Should camera film be refrigerated or frozen after exposure?
January 16, 2011 7:41 PM   Subscribe

Should you also put film in the regrigerator or freezer after it's been exposed?

I keep all my film in the freezer until I use it. Is it necessary to freeze it again (especially if it's expired or close to expiring) after it's exposed until you process it?
posted by Joseppi to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I wouldn't say any refrigeration is "necessary", but my understanding is that all kinds of chemical degradation that might effect film emulsion and stock are slowed to a glacial pace by low temperature, low moisture storage (and accelerated by high temperature, low moisture storage). So if you care enough to freeze your film before you expose it, you probably care enough to want to freeze it again while you hold it for processing.

(Of the storage of processed motion picture film - which I am assuming is at least vaguely comparable to exposed still film, the Library of Congress says, "...deterioration can begin within little more than a decade. Storing [film] at the lowest humidity and temperature achievable with constant stability is recommended. At the minimum, printed copies should be kept under conditions that do not exceed 50° F and 50% RH. Ideally, they should be stored at 37° F and 20-30% RH" - though this also suggests that it might be best to just let the film stay warm between exposure and processing for the sake of "constant stability". And then you'll probably want to freeze your negatives.)
posted by bubukaba at 8:24 PM on January 16, 2011

This 1988 article about infrared photography in Popular Mechanics says, "Store exposed IR film in the freezer if you're not going to develop it right away."
posted by XMLicious at 8:25 PM on January 16, 2011

I do store my film in the freezer unless I'm going to use it (and I try to take it out a day before I'm going to use it if possible). Provia and Velvia mostly.
posted by Brian Puccio at 8:47 PM on January 16, 2011

I've heard of storing unexposed film in the freezer.

For exposed film, I've heard to not - as any condensation on the film, from when you had it in the camera will seriously screw some shit up.

It's way better to develop the film asap.
posted by alex_skazat at 9:59 PM on January 16, 2011

I store all of my film in the fridge (except my one coveted roll of 120 color infrared) and as far as I have learned through my two useless photo degrees and last year and a half working in a photo lab, you should only really freeze film if you intend on storing it for a long while either before or after you shoot it. If you are storing it for a couple months before or after shooting your film, it is okay to keep it in the fridge, but the freezer is not absolutely necessary. What you don't want to do is keep your film frozen up until the moment of processing, because that can shock the film and do crazy stuff to your negatives.
posted by ruhroh at 10:09 PM on January 16, 2011

Response by poster: Awesome. Thanks for the replies. :)
posted by Joseppi at 6:43 AM on January 17, 2011

I store my unexposed film in the freezer, and my exposed-but-not-yet-developed film in the fridge.

Exception: Polaroid instant film should never be put in the freezer (fridge is OK).
posted by statolith at 12:17 PM on January 18, 2011

I out exposed film in the fridge. I have unexposed film I don't think I'll use for a while in the freezer.
posted by chunking express at 8:36 PM on January 18, 2011

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