Archival negative storage methods

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by MikeSeb, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    If I've posted in the wrong forum I trust the moderators will relocate it.

    Apologies if this is an old, tired subject, but I'd like some fresh opinions.

    I've been using Print-File sleeves for many years, stored in plastic enclosed "dust proof" 3-ring binder boxes. I'm wondering if there's a better way. I shoot mostly 120 (6x4.5 or 6x7) and 4x5. Because that demon d*****l is a part of my workflow, I have to trim the negative strips somewhat shorter than I would if I were exclusively optically printing. This means the strips don't fit easily into the available Print-File page solutions, and I waste a lot of storage. Plus, I wonder if some of my dust problems have to do with static generated during insertion and retrieval of negatives from the print-file sleeves.

    For those who have used both the print-file-type page sleeves and the Archival Supplies-type acid-free boxes, envelopes, and sleeves, which do you like better? My objectives are compactness of storage, archival and dust-free safety, freedom from scratching/static when inserting/removing, and ease of cataloging/retrieval. I don't absolutely have to be able to see the negatives; I scan everything for cataloging purposes, so I can find an image on the computer and then pull the negative.

    I was thinking of boxes containing envelopes, each containing one or more rolls of side-lock-sleeved 120 strips. For 4x5, individual sleeved negatives would be stored. I'm not averse to either poly or glassine, depending on what others' experiences have been with either.

    Opinions? and thanks for bearing with me on this tedious subject.
     
  2. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I'd be interested to hear more about the dust-proof, 3-ring binder boxes, since I use normal 3-ring binders. Will they hold a large number of negative pages and associated proof sheets, or are they only available in smaller sizes?
     
  3. cknapp1961

    cknapp1961 Member

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    Good topic.

    I do not like the new "plastic" negative storage pages, negatives seem to stick when inserting and removing. I like the old "glassine" stlye but cannot find any for 120 or 35mm.

    Which is better for long term storage, the newer plastic or the older glassine pages?
     
  4. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Ran into the same problem. I found if you scissor off the tiniest little nip off each corner, the problem is solved.
     
  5. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I shoot 35mm, but I find the individual mylar sleeves that you insert the strip from the top, plus envelopes and boxes much better than the printfile pages. I used to use those but didn't like sliding my strips in and out the long way.
     
  6. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    I've used a couple different kinds; can't recall where I got them. Probably B&H. They are basically plastic 3-ring binders built like a shirt box with the rings along a long narrow edge. They close up to seal against dust. Only problem I've seen with them is plastic fatigue. A couple have started to fracture along the cover hinge; another type has latches that keep the cover lid closed, and I can see these starting to fatigue with repeated opening and closing.

    It is this sort of thing, plus a desire to better optimize my use of storage materials, that has me thinking about sleeves/envelopes/boxes going forward. In fact, I ordered stuff for both 120 and 4x5 today from Archival Methods.
     
  7. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    My negative filing system is a low tech approach. 35mm, 2 1/4 & 4x5 are stored in standard mailing envelopes with date & subject written on the outside. I don't use proof sheets. All of the envelopes are stored in metal ammo boxes with a 2 pound silica gel pack to control humidity. I have negatives stored this way that go back 40 years and have never had a problem with any that have been pulled to print. A bit old fashioned but it works well for me. Of course all are cross referenced on my computer so I can find what I want.
     
  8. Bob Eskridge

    Bob Eskridge Member

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    I still like the clear pages best - having used the boxes and with envolopes in the past.

    I put my negatives- 135-120-4X5-5X7 in Mylar folders and then slide the combination into appropriate
    pages from Light Impressions. This eliminates the sliding part for the film.

    Unfortunately, the Mylar folders in 4X5 and 5X7 require some trimming to size for this to work. But it is worth it to me.
     
  9. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    I've used a combination of the clear pages and glassine stored in a 4 ring binder. However, I must have inadvertently purchased some "non-archival" plastic ones at some stage - a number of my negs have started to physically deteriorate. I thought maybe I hadn't washed or fixed for long enough originally, but film stored in the glassine ones processed at the same time, are perfect. Re-fixing some that weren't too bad was a *really bad idea*; the image bubbled as if it has been burned by a flame and of course that strip is now worthless. :sad: (Ended up looking as if I'd used acid to fix and wash it.)

    In any case, any plastic sleeves that weren't marked "Archival" have been binned and I'll stick with glassine ones from now on. Would prefer not to have this happen a second (or third) time.

    - Nanette
     
  10. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    That's nothing a little duct tape and bailing wire won't cure.

    I have a lot of three-ring binders, myself. They're not the greatest solution, but they're economical. There are various grades of clasps, some are more suited to the heavy weight of stuffed negative sleeves and are priced accordingly.

    Another option is to stick the regular binders inside large Ziploc bags (they make some pretty impressive sizes these days). I do that with various items if I know it's going to get dusty or wet around them.
     
  11. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    If I knew where to get large ziploc bags to use for my big 3-ring binders, I would use them. Where are bags this big available?
     
  12. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    I get them in the grocery story in the tupperware/Ziploc section. They've got some that are large enough to easily hold a couple of small children.

    We use them to store bunches of whole salmon, not small children, in the deep freeze.
     
  13. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    I didn't realize that supermarkets had such large ones. I'll try to remember to take a look, the next time that I am grocery shopping.
     
  14. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I use PrintFile pages (I like them because I can make contact sheets with them quite easily) and standard 2-3" D-ring binders. I should probably consider throwing something over them to keep out dust but so far I haven't had any issues.

    I make standard 8x10 contact sheets and 3-hole punch them, too. Not elegant, but works. They are easy enough to replace if they get damaged, and so far they are lasting fine.

    I use the same system for my slides.
     
  15. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    I think they're relatively new. At least the local store first started carrying them a year or so ago. They're not cheap, but they're very useful and last a long time.
     
  16. clayne

    clayne Member

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    I cannot recommend more the use of polyester fold-lock sleeves combined with either Printfile Ultima sleeves (they're made for the poly inserts) or archival envelopes in boxes. You lock the negative strip within a fold-lock strip and then slide *that* strip into a sleeve or place into an envelope. Do NOT slide a bare negative against or inside of "archival" sleeves without protection! Unless you're in a clean-room, you will end up with scratches.