Neg storage after exposere but before developing? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I will be traveling with 4x5 equip. but I only have about 8 film holders. Any ideas or techinques for storing, holding, keeping, handling and transporting the exposed negs until I get back to home base for developing? A box? A plastic sleeve? A small tank with water? I would ideally be able to transport the negs on airplane before they are developed....but I want to use the film holders for more exposures.


-- Douglas Gould (, April 03, 2002


Somehow I don't think it's a problem for most types of film, and not just because I shoot a lot of el-cheapo outdated film. I wouldn't think twice about shooting a lot of color film and getting it developed a month or two later.

Your bigger worry is X-Ray machines at airports, which might be a non- issue if you don't intend to fly. If you do fly, I'd try to find a source of fresh film where ever I was going and a lab that could process it all before jumping back on the airplane. My .02cents.

-- Roger Urban (, April 03, 2002.


I wasn't worried about the xray at the airports. What I'm asking is how to tranport exposed 4x5 negs outside of the film I just pile them up in an empty film box? (doesn't sound very good). Or put them in plastic sleeves and put those in light tight container? Maybe I'm asking such a rookie question that its not obvious what I'm asking.

I want to take the exposed film out of the film holder, and put it somewhere until I can get around to developing it. Should I just pile it all up in an empty film box? Won't the emmulsion get stratched?

-- Douglas Gould (, April 03, 2002.

ps, I know I spelled exposure wrong in the thread title...."ah, the best laid plans..."

-- Douglas Gould (, April 03, 2002.

Store in the original box (outer box, inner box, foil or plastic envelope) after exosure. Use an old, empty box. Don't hold them in water--that's likely to cause major problems over the extended time period.

Consider shipping via FedEx or UPS overnight (to avoid any long term travel at high heat) back to a friend who can hold until you are back home.

I don't know of any way to get film through airport security without possible x-ray exposure, save carrying it on your body. I got away with this with some 120 film, since they now use plastic packaging, and I'm fairly hefty so a few rolls of film in the pockets of my baggy clothes won't show. Probably can't get away with this for sheet film, though.

Maybe it's time to consider using 120 with a roll film back?

Another alternative, if you shoot color, is to use a local pro lab for processing. For B&W, shipping back is the only method I know.

Somebody needs to make a "film belt"--the photographer's equivalent of a money belt.

You can consider lead foil bags, but I don't know if they are safe enough these days, or if they would arouse suspicion.

-- Charlie Strack (, April 03, 2002.

go to a lab you used to go and ask them for empty boxes and inner plastic bag.. do same for camera store..if they don't have it ask them to hold it for you...I did that... also, mark the boxes with big bold marker so you won't get confused later on...

-- dan n. (, April 03, 2002.

All of the above are good answers. If you are afraid of the original not being durable enough, though, Mike Walker sells some nice 3 piece ABS boxes that I have been very happy with.

-- Jim Kish (, April 03, 2002.


Use quickloads or readyloads in 4X5 if you can get the emulsions you want? Then there's no issue, the film stays in a light-tight "box" (the envelope). And you have as many "holders" as you have pieces of film.



-- Steve Hamley (, April 03, 2002.

Douglas, you can just use the empty film 3 parts. Just like they're assembled when you take the film out to load it....put the exposed sheets all on top of each other--do a favor for the lab tech or yourself and put all the sheets facing the same direction--easier to load hangers when they're all facing the same way. Put the sheets in the smaller inner box, then cover that with the bottom part and then cover that with the lid. Every studio I've ever worked in has done it this way, don't worry about the film...we call it "offloading".

A couple tips to make life easy & avoid mistakes..always have a rubber band handy to put around the box *before* you switch the lights back on ....I can tell you horror stories of people accidentally fumbling & dropping a box & burning the film on the studio floor....have a roll of tape handy & tape the crap out of the sides of the box as well....take a big magic marker and write: EXPOSED on the lid and add the film/process type as well as how many sheets are inside. I send film out to labs like this and either tape my biz card to the lid as well or write my name & phone number on there too....if you go to labs, don't expect to get the box back. But if you're short on boxes, ask them becuase they'll probably have a zillion of 'em lying around.

Can't help you on the airport x-rays, I'm sure someone else can, hope this helps though.

-- dk thompson (, April 03, 2002.

Don't worry too much about the durability of the box either....I guess if you jumped up & down on it you would bust it open, or sat on it....but when we send our film out it goes through couriers... try as I might, I'd like to believe they handled the job bags like priceless objects, but I know they don't....if you're traveling, tyou should always treat the film better than your gear'd probably want to hand carry it everywhere you go.....

-- dk thompson (, April 03, 2002.

hi douglas i second Kent's suggestions. don't worry about scratching your film if you off-load into a box or 2. i sometimes don't get a chance to process all my film before i have to go out on another job to shoot more of it, and i end up offloading quite a bit since i don't have armloads and armloads of film holders - never scratched any film doing it (knock on wood! i'll be doing it tomorrow). i have mixed film up though. (no fun) make sure you mark on the box what kind of film is in there so you don't end up sorthing notch codes in the dark when you return. i have heard different things about xrays. some say unless it is asa 800 or faster you don't need to worry .. i have no idea if they have boosted the rays since 911 ... easier to ship/overnight to a friend . have fun on your trip

-- jnanian (, April 03, 2002.

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