Monday, 11 March 2013

Film: pulling images out of the mists of time

This weekend I thought I would give some time to a project which we started back in 2010.

My wife was ferreting through a cupboard back at her parents place in Finland before we came to Australia. She came across an old 110 camera which she recognised from her childhood.

I noticed that it had film in it still. I knew from buying my Pentax 110 series camera and lenses that this film was not processable in Finland. I said "for sure we can get it processed back in Australia. It turns out I was right.

Not unexpectedly however it seems that the film was more or less ruined from more than 20 years of sitting in the camera in a cupboard. None the less I could see something in the murky ink of each of strips, so I was willing to give it a go. This image (below) is what the film looks like to the eye on a light box.

Firstly I tried firstly my Epson flatbed scanner (the 4870) and was a little disappointed that I wasn't able to get as good an image as I'd like.

A bit of fooling around with strip holders and I was able to feed it into my Nikon LS-4000.

As per my normal view of scanning as if a positive, adjusting the levels and then throwing in some extra bits that the Nikon has (such as multi sampling) I was both pleased and surprised to be able to get the images off the film. This is one of them

Given the blackened murky neg I had to start with this isn't too bad. Sure its grainy and the colours are off, but keep in mind that this film has sat in the camera undeveloped for way past its ideal.

Actually if anyone remembers the prints one normally got from 110 its actually pretty darn good.

None of the images are prize winners, but its been great for the family to see images of long lost events and people who are sadly no longer with us.

This exercise has left me wondering about the age old question I have had over the archival nature of digital.

If someone left a consumer grade digital camera in the cupboard for 20 years from today, will anyone be able to get at those images? Will we have media readers to access the SD cards? Will USB even exist then?

Interesting question isn't it.

1 comment:

Noons said...

Wow! Amazing how well they came out!
Agree: digital reading would indeed be a problem. All my diskettes and removable scsi disks are nowadays for all intents and purposes dead. So are some of the cds "burned" a few years ago, despite guarantees they'd last 100 years... Currently my way out of this is to put almost everything in a USB thumping big drive and keep upgrading it to bigger and bigger sizes as they come out. Hopefully, I'll be able to continue to do it for a while. Until PB drives become available at affordable prices...