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I'm in the process of scanning and restoring my dads entire library of family photos. Whilst I may be a 'photographer' and have started shooting 35mm for fun I'm not overly familiar with it as a format.
My dad always shot slides (positives) and almost always used Kodachrome emulsion. What I'm finding a little odd is that the slides are all mounted in plastic mounts but not all the same sort. I'm noticing that some mounts have a wider aperture than others yet I know all were shot on 35mm using the same camera. Surely 35mm is 35mm in which case why would you have some slides that show more of the frame than others?
Also I've bought a dedicated film scanner (not a flatbed) which has ICE to help with dust and scratch removal. Most the slides, of which there are a few thousand, have been kept in rotary carousels and inside the original carousel boxes but being 30-40 years old they are most definitely dusty. At the moment I'm just cleaning the glass on the slide mount as to be perfectly honest I don't know how to open the mounts without damaging them. Also I'm afraid of doing this as it looks like the film may have stuck to the glass on a few of them. There is also signs of what could be mould or something like that on a few slides. Can you open these slides (they are all the plastic type not cardboard) and should I to clean them? None of these photos are worth anything financially, they aren't particularly artistic but they have enormous sentimental value which is why I've set myself the task of digitising and restoring them in order to preserve them (it's going to take me a couple of years to complete the job) so I want to get the best result I can within reason but equally I don't want to damage them. Ultimately it's a case of balancing up the cost, the amount of time it will take and the quality of the end result so putting all of them through an ultrasonic bath isn't really going to be feasible or affordable.
Any advice on what to do?
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Kodachrome slides were mounted in card mounts until relatively late in their production life, so it looks like your dad transferred them to plastic mounts. It was nothing unusual for slide mounts to crop the image ever so slightly. On taking them out, the slides should all be the required 36 x 24mm. Plastic slide mounts normally consisted of two halves that simply snapped together or were hinged along one side. It should be easy to prise them apart with a thumbnail. Any that show the film stuck to the glass have had moisture in them, but that may not be a problem if it was on the base, rather than the emulsion side. If they are not too dusty, a blower brush should suffice to clean them. If they need washing, immerse them in lukewarm water with a little washing up liquid dissolved in it to prevent limescale forming on the slide, and then leave them to dry naturally on a clean surface. Don't wipe them. If there is any grit on the surface, it will scratch.
Quote: It should be easy to prise them apart with a thumbnail
Or a nail file, which is what I used.
I would do an editing session putting aside those that are worth scanning then put on one side those that have signs of being stuck to the glass or show some fungi.
The mounts are easy to open as they click together with the popular ones at the time being GePe mounts.
As said lukewarm water and a drop of fairy liqid would help to clean them with a soft brush while the critical part is drying them.
The ones that appear to be stuck could be soaked in the same water. It may well be the emulsion side that has stuck so a test with one will reveal if the film is damaged when removed from the mount.
No harm in scanning the slide while still in the mount if the scanner has this option as a test.
A dedicated slide scanner should be set up to scan slides in their mounts so they don't need removing.
It's unlikely that dust will have got into the mounts so a wipe over the outside of the glass should be enough to clean them.
However if there are still dust marks after that or signs of mildew then the mounts can be opened carefully & cleaned as above. When wiping the slides DO NOT use a brush if the slides are wet. Even a soft one is likely to damage the emulsion but can be used on the non-emulsion side.
If the slides show signs of mildew damage use a dilute solution of disinfectant in the wash to kill off the bugs or else they will continue to affect the emulsion.
I've gone through a similar procedure to 'archive' most of my old slides...though I used a flat-bed scanner.
I only used a very soft lens cleaning brush to get rid of dust, plus a 'rocket'-blower !!....I left the slides in their respective
mounts to scan them, as the depth of focus of the scanner is more than enough to cope with different mount thicknesses !
The down-side is the amount of cloning-out of tiny dust particles, scratches etc, it's amazing how they show up ??
The advantage of processing is adjusting the colour-balance, due to slight fading etc.,.....it certainly kept me occupied for
ages....& I haven't finished yet, even after editing out the 'suspect' images !!
A worthwhile process nontheless !!.....good luck Oliver !.
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