Archival Photography Question

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by MoonLoon, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. MoonLoon

    MoonLoon TPF Noob!

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    Hi there, new member here. I have a great deal of family photographs from the 1910's to the 1930's that only exist on photographic paper. I would love to preserve these on 120 film directly. I am planning to use my Rolleiflex 3.5f. Anyone have any suggestions on an archival, fine grained B&W film (all the photographs are black & white) and on what lighting arrangement I should use to keep any reflection/texture of the old paper from showing, etc? I'm planning to open the photo album and boost the pages up until they are level with the camera (which would be pointing directly down on the photo album from a tripod). I would use a level for the pages and the camera to make sure there is no distortion. I would then proceed to photograph each photo individually. Would I need to add anything to my Rolleiflex's lens to get certain photographs to fill the frame, thus gaining more detail?
    These are my main questions, feel free to point out any faults in my plan, I'm relatively new to film photography.


     
  2. Light Guru

    Light Guru Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I work at a History Library and what you are wanting to do is rather crazy.

    Digitize them!!!


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  3. MoonLoon

    MoonLoon TPF Noob!

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    I had originally thought of drum scanning and having the files output to negative, however most of the photographs are glued permanently to the board like pages. This makes regular scanning difficult too. Since the pages are slightly buckled they don't allow the photographs to rest on the scanner evenly. I emphasize preservation on celluloid simply because it's easier in the long term, especially for small scale personal projects like this. No migrating files every 5 years.
     
  4. Dave442

    Dave442 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I would not want to try and do this copy work with film. I've done it in the past, film was cheap and I had a darkroom. My grandad had done it many years before to family images from the 1800's, so we could have those up for display and the originals properly stored.

    I would first decide what you want to do with the images. I just photograph my old B&W prints or negatives with the DSLR and then share them with family. Most family prints I have from 100 years ago were just contact prints and they photograph fairly well.

    Two lights, one on each side. Camera on tripod/boom arm/copy stand - whatever you have so it con look down on the work and have room to move the photo albums around underneath. I use my macro lens.

    You can then print these files so you have new copies on paper. There are a lot of us here that still like celluloid, but if my grandkids are any indication then there is not going to be anyone in my family looking to do something with my old negatives in another twenty years other than convert them to digital.

    We also had a Rolleiflex sitting on the camera shelf in the closet, along with the Kodak folder that had made the much earlier images. I would not want to try and do copy work with that Rollei these days. In addition, it is shooting in a much different aspect ratio.

    With digital I also find it easier to restore the old prints when necessary and to go back and reshoot anything that just didn't come out right.

    With old negatives I would sometimes stitch a few images together just because there is so much detail in those medium format negatives, although that is not even really necessary now with the newer DSLR bodies.

    Anyway, if you want to do it with film then more power to you. It will certainly be an interesting personal project.
     
  5. Light Guru

    Light Guru Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Even more crazy an idea.

    Not an issue done all the time.

    The top of the scanner helps with that. Again not an issue.

    You think support for tiff files if going away anytime soon? Think again.





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  6. Light Guru

    Light Guru Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Photo albums from that time period are usually easily disassembled (usually by string) take it apart and just lay each page flat.

    If you insist on photographing it it do it digitally. You say you want to preserve them. With film you will only have one copy of the negative you make. With digital you can save them all on multiple hard drives and have one given to a family member so that you have an offsite backup.



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  7. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Celluloid? In case anyone is interested, there hasn't been any celluloid film since the 1950s.

    OK, carry on with your argument ...
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
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  8. webestang64

    webestang64 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Funny this kind a question pops up. I had the Missouri History Museum call me a couple of weeks ago saying that their 300 year archive gold cd's have failed and they want to shoot all their old photos onto film.
     
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  9. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have an early CD from maybe 15 years ago (not gold) and it's started to deteriorate. But the negatives are fine. You can have all the copies you want from film - 'wet' prints, scans, copies stored on an external hard drive, inkjet prints from the copies, etc. It's apparently way easier to make digital copies from film than to make a negative from a digital original (but I haven't tried it). B&W film seems to last indefinitely; color not so much.

    Isn't this what copy stands were made for? You could probably find one and try it without putting a lot of money into it. I think you use that to position the camera over the object.

    I suppose I might try a scan and see how it does. I have scanned something that wasn't completely flat (can't remember what it was) and the lid I suppose closed enough that the scan turned out fine. Depends on how large the albums are I suppose. Might take some experimenting or trial and error to see what works best.
     
  10. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Only if you MAKE one negative.

    Astoundingly, it's totally possible to take multiple film frames and create multiple negatives. Take, say, three or four frames, then store them at separate locations. Problem solved.
     
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  11. Light Guru

    Light Guru Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Making the project even more expensive.
     
  12. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    Same applies to digital.
     

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