Film How long does film last past the expiration date

aaldhizephoto

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Location
Columbus, OH
Name
Aaron
I have an extensive (to me) film camera collection (about 35+ film cameras or so) that I would like to start using for fun in my free time. I do have some old rolls of film. I wasn't sure, are you able to use film after the "expiration" date? If so will there be anything wrong with the prints? Also is it true you should store film in cold places?
 
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I see camera shops keep their film in fridges, so I assume there's some point to keeping film cool :)

As for how long film lasts after expiration - I took these shots in late 2022 with some Kodak Colorplus 200 which I seem to remember expired in 2016. Camera was a Konica C35-EF I bought for £10 on FB marketplace. Developed by Harrison Cameras in Sheffield and scanned with their Noritsu scanner.

So in my limited experience, expired film isn't a lost cause, but I wouldn't trust anything vital to expired rolls, as it could end up being pot luck as to whether the images turn out.
2022-11-04_Konica C35-EF_9.jpg
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2022-11-07_Konica C35-EF_1.jpg
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I see camera shops keep their film in fridges, so I assume there's some point to keeping film cool :)

As for how long film lasts after expiration - I took these shots in late 2022 with some Kodak Colorplus 200 which I seem to remember expired in 2016. Camera was a Konica C35-EF I bought for £10 on FB marketplace. Developed by Harrison Cameras in Sheffield and scanned with their Noritsu scanner.

So in my limited experience, expired film isn't a lost cause, but I wouldn't trust anything vital to expired rolls, as it could end up being pot luck as to whether the images turn out.
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Gotcha! and nice shots! Gives me some hope that they're not a lost cause. I have some Polaroid Color 600 that expired in 2020 and 2008, some Kodak Elgar 100 that expired in 2021 and some Kodak MAX Versatility 400 that expired in 2004. Think I'm going to buy some new film and once I'm comfortable with it experiment with my "expired" film for some fun shoots!
 
Back in my film days, I kept an old refrigerator in my darkroom for film and paper. Film can last many years after the expiration date if you keep it cold. You can even freeze it. Right before they pretty much stopped processing Kodachrome here in the States, I was shooting Kodachrome that was 10 years old with excellent results. That film had been in my freezer for years. However, color and b&w negative film may start to fog as it ages. Also, color slide film (E6) may start to shift in color with age. Today, I still have some color negative film in my fridge for shooting with my toy camera collection. Just keep it cold and you will probably be okay.
 
Back in my film days, I kept an old refrigerator in my darkroom for film and paper. Film can last many years after the expiration date if you keep it cold. You can even freeze it. Right before they pretty much stopped processing Kodachrome here in the States, I was shooting Kodachrome that was 10 years old with excellent results. That film had been in my freezer for years. However, color and b&w negative film may start to fog as it ages. Also, color slide film (E6) may start to shift in color with age. Today, I still have some color negative film in my fridge for shooting with my toy camera collection. Just keep it cold and you will probably be okay.
think it's work a shot chilling/freezing film that's already "expired"? I have some that ranges 4 years past the date to 20 years past the date. All kept in a closet or drawer to date.
 
think it's work a shot chilling/freezing film that's already "expired"? I have some that ranges 4 years past the date to 20 years past the date. All kept in a closet or drawer to date.
I would immediately move all the film to a fridge, or better yet, to a freezer. Before you shoot a roll of refrigerated film, set it out for about an hour or so and let it come up to room temperature. Start a test roll with a roll of the of the oldest film you have. I would only shoot no more than half the frames and then have it processed and see how it looks. If it looks okay, I would immediately move all of the oldest film to a freezer. I used to keep almost all of my expired and new film in the freezer and kept my paper in the bottom of the fridge. I worked like this for years and years.
 
The fridge thing is mostly to keep temperature fluctuations from occurring. Room temperature doesn't hurt film, but excessive heat does, and lots of temperature variation does. At least that's the common wisdom that I have picked up. It's hard most of the time to evaluate how film has been stored over its lifetime, so while expired film that's kept well can still work well, it's probably best to err on the side of overexposure to compensate for the extra time, and see what you get from some experimental rolls.
 
The fridge thing is mostly to keep temperature fluctuations from occurring. Room temperature doesn't hurt film, but excessive heat does, and lots of temperature variation does. At least that's the common wisdom that I have picked up. It's hard most of the time to evaluate how film has been stored over its lifetime, so while expired film that's kept well can still work well, it's probably best to err on the side of overexposure to compensate for the extra time, and see what you get from some experimental rolls.
thanks for the insight, not a bad idea to probably overexpose a little. I'll make sure to do that!!
 
This is going by somewhat hazy memories from the film days, but Black/White is the most stable, then Slide with Colour negatives being the most effected by storing "wrong". "Pro" films are the least storageable. (The slide and colour negative may be in the wrong order, its been a while since I thought about this).

Also lower ISO films are less susceptible to degradation than higher ISO films.

Freezing is the "ultimate" storage for unused films of any sorts, as others have mentioned above. This is due to suspending the maturing of the chemicals bonded in the film, which is what leads to degradation.
 
I have used Kodacolor II color film that was 40 years old and it processed. Of course it was very slow. I heard once that you have to open the aperture one notch for each ten years old the film is, but I doubt that is etched in stone. Usually when I shoot expired film, and I have shot a LOT of it, I will just treat it as ASA 50 and it works perfectly, you get a feel for it how much to change the settings. Here are some shots from 40 year old film. It was a Kodak Duaflex from the 1950s my sister got somewhere and when I looked at it I noticed there was film in it , I said let me shoot it. So I could set the shutter to stay wide open as long as the button was held down, and I steadied the camera on and against things and did like five to ten second exposures in broad daylight and it worked very well I would say. There were also a few old shots on the camera it's original owner may have taken which looked okay.

Duaflex IV c.jpg


Duaflex IV d.jpg


Duaflex IV a.jpg
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