Upload & Sell: On
| p.1 #13 · How long will RAW files be readable? |
Don't worry, if you do two things:
1) Proper backups, meaning three copies of each file (one on each of three different drives) with one copy off-site. Bare drives are the cheapest and most efficient way to go.
2) Active archiving / backup (technically two slightly different things). The key is to migrate your files to ever larger more capacious media and decommission old media or bundle it up securely "just in case".
Do that, and you will be more secure than your single copy negatives and slides.
There are several reasons you do not have to worry about readability of Raws (with regard to software):
1) The major companies are very stable.
Except for Canon, whose latest version of DPP will not allow adjustment of RAW files (as RAW, only minimum adjustment as TIF) taken by my Pro1. And has formally dropped support for my 5D (still works, but EOS Utility won't recognize the camera when plugged in as earlier versions used to do).
Hewlett-Packard refused to update drivers for it's S-20 film scanner between XP SP-2 and SP-3, rendering a perfectly usable film scanner inoperable.
2) There is third party and open source third party converter software to read them: Adobe and dcRaw, respectively. That means it will migrate with processors and operating systems.
And how much longer will Adobe make DNG converter available?
3) If at some distant decade in the future it is deemed that all software to read the Raws is not worth supporting by anyone, there will be a period of a decade or more where old machines are still around and files can be converted. After that, it will still be convertible for decades, but at increasing cost.
Decades? Heck, PCs today are technically obsolete after 6 months, and often functionally obsolete after 2 years as interfaces, peripherals, and operating systems are constantly superseded. Go try and buy some backup tape cartridges.
I've already run into newer PCs dropping support for parallel, series, and SCSI ports (my older tape drives), and hard drive interfaces older than SATA.
On the other hand, I still have hundreds of pages of color negatives and slides that I can scan in and process digitally, not to mention thousands of black & white prints -- some dating to the 1900s.