pef vs dng

William Robb warobb at
Wed Oct 7 21:31:22 EDT 2009

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Graydon"
Subject: Re: pef vs dng

> Copy all your digital files forward; this is the way, the truth, and the
> life with digital files.
>> For paper, you need the paper.  For any digital storage medium, you
>> need  an entire, *operational* system including peripherals and
>> software.
> For paper, you need paper, reasonably humidity, dark, lack of ants,
> termites, wasps, weevils, and silverfish, and the blessed absence of
> fungus.  For truly long-term, you need the blessed absence of oxygen and
> atmospheric sulfates.
> It's not an easy problem; all things come in time to die.

I have prints dating back close to 100 years. They are in perfectly 
acceptable condition, even though they made a trip from Scotland to Canada 
with my grandparents and family in the mid 1920s, a train trip across Canada 
and were probably stored in a cardboad box under a bed at their homestead 
through the Dirty Thirties, moved a couple of times from the homestead to 
Mossbank to MooseJaw to my parent's hose, and finally to my own construction 
riddled house in 2002.
They have recieved no special care, and are eminently copyable if I so 
desire (and if I can lay my hands on them as they are now in long term 

I also have a stack of high end Verbatim compact disks that were burned 
using Nero Burn software on a top end Plexwriter CD burner around 6 years 
ago that can no longer be read.

Prints will survive benign neglect. A box under the bed in an above grade 
room is all that is required to preserve them (dark fading and the like 
still is an issue of course).
A digital archive will not survive being neglected. An active and ongoing 
strategy is required to preserve digital images, and this extends to far 
more than the media it is stored on.

I've been at this digital photography game for less than ten years, and have 
lost serveral thousand times more digital images to media failure than the 
number of silver/dye based photographic images lost over the previous 3 

The simple and sad fact is, digital image files cannot be trusted to last 
over the long haul, especially given most peoples rather lassez faire 
attitude towards how they keep their computer files.
There is just too much more that can go wrong with them compared to a 
photographic print.

William Robb

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