Black & White Film Expiry Dates

Ian-Barber

Admin
Staff member
Registered User
What's your thought / experience with using black and white film which has expired according to the date on the box.

I know keeping it cool and in a dark place is going to be far better than just have it stacked up on a shelf in a room which is subject to light and temperature change but I was just wondering how detrimental it is to adhere to keeping it refrigerated.
 

Ian Grant

Active Member
Registered User
B&W films used to carry much longer expiry dates typically 5 or 6 years, Ilford explained that the shorter 2-3 year dates used now are required as part of ISO 9002 certification ans are more about stock control than expiry.

Ilford don't recommend freezing films, this is a cause of many issues they see, usually because it's not allowed to unfreeze slowly. They say take from the freezer allow it to defrost in a refrigerator.

The only films I refrigerate are Delta 3200 as SFX, the rest stay in a box in the darkroom at floor level that's always where it's coolest. When in Turkey I store my film in a bottom drawer in the bedroom, luckily a ground floor apartment, and the temperature doesn't rise above about 22ºC at floor level even in the Summer when the outside temperature is in the low 40's, room temperatures might get to the mid 30's, higher at ceiling level as I discovered when repainting :D. My HP5 was stored in Turkey for a few years and was still fine 6 or 7 years after the expiry date when I eventually I finished it, results were no different to fresh HP5. (I should add it was very short dated film when I bought it unopened off a Forum from the US). Slower films will keep much longer.

So a cool dry place out of sunlight is all that's needed., and is in fact what Ilford recommend.

Ian
 

Joanna Carter

Active Member
Registered User
We have around 400 sheets of Acros in the freezer, but it has previously been kept in a "cool" place for around 10 years. It was expired when we bought it (2005).

We also have a couple of boxes of the same age that have never been chilled or frozen and, when we used some of it a couple of months ago, it behaved perfectly, developed in 7 year old Ilford DD-X with no problems at all
 
Last edited:

Alan9940

Active Member
Registered User
I have frozen my film for years and used stock that was 10 - 15 years beyond the expiry date without issue. The only "problem" I ever had was from an old box of 10x8 HP-5+ Of unknown storage; it revealed a bit of fog, but printed just fine.
 

mpirie

Member
Registered User
I've had problems with expired 120 Pan-F.

Although stored correctly, once processed, there appeared to be (what i consider) "growth" in the emulsion.

The film was 2 years over the expiry date and processed in batches, some were affected, some weren't!

Mike
 

Ian Grant

Active Member
Registered User
I left a roll of Pan F in my Rolleiflex, when I processed it a year later the film was toast. It needs processing within a few weeks of shooting.

Ian
 

David M

Well-Known Member
Registered User
B+W film has always seemed pretty stable to me too. Everything has to have a sell-by date, even water. I believe that colour film may be subject to ageing, thus mimicking the human condition.
 

mpirie

Member
Registered User
The longest duration between exposure and processing was around 4 weeks.

40 rolls exposed, and about 30% were affected......most noticeably on open skies as would be expected.

Mike
 

David M

Well-Known Member
Registered User
We seem to be discussing two things. We might be conflating them.
Firstly, the useful longevity of film before exposure. Secondly, the stability of the latent image after exposure.
There's also the question of physical deterioration of film when removed from its factory packaging, whether exposed or not.
 

Ian Grant

Active Member
Registered User
We seem to be discussing two things. We might be conflating them.
Firstly, the useful longevity of film before exposure. Secondly, the stability of the latent image after exposure.
There's also the question of physical deterioration of film when removed from its factory packaging, whether exposed or not.
Totally agree. Pan F is alone in this respect.

Ian
 
Top