Do you worry about 'bit rot'


Gwyn

Link Posted 19/04/2015 - 14:59
We first made digital photos with a Sony Mavica camera that used 3.5" floppies, which we had borrowed, on a trip to California back in 1999.
I bought one for His Nibs after that, which he used on our Route 66 trip in 2002. We can't view those photos now, they are so small. All gone. The ones I took with my old film P&S and my first Pentax SLR, bought on that trip are still good, and in an album.
That is one reason why I always make a photo book of our trips now.

Maybe we should go do Route 66 again so I can make a book of it too.
Oh wait, no money after buying a camper.

McGregNi

Link Posted 19/04/2015 - 15:12
I don't really understand why the photos can't be seen now? Is it because the screen resolutions have increased so massively beyond the image dimensions? Would setting a much lower display resolution, like 600x800 , improve things?
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

Gwyn

Link Posted 19/04/2015 - 16:03
They are so tiny they are like thumbnails, and the resolution is such that they can't be printed to a decent quality. Partly because His Nibs recorded them at a fairly low resolution anyway to save on floppies, but partly just because they were naturally low res. He didn't copy them all to CD either, but left them on the floppies, and who has a floppy reader nowadays? We certainly don't.

McGregNi

Link Posted 19/04/2015 - 16:36
It's the obsolete storage device issue that seems to be the main concern. I also used floppies and the larger variations, 100 mb I think, and had a special drive in a win95 computer. But I think the devices had disappeared by 2000 and once the PC is replaced you have to be very committed to get it going again after it's been in the loft for 10 years!

I didn't shoot any digital that long ago, so my storage was limited to text and databases. But I admit that if I suddenly needed any of it again, I would be stumped.

In many ways I'm lucky that I've got plenty of photos on 35mm film negatives. They scan well if clean and I can get them to sit flat in the scanner adaptor, and don't seem to deteriorate much. So film is proving to be a very long term and reliable storage medium.

But as I said before, digitally things are surely better now ... The current breed of USB drives and DVD disks and the drives all seem to be bedded in for the long term and are constantly being updated, but backwards compatable also, and our key image file types are not threatened at all.
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 19/04/2015 - 16:40

johnriley

Link Posted 19/04/2015 - 16:45
The earliest RAW files are a bit tricky already Nigel, that is the Kodak ones in particular. A bit of a blow when the cameras cost thousands of pounds.

For the time being my JPEG files are secure from our first digital cameras onwards and I expect they will outlast me, in theory anyway. The pace of progress seems to also have slowed somewhat, so that helps. Maybe a plateau has been reached, and for a while improvements will be steady rather than in huge leaps.

In 50 years time, who knows what will be the norm. Maybe we'll have all gone back to film.....
Best regards, John

McGregNi

Link Posted 19/04/2015 - 17:44
Yes, I think really from an archival point of view that all camera brand proprietary RAW formats should be avoided completely if possible. Thankfully Pentax seem to be sensible in continuing to offer DNGs straight from the cameras. If not then I'd recommend converting every RAW into DNG anyway. You might lose some specific metadata, but the image itself will be intact with no quality loss.
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

gwing

Link Posted 20/04/2015 - 13:01
[quote:3496ace15f="and who has a floppy reader nowadays? We certainly don't.[/quote]

Anyone can get a portable USB floppy drive off Amazon to plug in for 4.95 ...

How good the original images are is of course another question. Technology marches on in the digital world even faster and just as we may look at one of our old black and white shots thinking it isn't worth keeping so we might discard early digital ones. However the space taken to store old low resolution images is so low there is little penalty in keeping them and anything in jpeg or a raw format supported by dcraw should be usable pretty much for ever.
Last Edited by gwing on 20/04/2015 - 13:20

johnha

Link Posted 20/04/2015 - 21:01
It's not the data you need to worry about - if you lose that you're stuffed - it's the ability to read & process the data that matters. I met a Canikon shooter who said he couldn't process his original digital images from 2003 anymore because he didn't have a computer that could read the data. Ignoring simple issues like software licenses, you need a computer running the right operating system with the right image processing software - for 'common' formats that's do-able - for specific formats, maybe not so do-able.

The best way is probably to simply* spin up virtual servers in the cloud with the right operating systems to run the software you need, install the image software and store your data there.

[luddite mode] I have 3.5" (720Kb from the '90s) and 5.25" (from circa '83) floppy disks and suitable hardware to read them. The vast majority are still readable on the original hardware and disk drives (which didn't evolve very fast at the time).[/luddite mode]

Be wary of promises of longevity from companies who haven't had the benefit of time to test their claims. Remember the 'super permanent' printer ink guaranteed for at least 20yrs turning orange after a few weeks - "Oh that's exposure to Ozone said the manufacturer - you need sealed frames to stop that!". Kodachrome has a proven life of at least 50yrs (at the last count based on when it was introduced), monochrome film over 100yrs (film recently found in Antarctica from 1913-14 could still be processed). Factory produced (pressed) CDs are very durable - but CD-R & CD-R/W still rely on dyes impregnated between pieces of plastic - and many people fail to check they're readable immediately after writing them!

* Of course this is really easy and everyone can do it!

John.
PPG Flickr

jeallen01

Link Posted 20/04/2015 - 22:08
Still have some 3.5" floppy drives in several of my old & "retired" PCs - wonder if they will still work?

OTOH, think I have ditched all the actual 3.5" floppies I had

OTOH2, my wife has some very old boxes of disks of the images you used to be able to buy to paste into documents, so I might actually have something to try to read, and so if anyone has old 3.5" floppies with photos on them then I might be able to try to retrieve those (no guarantees!)
K-3 II, K-3 and a K-70 from SRS (having now relegated the K-30 with the Hacked K-50 f/w to being a backup body) , & some Sigma and Pentax lenses (and a lot of old 35mm gear!)
Last Edited by jeallen01 on 20/04/2015 - 22:20

OldTaffy

Link Posted 20/04/2015 - 23:31
I have relatively recently persuaded my wife to stop using "Locoscript" word-processing on her ancient Amstrad PCW, pointing out that no publisher could possibly handle either the special Amsoft/Panasonic 3" x 4" floppies or the 8-bit software (good as it was in the late 1980s).

We still have a Viglen PC running Windows 95, and fitted with a 5.25 inch floppy drive. It was working OK a few months ago.

Sometime in the mid 1980s my department bought a proprietary word processor machine called a "Bitsy". I wrote several scientific papers on it. It saved documents to single-sided 5.25" floppies, in some proprietary format. When I retired, just a few years later, I wanted to access one of those documents, but the department had got rid of the machine, and even the local university computing service was unable to read the special "Bitsy" format floppies

I still have a cupboard full of new and used floppies, in both 1.44 Mb and 5.25" sizes! Never throw anything away!

Martin
A few of my photographs in flickr.
Lizars 1910 "Challenge" quarter-plate camera; and some more recent stuff.

50mpCMOS

Link Posted 21/04/2015 - 02:48
Microsoft has been keeping a fairly large archive of a variety of digital material; and then also even printing a good portion of it.

One of Microsoft largest assets is kept in places such as: Iron Mountain (rural north of Pittsburgh PA), also near White Sulfur Springs WV, and even near Trier in Germany. Second largest archives in the world

tyronet2000

Link Posted 24/04/2015 - 08:24
I'm happy for my images to last as long as they need to, a season in my camera club. after that they are just added to the slowly growing pile on top of a wardrobe in the spare room. What I need is to make a lot of my printed images the same size in the selected format, so I can recycle the mounts. I suppose the basic shapes will be portrait, square and letter box. Oh no! now I'm going to have to have 3 piles
Regards
Stan

PPG

Kseries

Link Posted 24/04/2015 - 13:57
Loads of photos stored on early computer formats which haven't been transferred to later methods will at some point get binned.

I have been scanning slides I took decades ago and am impressed by how well they have kept, whilst noting the first images from the *ist D could have been better stored. By that I mean we as photographers in the digital age often think of storage for now, rather than long term, as negatives and slides were/are so durable long term. It's also impossible to predict how digital images will be stored 20+ years from now.

I came to the conclusion that the best thing was to share the pictures about. As I've come across older images where others were present, I've e-mailed them to those I'm still in touch with. No guarantee that this will preserve them any more, but memories that can be shared is a worthy cause in its own right and numbers out there may preserve them for the future - should people feel that it is worth keeping.

I've also considered printing more pictures in future; this also helps focus me whilst taking new pictures - would I want this displayed?

50mpCMOS

Link Posted 24/04/2015 - 23:38
Quote:
film is proving to be a very long term and reliable storage medium.

But only if stored properly.

Cannot begin to mention how many examples I've run across where negatives (actually both positives and negatives) were not stored properly. Stored in items such as,..

1. Attic, or even worse uninsulated attic
2. Basement
3, Garage
4. In an album with acid (non archival) pages

johnriley

Link Posted 25/04/2015 - 08:04
That's true 50mpCMOS, but to be fair negatives can survive the most appalling conditions and still survive over 100 years. Some survive intact, some need restoration, but they do survive in a usable state.
Best regards, John
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