Mono film fade?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by royall_berndt, May 18, 2021.

  1. In 1984 I took some nice shots on Agfapan. In attempting to scan them recently, I get sketchy results.
    The negs are thin; they look faded. I printed one of the shots in 1984; it came out very rich looking. Is it possible for mono to lose quality over time? The negs have been in quality storage until last week. Here is one scanned frame. You will see the grain and low acuity, and this is not a huge magnification.

  2. And how would the scanned printed equivalent look for comparison?
    If not presented side by side it is impossible to see if perhaps it is your memory that has faded ;)
  3. I printed a copy of this in 5x7 for the girl's father. I remember being proud of the tones. I can't get those in a scan of the same neg.
  4. Silver-halide film can fade if not fixed or washed properly. Also if exposed to certain air pollutants. However, the fading is almost always accompanied by a colouration away from neutral - sepia, yellow, red or brown.

    If the negative(s) still look neutral grey, then it's unlikely they've lost density.

    What scanner are you using?
    You definitely should not try to use digital ICE or other IR dust/scratch removal on silver-image negatives. The very dark and posterised shadows (girl's hair for example) look as if IR defect reduction might have been used.
  5. The negs look neutral. I will have a frame printed at a lab.
    This kid was playing normally, but when she saw someone with a camera, she started showing off: handstands, cartwheels. Even dancing in the waves. Her father was amazed; he didn't know she had an exhibitionist streak.

    Oh. I didn't use dust-cleaning tools. Scanned on a Plustek 8100.
  6. With the right paper or VC filter, thin negative can make fine prints.

    And as Joe notes, all the things that can happen leave a sign.

    Silver doesn't evaporate, though there are some compounds with interesting colors.
  7. The main 'faults' are the posterised shadows and a lack of mid-tone contrast.

    Both of those can be addressed by applying a curve like this-
    Of course, that does nothing for the grainy appearance, but maybe that's due to over-sharpening?

    Given that there's adequate tonal separation there already, I think it's just a case of playing with the scanner settings or applying a curve boost to get a decent result.

    Certainly turn off any sharpening in the scanner software to reduce the appearance of grain. Scan in 48 bit mode. Then you can use an image editor to apply a suitable curve and use USM or Smart-sharpening to get an optimum balance of sharpness and suppressed grain in the final image.
  8. It could be grain aliasing, but, otherwise, yes, it could also be excessive sharpening.

    I remember, I believe related to a VHS tape player, someone wondering why not turn up the sharpness all the way.
    Why don't we always want the most sharpness? And this might be an example.

    Just like we don't turn the "tone" control all the way up, which is pretty much the same,
    except for audio instead of video.

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