35mm slides then and now

I want to chat about the quality of slides as I get them from customers today. This has come up because in recent weeks as we have had a range of 35mm transparencies that have shown the range of deterioration – from almost perfect condition to almost totally faded.

Why would there be such a variation ? Well the most probable answer is handling, storage and the type of orignal media. If slides are stored in the carousels they are almost always in good condition with little fading. Those that have been stored in boxes may develop signs of damp and often pick up dust. Plastic bags are particularly bad.

Customers send me their slide, negatives, photos and cine film in a variety of ways. Some send the entire carousels. Although this is expensive, even with the likes of Hermes, it does mean the slides are received in order and involves little handling of the slide. Some customers send us the slides in cardboard boxes bound with elastic bands. Definitely the cheapest way to send and these are the easiest for us to handle. The bundles can be labelled and when processed they can be easily identified.

Negatives are often sent in albums or plastic mounting sheets. It is interesting to note that the deterioration seen in negatives is generally far less than can be seen on slides. This could, of course, be because the negatives are hidden away while slides are usually projected and subjected to a high power lamp – albeit for a short period of time.

Cine film is often sent in the original postage envelopes, those yellow ones from Kodak in Hemel Hempstead. These remain in great condition.

In this past month we had a transparency project with slides spanning a forty year period. These were largely on Kodak stock. Those from the 50’s and 60’s were in excellent condition though some showed a little fading. Those from the 70’s were dark and discoloured. The ones from the 80s were on different stock, Fuji, and in superb condition.

Another 35mm slide scanning project based on Agfa stock showed the usual orange shift but recovered superbly. I never cease to be amazed how the colour correction software brings back the Agfa stock to a realistic and lifelike colour.

So what can you take from my blog today ? Well I hope that you all realise the importance of dry, dark, dust free storage. Secondly the importance of getting those slides, negative and photos scanned to save for the future. There are lots of scanning companies out there. Obviously I believe we are among the best slide and negative scanning digitising providers. And I think we are still among the cheapest. We offer a trial service so if you have slides, negative and photos you want to preserve why not give us a go?

Until next time. David.

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