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Re: filmscanners: Rescans and archiving

Environmental factors and proper processing procedures are paramount to 
film longevity.

Also, some films were notoriously bad for dye instability.

So, here are my "rules for not being forced into scanning your film to 
save it".

1) Buy film stock that has a known history, or of a brand name that has 
a good reputation.  In general, my experience has been that films 
produced by Kodak, and Fuji (over the last 15 years at least) are 
stable.  Agfa had a bad run in the early 1980's (yes, it was twenty 
years ago), but their slide films faded on my a long time ago.  It might 
have been processing errors, but they were process at Agfa Germany, so I 
expected better... ;-)

2) Try to find a repultable processor who doesn't cheat with their 
chemistry by under replenishing, etc. Misuse or lack of use of hardening 
agents in the fix, and lack of use of fungicidal agents (Formaldehyde 
used to be the chemical of choice, but more environmentally and health 
safe chemicals are now used).

3) If you live in a high humidity or hot climate (or both) buy or build 
a proper storage system for film, with dessicant or a dehumidifier. 
Dampness is probabaly more damaging than heat due to mould growth, but 
both are potentially hazardous.  These types of storage systems are not 
that costly to make.  Dessicants like silica gel are cheap and reusable, 
as they can be "recharged" by just heating in a microwave or oven until 
they let go of their moisture.

Using dessicant with an indicator is a good idea, although they often 
turn to "recharge" color long before they become non-functional.

In my experience, with proper environmental controls, (including 
darkness, and not projecting images in slide projectors for more than a 
few minutes at a time, and as few times as possible (or using 
duplicates)), most film stocks remain quite stable.  My Kodachrome 
images of the 1970's are as close to identical to how they were returned 
from the lab as I can recall.  My E-6 films of the same era are slightly 
faded, but nothing scanning and manipulating can't repair.  Most 
everything from 1980 or so on looks fine (except the Agfa as previously 

Some of my very early color negatives have faded considerably (1960s and 
even 1970s), but even most of them can be repaired in scanning.

Your film originals are always going to be the best source of 
information, if they can be kept stable.  No consumer scanner can 
currently capture them fully, and in terms of space and storage, film is 
still more reliable as a medium than nearly any digital format.


Rob Geraghty wrote:

> "Mrio Teixeira" <mjteixeira@yahoo.com> wrote:
>>"Arthur Entlich" <artistic@ampsc.com> wrote:
>>| Personally, I trust my film to maintain most of its integrity for many
>>| years to come, so I'm not panicking to get everything on CD-R.
>>Me too, I trust my color slides longevity -- I am scanning slides with
> near
>>thirty years that are in perfect conditions.
> I have slides that are much more recent which have been attacked by mould.
> :(  That's what I get for living in a subtropical area!
> I have colour negs which are completely destroyed by heat and humidity.
> Rob


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