Are digital photos better than B/W photos?

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Iconoclast, Dec 11, 2003.

  1. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Guest

    Since I had to explain to my wife the large expenditure for a new digital
    camera, I tried to allay her objections by pointing out that now we will be
    able to preserve digital copies of her genealogical photographs.

    But, she pointed out that her old black and white photographs would not fade
    anyway because the silver in B/W photos cannot change, although the dies in
    color photos would.

    Do B/W photos fade with age if they are properly fixated?
     
    Iconoclast, Dec 11, 2003
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. Iconoclast

    Jeremy Guest

    --
    x-no-archive: yes
    B&W negs and prints certainly have better archival qualities than do color
    prints. That is not to say that digital copies aren's "as good." Digital
    copies are "different."

    1: DON'T even think of not preserving your original prints & negs. The
    Kodak web site offers tips for proper storage for long-term use.

    2: The value of digital copies is in the fact that they can be DUPLICATED
    and stored in MULTIPLE LOCATIONS, for example: copies can be distributed to
    family members or stored in safe deposit boxes.

    This strategy minimizes the risk of loss due to fire, flood or theft. You
    have only one set of original negatives, but you can clone your disks
    multiple times. There is safety in that.

    3: Another advantage of digital is that you can edit the images and correct
    fading, brightness, contrast, remove scratches and other repairs, without
    risking damaging the originals. There are numerous tutorials on the web
    that offer tips and techniques.

    4: Yet another advantage of digital: you can make reprints of some of those
    priceless photos--after you've edited them and corrected them--and you can
    make as many prints as you want, to be distributed among family members.
    Where there was previously only a single album of original prints, there can
    now be many copies of the family album out there!

    I have gotten excellent results from OFOTO.COM. They make real photos, not
    inkjet prints, from your digital files (they are owned by Kodak). The
    beauty of scanning your originals and making corrected prints is that you
    will end up with a better album than the one that held the originals, and
    you can leave it out in the open for viewing, without worrying about harming
    the originals.

    I use digital cameras and digitally-edited prints extensively in my own
    genealogy work. The advantages are overwhelming. Just remember that
    digital archiving is not a substitute for preservation of the original
    documents/photos. It is, rather an additional layer of conservation and
    duplication. You store the originals and you work with--not the
    originals--but the digital copies.

    You will find your digital equipment to be much more versatile than a
    film-based system would have been. You'll have loads of opportunities to
    use it to its full advantage. Go ahead and exploit it to the max!
     
    Jeremy, Dec 11, 2003
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. Iconoclast

    Pood Guest

    Glancing back through over 50 year's worth of photos, both B&W and
    color, it's clear that fading due to various causes is very much a
    problem for film as it is often claimed to be for dye-based printers.
    A better concern to have is what this all means in terms of your own
    usage. Kept in an album, photos should last indefinitely unless
    chemical reaction sets in (such as for inadequate washing of
    conventional prints).

    If you want absolutely permanent B&W prints, then consider a
    pigment-based inkjet printer in conjunction with archival paper. The
    black pigment used is generally of carbon composition, so should be
    around for milleniums to come, or at least until the paper wears out.
     
    Pood, Dec 11, 2003
    #3
  4. Iconoclast

    stacey Guest

    She saw though your lame excuse. You'll have to come up with something
    better and IMHO looks like she's smarter than you so it might be tough...
     
    stacey, Dec 12, 2003
    #4
  5. Iconoclast

    Harvey Guest

    While digital is theoretically able to be preserved forever, in 100 years
    the prints will still be there in some condition but alas there is unlikely
    to be any easy way to decode or extract the data from the digital storage
    media. Even 15 years later how many computers are equipped to extract the
    images stored on 5 1/4 floppy discs, the predominant digital storage media
    of its time? Also consider that it is likely that the dyes in the CD-Rs
    presumably used to store the images will have long turned to mush before the
    prints fade out.
     
    Harvey, Dec 12, 2003
    #5
  6. Iconoclast

    Guest Guest

    You have a point, but these changes don't happen overnight. When your
    storage medium if getting obsolete, you can move your archives to a new
    media, and you will still have retained 100% of the quality of the original.
    It may take a bit of archiving work every 5 or 10 years though.
     
    Guest, Dec 12, 2003
    #6
  7. Iconoclast

    stacey Guest

    Unless the media has -any- type of failure then you have 100% loss!
     
    stacey, Dec 13, 2003
    #7
  8. Or your negatives are cought in a fire.

    It is much easier to make backup copies of digital storage.
    If it is important to you - make backups - several - in several
    places.


    Roland
     
    Roland Karlsson, Dec 14, 2003
    #8
  9. Iconoclast

    stan Guest

    All photos fade with age.
     
    stan, Dec 15, 2003
    #9
  10. Iconoclast

    Steve House Guest

    Gelatin-silver prints need to be properly fixed, and even more
    importantly, washed after fixing to remove all traces of the fixer from
    the paper base. Very light treatment with gold toner protects the
    silver from attack by atmospheric contaminants. Given proper treatment
    and storage away from contact with non-archivally processed photographs,
    a silver print should last as long as the base it's printed on. That's
    the good news. The bad news is very few photographs prior to the 1960's
    were archivally processed except those by the pioneer fine-arts
    photographers like Ansel Adams and it's not very likely your wife's
    genealogical photos were among them.

    The archival permanence of digital photography is more problematical,
    not because of the impermanence of the process itself but more the
    impermanence of the technology. You can easily find all the materials
    necessary today to create a dauguerreotype, or print a negative as a
    platinum, or albumen print or to view a stereoscope slide. But try to
    find a 5 1/4 inch disk drive to read those digital tax files you put
    away in the safe-deposit box back in 1988 (assuming the glues holding
    the oxide to the substrate on the disk haven't deteriorated, which is
    iffy). Or an 8-inch floppy drive for the novel you wrote on a Wang back
    in the late 70's. Or a reel-to-reel drive to read a 9-track tape of
    telemetry data from the Mariner Mars lander!
     
    Steve House, Jan 24, 2004
    #10
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.