U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: OT: corrupted .NEF files

Re: OT: corrupted .NEF files

I think I'm going to have to agree with Dan on this one.

You can buy a 120GB hard drive on newegg.com for $55.  Let's say you buy 2
of them for backup purposes; it's now up to $110.  If you're shooting raw
with a 10 MP digital camera, the raw files are 15MB.  That means you can
fit around 8,000 raw files onto this hard drive.

A 36-exposure roll of B&W film is about $4.  8,000 exposures comes out to
be about 222 rolls of film, which gives us a total of $888.

We can now take the money we save with the hard drives and go through 7
upgrade cycles (since the technology is getting cheaper, 7 cycles is the
bare minimum); assuming the lifespan of a drive is 6 years, that means
you'll get at the very least 48 years out of it.

Based on recent trends in technology, I'd estimate that one is more likely
to get 9-12 (maybe even more?) upgrade cycles (72-96 years) in before
reaching the $888 that film would cost.

Note: inflation was left out for the sake of simplicity.

Digital storage may have dependability problems, but then again, so does
film.  Film can scratched or otherwise damaged; but when stored properly,
it should be fine.  The same idea applies to digital storage.  When
used/maintained/stored/etc. correctly, it's actually quite reliable.  In
fact, I would argue that the ability to keep backups is one of the strong
suits; how many times have you wished you could undo a scratch on a
negative?  :)

Compatibility is becoming a non-issue these days, because there are
filesystem formats out there like FAT32 that are fully compatible with
every operating system out there.  There are also great efforts going on
to allow Mac OS X and linux/unix to fully utilize NTFS, the default
Windows filesystem.  Currently, NTFS can be read by all, but some can't
write to it.

So what I'm getting at here, is that in the (very) long term, film may be
a good way to go, especially for movies (those film cans take much less
space than the data center(s) companies like WB would need).  However, in
the case of still photographers, who don't need terabytes of space to
store ditigal images, I don't think cost and/or longevity are very good
reasons to avoid working digitally.

Camden Hardy


On Thu, November 9, 2006 4:09 am, Greg Schmitz wrote:
> Dan,
> To be honest with you, I was quite surprised to find that Warner
> Brothers requires the creation of RGB separations of all their digital
> elements and stipulates that they be stored on bw film.  But, from
> both a cost perspective and preservation standpoint it makes sense.
> If you consider that the average life of a hard disk is about six
> years, storing a life times worth of digital work electronically (and
> I'm talking still images here) is VERY expensive (hardware,
> compatibility, migration, etc.) compared to film.  Digital storage is
> also far less dependable when compared to film.  In the world of
> archives, film is the medium of choice for long term storage - for
> both still and M.P.; digital material is generally only considered
> acceptable for viewing or reference.  Kodak is hoping to pitch film as
> a storage medium for digital data of all sorts because it may be, if a
> standard can be established for writing the data, significantly
> cheaper over a span of 100 years than any known digital technologies.
> BTW, I agree with you that prints, inkjet or otherwise, if stored
> properly might be a good way to go.  But, most of us are all ready
> doing that with our images.  Prints however do not offer a practical,
> or economical solution if we want to refer to the bulk of the images
> that we have made in the past.  I suspect I'm not alone in going back
> and finding gems that I shot 30 years ago, but passed over because of
> the way I was looking at the world at the time.
> Best -greg
> On Thu, 9 Nov 2006, Dan Burkholder wrote:
>> First off, most still photographers would sure take issue with the
>> "costs more to shoot and store" point. Secondly, the issues of archiving
>> an entire motion picture (24 frames per second for two hours...you do
>> the math) are a lot different from the concerns of those of us who just
>> want to make sure we can still make another print in 40 years.
>> Let's be realistic. You can drive yourself nuts trying to ensure that
>> your images will be available down the road but, digitally speaking,
>> it's not a big deal to build some reliable redundancy into your system.
>> And if you do want hard copy archives of those special images, why not
>> make good archival inkjet prints that you can store away somewhere? They
>> could always be scanned for reproduction down the road if needed. A heck
>> of a lot of info is stored in a sharp, smooth surface print.
>> And last but but not least, some of us might be better served putting
>> that time and energy into trying to MAKE images worthy of concern in the
>> first place. A well preserved boring image will always be a boring
>> image, no matter how permanent we make it. Lord knows I have plenty of
>> negs and digital files that NOBODY is ever going to want to see
>> again...ever. ;^)
>> Dan