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  1. #1
    snaggs's Avatar
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    Is Kodachrome the only archival color film?

    Was reading a thread on the Rangefinderforum.com and I realised that C-41 is not really archival (how long does it last?).. Is Kodachrome the only alternative to B&W for archiving?

    If so.. shouldn't we all be making more of an effort to keep it alive? Or does E6 last just as long? Why does C-41 not last?

    Daniel.

  2. #2
    L Gebhardt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snaggs
    Was reading a thread on the Rangefinderforum.com and I realised that C-41 is not really archival (how long does it last?).. Is Kodachrome the only alternative to B&W for archiving?

    If so.. shouldn't we all be making more of an effort to keep it alive? Or does E6 last just as long? Why does C-41 not last?

    Daniel.
    I have read, but do not know it it is true, that the newest Fuji E6 films have 100 year or more dark keeping ratings. I also thought the newest C-41 films were much better. I guess we will know in 50years or so if any of this is correct.

  3. #3

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    Kodachrome had the best dark keeping qualities. This may still be true. What we know about the keeping qualities of other films is pretty much whatever the manufacturer chooses to tell us.

    For myself I believe that color film which has been developed can be best stored by being carefully packaged and frozen. This is my belief...I have no data whatsoever to bolster this belief.

  4. #4

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    I think the freezing colour film idea is correct. I read an article about restoring some colour footage and / or photographs of JFK that were shoot on negative film that had been frozen, and was still in good condition.

    Tom.

  5. #5
    snaggs's Avatar
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    What kind of packaging would you need to freeze it? Couldn't you just stick your negative binder (file) inside a freezer bag and put it in the freezer?

    Daniel.

  6. #6
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snaggs
    Was reading a thread on the Rangefinderforum.com and I realised that C-41 is not really archival (how long does it last?).. Is Kodachrome the only alternative to B&W for archiving?

    If so.. shouldn't we all be making more of an effort to keep it alive? Or does E6 last just as long? Why does C-41 not last?

    Daniel.
    Current C41 and E6 technology, in accelerated dark testing(what ever that means) is claiming 100 year dark storage life, in the real world it will come down to how many times it is exposed to light, which can cause the dyes to fade on the emulsion, in the store I worked in, we used several slides in a sleeve to show a light table off, and there was noticable fade in the slides after only a couple of years. Of course with C41 it will depend on how many times you used the neg to make prints, as each time you do, it is exposed to the light from the enlarger, but even with some fade, you can correct the fade in the neg with color correcting filters.

    As far as keeping K process films alive, this, at least in the US would be a long uphill battle for a couple of reasons, 1. It is a highly caustic process to develope it, and most states will not allow the enviormental impact it can cause... 2. The general public at large, will no longer wait for days or weeks to get there slides back from the processor, in the world of 1 hour labs and digital instant gratification, you can't tell them it will be a week to get their stuff done, and unfortunately the bottom line to the big company is volume and not the specialized market such as us.

    Dave

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    If your are going to freeze it I would recommend the use of a plastic bag then some stiffening material another plastic bag and finally wrapping in aluminum foil.

  8. #8
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Freezing exposed C41 negs is probably not really needed, but all the manufactures do recommend keeping them in a cool, dark storage area and only exposue to the light when your going to print, once the emulsion has been fixed, the 'aging' process pretty much stops and the damage that can occur is due to the bleaching properties of light, we have seen developed C41 negs be stored in a trunk of a car, and still not show any real effects of the heat, but have seen negs stored in an area where they were in constant exposure to light, and they have degraded(faded) in a very short time, that is why we had to replace our calibration negs about every two months as they would begin to fade after being exposed everyday for a few minutes to calibrate the print machine.

    Dave

  9. #9

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    Yes col negs do fade, but it takes a while. I recently re-printed some col neg photos of myself as a baby for my parents. They were absolutely fine (I am now 46), yet had been kept in their original processing packs in a cupboard, with no special conservation measures.

    David.

  10. #10
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    The best way to keep Kodachrome alive is if we actually go down to the store and buy some. My local Longs Drugs still sells 24 exposure rolls of K64, and I buy a roll or two everytime I go in.

    I would hate it if Kodachrome went away, I have been looking at old slides from when I was a kid and even before I was born and the ones that were shot on Kodachrome were still bright and colorful, the ones that were shot on Ektachrome or Fujichrome looked like crap. All these slides were stored dark and only projected once in a while. Some of the Ektachrome slides were shot fairly receintly (mabe 15 years ago) and they looked faded while some of the Kodachrome was shot in the 1940's and 50's and still looked wonderful.

    I don't know about the current E-6 films but what I have seen in the past does not leave me with much hope that they will be as good as the Kodachrome in the future.
    Scott Stadler

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