Cleaning 50-year old film... how to do it?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by maiku, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. Hi,
    I came across 10 small boxes of Fujicolor Slide Film. The boxes are dated from 1957 to 1963. They photos are of High School trips to Kamakura, Esojima, Hakone and Mount Fuji. The slides show a lot deterioration from poor storage, which cannot be repaired. However, there is a lot of dirt on the slides. I would like to clean off the slides that present nicest photos. The majority of photos are terrible. Poor exposure, poor composition and a lot of camera shake, but that said they are interesting.
    Any help with a viable and effective solution to clean the negatives will be greatly appreciated.
    Included are some of the photos I like.
  2. Photo 2
  3. Photo 3
  4. Photo 4
  5. Last photo
  6. Ok Two more
  7. Last one honestly....
  8. You might get away with blowing them off very carefully to get any loose stuff off them and then using whatever you can find in the way of a film cleaning liquid. I've had luck with using Edwal brand "Anti-Stat Film Cleaner" on old Kodak slides that were as bad as these. I have no idea if that is sold in Japan, but something like it surely is. Of course you'll have to get them out of the mounts, clean them, and remount them.
    The Edwal strips any lacquer off them too, but that additional element makes the job more tedious and makes removing them from the mounts absolutely essential. I don't know if Fuji used anything like that on the slides, but it wasn't uncommon then.
    But 10 boxes? That's a lot. For 10 boxes, it may well be well to check into whether some professional assistance would be affordable.
  9. Do a sort and figure out which ones really need to be saved, I am sure not all will be as important as others. I would personally try washing them in distilled water, one at a time letting them soak long enough to loosen up everything, agitate so that the film touches nothing other than water and then dry by clipping one end with a clothespin. If it is only dirt, it will rinse away and you wont have damaged the film itself. Be sure to use a wetting agent in the wash water and rinse it in a second totally clean bath before hanging it.
  10. That's not dirt -- it's clearly fungus, especially the first few. Keep them away from anything you don't want to catch the fungus. The fungus has eaten the gelatin of the emulsion, I doubt these can be repaired. Scan them with a scanner with Digital ICE, and then store them someplace by themselves.
  11. I have done Kodachrome and Ektachrome with worse fungus and the end result was pretty decent.On the older ones the lacquer coating seems to have protected the emulsion itself. Also, color is layered, of course and the damage may have affected only the top layers.
    The advice to keep them segregated from other film and photographic things is a very good one.

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