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Re: filmscanners: Film base deterioration (was Digital Shortcomings)

Thanks very much, Tony. That was quite an education. I guess that has to be factored into the discussions of the merits of CD-R archives vs relying on the permanence of the original negatives and slides.

At 11:47 PM 06/26/2001, you wrote:
On Mon, 25 Jun 2001 13:10:33 -0400  Isaac Crawford (isaac@visi.net) wrote:

> . B&W
> film has far better archival qualities than the color stuff.

Oh, you might think so ;) - but see below

Nishimura is based at the Rochester Inst. of Technology Image Permananence
Institute, so appears to know his stuff.

It will give anyone who has been taking photos over the past 30yrs the

Warning: Negative base deterioration

If you haven't been using polyester based film (such as Kodak Estar
base films), then I expect that most of you won't have any negatives
left within a few decades. Let me give you the sad story first before
I talk about the whys and hows. I got a call around 1992 or so from
Evelyn New York photographer  known for her coffee table books in the
1950s and 60s of European cities. She called because she went into
her negative collection and found that they were all badly distorted
and the emulsions were lifting off. We had been researching this
problem since 1988 and were very aware of what the problem was. I had
to tell her that her life's work (other than what books and prints
were already out in the world) was gone and there was nothing that
could be done. A few could be saved by special methods, but it's so
labor intensive that of her thousands of negatives, it would only be
worth treating a couple.

Douglas Nishimura Research Scientist, Image Permanence Institute
Tony Sleep
http://www.halftone.co.uk - Online portfolio & exhibit; + film scanner
info & comparisons


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