Film Date / Usage : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

With a new house and a move, I have had some T Max film in holders for about one year in a basement at modest room tempratures. Should I deep six the film in favor of fresh refrigerated of the same type, or can I shoot it and not worry about the results? Thanks

-- Michael Kadillak (, August 15, 2000


Toss it. It ain't worth the risk. The holders aren't moisture proof. I certainly would not risk an important shot or take it on a trip. Even if you test a holder or two and it's o.k., the next holder may be bad. You might shoot it up on some nearby stuff that you can go back to if it goofs up. I speak from experience. I shot some Tri-X last summer that had been in holders in my camera case in the van for about two months in good ol' Alabama heat and humidity. I blew one of the best cloud formation over the beach I have ever seen. Low contrast and reduced film speed. I'm still kicking my own butt over that one. I knew better. If it's 8x10 film, you will probably want to cry at the expense of dumping it, but it is the safest way. Even with the cost of film today, it is cheap when you consider the cost of getting to a shot, your time, etc. Good shooting,


-- Doug Paramore (, August 15, 2000.

Mike, I would have to agree with Doug's advice, you don't want to chance a once in a lifetime shot with questionable film. Come on now Doug, you should know better than to leave film in your van in Alabama for two months. In 10 minutes the heat will exceed 150 degrees in a vehicle. I'm surprised your film holders haven't melted. Doug, don't take offense, I'm just a "good ol' boy" in Mobile and have to say shame on you. Regards, Pat.

-- Pat Kearns (, August 15, 2000.

If it has been at room temperature and not too humid, it is probably OK. I just got back from a weekend trip around the Alaska Range where I shot 8 holders of HP5+ which had been in my camera case in the closet since last summer. It came out fine. Of course, room temperature in Fairbanks is a bit cooler than summer temperatures outside :-)

-- John Lehman (, August 15, 2000.

Note to Pat: Good to hear from someone in Alabama. It was kind of dumb, wasn't it? Even my best friends, in their most compassionate moments, have never considered me as being very smart. One of the problems with a van is that you can throw stuff in the back and it is out of sight, out of mind. Give me a ring if you get to S.E. Alabama. Regards,


-- Doug Paramore (, August 15, 2000.

Hey you Southern Boys, why don't you keep another cooler in the van/car for storing your film holders, etc. (in addition to the one for the beer!)? I keep all my camera gear in a rather large wheeled cooler when it's in the car. Keeps everything nice and cool, even on hot summer days, and it's less likely to get stolen (who would stoop so low as to steal someone else's picnic lunch, or worse yet, beer!). Regards, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, August 16, 2000.

Good idea about the cooler. I never thought about putting camera gear into one of the big coolers. That's one of the great things about this forum...all those good ideas. Seems like any time someone has a jproblem, someone else has "been there, done that".

-- Doug Paramore (, August 16, 2000.

Just for curiosity, I want to tell this. Last week I shot the same scene with fresh 8x10 FP4+ and old FP4 that was out of date already 1987 when I got it with buing an old Linhof.

Suprisingly, after developing the negs (in HC-110 very diluted), I can't find any difference between them! I've stored this film in my garage, which is mostly a cold place throughout the year.

-- Jan Eerala (, August 16, 2000.

Michael, I would have to agree with the above responses, but just for fun consider this. I picked up a graflex outfit at a flea market and upon examination of the contents in the case I found several boxes of Kodak Royal Pan film. There were also several film holders all loaded with unexposed sheets. The expiration date was November 1961. I was going to toss all the film but decided to try it just for giggles. Needless to say, I was shocked when I processed the film and found nice evenly exposed negs. There was some obvious lack of contrast but I was not expecting anything at all. Not bad for film that expired 39 years ago. Just thought I would share. Steve

-- Steve Roche (, August 16, 2000.

RE: Cooler as container for camera etc.


I can recommend the use of a cooler to store camera and film. I bought a large Coleman when I acquired my 4X5 monorail 2 years ago. I built two notched baffles for it and inserted them in such a way that I can hang the camera in its own third of the cooler. This leaves two other areas for storage of film and other equipment. I've hauled it through the Owens Valley out here in California during high summer with 20 loaded film holders, temp over 100F. No problems at all. Cheap, convenient and light weight.


-- Robb Reed (, August 16, 2000.

I really like the cooler idea. I am gonna convert one. I think it is a great idea for those of us who toil in the hot climes. I usually don't leave my camera case in the van in the summer. That one time I returned from a shoot, took out the exposed holders and was gonna go back for the rest of the stuff. I didn't. Even though I live in the boonies, it is a dumb idea to leave a camera case in the van.

I, too, have used film 'way out of date, including some that went out of date in the late '70s. That film was the old Super XX Pan. I also tried to shoot some Tri-X that had been frozen that was bad after 8 years. The Super XX picked up some fog, which I could print through, but otherwise was o.k. That film had been refridgerated. I would have reservations about film left in holders in a basement, which are sometimes damp and the holders don't provide much moisture barrier. I certainly wouldn't shoot anything important with old film.

-- Doug Paramore (, August 16, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ