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Thread: how to store exposed 4x5 sheet film

  1. #1

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    how to store exposed 4x5 sheet film

    Ok I am trying to think ahead to our Canada bucket-list trip next year (hopefully if health permits). I will be taking a number of loaded film holders (4x5) with me, but what happens when I run out. I will take a change bag with me, but what is the best way to store exposed sheets of 4x5 so I may reload my film holders??
    I have not taken my lf gear overseas so it is all new and a little daunting.
    Thank you in anticipation.

  2. #2

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    Re: how to store exposed 4x5 sheet film

    I always take empty film boxes and mark them as to development. I put the exposed sheets into the appropriate box - for instance a negative for normal development goes into the “N” or SBR7 box.

  3. #3
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: how to store exposed 4x5 sheet film

    Perhaps notched glassine envelopes so you can separates film in the old film box?

    I use stamp collector eBay glassine envelopes for 2X3 sheet film.

    For example only.

    I use mine for post processing storage.
    Vive la révolution!

  4. #4
    Louie Powell's Avatar
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    Re: how to store exposed 4x5 sheet film

    I agree that the whole process seems overwhelming, but if you break it down into components, you can find relatively simple solutions for each part.

    Like John, my solution to the exposed film problem was to take along three empty film boxes that were labeled N, N- and N+. At the end of each day, using a changing bag, I transferred the exposed film into the appropriate box. I had a collection of black plastic bags that film came wrapped in that I would use to prevent the film from touching the cardboard (just because the box originally came from a film manufacturer is no reason to assume that cardboard is acid-free).

    My boxes were also prominently labeled 'Exposed Film - Open in Total Darkness ONLY'. The three exposed film boxes, and the box of unexposed film, had been covered with plastic packing tape, and at the end of the trip, prior to going to the airport, I wrapped each box with a length of blue painters tape. The idea was to alert airport inspectors that the boxes should not be opened for inspection, and the tape served to slow them down long enough to read the label. Actually, I never had a problem with inspections because I just sent everything through the x-ray machine. The reason for covering the boxes in packing tape is that it allowed the painter's tape to easily peel off without damaging the boxes.

    The other potentially challenging issue is the 'pack mule factor' - how do get all that stuff where you are going. My solution was that my camera, lenses, filmholders, etc all goes in a large backpack. The airlines allow a second 'personal item', and that was a small carry-on camera bag that held a box of film, the empty boxes for the return trip, the role of painter's tape, my changing bag, a DSLR, and the reading material and other stuff for the flight. All that stuff went into the plane with me - the backpack overhead, and the small carryon at my feet. My clothes went into a bag that I checked (I can deal with lost underwear, but not with a lost camera). My tripod either went into my checked bag (if it was large enough), or into a separate tripod bag that was also checked. The only problem I encountered was that my tripod bag is made of canvass and doesn't provide a lot of protection, so the normal banging around that the airlines do with checked luggage resulted in some tripod damage. I suppose a solution to that would be to make a special tripod carrier from large-diameter PVC pipe, but I never got that far.

  5. #5

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    Re: how to store exposed 4x5 sheet film

    Old film boxes. Marked appropriately. Never bothered with separators and never had a scratch or archival problem. If using airlines, I let them X-ray my hand carried film rather than chancing them mishandling my film.

  6. #6
    tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: how to store exposed 4x5 sheet film

    If you will be out backpacking then boxes are the thing. But if you will be touring by road and staying in hotels/motels, etc., then I would plan on developing as I go: just add a daylight tank or tray or two OR scout your itinerary for rental of private darkrooms where you could stop and develop your films.

    Thomas

  7. #7

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    Re: how to store exposed 4x5 sheet film

    On longer trips, I too take along empty film boxes labeled N, N+ and N-. I use take along several of the cardboard stiffeners that come with the film and use these to keep the film from touching the black cardboard and as dividers in case I need to separate N+1 from N+2 or whatever. Unlike tgtaylor, I never develop along the way. I've carried exposed and undeveloped sheet film between the U.S. and Europe many times. Simply label the film "Exposed Film - Open in Total Darkness Only" tape the boxes closed closed and put them through the carry-on luggage scanner. I've had film scanned 7-8 times with no ill effects (Tri-X 320 and T-Max 400).

    I wouldn't worry about acid in the cardboard damaging the film (unless you plan on storing them in the boxes for years...) or about scratches as long as you use the cardboard inserts that the film is packaged with to keep it from touching the box itself.

    Have a great trip to Canada,

    Doremus

  8. #8

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    Re: how to store exposed 4x5 sheet film

    Like others, I use appropriately and clearly marked empty film boxes with the plastic bag, too. I don't develop along the way; mainly because I use a Jobo for most of my film processing. If staying in a motel/hotel, I'll typically use the bathroom (windowless) with a towel stuffed under the door to empty and reload holders. If backpacking for more than a day and/or camping, then a changing bag is the way to go.

    Have a great trip to Canada. It's a beautiful place!

  9. #9

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    Re: how to store exposed 4x5 sheet film

    or if you can swing it financially, get them processed here Toronto Image Works has next day turnaround for b/w and C41 up to 8x10. There's also Borealis in Montreal who process E-6 as well. but yeah, N, N+ and N- boxes.
    notch codes ? I only use one film...

  10. #10

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    Re: how to store exposed 4x5 sheet film

    Thank-you all for that valuable info, I will be better prepared for this adventure. I have only ever used xray film for photography, taking that would be an absolute nightmare, so I really was unaware of how careful one might need to be with real film.
    My thought was to concertina some silicone paper and place the film in the folds, inside a plastic bag. However a much better plan would be to use the packing boxes the film came in, or Randy's idea of glassine pockets which are available through fee bay

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