Sheet film storage in film holders : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

A question regarding the storage of sheet film in holders in the refigerator was posted on another forum and I am interested in what responses might be generated here. The question asked whether or not this was a safe way to store sheet film and the general, but small, consensus was that it was not. Problems included condensation forming on the film (even though the holders were in plastic bags?) and light leaks (does the refigerator light really not go off when you close the door?). I have stored film (Velvia) in holders in the refigerator in plastic freezer bags for up to several weeks and have never had a problem. I'm interested in knowing if any of you have had problems storing film this way.

-- Mark Windom (, June 19, 1999



I've stored film in holders for a couple of months at a time outside of a refrigerator and not had a problem with light leaks.

Regarding condensation in a refrigerator - that could be a problem if you lived in a humid environment. The water vapor in the air within the holder and the plastic bag could condense on the holder or the film. It's pretty dry where I live in southcentral Alaska, and that's not a problem.

Best wishes, Bruce

-- Bruce M. Herman (, June 19, 1999.

Light leaks? No, no problem. The good shops often store it in fridges, with glass doors, and lights permanently on.

Condensation? Well, my personal rule is that unopened boxes are stored in the fridge. Opened boxes are not stored in the fridge, because I can never remember to take it out a few hours before I need it.

-- Alan Gibson (, June 20, 1999.

I've stored my polaroid magazine (pack film, half used) outside the fridge for half a year, and it was fine (polapan 672). I also store my open boxes of quickloads and polaroid sheet film in the fridge. As I live in a humid climate (Asia), the night before I shoot, I transfer the open film from the refrigerator to my dry cabinet (30% RH), which is at room temperature.

-- James Chow (, June 21, 1999.

I have stored b/w film in sheet holders 45&57 for up to a year in a refrigerator and not had any problems, yes the light does go out, but I took it (the bulb) out of the frig. completely since I did not want to take a chance on light leaks when opening and closing the door. Pat

-- pat j. krentz (, June 30, 1999.

Let's try and put this issue to rest. It's not all that complicated. The last I heard, film holders were light tight. Therefore, no protection from the little 15-watt bulb in your refrigerator should be necessary. If you can take the thing out in daylight and put it into your camera back without light leak problems, it shouldn't leak low intensity light from an incandescent! And refrigerator lights do go out when you close the door. (Get in and close the door if you don't believe me). And, it is fairly common knowledge that cold storage of film slows down the aging process and thereby extends the useful life of the material. The only serious consideration when storing film in film holders in the refrigerator is that of condensation. When the film is in a plastic bag, and the air surrounding the film is humid and warm, water will condense out onto the holder or the film when the air cools. The principle is that of relative humidity: Air can hold more water in the form of vapor the warmer it gets. When warm humid air is cooled, the relative humidity increases and can reach the 100% point. At this point, the water condenses out in the form of droplets. This is called the dew point. At humidities below the dew point the water stays in vapor form. Therefore, it follows that if the air that goes into the refrigerator with the film holder is cool and dry enough, the dew point will not be reached and no condensation will occur. I regularly store loaded film holders in the refrigerator and have never had any problems. I do, however, live in a relatively dry climate. To minimize the risk of condensation forming on the film, store each film holder in its own airtight plastic bag (ziploc freezer bags for example) and squeeze as much air out of the bag before sealing to reduce the total amount of moisture in it. Storing loaded holders without plastic bags is a bad idea since condensation will take place when you remove them from the cold. Not, however, simply sitting there in the refrigerator. Most importantly, try to choose cool, dry days on which to store your film. Hot and humid means too much water vapor in the air to stay in vapor form when the air is cooled. Cooler drier air, on the other hand, such as from an air-conditioned room, or in winter, contains much less water vapor. If the relative humidity is low enough, no condensation will occur when the air is cooled to refrigerator temperatures. Load those holders on a cool dry day and store them away in the fridge. Just remember to give them an adequate warm-up time before opening the plastic bag they are in. Then you run the risk of water vapor from the ambient air condensing on the cold film holder (like what happens with a cold drink glass). Good luck ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, July 01, 1999.

Just put the loaded holders in a ziplock bag, squeeze out the excess air, toss in a small pack of dessicant, and into the fridge. I put the ziplock bags in quickload boxes. While on the topic of cold and holders, has anyone had any problems using holders (or quickloads) in sub zero temps?

-- James Chow (, November 17, 1999.

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