One Reason Why Film Rules
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.
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.
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.
The camera is the most incidental element of photography.
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.
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
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With the with move to digital movies Kodak is pushing making archives on FILM.
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 brianmquinn; 11-08-2012 at 06:27 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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.
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.
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.
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.