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11-20-2023, 01:41 PM - 12 Likes   #1
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What Happens When You Leave Film in Your Car for 30 Days?

I recently decided to do a test. I bought two rolls of Kodak Gold 200 in 120, and put one in the fridge and one in my car for a month. I then loaded both into Hasselblad backs and went for a walk. I put the Hasselblad 500 C/M on a tripod and swapped backs for a shot with each roll of film. Both backs are in good working order with no light leaks.

Here's a video I put together of the experiment:

Hassy 500 C/M, Planar 80 2.8, Kodak Gold 200


11-20-2023, 02:07 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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As you found out and so well exhibited, heat basically fogs an emulsion and in color film, the three layers may not fog evenly which can produce colored fog in those areas affected. Higher speed film is more affected than slower film but heat is an enemy of any film product and the degree of heat as well as the time film is exposed to that heat determine the damage. This is one reason it's a good idea to refrigerate film prior to use and keep the film cool or refrigerated after exposure.

Kodak professional films are "tuned" to their peak performance and should be refrigerated from the time they are manufactured while non-pro films are manufactured with a bias, taking some sitting on the shelf into account to "age" the film performance to an optimum but that aging is uncontrolled so pro films have the advantage of more predictable results..That's important to pros who want the same results roll after roll.

After processing, color film dyes can fade over time, and heat also accelerates that so keeping developed film cool is also important. Black and white film is just as vulnerable prior to processing but once it's processed, the silver based image is much more stable than color dyes.

Digital photography also has its heat issues and storing data in excess heat can lead to media damage and lost data so keep those SD cards cool as well (not to mention hard drives, disk and SSD media).

In all cases, it time and amount, so short exposures to heat and keeping film at room temperature will produce less damage and in most cases it won't be noticeable (unless the time is long or the heat was way up there).

Last edited by Bob 256; 11-20-2023 at 02:14 PM.
11-20-2023, 04:01 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I think most knew this, but nothing like a test to show result.
11-20-2023, 04:44 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
I think most knew this, but nothing like a test to show result.
We always talk about the importance of keeping film refrigerated, but I wanted to see the difference. As mentioned in the video, one of my friends did a similar test but the lab corrected most of the issues so there wasn't much difference. I wish I would have purchased three rolls and left two of them in the car. Then I could have added a third set of photos with lab-corrected photos to see how much they can fix.

11-20-2023, 04:57 PM - 2 Likes   #5
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It might be interesting to repeat this with Kodak Tri-X film.

Once the most popular film for photojournalists Tri-X was formulated to endure the temperature extremes they often encountered.
However I'm not sure that is the case with today's iteration of Tri-X.

Films vary in retention of the latent image as well so test should be repeated with rolls of exposed film stored in a hot car and a fridge.

11-20-2023, 07:43 PM   #6
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A friend who had an 8X10 view camera kept it in his trunk loaded with tri-x and claimed it wasn't a problem. He also claimed you could see the grain on contact prints. Not sure if there was a correlation. Maybe some testing is needed.
11-20-2023, 09:28 PM   #7
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Reminds me when my friend and I left an vinyl LP in the back seat of his car in the middle of the summer for a few hours. The LP looked like a clam shell afterwards...


11-20-2023, 09:50 PM   #8
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Good experiment, good to see a visual to back up the storage instructions.
11-21-2023, 12:01 AM   #9
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Artistically speaking, the cooked version has great potential for a new photography style. A few thousand images in similar vein, mixing film with different degrees of cooking, and you too could be the next William Eggleston or whoever. You read it here first.
11-21-2023, 12:09 AM   #10
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I suppose it depends on where you live and what season it is - but I think the experiment proves fairly convincingly that, generally speaking, it's not a good idea

(to be fair, the actual video does specifically mention heat )

Last edited by ffking; 11-21-2023 at 01:05 AM.
11-21-2023, 06:46 AM   #11

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This happened to me a few years ago with a roll of T-max 400 120. I left it in the cab of our pickup truck for an afternoon on a hot summer day while on vacation. Upon developing the roll a few weeks later the negs looked totally washed out - all greys, no contrast. Another roll developed in the same tank, shot on the same trip but not subjected to the heat treatment, turned out perfectly normal. Lesson learned - it doesn't take long for some films to get ruined, just a few hours will do it.

Thanks @ChrisPlatt for the tip about Tri-X. I'll have to remember that. I love Tri-X in 120, so this is another reason to shoot with it more often.
11-21-2023, 07:15 AM   #12
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Good to know how heat can destroy your film.. Thanks for posting this
11-21-2023, 09:14 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
I think most knew this, but nothing like a test to show result.
i didn't know heat effected film. I walked around the mall for an hour with my roll in my pocket before dropping it off to develop, a lot of my pictures didn't develop
11-21-2023, 11:34 AM   #14
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Kodak Pro Image 100 colour film is also reportedly good for high temps and delayed processing. It was originally made for the SE Asian market, where storing/using film in high humidity is required.

Only available in the 135 format.

11-21-2023, 11:34 AM   #15
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Thanks for sharing. I love to see when people test things, even if they are somewhat common knowledge, and post the results. Definitely a pretty stark difference between the properly and improperly stored films.

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