archiving, digital vs. film

Started Oct 3, 2003 | Discussions thread
Brian Forum Pro • Posts: 21,760
If you do the math,

I think Digital wins. Say you have a 6MP camera that produces a 3MB JPG file. You can fit 1500 pictures on a single DVD. I shoot between 4,000 to 5,000 pictures a year. This would mean about 3 DVDs a year. I can scan through these pictures using thumb nails in less than a half hour. If I had to do this with negatives it would take for ever.

Not to mention every time a negative is handled, you run the risk of damaging it. Certainly with digital you need to make sure that your photo get transmitted to the latest common technology, but this hasn’t really been an issue for PC users for the 20+ years PCs have been around.

I can’t think of a single document that I have lost because of the advancement in technology. There have been those documents lost because I didn’t want them any more, but that happens with any format. I think all photographers eventually end up dumping a lot of old negatives, because they become such a hassle to maintain or they lose interest in them, etc.

Those pictures that I value will be kept and maintained so long as I maintain interest in them. And due to the nature of digital, they won’t ever fade.

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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