To keep your film in good condition you have to store it properly. Over time or if subjected to extremes of temperature etc. film will go off. Contrast will deteriorate and colours will go a bit strange. Luckily for you modern film is actually pretty robust stuff and you can often get away with treating it quite badly though it won't do any harm to treat it properly.
Proper storage of film is not difficult to organise.
- Store your film in a cool dry place in its original container.
- Below 13 C if possible. (In the fridge)
- Keep it away from things with strong smells. i.e. don't keep it with the onions and garlic.
- Do not subject film to high temperatures. Avoid keeping film in places which may become very hot such as the glove box in a car or on a window ledge in the sun.
- Store away from bright lights or direct sunlight.
Before use allow film to reach the ambient temperature before you open the container. Do not open the container while film is frozen or cold as condensation will form on the film surface. Allow it to warm up naturally, an hour or so if it was in the fridge, several if it was frozen. Don't be a butt head and try to defrost the stuff in the microwave.
Process promptly. Your exposed film now holds an undeveloped 'latent' image and is now more susceptible to damage from poor storage so store it safely and have it processed as soon as possible.
Print film requires the C-41 process. This is the standard process for all colour negative films and is available almost anywhere.
Reversal/transparency film requires the E-6 process. This is the standard process for virtually all slide type films apart from Kodachrome (Kodak) and Scala (Agfa) which have thier own processes. If you purchased your film 'process paid' just put the film in the envelope provided and send it off. If not you will have to find a Lab which processes E-6. Most places that will take your print film will take your E-6 however they will probably send it off somewhere else so you may have to wait a while. You will find photograhic processing labs in the phone book, Yellow Pages and in the back of camera magazines.
Black and White film, although very simple, is probably the most difficult to have processed. Each brand of film, and frequently individual films from one brand, will have its own dedicated developer. As well as having their own recommended developer from the manufacturer most B/W films can be developed in a huge range of other developers from different manufacturers.
Having said that, as long as you stick to popular films from major manufacturers you should be able to have your film processed satisfactorily in most decent labs. Unfortunately the machine printing methods used by most labs, particularly those dealing in high volume developing and printing, are rarely suited to the production of black and white prints so results can sometimes be a bit disappointing. You can have good quality , individual re-prints or enlargements made from your best negatives.
Any professional lab will process your film and provide you with a contact sheet rather than a set of prints. A contact sheet is a single printed sheet with each image from your film on it. Use your contact sheet, and examination of your negatives, to select the best images for printing.
Chromgenic Black and White. These films are basically colour negative films without the colour. They use the C-41 process just like colour negative film but produce a black and white negative. As before the quality of the prints can sometimes be a little poor although it is improving as more processors get set up for using this type of film. In use chromogenic film is very forgiving of exposure errors as it has latitude similar to that of colour negative film and , like colour negative, you can have it processed almost anywhere.