Old 120 format B&W negatives got curled! need to flatten

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by hemantshah, Aug 29, 2018.

  1. I have about 50 6x6 120 format B&W negatives (mamiya and rollei) that my father used about 50 years ago. during storage, they got curved.
    I would like to know how to flatten them so i can scan them!

    curved negatives-2.jpg
  2. Curved film that old will have quite a bit of tension and you may never get them completely flat because they'll still be a bit buckled when you attempt to flatten them out. The way I would scan them is to place the negs on the glass of a flatbed scanner with a glass on top of the negs then tape the top glass down, but first check if the whole thickness will clear the scanner head by measuring what clearance there is

    If you use a dedicated film scanner, you'll need a "glass" tray to set the negs on, with a glass on top, but again you may need to tape it down
  3. thank you, "kmac" for your suggestion. I did try this a while ago. I have an Epson flatbed scanner V750 with two lamps and suitable film frames or guides as they call them, to enable transperancies, negatives, 120 and 35 formats. I laid the negatives under a glass plate, removed the guides, and tried to scan. the scanning lens did not focus correctly (I guess because it is a fixed focus apparatus). I am considering locating a service which has a drum scanner. then no need to flatten the negatives.
  4. A flatbed scanner should be able to focus on the glass surface, as that is what it will do with non-transparent objects (prints).

    I don't know so well how the V750 works, though.

    You could put a piece of glass between the negative and scan glass, though there could be reflection problems.
    That should answer the focus question, though.
  5. Interesting . . . My first thought was to rewet them in PhotoFlo but since these are cut negatives, I'm not sure how to tell you to dry them.

    You can try flattening them dry by pressing between two sheets of glass in a warm area for a few days. If you are careful, you might get eight or ten frames between two sheets of 8x10 framing glass.
  6. Putting them in film sleeves before flattening them in between books in a stack of books for a few days often helps remove a lot of the curl. Be ready to scan them as soon as you remove them from the stack because they often will "bounce back" a bit fairly quickly. Lower humidity in the scanning room is better.

    bgelfand likes this.
  7. Not on Epsons: The V700/800 series have two lenses and two points of focus. With (say) the 35mm or 120 holders, the focus point will be approx. 2.5mm ABOVE the copy glass. With 8x10 (film with area guide setting) focus will be ON the copy glass. When scanning MF or LF on the glass, you MUST manually select the "Area Guide" setting.
  8. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Actually had some old ones like this just break when flattened - am thinking next time, I'll put a couple samples in a cigar humidor for a couple of days before flattening.
    ed_farmer likes this.
  9. Sandy's idea is similar to what I do. I put some horridly curled 120 negs (3 frames each strip) into a Printview poly sleeve & allowed them to just sit around for several days. Slowly, the film will absorb moisture & uncurl a bit. When you notice this "uncurling", slowly start to weigh the sleeve down. Don't rush this part. . . mine took over a week here in the Puget Sound. After a week or two back in the negative book, mine could be scanned on my V800 with the Anti Newton Ring glass holding them flat. Aloha from the Mainland, Bill
  10. I had many rolled up rolls of 35mm negatives, maybe 40 or 50 years, that I put in PrintFile pages.

    Then I put them in three-ring binders, the smaller size, so that there aren't too many pages, and keep them closed.

    They aren't completely flat now, but not too curly.

    I don't have many old 120 negatives, but the ones I do have stayed flat.
  11. Agree completely.
    You want low humidity for storage, but for flattening warped negatives, you want humid, BUT NOT WET, of course.

    Proceed slowly,
    (Nolite id cogere, cape malleum majorem

    Don't force it, get a bigger hammer)
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  12. Thank you all friends... I am going to try - in sequence - 3 things. I will try and sandwich the negative under a glass plate, and the scanner's plate, and see if the scanner focusses correctly. If not I will try a press for a few days, and then quickly scan. finally, I will look for a drum scanner service.
    thank you all..
  13. Looking at the fine print …

    Perfection V800 Photo/V850 Pro User's Guide

    There are two sensors, one at 4800dpi and one at 6400dpi, where the latter doesn't cover the full width.

    In the specifications, the 6400dpi one is for film in holders, and the 4800 for film or prints on the glass.
    It doesn't mention lenses or focus in the specs, though.
  14. Please don't rewet the film. I've done that. Although a brief rewetting will indeed relax the film, the emulsion will crack and separate from the base. I have resorted to rewetting only in desperate situations when the old curled film is disintegrating and can't be handled any other way. In those cases, I briefly immerse the film in room-temperature water, then quickly copy it using a DSLR, macro lens, and film holder. The results aren't very good but are better than nothing.
  15. The new 135 and 120 film holders for the Epson V800 and V850 hold the negatives against a plastic anti-Newton-ring "glass". I bought the 135 size one because I had to scan a lot of film that had been stored for 70 years in Kodak film cans. Very very curled. Available as spare parts on eBay. Work fine on my Epson V750.

    Also, BetterScanning.com makes anti-Newton-ring film holders for a variety of flatbed scanners. I use the "variable size" one for scanning 127, 116, 122, and various film pack sizes of film.

Share This Page