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  1. #1
    Matt5791's Avatar
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    HELP! K200 slides deteriorating!

    As far as I am aware I have always stored my slides in reasonable conditions, but I projected a box of Kodachrome 200 slides shot 4 years ago the other day to discover what appears to be serious deterioration on 25% of the slides out of 36. They have been stored in the normal yellow plastic box from Kodak.

    See the attched scans - one of the whole slide and one a crop of the area and mark in question.

    Thanks for any help, Matt
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails K200 slide.jpg   K200 slide crop.JPG  

  2. #2
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    At a guess, this has little to do with the type of film and more to do with storage in damp conditions - presumably 25% or so are affected because they were lying in the box in such a way that their surfaces were exposed to the surrounding air. Can only suggest using film cleaner on any slides you want to save (may work if the mold isn't too bad) and generally storing slides in sealed containers (ziploc bags can be handy) each with a couple of silica gel sachets inside.

    Regards,

    David

  3. #3

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    Definitely fungus I'd say. Must be warm, humid storage conditions. I'd try film cleaner carefully - VERY carefully, and see if that helps.

    I noticed a magenta cast to the images. Is it just the scanning / my screen / usual digital vagaries or is it a real color cast on the slides? If so, that would suggest that one of the layers is deteriorating in addition to the fungus.

    Kodachrome was always reckoned as the most stable slide film. You weren't giving a slide show in the sauna were you?

    Bob
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  4. #4

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    Unfortunately, this is the fate of all color film materials - they're chemically unstable.

    Data issued by Kodak graphically shows the rate of color shift for each emulsion layer and the deterioration begins soon after processing - some colors shift faster than others.

    Atmospheric conditions will cause other problems such as cracks, spots, fungus, etc. I ran into the same problem with 20-30 year old materials. The only way I could think of saving them was scanning, fixing defects w/ps, and saving on CD. Not all could be saved.

    They weren't really saved - they were sacrificed as film - only changed in form, If we can call electronic a form (certainly not a material form unless we think electrons are material things).

    Poor processing will enhance the "problems".
    Last edited by panastasia; 01-30-2008 at 09:00 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    "Pictures are not incidental frills to a text; they are essences of our distinctive way of knowing." Stephen J. Gould

  5. #5
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Kodachrome 200 goes through the same process as all of the other Kodachrome family films do. Since they are noted as being among the most stable, I am surprised at the color shift we see as well. Perhaps it too is due to fungus.

    In any event, after cleaning, a small wad of formalin soaked cotton in a plastic bag with the film in a box in that same bag will serve to kill any fungus infestation. That should help recurrance.

    PE

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Kodachrome 200 goes through the same process as all of the other Kodachrome family films do. Since they are noted as being among the most stable, I am surprised at the color shift we see as well. Perhaps it too is due to fungus.

    In any event, after cleaning, a small wad of formalin soaked cotton in a plastic bag with the film in a box in that same bag will serve to kill any fungus infestation. That should help recurrance.

    PE
    PE,

    I knew you would chime in here with your unique knowledge.
    "Pictures are not incidental frills to a text; they are essences of our distinctive way of knowing." Stephen J. Gould

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by panastasia View Post
    Unfortunately, this is the fate of all color film materials - they're chemically unstable.
    Four years does seem an incredibly short period of time for such a colour shift. I've suffered badly over the years with mould (so have my slides!) - the damp atmosphere of Dartmoor is a photographer's nightmare for both film and lenses - but that sort of colour cast is something I'm only starting to see in 35+ year old slides. Could there have been some chemical agent near to the slides that might have affected them?

    It's one of the most disheartening things I know to reach for some favourite slides and find that the mould has begun.

    Steve

  8. #8
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    K200 always seemed to lean a bid magenta to me. It could have started out that way, rather than shifted over four years.

    Try cleaning the mold with film cleaner, and you might remount in glass mounts.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  9. #9
    Matt5791's Avatar
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    Thanks very much for the help here.

    This was a real shock to me because I have kodachrome slides from 40 years ago which show no problems, and, to my mind, have been stored in worse conditions (attic). These slides have been stored, until recently, in a low cupboard in a book case - the only thing I can think of is that the room this piece of furniture is in is slightly damp - the room is my dining room, ground floor, Victorian house, the floor is a suspended timber floor with air circulation below (typical of these houses) - normally this is a good system. But maybe there is a higher then desirable level of moisture in the air.

    What really worries me is that, also until recently, I have been storing thousands of feet of Super8 and 16mm movie film, much of it Kodachrome, but also quite a lot of colour neg.......

    Also the magenta cast is real - not a scanner anomoly or your monitor.

    Matt

  10. #10

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    For color film to retain maximum fidelity over time, it has to be archived and stored properly. Humidity and temperature, as well as industrial pollutants in the air are the main culprits. If you are really serious about your archival storage, and you live in relatively damp climate, you might consider the purchase of a room dehumidifier for the room you intend to store your film materials in. Here, where I live we do have relatively humid, hot summers, but with central referigerated air conditioning in my studio, the air stays relatively dry, and I have never experienced the mold issue you have. The basement of my residence, being partially below ground level, requires the constant running of a dehumidifier in warm weather, or I have mold growth on things.

    Also, if I am not mistaken, Kodachrome slides have a factory applied lacquer, which other types of slides do not. It is this lacquer that attracts mold growth, if I remember correctly.

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