archiving, digital vs. film

Started Oct 3, 2003 | Discussions thread
KenEis Veteran Member • Posts: 4,055
Dont think so

I have slides from the 1970s that were always kept dry and in the dark. All the blues and greens are gone. Fuji, Agfa and Ektachromes all gone. Kodachrome is the only long term surviver. Print negative are slightly better. Prints are all fading.

Digital will last for ever. The only problem is media and format. Any kind of tape is a bad choice because the earth's magnetic field and the instability of the tape base holding the magnetic particles in allignment is a problem.

I keep my images on CDRs and now DVDs. These media are very stable.

Your concern that 30 years from now there will be a new media and DVDs will all be gone is a possibility, but usually when you purchase the new media system its an easy transfer from the old. Since the new media will always be higher capacity a bulk copy is easy.

The only problem, and I share your concern, is what will be the format. If I keep my Nikon NEF files will I be able to read them. JPGs and TIFFs will probably still be readable as a back compatibility feature of some advanced format but the camera-specific formats will probably be long gone.

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

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
indefinitely. 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).

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, 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. Even
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.

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.

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? As far as I know, there's no such thing as
a "consumer grade" film recorder. The cheapest one i've seen is
$500 or so for a well-used bulky old thing. I dont quite understand
why they would be any more or less complex than a decent quality
film scanner.

Your thoughts would be welcome!


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Ken Eis - D100 and S45 Nikon 18-35, 28-105, 24-120VR, 70-300, 80-400VR, 500mm and 60mm macro

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