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I was given a lot of film, and most were not in boxes so I opened the canisters to see what everything was. I have been storing the film in my fridge in the canisters.

Everything I’ve seen online says to make sure the film is in unopened containers. Is this bad for the film? If so, how should I store it? there are 40+ rolls.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know if it's bad to store them in a fridge (I assume not, though), but "open[ing] the canisters to see what everything was" probably totally ruined them. \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Feb 2, 2023 at 9:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Not so fast @xenoid. My interpretation is that the OP opened the plastic canister that a 35mm cassette comes in. That doesn't ruin anything. \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Feb 2, 2023 at 10:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Reminds me of the early 90's when the film shop in Soho, London [the dying years of Soho as the UK's 'arts' centre], had a wall of 6' tall glass-front fridges with all the film stock in. I'd never seen anything like it before. The regular retailers just selling a bit of Fuji/Kodak for consumers & wedding photographers just kept it in a cupboard. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 2, 2023 at 17:02

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The idea of keeping film in unopened containers/packaging is mostly to minimise the risk of condensation forming on the film. If the film is already at room temperature, then opening the plastic container to see what film is inside is not going to cause any damage. Just don't pull the film straight from the fridge/freezer and open it immediately. Always allow the film to acclimatise to the ambient air temperature before opening.

35mm film cassette with plastic canister

You can read more here:
Storage and Care of KODAK Photographic Materials

Take note of two paragraphs:

Warm up after refrigeration. To prevent condensation on the surfaces of film taken from a refrigerator or freezer, allow the package to warm up to room temperature before breaking the seal or opening the container. Warm-up times vary with the amount of material, the type of package, and the storage temperature.

Store opened packages carefully. After you have opened the original sealed packaging, the material is no longer protected from the damaging effects of high relative humidity and atmospheric contaminants such as chemical fumes. For this reason, it is important to use the material promptly.

However, in my experience, guidance from Kodak tends to be on the conservative side; I guess it has to be. In practicality, I think that once you are being sensible about the storage and handling of your film, and avoiding any kind of extremes, then you don't need to worry.

Also worth mentioning is that traditional black & white film is much more hardy in what storage conditions it can withstand. Refrigeration is preferable but not as important as with colour film.

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The photofinishing business uses pre-exposed test films that are stored in a lighttight box in the freezer. Each shift, a technician takes the box into the darkroom and removes a test film. This film is then developed and examined, and a graph of its development activity is made. Over the years I have processed thousands of these test film. All were frozen, removed from the freezer and the box replaced in the freezer. Never in all those years did water condense on any of the test film. I know it can happen but I have never seen a single insident of ill effects.

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