Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2003/06/21

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Film is Archival
From: Spencer Cheng <>
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2003 23:27:50 -0400

Hi Eric,

TIFF and JPEG (/JPEG-2000) maybe fine for 10-20 years but beyond that I 
would be surprised. Proprietary formats (like Photoshop) has a very 
indeterminate life time.

CD and DVD medium has limited shelf life as does film though B&W 
emulsion has very good durability given decent conditions.

As for that little floppy, I threw out my 8" floppies dating from 1977 
about 10 years ago since the drives to read them is not readily 
available anymore and the computers that could read them hit the 
garbage dump long before. I would be very surprised if you will be able 
to buy a 3.5" floppy drive for a Mac in 10 years.

Note that my basic question is not fundamentally a technical one. The 
basic question is how to "select" images that will be treated to last 
50 years? I can't. Can anyone? Now if one don't care, than any 
digital/analog medium will do.  :-)


On Saturday, Jun 21, 2003, at 20:46 Canada/Eastern, Eric Welch wrote:

> on 06/21/03 5:19 PM, Spencer Cheng at wrote:
>> So, BD, would the digital images being shot today by a local
>> photographer in Papua New Guinea be viewable by anyone in 2043?
> Considering the universality of TIF and jpeg images, that answer is, 
> very
> much yes. As long as they are on some kind of readable format. And 
> with the
> billions of CDs and DVDs out there, there is likely going to be some
> mechanism to read them for some time to come. At least for our 
> lifetimes.
> Just look how that worthless little floppy disk still seems to be 
> appearing
> on PCs. (Macs dumped them in '99, but you can buy a drive for $65). 
> Kind of
> like our appendix. Not terribly useful, but still available.

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