The Great Archiving Project: Part 1

This year my grandpa sadly dies due to complications after a long battle with COVID-19. When someone who have lived for almost more than 80 years passes away there are of course a lot of that has been gathered, memories in materials. And of course there are a lot of pictures.

I do consider myself a hobby photographer and indeed as expected I do love analogue photography. Hence I’ve taken it upon me to archive and scan all images that my grandfather left behind. While I’m doing that I also have a bunch of negatives from my mime and dad which I’ve promised to archive as well.

In a series of posts that hopefully will serve to motivate me (given that I’m putting it out there in the world that I’ve promised to do this…), I’m going to document exactly how I’m doing this.

What do we have to work with?

Let’s first do a quick inventory of what material we have to digitise. I should note that since I currently don’t have access to the negatives and prints from my maim and dad these tallies are only for the material left by my grandfather (also note that this is more of an estimate since I’ve certainly missed/forgot the count etc but should be in the ball park). The current inventory looks like this:

Format Frames
Print 1030
35mm Colour Neg 778
Contact Sheet 380
110 Colour Neg 339
126 Colour Neg 46
35mm BY Neg 13
35mm Colour Slide 9
Polaroid 2
Total Frames 2597

As you can see, we have a bunch of different formats. There are also 6 reels of 8mm film that will be sent to a professional. I’ve never seen 110 film and 126 film before, 110 is a really small negative and 126 is a 28x28mm square format. It is also unclear how much duplication we have.


First, let’s talk a bit about what we want to get out of this. The main goal here is to scan and put into deep storage so that we have a backup of all of this. We’ve already lost perhaps 1500 frames of negatives due to bad storage and I don’t want that to happen as well. We also want scans that are at least good enough to print copies from in a standard size. While optimal quality is good and worth working for, it is not the end goal here.

With that said, I have a good opportunity to actually produce acceptable scans. The current weapons at my disposal is an Epson V750 Pro flatbed scanner. This will take care of all of the 1030 prints with ease, no problems there chief. It will also produce okay scans of 35mm negatives with a bit of work and with the correct software (I currently use Westerner). This means we can get the prints and 35mm done fairly quickly and if there is some 35mm shots we want in crazy good quality that could be fixed later with my DSLR scanning.

The 2 Polaroids will also be scanned on the V750, I’m a hipster photographer so of course I own not one, but two Polaroid cameras myself so I’ve 3d printed some nice holders for the V750 that allows me to scan Polaroids with great results.

That takes care of most of the material. Given that the contact sheets are so small (each frame is tiny) those will be put on hold for a while.

Now the 126 frames could probably work in the V750 but I doubt the quality will be good enough, given that there aren’t a lot of them my goal here is to do DSLR scanning with my Nikon d7000 and macro setup. The same goes for the 110 negatives, the problem there is that a 110 negative is only 13x17mm! They are very small, but I do have a very capable macro setup that should give me good enough material to work with. My current idea here is to 3d print a holder and advancing mechanism together with my 2-3x magnification macro setup and some good lights to produce good scans. This will be by far the hardest thing to get good scans of so I think it will be worth investing some time and 3d printer filament to do it justice.

Stay tuned for the next part where I’ll probably mess somethings up, make a mess of 3d designs or, if we have been good this year, I might actually succeed.