archiving, digital vs. film

Started Oct 3, 2003 | Discussions thread
MennoB Contributing Member • Posts: 984
Re: archiving, digital vs. film

david.mitchell wrote:

So, in reading back through various people's strategies for
backups, most of them seem to be oriented around making multiple
redundant copies,

Being able to make multiple copies is IMO an advancement digital has over film, as you can store/backup a copy of your work somewhere else. A poll in my country asking what people would take with them when their house caught fire, showed that adfter the obvious (children, pets etc.), the next thing was "our photo albums".

as well as periodically refreshing those backups
to newer, possibly to a more current format.

That's hardly a real issue IMO. Even the old archaic floppies can still be read by 99% of todays machines. Also the storing capacity is increasing enormously every turn of format. Pretty soon it will be possible I think to backup a full lifetime of shooting on one single media.

For me, the HUGE advantage of shooting film is that as long as you
keep the negs relatively dry and in a safe place, they'll be usable

Well, indefinitely... Todays photo museums have a hard time preserving their oldest collections. Slide material has a bad reputation of color bleeding of the layers after a certain period of time. I'm preserving my father's archive of 9x6 B&W negs. A lot of them are over 60 years old, and believe me: they are certainly not 100% anymore.

Digital, on the other hand, requires effort to
maintain those backups. That means even if for my entire life I
keep my backups refreshed, my children will have to bear the burden
(if they care).

True. But technology is getting better. DVDR is already said to be better than CDR. Also digital refreshing is easy and lossness.

Forget that, I want to shoot digital, but back up the keepers to
FILM with a film recorder. Not only does film last much longer
without any kind of maintenance requirement,

Auch! Film is quite picky on the maintenance department. Store your negs in ol' shoe boxes in the basement and you can be sure they'll be destroyed within a relatively short period of time.

but it would be much
easier to come up with some way to print from some
no-longer-standard film size than an antique backup format.

I'm not at all sure about that. Getting those old 9x6 cm negs, I wrote about above, printed is a real problem where I live. On the other hand, for instance JPG is quite an 'old' picture format, still used today. It seems very likely to me that it will be possible to somehow print an old JPG file in the upcoming decades.

now I have some 8mm backup tapes from a few years ago that I have
no way to read, EVEN IF the tape is still good.

8mm backup tape was never that popular. Not in comparisment with floppies, CDR or DVDR anyway. These are used all over the world. Millions, Trillions, Gazzillions of such discs with digital data must be around on our globe. I'm sure they will be replaced some day, but hardware that can read them will be available for a LONG time, IMO.

Im wondering, are most ordinary people for the most part just not
really concerned about the longevity of their images? I'd be
willing to bet, that beginning in just a few years from now, people
who werent very diligent about their backups are going to start
discovering that their CD-Rs aren't so permanent after all, and
they're going to be just FREAKING OUT.

Yes, caution is necessary. On the other hand, personally I havent lost a single CDR disc since I began burning them, about 7 years ago. People who did, probably used cheap ass no-name junk.

So, doesnt anyone share my opinion that film recorders should be
seeing the same kind of progress that scanners and printers have
over the past few years?

Personally I dont have any intrest in such thing. But if you want one , sure why not. But shooting digital usually means shooting A LOT of images. And the conversing from digital to film takes time, even if you would only do your best ones. It would take far less time IMO to periodically check -and if necessary refresh- a 100% digital photo archive.

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