Shelf life of exposed [modern] color film?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by sothoth, Oct 5, 2007.

  1. sothoth

    sothoth TPF Noob!

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    Anyone know how long it's lasting these days? I've gotten back into film photography using 120 film and I'm having a great time. I'd pretty much forgotten the fun of the challenge when you had to get your good shots on just a few rolls of 120 film. It tends to slow me down, makes me think about the composition and lighting long and hard before pressing the button on the camera. I'm finding that my "good enough to print" ratio is much higher with film. I'm also thrilled with how nice the color looks, IMHO this is an area where digital has a long way to go in catching up.

    I know, I know, there are many downsides to film versus digital, but I can still love film for what it's great at, and use digital for what it's great at.

    Anyway, I've been using Velvia 50 or 100 (thank you to Fuji for making Velvia 50 again!!). Any guesses on the shelf life of this film once exposed/developed? In looking back at slides taken by family members from the 70s and 80s, it's a real mixed bag, a lot of them looking badly faded after a few years. Presumably the standard drug store processing might be to blame for the bad ones, but clearly color doesn't stand up as well as black and white in my experience and I'm wondering how critical it is that I make archival scans of them.
     
  2. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    Referring to the life of exposed and developed film:

    The longevity of colour materials has improved tremendously over the last couple of decades. Historically Kodachrome has stood up the best - even Kodachrome shot during WWII still looks pretty good (not to be confused with B&W film that has been colorized - a criminal act in my opinion). The other slide processes did not last as well - some were worse than others. Kodachrome only lasts well if it is kept in the dark. However, I have Ektachromes that are over thirty years old, such as these two night-time shots taken on High Speed Ektachrome Type B from '73:

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    Keep them in the dark. Use archival storage materials. Keep them cool and dry. Processed modern colour film should last a lot longer than the film from the 70s and 80s.

    Here's some information from Kodak:

    Storage of Color Slides

    Best,
    Helen
     
  3. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In case you are interested in restoring old photos, there is a book called Photoshop Restoration & Retouching by Katrin Eismann that is worth every penny you will pay for it.
     
  4. sothoth

    sothoth TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the info. It's no problem to do dark, cool, and dry storage. That's pretty much what I've always done anyway (though I didn't really know any better, it was incidental that I did it correctly).

    I've never really liked Kodak color film, but I LOVE their black and white. Hopefully Velvia will stand up as good over the years. I'd hate to lose my ocean and sunset photos, not to mention the archival quality stuff I take on my Holga. ;)
     

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