Is it my film, or my camera?

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by handle2001, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. handle2001

    handle2001 Member

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    I've shot two rolls of Fujicolor 200 through my Minolta X-700. I had one roll developed professionally at the drug store lab, and the other roll I developed at home by hand. Both rolls have a strange. subdued color palette. Here is an example photo from each roll. First, the lab-processed roll:
    tumblr_milph8SD4F1rhdy8mo1_500.jpg

    This one is from the roll I developed myself at home and scanned in using a lightbox and digital camera (thus why the image is not as sharp):
    tumblr_n1f3i7jyxi1rhdy8mo1_500.jpg

    The slight blue cast on the home-processed image I can attribute to errors in post-processing the negative after I digitized it, but both images to me have a sort of vintage look that isn't altogether bad, it just isn't what I wanted. My guess is that this is just the profile of this particular film, but I'd like to get other opinions.
     
  2. momus

    momus Member

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    It's hard to tell without seeing the negatives in person. I quite like the first shot, which looks pretty normal. The second is probably strange due to the artificial lighting in the store, or your scanning method. It's surely not the camera, but may be old film. Unfortunately a drug store lab is not exactly a professional job, so w/o knowing if the film was out of date, stored improperly, or processed improperly, it's hard to know exactly what's up. I would suggest buying some film from Freestyle Photo or a pro lab in your area (if any) and having it processed at a better place and see how it goes. My guess is all will be fine.
     
  3. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    the blue in pic 2 could be ambient light, or off balance light, or user error in processing. Hard to say.

    First pic looks normal to me -- again, insufficient information to tell what it is you think is different or off -- was the light like that when you shot the picture? Remember sometimes the human eye/brain post-processes an image your eye sees and makes light look "right" but the camera cannot do that, so the final image it gets is glaring reality.

    make sure your film is fresh and your lens is clean -- old film or a dirty lens can mute things. I get amazing pastels shooting really old Kodak portra 400 in a Holga.
     
  4. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    << scanned in using a lightbox and digital camera

    Sorry, but there is NO way this approach can adequately scan color negative film.
     
  5. pbromaghin

    pbromaghin Subscriber

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    Prof_pixel is right. There is no validity to any of this since scanners and digicams will do whatever they want, especially when reversing color negatives. Every color film has its own base color, and they are all different from one another. If your scanner thinks your Fuji Superia is Kodak Portra, it will be all messed up.
     
  6. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    I'm no expert at color negative film (I shoot mostly B&W). A few things you may want to think about

    -make sure your light meter is working properly. I think that under exposing color negative film can leave you with some weird color casts and possibly muted colors as well.
    -make sure the film is fresh.
    -shoot another roll and send it off to a reputed lab. I've never sent film off, but someone will be able to give a good lab to send it to. Go ahead and ask for a set of prints as well as scanning.
     
  7. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo Member

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    Your first frame looks normal. Your second frame looks like a normal raw DSLR "scan". It's almost impossible to get the colour balance right off the bat with that method (B&W is a lot easier).

    Also, these films were made for printing, not scanning. So you'll have to do some PP work to bring the saturation and colour balance up to look like a printed image.

    If you intend to shoot and scan a lot of film, then you should get a scanner to save a lot of time and aggravation. That takes some practice too, but once you've got it, it's fast and easy.
     
  8. trythis

    trythis Subscriber

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    The top one looks like it was taken with a digital, and I cant say why other than the color gradients seem flattened. It has a visual "buzz" that I see in my digicam shots when I look at the white vertical pane divider. Otherwise the color looks normal enough.

    I dont know what to make of # 2 because I havent developed color film before.


    I agree with getting a scanner, but it might be useful to have the lab make you a CD and ask them not to color correct. You could take the negatives to a pro lab for a scan or two just to rule out some possibilities. You might get a better idea about the effect of a bad lens or old film. In any case, put a roll of fresh Ektar or Portra through it and send/take to a pro lab to eliminate any of the many variables.

    Last stab:
    It could also be your monitor calibration that makes it look odd.
     
  9. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    What he said.
     
  10. blockend

    blockend Member

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    If the base colour and/or sprocket holes are left in the scan, it can completely screw up the exposure. The scanner/camera 'thinks' the base colour and sprocket gaps are part of the image and tries to compensate.
     
  11. jspillane

    jspillane Member

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    Scanning color negative is rife with difficulties, and even if you have a workflow established there are lots of headaches. Get a scanner (dedicated if you only shoot 35mm, flatbed if you shoot MF + LF also), teach yourself to scan B&W, and then start sludging through the (continually painful) process of scanning color negative. My best results have come when I stick to a single emulsion and get the settings down for it in my scanning software of choice (vuescan).

    For what it's worth, I've had the best results scanning Reala (now discontinued) and Portra 160. Ektar is really hard-- that being said, if you find Superia 200 too subdued, I'd look at Ektar if you want it to really 'pop'.
     
  12. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo Member

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    Yeah, that sounds like universally good advice.

    I also find that it helps a lot to scan and lock the base colour for each roll.
     
  13. jrmcferren

    jrmcferren Member

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    First one is dead on what Fuji Superia 200 is supposed to do. That film produces true accurate color frame after frame. The second one the blue tint would have to be corrected in scanning to be sure.