One Reason Why Film Rules

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by brianmquinn, Nov 7, 2012.

  1. brianmquinn

    brianmquinn Member

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    I am a film and digital shooter. I have EVERY shot I have ever taken on film going back 40 years. I have a good file system and can find ANY negative or slide within a minute or two.

    I am also a tech savy person and have been building my own home computers since the late 1970s. That was BEFORE the PC existed. I also began programing at that time.

    I currently own a Pentax K5 DSLR but also own and continue to use about a dozen film cameras. My favorites are the Pentax K2 and MX, PZ-1P and MZ-S, and finally 645. I still bring out the old Kodaks, AGFAs and Yashicas on occasion.

    I back up my computer every other day with a rolling backup and I keep several copies of by back up on more then one hard drive. So it would be IMPOSSIBLE to lose anything. WRONG!

    With my digital files I often copy them to my computer at the end of the day. Once a month or so catalog, tag etc the photos and file them in a different archive folder on the hard drive. Well last time I did so all of the files for the 6 week period were corrupt. I could see the image name on the hard drive and they files were the correct size BUT if I tried to open them I go an error and no image.

    Well I have SIX copes of these folders backed up on TWO external Hard Drives. One must be good. ALL are corrupt. I lost over 6 weeks of shots. Many were valuable and cannot be replaced.

    FILM RULES!!!!
     
  2. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    Brian,

    I am sorry for your bad luck, if this happens to a computer expert with 6 copies in his two hard disks , what would happen to me. I never cared about my films or scans because I never had enough money to buy film for
    art . I am interested in Leicas and put them in hard tests with my less money and wrote the experience to my mind. Well , internet and book industry opened new possibilities and new ideas everyday. Now , I am squeezing my memory everyday to find new connections in knowledge. Best thing is to know where to invest and get good experience from lens. And to be an huntdog and get good sniff from faraway corners of the world. Good photographs ,Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, many others and old lovers are in best recording medium in the world.

    Umut
     
  3. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    Brian, I feel your pain.

    I had a very similar experience about 3 years ago and lost a lot of important digital files.

    Fortunately my negatives continued to provide a reliable, though somewhat sparse, record of that period of our family life, mostly because I continued to enjoy working with my K1000.

    Film does rule in this important area. Although experiences with storms such as Sandy and Katrina provide us with a constant reminder that nothing in life can be totally safe, film remains the most reliable image storage method I can think of.
     
  4. okto

    okto Member

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    I'm looking into getting an LTO drive and storing backup tapes of my digital originals in a safety deposit box for exactly this reason.
     
  5. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I too prefer film as a recording medium. I have B&W negs going back perhaps 45 years and transparencies about the same. No colour negs as old as that because I didn't use colour neg until about 1990. Whilst I am not as methodical in my storage and cataloging they are there and will print, more than can be said for a number of CD's I burnt only 10yrs ago.
     
  6. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I agree that film rules, but personally, as someone who has used computers since being a child, I'm more comfortable with backup on computers than keeping film safe. Film can be destroyed in one fire, flood, or theft. Proper backups, can last forever*.

    A backup in the same location as the original isn't a backup. Use something like Dropbox, Amazon S3, Box.net, Google Drive to store on a global network. Amazon S3 is especially good as they replicate your data across their own global data centres.

    The great thing about computer data is that copies are perfect, making 10 copies of each negative is difficult, time consuming, and you may not even get the original's quality. Making 10 copies of digital files, stored all over the world in multiple locations is trivial.

    I love film, I don't shoot digital at all any more, but I'd much prefer to have digital's method of storage/backup than film. I argue the case for film given a chance, but I don't mention storage, as personally, I feel safer with computers than a physical filing cabinet.

    *Skynet attack excluded
     
  7. brianmquinn

    brianmquinn Member

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    With the with move to digital movies Kodak is pushing making archives on FILM.
    See
    http://motion.kodak.com/motion/Products/Customer_Testimonials/Why_Compromise/archive_one_sheet.htm

    Also I agree my film could be lost in a tornado or such. But when I am gone my friends and relatives can pick up a sheet of slides and see with their eyes something from their childhood. That image will be saved. I have much less hope that anyone will do the repeated effort to save a digital backup. The old junky computer will be tossed in the trash and all of the digital shots will go with it. A few years later someone will ask, Did anyone back up those pictures?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2012
  8. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    All hard-disks have a 100% failure rate, it is only a matter of when.

    If the problem occurred between the memory-card and the hard-disk - during the original copy from the camera, or via a card-reader, in other words - then it should have been caught by checks at that time. It is possible (though unclear from the OP) that the backups were all valid copies of what was on the hard-disk, but that what was on the hard-disk is not what was on the memory-cards.

    The first rule for a backup is to immediately check it's validity and that it can be restored. That was unfortunately not done in this case, so the copied files were apparently simply six copies of an unusable file. It should be possible to choose an option in your backup software to compare the backup to the original, at the time of making the backup. If this isn't possible then change the software. Note that changing the software will involve remaking all previous backups so that they can be read under the new system.

    There was no mention of offsite backup in the OP's post. If the location is destroyed then so are the backups. Ask the guys running the Fukushima reserve power-supply system how that works out.

    The OP doesn't mention which O/S and backup software he is using, or which file-system. If using simple file-copies to make "backups" then the result absolutely must be checked manually (possibly using a batch or script, depending on your O/S) every time, as there is no automatic check with simply copying a file.

    It is perfectly possible and reasonable to run a live backup permanently, either via disk-mirroring or with open-source tools from the Unix era. Having a schedule based on every other day, as per the OP, would only be adequate if checked at the time it was made (that should be standard for all backup plans) and when the memory-cards were over-written less often than the backup was made, so that the short-term protection for a faulty backup is to re-copy from the card and compare the files.

    As the size and name are visible, you could try different programs for opening the files, file-recovery software, a different operating system etc etc. There is a chance they may be read, depending on the file system (EXT3 would be good), but not a large one.

    A further necessary precaution, if no specific cause can be found, is to replace the hard-disk where the problem was originally seen and reinstall the operating system with all current service-packs and patches. The questionable disk can be checked with the SMART tools built in to the firmware and maybe, if it comes up as perfect, later re-used.

    EDIT: Sorry about the blah blah. This is my day job.
     
  9. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    Backblaze is affordable for unlimited backups. I hope to never have to use it, but I still pull some files down periodically to make sure all is well. Still, if you're backing up corrupt files, it's a moot point. Sounds like something else is going on.
     
  10. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Usually timed for when you can least afford to have a problem. There is not such thing as a Personal Computer! They are impersonal and they will stable you in the back when you least expect it. :blink:
     
  11. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Do you have thumbnails from the catalog program? Did you post any on social media sites or email to anyone? Did you put any on removable storage? Just thinking about different ways I found several "good" shots after a similar incident.
     
  12. daleeman

    daleeman Subscriber

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    My grand father really loved photography. Loved animals and was a vet and owned a medical lab for running tests in the late 1880+ I have many of his printed images, very few negs. Others along the way must not have thought negs were not important. I have printed images from my father, few negs too.

    For myself I have "pounds & pounds of negs and slides" plus many prints. Many prints, more mounted than loose. I also have a library index card file from a library filled with CDs and data DVDs. Several hard drives on the shelf filled with digital images since 2003 when I got my first DSLR (Nikon D100). Unfortunaly all of it is in the same home, ours. I know better but, failed to act as yet on off site storage.

    Your loss is tough, but it is my motivation. Hope you can recover some of it.
     
  13. brianmquinn

    brianmquinn Member

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    For those who care to learn from my mistake.

    My home computer has two physical hard drives. The C drive for the OS and programs and a D drive for data storage.

    I copy from my camera to a folder I set up on the Desktop C drive. That way I see it everyday and after I get a few it is a nagging reminder to catalog and file these images. As I said in this case a had about 6 weeks of photos to go through. I organized them and copied them to the D Drive. As soon as I did all that work I did a full overnight backup. I did not realize it at the time but the files did not copy properly to the D drive. So I got a backup of corrupt files. OOPS!

    If I had gone and checked the files manually I would have seen they did not copy properly. So over the next 2 months I made several more backups of garbage. When I did go to get the photos when someone requested them they were not readable. I did have six perfect copies of corrupt files.

    Other aspects of my “perfect” system were.
    Two external hard drives. I do a full backup once a week and do another backup of new of changed files mid week. On Mondays I unhook the drive connected to my home computer and take it to work and bring the other dive home with me to start the process again. That way I always have an off site backup in case my house burns down. Each drive is large enough to copy my computer three times hence my six copies.

    As MartinP pointed out I need to be more careful. Any by the way the issue was that my D hard drive was failing and I have replaced it. This was the first symptom of the impending total failure that it had.

    I also do all of my own B&W developing and have scanned untold thousands of negatives and slides. I do not want to even think of how may hours of work I would lose if I had no backup.

    Now that I am worried about a tornado where do I store my negatives? Perhaps I need a bomb shelter :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2012
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  15. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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  16. MARKNABIA

    MARKNABIA Member

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  17. mark

    mark Member

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    Been there, experienced it, cried in my beer, bought film.
     
  18. RedSun

    RedSun Member

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    Sandy could have ruined all of them. But do you want to store all your personal photos at off-site public storage? I do not.
     
  19. brianmquinn

    brianmquinn Member

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    Exactly! I cannot tell you how may times I have been printing in the darkroom and stuff I am working on triggers a memory. I pull an old set of negatives and start printing from that batch. That would not be possible with off site storage.

    I must say I have printed less than 5 % of all of the B&W negatives I have shot. I have scanned 95% of them however.
     
  20. Brian C. Miller

    Brian C. Miller Member

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    chkdsk c: /f
    chkdsk d: /f
    xcopy c:\path d:\path /vs

    Robocopy also has options for file verification.

    One of the problems with off-site storage is that it can get wiped out, too. Keeping things is waterproof cases with some desicant is a good idea. There aren't any cases which will protect film against fire, though. All of the fireproof safes protect paper against fire, but film has a lower temperature where it can be ruined.
     
  21. semi-ambivalent

    semi-ambivalent Subscriber

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    Brian,

    If you're going to keep the same regimen I'd reformat those drives, every time, before a backup is written to them. This will let the drive update its bad block list. Stop and go is hard on a drive; don't do it :smile:. And, not to get into a holy war, but I've rarely had issues with Linux's ext{2 and 3} filesystems, and I've never had issues with BSD's {UFS1 and UFS2} filesystems. You can do better than Windows. If you're managing that much important data you shouldn't be running it on consumer grade crap, no matter what it costs you. False savings. Real data protection is a lot more complicated than getting another 2TB drive from Big Comp Storefront.

    Good luck and post your progress (maybe in the lounge; this *is* APUG :smile: )

    s-a
     
  22. GRHazelton

    GRHazelton Subscriber

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    I had to use Backblaze's restore when two hard drives in a Raid I array failed within minutes of each other. GRRRRRRR. The Backblaze upload wasn't quite complete, so I lost some files despite the hard drive manufacturer's "help" with a routine which did no good. These particular drives failed for alot of folks and very few users were able to recover their files. A restore from Backblaze takes quite a while, (read several days!) but it did work. About the best $50 per year I ever spent.

    I now have a new machine with 2 1T WD drives designed for RAID usage, the array is backed up to 1.5T drives in drawers periodically, and Backblaze is rarely more than a few days behind. I have also gotten an UPS, something I should have done years ago.

    Still, when I consider the negatives I shot 50 years ago and those my father shot in the '30s, all still in excellent condition...I'd never throw them away, as some friends apparently have. They get their pix scanned to a CD and think that permanence is assured...NOT!
     
  23. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    Deleted pictures on a storage card can be recovered. Once overwritten they are gone for good but you might be surprised what you can pull off those cards.

    Even if the card was 'formatted' in the camera, they could still be there.

    Worth a try...
     
  24. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Practise proper backup technique with ALL important data. Using multiple backups is good, but not to identical media type in the same physical storage location. Same reason RAID1 is not a backup, mess it up on one, it happens to both. Faulty controller? Say good bye to both.

    In any case, recovery software often helps, you can rebuild corrupt master file tables, and also data recovery software, chances with good software is usually pretty good, as it's usually not a hardware issue (faulty read/write heads, bad sectors, etc) esp when happened to both.

    I'd recommend backing up to another place, if you live in a country with lots of bandwidth and large data allowances, use some kind of online dropbox, or buy some web hosting and ftp it there, optical media is a good choice too (when you use a quality burner, which is pretty much Pioneer brand by a long margin, along with quality discs, which would be Taiyo Yuden, or rebranded Taiyo Yudens, or the Inorganic Dye Verbatims (non-LTH ones, dont get organic dye Verbatims), stay away from "noname"/low end tier discs such as Sony, TDK, etc).

    If shooting digital, and it's paid... just write off the cost of the memory card, don't reuse it, and archive it somewhere safe, that's indexed and filed.. or at least buy slower speed memory cards and store it on there.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 8, 2012
  25. brianmquinn

    brianmquinn Member

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    My intent in opening this post was not to ask for advice on file recovery. I go a lot however; posted here and via PM. Thanks to everyone that tried to help.

    My main post is that anyone that has shot film has an instant archive in the envelope when their photos arrive. When my grandparents died all of their photos and negative were there and viewable by eye. They were all saved. With digital even when you know what you are doing and take care, spend dollars and hours of effort you can still lose a lot or even everything.

    Much of the advice posted here I already knew about and had tried. None worked for me. All of the information posted here may help others not as experienced as me however. So if you have advice give it. Especially if it can help with film archive storage and organization.

    I realize that this is APUG. However the first thing photo thing I ever did on my computer was to start to enter information on my negative and slide collection. When the information was in a digital format searching key words, date and such was so much easier.
     
  26. kevs

    kevs Member

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    It only takes one match / hard drive crash / electrical fault/ flood / lightning strike / earthquake to wipe out any archive, physical or digital. The only invulnerable data is that of which multiple copies are stored off-site away from the originals. And don't forget the role of the vinegar syndrome, or just plain carelessness. Hmmm, better get scanning then... :whistling:

    Cheers,
    kevs