How do I store unopened packs of Polaroid film?/What is a "cool, dry place"?/Have you always had to store them in the fridge?

I don't recall ever hearing about back in the day you had to keep your unopened packs of Polaroid film in the fridge but I was looking to buy some as well as a modern Polaroid camera and they say to keep unopened packs in a quote "cool, dry place" because of the chemicals and they recommended on the Amazon listings for both the classic 600 film and the modern i-Type film to keep unopened packs in the fridge but not the freezer and to let the pack get to room temperature before you put it in the camera. I never heard of this but this is my start of getting into Polaroid/instant photo photography so what do I know. It makes sense to keep the film dry and protected because of the chemicals, it's just news to me that you have to store them in the fridge. They are in fact official Polaroid film packs being listed by Polaroid by the way.

2 Answers

  • Sumi
    Lv 7
    1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    The storage of film in the freezer or refrigerator is something that photographers have been doing for decades.  The reason is that film, when stored in a freezer, won't ever degrade even years past its expiration date.  Film is placed in the refrigerator to slow the degration of the film.  Either way, the film must be taken out into room temperature for about an hour to let it warm up.  If this isn't done, then water will condense on the film and cause spots.

    Now, NEVER PLACE INSTANT FILM IN THE FREEZER.  This will freeze the chemistry causing sharp crystals that can puncture the chemical pack and ruin the film.  Placing instant film in the refrigerator is a great idea for a few reasons: 1) You live in an area that is very hot, and 2) you don't plan on using the film for a long period of time.

    For the vast majority of people not living in a desert environment without A/C, keeping the film in a drawer or closet is going to be just fine.  Those who practice putting film in a freezer are those who shoot (or shot) a lot of film and purchased film by the brick which is a 20-pack.

    There are professional films and general consumer films, each with an expiration date.  As each film ages, the color & contrast and other characteristics change.  For consumer film, the change is fine and often sought after.  Consensus says that consumer-grade film is best as it reaches close to its expiration date.  Think of it as buying a green banana.

    On the other hand, professional film is designed to be optimal right out of the factory.  In this sense, professional film is like buying a perfectly ripe banana, so you don't want to let it sit.  Keeping it in the freezer will keep it at it's current state.  And when you're a professional where it's crucial to be able to produce consistent results, one can see the importance of keeping the professional film in a freezer prior to usage.  Plus, film characteristics can change a little from batch to batch, which is another reason for a working professional to buy film in bulk and store it in a freezer.

    If you buy professional film, always buy from a vendor that keeps the film in a freezer or refrigerator.  If the film is displayed on a shelf, I personally think it'll be fine, but if I'm photographing something important like a wedding, then I would never buy professional film that was not stored in at least a refrigerator.

  • 1 month ago

    All film stock, including Polaroid, starts to deteriorate almost as soon as it's made - keeping it cool slows the deterioration.  This isn't new!  Given that the current instant cameras are little more toys, it seems like a waste of fridge space!

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