Freezing temperature and film speed

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by burtharrris, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. burtharrris

    burtharrris TPF Noob!

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    It's 8 degrees today in central pennsylvania. I usually keep my B&W film frozen or in the fridge, and thaw it for a the day before I decided to use it. But if i'm going to go outside to temperatures colder than my freezer, do I even need to thaw it?

    And more importantly, will my film speed still be accurate? That is, assuming correct operation of my camera in the cold temps.
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't know for sure...but I've never read that ambient temps have an effect on film speed. I would still defrost the film...but maybe avoid getting it too warm.

    I have read that there can be a few other problems in the cold. One is the film can get brittle...and maybe break when you are winding it/advancing it. Another issue may be static electricity. Cold air is very dry...and the film dragging across the canister/inside of the camera can possible cause sparks...which may show up in the image. I've heard of that...but never seen it myself.

    As always, be careful when bringing the camera back into the warmth of your home/car. Condensation will form inside and outside of the camera. Place the camera in a plastic bag before going in...or at least keep it in a camera bag to warm up before taking it out.
     
  3. tasman

    tasman TPF Noob!

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    Yes you should, If it is too cold, it will crack or break once it is unrolled in the camera. Try and keep it someplace warm when you are not using it.
    The shutter speeds should not be affected by the cold if the camera is warm. Also the batteries may be affected by the cold.
     
  4. tasman

    tasman TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Mike, I forgot about condensation, that is not a good thing in a camera.
     
  5. PlasticSpanner

    PlasticSpanner TPF Noob!

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    For astrophotography I keep the defrosted films in my trouser pockets until needed.

    I usually either wrap the camera in a scarf or pop a fleece hat over it to keep the body warm too.

    Another problem with film and cold is condensation droplets forming in the film canister afterwards. Like Mike said put your cam and film in a sealed plastic bag when you bring them back inside & you should be OK.
     
  6. fightheheathens

    fightheheathens TPF Noob!

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    try to keep the camera warm, if thats not possible, make sure you give it a long time to adjust to new temps and wind the film very slowly. I have shot below 0F with film and had problems with static as well as parts of the emulsion freezing and doing wierd things.
     
  7. burtharrris

    burtharrris TPF Noob!

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    Damn. And it's not like its right outside my building, I have to hike to the place I want to go.
     
  8. ladyphotog

    ladyphotog TPF Noob!

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    I always tuck my camera into my coat when I'm shooting on cold days. Use your body heat to keep it warm until you are actually shooting.
     
  9. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    Yes I have seen static artifacts on 35mm B&W film. But I don't remember if it was cold or just happened. I remember wondering why there were lightning strikes on the film when I processed it. :D

    I blame myself for rewinding into the can at a brisk pace. Always made me wonder why people with those point and shoots that battery rewind after the last picture, don't have more of this problem.


    I did some football games years ago, and never had any problems with film breaking or cracking, but it's wasn't sub-zero, just freezing cold and snow. I was more worried about shutters that would have slower times because of thick grease/oil and lenses that were hard to focus and zoom.

    I think heat is a worse enemy than short periods outside in the cold.

    I never noticed any change in the film speed or response. But I was shooting Tri-X not color, so I wouldn't see much difference.
     

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