 by Henry Peach
Yes. Consumer film is designed to be stable at room temperatures for a long period of time. There will be a date on the package. If refrigerated or frozen it can be good long past the expiration date. Pro films are designed to peak in their performance, and then begin to decline in quality at a faster rate than consumer film does. They are meant to be stored refrigerated to extend this time.

How much deterioration there is depends on the film and storage conditions (mainly temp). Right after the expiration date you won't notice any problems. It might be tough to see the deterioration even years after the date. It tends to be a decrease in saturation and contrast. In my experience it's a bigger problem for color film than BW. I wouldn't shoot anything important with the film until you've tested several rolls. Even then you might want to save it for goofing if it's way past the expiration date.

Stick anything you aren't using right away in the freezer. Give it an hour or two to thaw before using. This stops the chemical degradation, although given long enough background radiation will eventually fog the film.

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11 years 4 months ago - 11 years 4 months ago #109030 by DestinDave
In addition to what Scott and Matt said above I'd like to say - if you use old improperly-stored film you can end up with some pretty cool-looking color shifts.. some images may look like the currently very popular Lomography..
If the price is good, shoot a couple rolls and have them developed.. not much lost if they don't turn out..

Dave Speicher
I thought I wanted a career.. turns out I only wanted paychecks.
dlspeicher.zenfolio.com

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11 years 4 months ago #109054 by Baydream

DestinDave wrote: In addition to what Scott and Matt said above I'd like to say - if you use old improperly-stored film you can end up with some pretty cool-looking color shifts.. some images may look like the currently very popular Lomography..
If the price is good, shoot a couple rolls and have them developed.. not much lost if they don't turn out..

:agree: I shot a roll of old slide film that was way out of date. The colours were very unusual.

Shoot, learn and share. It will make you a better photographer.
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11 years 4 months ago #109063 by The Time Capturer
I agree. I used to buy outdated 1000 ISO film from Eatons (when it was here) and the colours were pretty wild.

Sure, practice makes perfect but, unless you learn from your mistakes, you are only perfecting your ability to fail.

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11 years 4 months ago #109342 by Pettigrew
Now why does the professional stuff drop off so quickly?

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11 years 4 months ago - 11 years 4 months ago #109395 by Henry Peach

Pettigrew wrote: Now why does the professional stuff drop off so quickly?


Well the old story is that film has to ripen, and once ripe it begins to go downhill: colors shift and degrade. Pro film is designed to be ready to go as it leaves the factory. It's kept refrigerated to slow down the aging. It's expected that when loaded in the camera the entire roll will be shot and processed quickly. Consumer film is expected to sit in storerooms and on shelves at room temp for a while before being sold. It's expected to be loaded in the camera, and may sit in there for 6 months or a year before it gets developed. It ages more slowly, and colors remain more stable over time, but it may never quite reach the color peak of similar pro films.

These days the big film manufacturers probably have a lot more control over how the film ages and when it gets sold, so that may not be as accurate.

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11 years 4 months ago #109410 by hawkfly

Screamin Scott wrote: All film has expiration dates but if it has been refrigerated ( preferably stored in the freezer), it will keep past those dates....Colors will shift on improperly stored films...


I remember years ago seeing expiration dates on film my father would use in his SLR.


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