No announcement yet.

Scanning water-damaged negatives

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Scanning water-damaged negatives

    Hi all

    One of my latest projects is to scan a huge number of family negatives. These are mostly 110 (and some disc film, ugh!). The challenging part is that these were in a basement that flooded about 15 years ago.

    Happily, most of the negatives look okay under a loupe, with one catch. The negs were all in standard Kodak carriers, thin polyethylene sleeves with a paper strip attached. Adhesive on both sides of the paper strip made a plastic sleeve for the negative. The water shrank the paper, the adhesive hardened and twisted the plastic around each negative, so the negs are wavy and curled. I have several hundred rolls of these, aka several thousand frames to deal with, that were taken between 1972 and 1990. Ah, the heyday of instamatic 110 film.

    I am carefully removing all of the negs from the carriers and putting them into archival sleeve pages. However, the negs retain the waves and curls they got from 15 years in this condition.

    I will put weights on them to see if I can straighten them out, but I'm not sure what else to do with them to get good scans. I can make film holders to put them into my film scanner (ScanWit 2720s), but can't hold them flat that way.

    An alternative is to sandwich them between a sheet of anti-newton glass and the flatbed on my Epson 3170, which holds them flat but doesn't yield the best scan results---and these tiny, water-damaged frames are going to need all the TLC I can give them.

    Any advice is helpful!


  • #2
    My first thought is to try to rewash the negs, say 70 degree water, photo flo, and dry by hanging them up in a dust free space with no heat. I would try that with a strip that you could afford to lose if it does not work right. Do not wash too long or in too strong a water flow. Watch for the emulsion to start peeling off.



    • #3
      Sounds very interesting---my darkroom knowledge is very minimal. I hadn't thought of rewashing. Since this is cheapo 110 I am worried about losing the emulsion, but it is definitely worth a shot, thanks for replying!


      Related Topics


      • mariaw
        Curled old B&W negatives
        by mariaw
        I have tried to scan old B&W negatives (from the 30's and 40's) but the negatives are no longer flat. i measured the negatives and they are 3.25 inches by 4.5 inches. The corners have turned up and so scanning results are very poor. Any suggestions?
        04-26-2008, 03:05 PM
      • Ambrosie
        Scanning B&W negatives
        by Ambrosie
        I'm about to embark on scanning a box of 1940s and 50s B&W negatives I found among my late mother's things.

        Being a complete novice, I read and reread all the postings on the forum I could find before starting in earnest. I picked up a lot of useful information but just now, when...
        07-20-2006, 05:44 PM
      • kiwicol
        Uncurling old negatives?
        by kiwicol
        I have about 150+ old negatives from the USA from the late 1800's but they are all curled/rolled up, some single others with 3-4 together. If I am careful I can gently unroll them and scan them, but have had to develop a system to hold them flat while I do that. Does anyone have any ideas how or even...
        11-03-2009, 01:21 AM
      • Bulgakov
        Scanner advice-take 2
        by Bulgakov

        I am new to this group and joined after searching for information on negative scanning and finding some really good information here. I read through Caravaggio's thread on scanner recommendations, but thought I would post a new thread as I have a similar question but different needs....
        12-04-2016, 07:39 AM
      • wonfuji
        Wet 35 mm slides
        by wonfuji
        Our house was leveled by fire last week but the firecrews rescued a lot of boxes of 35mm slide (in those cool slide cubes). Is there a preferred way to dry them? A lot of them took on water from the attempts to save the house.
        01-20-2007, 08:24 AM