Freezing 4x5 sheet film : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi. I have been freezing my 220 and 35mm rolls of film with no problems. Can 4x5 film be frozen also? I shoot Fuji Velvia/Portia/Astia, Kodak Plus X Pan. Thanks...Bernard

-- Bernard R. Negrin (, June 05, 2001



-- Garry Edwards (, June 05, 2001.

No problem as long as the pack is sealed. When you take it out, make sure it is at room temperature before you open it. Once it is open, refreezing is not advized because of moisture, unless you can deal with that. A photog friend of mine has conserved boxes of 4x5 Velvia for 10 years, and although I could not believe it, results were still as good as you could expect.

-- Paul Schilliger (, June 05, 2001.

I have some TRI-X which has been frozen since 1989, it is fine. Absolutely works like new. If the box has been opened, put it back in the freezer in a sealable bag. Even an opened box should be in a bag, since if you have a power outage (we are being told in Sunny California this is "forced conservation") the ice/frost can melt and the box can get really soaked.

-- Kevin Crisp (, June 05, 2001.

As my friend Paul says above, I have in my freezer several boxes of 4x5 Velvia, RDP I, NSP 160, NLP 160, all expired in 1989 or 1991 latest. Some of these boxes are open and were and (will be) re- frozen several times.

I recently made pictures on the Velvia sheets and they were perfect, like on a fresh film. If I open a box, I tightly wrap it into a plastic bag, which I close with a tight nod before freezing it again, but that is all the care I devote to these films. It is perhaps important to note that all my films are DEEP frozen and that my freezer is always running at the maximum.

The RDP I however does not seem to like that treatment as much as the Velvia does. Already back in 94, when I last made some shots on it, colors seemed to fade out a bit. However, Paul just scanned some of these pictures for me and they are still perfect after one of Paul's secret color corrections. I also think that a 05 M cc(anyway advised for by Fuji for that emulsion #)will greatly help.

Many photographers worry about the color shift in expired films, while they never use any CC and LB filtration. To my experience, lack of CC and LB corrections influences the result much more negatively than the age of the film, particularly under certain conditions. When I see people making pictures without filtering in open shadow under a 16 500 Kelvin sky, I do not think that a 05 M shift, due to the expiration date, would make a big difference.

What I write here does not apply, of course, to films that are so old or were so badly stored that their colorants are already deteriorated.

-- Emil Salek (, June 05, 2001.

I spoke to a Fuji engineer about this... he raised an interesting point. Film is vulnerable to radiation. It causes clouding or fogging, sometimes a grainy look. The main reason film has early expiration dates after its made, is to prevent the film from being exposed to excess cumaltive radiation in the natural enviroment. Some areas have very little radiation while other areas have a significant amount. So film lasting long past the expiration date in one area of the world, is not an assurance it do the same in all parts of the world. But from the posters above, it sure seems to have a longer life than most of us expected.

-- Bill Glickman (, June 06, 2001.

Perhaps, if the radiation equation is correct, then we should be freezing film in lead bags. Any comments about this?


-- Roger E. Oppenheimer (, June 06, 2001.

When Mr Oppenheimer tells me I should take precautions against radiation by freezing my film in a lead bag, I start to worry about more than my film!

-- Graeme Hird (, June 06, 2001.

I'm sure there a nuclear scientist/large format photographer who knows for sure, but my impression is that so called "background radiation" will zip right through a lead bag. In a fallout shelter it takes something like 6 feet of soil to protect the occupants.

-- Kevin Crisp (, June 06, 2001.

The lead bags for film are designed for the (moderate) doses of radiation produced by airport X-ray machines, and are definitely enough protection from background radiation.

I don't think they will provide sufficient protection if a large thermo-nuclear device is detonated in your vicinity (if used on their own). For complete protection, I recommend placing your lead bag with film in the freezer in your fallout shelter.

Does anyone know the correct exposure for a thermo-nuclear explosion? f22 - and be somewhere else? I think I might need a heavier tripod...


-- Graeme Hird (, June 06, 2001.

I believe the old Kodak table says "f:16 and be dead." Uranium toner (yes there is such a thing, look in a 1940's Kodak publication called "Elements of Photographic Chemistry") really brings out the highlights. I'll bet Cotkin makes a filter which gives this effect with less danger. Isn't background radiation gamma rays, and don't they zip right through lead for a great distance?

-- Kevin Crisp (, June 07, 2001.

Gamma rays will go through lead with little hinderance, but they will also go through film without fogging it (at least in the low doses that are called background radiation).

I believe that the Cokin filters add a nasty colour cast which would be hard to get rid of.

-- Graeme Hird (, June 07, 2001.

Like the others, I've had no problem with chrome film and B&W film over long periods. However, the polaroid film doesn't seem to do so well. Anyone with similar experience?

-- Joe Johnson (, June 08, 2001.

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