Polaroid 600 prints - longevity? (Slightly OT)

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by paulisme, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. paulisme

    paulisme Guest

    Sorry if this is a bit off-topic; I tried posting this to the
    large-format newsgroup but didn't get any replies. Anyway, I was
    going through some old family photos today and found quite a few old
    Polaroids that really brought back some memories. They were all about
    20 years old. I'm not really sure if they're Polaroid 600 or SX-70
    prints since those two types are so similar. Does anyone here know
    how long these prints typically last? Also, do they tend to fade
    easily? I'd like to frame some of them, but I don't want to lose them
    to fading.

    paulisme, Nov 17, 2003
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  2. paulisme

    Mike Guest

    They crack, fade, and basically fall apart.

    I'm currently scanning hundreds of old family Polaroids before they disintegrate. About 10% have cracks in the picture
    which I repair in Photoshop once scanned. If you value these pictures, I recommend that you do the same. A cheap $100
    scanner has plenty of resolution to pick up all the detail in a Polaroid picture.
    Mike, Nov 17, 2003
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  3. paulisme

    Jeremy Guest

    If you want to preserve them, by all means scan them. If you are new to
    digital preservation, I'd recommend www.scantips.com and
    http://www.city-gallery.com/digital/index.html to get you started. You
    don't need an expensive editing package like PhotoShop, you might have a
    look at Paint Shop Pro (Jasc Software) that sells for about $100 and does an
    excellent job, with a much less steep learning curve.

    One thing I would recommend is that you not do any image manipulation or
    correction at the scanner. Scan at the default settings and keep those
    files as your "digital negatives." You can then do your manipulation and
    editing on COPIES of those files. If, down the road, your skills or editing
    software improve, you can revisit those original scan files and re-edit

    If you play around with adjustments at the time you perform the scan, you
    will have thrown away pixels that you won't be able to recover later. Sure
    you can always rescan, but that assumes that you do not lose the originals,
    and that they do not deteriorate. You'll never scan them in better
    condition than they are right now.

    Paint Shop Pro has several tutorials on photo restoration on their web site
    www.jasc.com. You'll want to have a look at how easy the process is, once
    you learn the basics.

    I have gotten excellent results from Ofoto.com in having prints made of my
    scans. They do them on real photo paper and use real photo dyes--these are
    not inkjet or dye sub prints. You can also have multiple prints made, of
    any shots you upload, (you can upload your files via their web site--you
    don't mail them and risk delays or losses in the mail) and have them send
    copies of the prints to relatives, all at the same time that they make your
    prints. You can even send different combinations of prints to different
    people. Just tell them who gets what, and they do it all. They're a Kodak
    subsidiary, and I have always been happy with their work.

    You will probably end up with copies that are better-looking than the

    Jeremy, Nov 17, 2003
  4. Polaroid used to sell some kind of pinkish goop in a stick, like chapstick
    that was supposed to preserve their photographs......I don't know what it
    was, but it seemed to work pretty well. Today, I would bring them to a shop
    with a good scanner, and have them digitized and put on a CD........
    William Graham, Nov 18, 2003
  5. paulisme

    paulisme Guest

    I've got a lot of experience with scanners and digital image
    manipulation, and have scanned Polaroid prints in the past. What I
    don't want to lose, though, is the charm of the original Polaroids.
    There's just something about them, the fact that they're one-of-a-kind
    and can't be reproduced (there are no negatives, just the one print),
    that makes them special. Maybe I'm just being sentimental :)

    By the way, they look really cool in a floating frame.

    paulisme, Nov 18, 2003
  6. paulisme

    Lewis Lang Guest

    Subject: Re: Polaroid 600 prints - longevity? (Slightly OT)
    Yes, but which button do you push on the frame to turn off the gravity? ;-)

    Lewis Lang, Nov 18, 2003
  7. No, no, no. For the original roll and pack black-and-white film, there
    was a liquid preservative with a pink applicator; it was to be applied
    immediately after development, or the image would fade. The SX-70 and
    600 all-in-one technology is different.

    There's a bit at
    <http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=003DjF>, but not

    The good news is that these prints are hermetically sealed, so one
    would think that exposure to light would be the main hazard. But
    there's some bad news here:
    which may have to do with the image manipulation.

    The most authoritative information I could find was from a
    conservator's mailing list:
    Stephen H. Westin, Nov 19, 2003
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