Old(?) Negatives, What Should I Do

Forums Forums Get Technical In the darkroom Old(?) Negatives, What Should I Do

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • Author
  • #2767

    Long story (kind of). My parents are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year and doing a renewal of vows. I’m making a video for them in the style of what my Mom did for her Aunt/Uncle’s 50th and then her parents’ 50th: Pictures of the couple growing up, marrying, and then life on out. Mom did it with a tripod, fading in and out, had us be quiet so she could add the sound later (love songs mostly). She knows I”m doing something for her that involves the old pictures.

    ANY WAY! I was diwn there on Friday (yesterday at this point) visiting my sister, and before I headed home, I stopped at my parents house to get the first batch of pictures to sort through. Mom asked what kind of pictures I wanted and I was vague, but I wanted pictures from their childhoods. After some digging, she gave me a box that had most (or all) of her childhood pictures that weren’t in her mom’s photo albums. In there I found a negative sleeve (and other negatives really, but it is this one that is interesting). It has four strips in it, two have four frames each, two have three frames each. It says Kodak Safety Film 5060 on it, and the pictures look like they were taken in the 1800s or early 1900s. What should I do with the negatives before giving them back to mom? Is there a possibility of a local photo place being able to scan these for me? I don’t know where they came from, but it’s quite possible they are pictures of relatives long dead and gone. Our home scanner didn’t do all that well at picking up the negatives. At this point finding out is more out of curiosity than anything else. I realize this is fragile stuff so I’m asking for advice. I don’t seem to be able to find much in the way of when this type of film was manufactured or a history of it to be able to know a possible timeline for when these could have been taken.

    Thanks for any advice/help.


    How easy it would be to get them scanned is going to depend on the format. 120 and 35mm are pretty easy, but if it’s some other size film holders can be an issue. A professional lab with a drum scanner can fluid-mount any size film, but that is seriously expensive – I’d only do that if you want to make big high quality prints from them.

    As a first step, you can get some idea what they look like is to hold them up to a light source (window etc) and photograph them (film won’t scan or photograph properly unless it’s backlit). Invert the results and you can get something like this:


    If you can get your hands on a lightbox, you could use that to photograph them too – I’m working on rigging up something like that to deal with a box of individually cut 6×7 120 negatives. Getting them in and out of the film holders for my scanner is going to be a chore and I have a lot to go through…


    Thanks! I’ll try that. I had husband try to scan it in and they looked all washed out. I’ll see what I can rig up to photograph them instead of scan. We have many lightsources, I’m sure something can be rigged.


    Also, some flatbedf scanners (even inexpensive ones) have light sources built into the lids specifically for scanning slides and negatives. The one I bought a couple of years does and it came with various plastic brackets for holding negatives of various sizes. So if you have a camera store near you that rents equipment, you might be able to rent a scanner for a day that will attach to your computer laptop via USB cable and you can scan them yourself. You’d have to install some software to control the scanner and save them to disk, but there are free packages that do it. I think when I was scanning negatives I was using GIMP to do it.

Viewing 4 posts - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
  • The topic ‘Old(?) Negatives, What Should I Do’ is closed to new replies.