Do film negatives ever expire?

3 weeks 2 days ago #715255 by Noah J
I just watched a video on Nikon F6 that this site posted on their YouTube channel.  This has me thinking, do film negatives ever expire or go bad?  


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3 weeks 2 days ago #715282 by Nikon Shooter

Noah J wrote: … do film negatives ever expire or go bad?  


Films are perishable through many factors hostile to their conservation.
Heat is one of the worst. Long periods exposed to warmth is an other.
As long as the original is not opened, humidity will have no detrimental
effect on it.

The acetate, and the emulsion on it, have different "enemies" but both
will be affected and the eventual latent exposures.

Light is free… capturing it is not!
This person is a posting maniac and deserves a #1 badge!Top Poster
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3 weeks 1 day ago #715334 by icepics
Do you mean processed negatives, when someone already took photos using the film? Or unused film still in the cartridge?

Either way, B&W can last indefinitely (decades). Even in a camera. If stored in heat, not so much. Color film and negatives can have funky color 'shifts'. There was a period of time ('80s? '90s?) that whatever processing was being used could cause negatives and photos to turn orange. Depends on storage.

It's possible to have film or photo restoration done. Or of course negs could be scanned and the color adjusted digitally.

Sharon
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3 weeks 1 day ago #715344 by WCaswell93
My experience is that slower speed expired film fogs slower than say asa 1000 film. I have a brick of Kodak royal gold asa 25 that expired twenty years ago and still exposes well at box speed. I developed a roll of twenty year old asa 1000 Kodak film at 250, figuring 2 decades old. Very underexposed. The next roll I’ll try at asa 50 (4 stops over box speed).


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3 weeks 1 day ago #715346 by Ozzie_Traveller
G'day Noah

There are many ponderables here and each will offer a different answer

I can remember from the 1980s, Kodak had stumbled upon an unopened carton of 120 roll film found in an Antarctic science base - they were frozen solid. When they were carefully thawed and exposed, it was found that they were "as good as new" - leading to the recommendation to freeze film held in storage before use and so on

For exposed and processed film, it is a very different matter. As NS starts to mention, heat / humidity / dust / scratches etc. can all combine to kill off the film. It is extremely common for those of us who are asked to digitise some negs or colour slides from the 70s or 80s (say) will find that those images have colour changes from the dye fading, microscopic lumps and growths from humidity / mould growths into the emulsion .... and so on

Hope this helps
Phil from the great land Downunder
www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/


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2 weeks 6 days ago #715472 by db3348
In addtion to Phil's comment on the processing,  how well  the negatives  were processed  can have  a small influence  in as far as :  if the final stage of process (fixing)  and  the following wash  were not adequate , the images  can prematurely fade , discolour, stain .


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2 weeks 5 days ago #715593 by CharleyL
Just a comment about "old negatives".

Some years ago, a guy brought a very old wooden box to me. In it were about 40 glass plate negatives. Of these, only two had suffered any deterioration (1 cracked) that made them difficult to use (maybe it was a developing flaw as one edge was raggedly missing from the emulsion).  He said that he had bought the box at a flea market for $10 and it was locked, but he liked the look of the box, so he bought it. He later was able to get the box unlocked, and inside were the glass plate negatives, all in felt padded edge padded holding slots.

He asked me if I could print these photos for him and I told him I would try. I later successfully scanned and printed every one in 8 X 10 size. Every one turned out with no fading, were very clear, and well in focused as if taken just a few weeks before, but from the content it was very obvious that they were original.

Then he and I spent several hours one afternoon, trying to figure out where each photo was taken. Some were portraits of women, men, and families, but the rest were landscape photos and Mid Western looking town photos. Lots of horses, wagons, and carriages. Having likely been taken well over 100 years ago, we weren't at all successful at this, but it was very interesting to try. He said that he was going to frame his favorites of them, to hang in his hallway and keep the glass plate negatives in the box as a "found treasure". I suggested that he find a dry and cool place for them.

Charley


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2 weeks 4 days ago #715618 by Ozzie_Traveller
G'day Charley

That's the sort of find that makes one glow for some time afterwards .... to see - then to help another to enjoy something quite unexpected. I hope he took your advice re- future storage

Phil


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