Is it the scans, or the film and developer?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Anscojohn, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Hello All,
    I am not interested in starting a fight; nor am I interested in hurting any artistic sensibilities. But it seems to me that many of the scanned images in the gallery which have the kind of photographic quality to which I am accustomed seem to be made with common films (especially Tri-X and FP-4) souped in nothing more esoteric than D76 or ID11. Do negs and prints using these combos scan "better;" do the people using those materials just know better what they are doing; or is it just that I am an old fogey who likes the "look" given by those materials?

    John, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA
     
  2. donbga

    donbga Member

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    IMO, no.

    That's hard to say John. Obviously some people can scan film better than others. I think the answer for you is that you may prefer the tonal character of these types of films. However I would be willing to bet that it maybe difficult to tell the difference between scans (and or prints) of a modern emulsion film vs. a traditional emulsion film.
     
  3. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    John, I'm voting for fogey-dom, which is also my reason for liking good ol' D-76. :smile:

    I think, however, that the best images probably come from all of the above--well exposed, well processed (erring on the thin side so that there is some highlight detail visible), well scanned. Each of these components has a learning curve, with scanning well perhaps the steepest of the three.

    I have played around with just about every developer out there. For the kind of work I do, I find I am back to D76 in its HQ-free H variant (2.5 g metol, I forget how much sulfite, per liter, no HQ) mainly because my processing sessions are fewer and farther between, and I want something I can mix up fresh from scratch each time. I like the look--especially with newer emulsions like Delta and T-max--and the convenience is great.

    Got fifteen rolls of TMY-2 in 120 I'm anxious to shoot and process.
     
  4. garysamson

    garysamson Member

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    John,
    From my personal experience I have found that film processed in Pyro PMK and Pyrocat MC seem to scan better than more conventional developers like D76 etc. I use an Epson 750 flatbed scanner and use sheet film (Ilford FP4+ and Kodak Tmax 400) for most of my work. Of course you experience may produce different results. A well processed negative properly scanned will always produce better results than a marginal negative poorly scanned.
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I don't have enough experience with scanning to be an authority, but I find that any black&white silver film takes a lot of patience to scan, mainly because to make it look good, you should try to actually resolve the grain. That takes resolution and resolution takes time.
    The various films I've scanned so far are FP4, Tri-X, APX100, Tmax 100 and 400. They are all equally different to scan as they are to print. I don't prefer one look over the other. Difficulty level of getting the scans right is equal between them. The only one I could not get right was Kodak HIE. I can print that film and make it look good, but I cannot scan it right. Go figure.

    - Thomas
     
  6. Simon R Galley

    Simon R Galley Subscriber

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    Dear All,

    Its horses for courses...is'nt it always ?....'technically' the best ILFORD Photo film for scanning is XP2 Super as it does not have a conventional grain and therefore the scans are superb.

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
     
  7. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Well, you may have just realized now that "the photographic quality" to which you were accustomed was Tri-X in D-76, perhaps the MOST famous combination of film developer ever used in North America. That makes sense, doesn't it? :wink:

    If it were a crappy combination, no one would ever use it. And why would a scanner require a fancy negative to give good results? The scanner was invented because of film, not the other way around.
     
  8. Nigel

    Nigel Member

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    Popular films and popular developers. So it is likely that this makes up a large proportion of the pictures on the site. Thus, it is also likely that these combinations make up a large proportion of your favorites.

    As others have pointed out, scanning is an art itself. And as Simon points out, the C41 B&W films are easiest to scan (because of the lack of silver particles in the emulsion). Outside of using C41 film, the look from scanning is probably more dependant on the skill of the operator than the film/developer combination.

    This is entirely possible, but I won't pass judgement.:wink:

    There is no reason to dislike the look of the 4 possible combinations, except perhaps personal taste. It is possible that your personal taste leads you to like the look. But it is equally possible that it is a simple case of math as noted above.
     
  9. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    You can't read much into the quality of the originals from the scans on forums like this. The original scan may be superb regardless of the film/developer combination used, but by the time its downsized so much is lost.

    Ian