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07-18-2009, 11:11 AM   #1
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Organizing developed negatives? what's your strategy?

Ok, dumb question here. I've been using a film camera a bit alongside my K10d and I'm starting to wonder what is the best way to handle my developed film negatives for storage. My grandparents and parents just has her negatives in shoe boxes with the prints never put in albums.

I've been shooting digital since for over a decade now and I'm young, so what little fim I shot as a kid was dealt with however my mom did it for me. Explains why I have no clue where it is. I have a good folder and tagging system for my digitals so I can find them easy enough, but if I do much more film, I'll be going through negatives for hours trying to find the right exposure for an enlargement.

The simple thing to do would be scan them and use my digital storage methods, but I don't have a scanner that can handle that and haven't gotten the urge to send the negs away for scanning. I tried a local Walgreens CD once and their colors were horrible.

Just wondering how others do it...

07-18-2009, 01:47 PM   #2
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If you can find a good lab in your area, just get each roll scanned at the time of processing.
Don't bother with any printing.

Then store your negatives in “Print File Archival Preservers”, in a ringed binder.
You can order these online or pick them up at most Photo supply stores.

Slides are another option and are easy to store in trays.
07-18-2009, 02:48 PM   #3
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Either a binder system as suggested above or sleeves in an indexed file box. They have to be protected (make sure that you use archival materials) but make sure that they are indexed, or you will go nuts when you want to scan and can't find that special picture. If you can't find something locally, check the Light Impressions web site.
07-19-2009, 12:51 PM   #4
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i keep all my processing envelopes in a box ...

07-19-2009, 02:07 PM   #5
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I have a series of archival ring folders with the date, subject, camera, lens, developer, etc. written on the plastic negative sleeve page. I have not tried to organize it further with a database, because I can pretty much recall what I was doing at a particular time, and place, etc. when I'm trying to find a negative. You can slide a piece of white paper behind the negative sleeve and get a good idea of what is on it, then take the sleeve out and lay it on a light box when you've found the negative(s) you are looking for. When I have a lab process my film (e.g., C41) I have them make a CD which I put in a special holder designed to hang in the album along with the negatives. (Light Impressions is a good source, by the way.) Slides go into archival plastic sleeves which hang in a file cabinet; I put the same information on them as negatives.

If I were a professional, I know the volume would exceed what I can recall so I would use a database of some sort (computer, paper, etc.). The box method never worked for me because everything always got out of order and I couldn't find anything.
07-19-2009, 05:47 PM   #6
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complete utter chaos is my approach. A cabinet stuffed full of photos, and two large boxes, and a shoe box. 30 years ago I used the sleeves system, had a big stack, but left them in a darkroom at college and the next thing I knew no darkroom! Stuff was gone.

Ever since...
07-19-2009, 06:33 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the input everyone. I'll have to pick up some of those archival pages for a 3-ring binder. That way I have the ability to use that, if I don't keep up organizing, they are at least protected.

The local shop wasn't doing CD's the last I knew, but I see on the envelope, they have a "we do CD's" line now. That will be the plan for the future. I tried the local Walgreens once and their colors were far from accurate, so I had given up on CD's.
07-19-2009, 10:40 PM   #8
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I have a 3-ring binder and a huge pile of envelopes on my work table. There are also various boxes stuffed with envelopes. A lady friend suggested that I need to put all the pics in albums


(Desperately needing a different system...)

07-20-2009, 06:57 AM   #9
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It is hard to be someone who is good at everything, and often in life, organization does not accompany other useful traits.

Eventually, I started hiring a college student through craigslist to help me stay organized with paperwork - helped a lot.

I recently purchased a cannoscan 8800F - it does reasonable neg scans for under $ 200. These are much better than drugstore scans, something like 40 + megapixel x 48 bit color depth if I understand things correctly. I think drugstore scans are more like 6 megapixel x 8 or 10 bit color depth.

If you are interested, I can scan a few negs for you just for fun so you can see if the results are good enough. The file size is approx 120 mb each, so send a flash drive with the negatives.
07-20-2009, 12:11 PM   #10
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Binder pages are cheap and foolproof. A contact print proof sheet can be made
for each roll without removing them. I include one for each page of negatives.

07-20-2009, 12:25 PM   #11
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careful putting them in, they do scratch the negatives

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