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Thread: Refrigerator Options for Film

  1. #1

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    Refrigerator Options for Film

    I've read through all the threads on refrigeration of film and would like to know how the small college dorm refrigerators perform for film storage. I have enough film that it's become an inconvenience to store it in my food fridge, where the beer and soda should be!

    The big box store has a couple of inexpensive dorm fridges. One model is just a fridge with limited temperature controls (cold, colder, coldest) and the other has a separate freezer section with its own separate door (also limited temp control). I have never frozen film, should I consider the one with the freezer, price being the same, and start freezing the stock I'm not currently drawing from?

    Should I be concerned by lack of fine-grain temp control, or just shove a cheap thermometer in the box and tinker with the temp until it's in the right zone?

    What temp do you refrigerate at? Each manufacturer has slightly different recommendations. I'm primarily a Portra, HP5 and Tri-X shooter.

    Thanks
    Bob

  2. #2

    Re: Refrigerator Options for Film

    Two issues that will likely drive your decision. The first is the space that you have to house a fridge or freezer. The second is the cost.

    I feel that the best alternative would be a small chest freezer if you have the space. The costs will be that excessive compared to the $125 +/- for a dorm fridge. I have one of them in my darkroom that I store some roll film and beverages. Freezing film is the best choice for longer term storage. The dorm freezer works OK but it is rather small. Remember, every time you open up a stand up fridge or freezer the cold air drops out like a big dog. In a chest freezer that simply does not happen. I also assume that because you are posting this on the LF forum you shoot sheet film so the small chest freezer is a good choice IMHO.

    I would check out Craigs list or look at the smallest chest freezer possible at Sams or Costco or discount appliance stores and consider using it for a food/film freezer as sometimes you can get some bargains on food that you can take advantage of.

  3. #3
    Large format foamer! SamReeves's Avatar
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    Re: Refrigerator Options for Film

    I like cold enough to keep ice cream or meat, and that should stop the aging process of film too!

  4. #4

    Re: Refrigerator Options for Film

    I was at Sams Club at lunchtime.

    A brand spanking new 5 ft3 chest freezer is $154 including shipping. A 4.4 ft3 dorm fridge is roughly $125.

    The small incremental cost for the chest freezer is inconsequential and it is very small and a modest power user.

  5. #5

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    Re: Refrigerator Options for Film

    I'll confess unfamiliarity with the freezers. I was looking at the dorm fridges because that's about as much space I have in the basement. Apartment dweller

    Is the freezer much bigger? If you had room for just one appliance would it be a fridge or freezer.

    The freezer idea is growing on me though. Could store my kids chicken nuggets in there

  6. #6

    Re: Refrigerator Options for Film

    Evaluate the dimensions of both and the space that you are intending to put it. Over the years the size of the chest freezers have come down dramatically due to space limitations. The other thing I like about the chest freezer is the fact that it opens from the top and not from the front where you need to have the space to accommodate a swinging front door.
    Last edited by Michael Kadillak; 4-Feb-2011 at 13:28. Reason: typo

  7. #7
    Roger Cole's Avatar
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    Re: Refrigerator Options for Film

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Kerner View Post
    I'll confess unfamiliarity with the freezers. I was looking at the dorm fridges because that's about as much space I have in the basement. Apartment dweller

    Is the freezer much bigger? If you had room for just one appliance would it be a fridge or freezer.

    The freezer idea is growing on me though. Could store my kids chicken nuggets in there
    Freezer, definitely.

    Film and paper will warm to usage temperature more quickly from the refrigerator, but the freezer will keep it far longer.

    I have some frozen 35mm film from the mid 90s, that I just didn't use up when I pretty much got out of photography. I fully expect the BW to be fine. The color I'm less sure about but I suspect it will be as it's all fairly slow - some Ektar 25 and Vericolor Type S!

  8. #8

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    Re: Refrigerator Options for Film

    Dollar for dollar it seems freezer makes most sense at least the prices I'm finding. I have one additional storage question that I didnt see addressed in other "freezer" threads.

    The best practice seems to be: keep the boxes sealed, defrost only what you need. Is there any harm in opening a big box ( like 50 sheet box of tri-x), taking out an envelope of 25 and putting the other envelope back in the box and deposting back in the freezer?

    I would think that as long as the envelope is sealed and not defrosted, there shouldn't be an issue.

  9. #9
    hacker extraordinaire
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    Re: Refrigerator Options for Film

    I bought a small chest freezer at Sam's club. Even in my small apartment, it's worth it. It saves money on food, as well as plenty of room for film. My only gripe is that it's a bit noisy when it kicks on.
    Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do.
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  10. #10

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    Re: Refrigerator Options for Film

    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    I bought a small chest freezer at Sam's club. Even in my small apartment, it's worth it. It saves money on food, as well as plenty of room for film. My only gripe is that it's a bit noisy when it kicks on.
    The prices are quite reasonable. Almost crazy. Chest freezers are within $10-20 of a dorm-sized fridge. My local box store and Best Buy were both out of stock. At a local PC Richard I found a 7 cuft chest for 0.20 (that's right twenty cents) more than a 5 cuft. Unfortunately, I dont have the space or need for the bigger chest.

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