Use of MF and LF slide film before the scanner?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by olleorama, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. olleorama

    olleorama Member

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    I was browsing throught flickr the other day to see examples of different slide film and how they rendered colours. Not a particularly good way, I know, but I still find flickr a good and interesting way of getting to know cameras, lenses and films uses and capabilities. Anyway, I saw a guy (certainly a pro) doing absolutely stunning stuff with ektachrome, and the poster claimed some of the shots were taken way back in '79. Of course I believe that, but another question arose, what was the use with larger format slides back then, before any professional scanners were available? Call me thick (quite used to that) but wasn't the first photoscanner launched in '84? I'm thinking of the hasselblad digital imaging thing used for the LA olympics amongst other things. How would you use the slides for e.g. magazines or books back then? When I think about it, how would you use any photomaterial for publishing before the digital era? Black and white for large news paper publishing I can understand, but colour work? Hmm, guess I'm just curious. My first experience with publishing was well into the digital era, when crude quality scanning was available.
     
  2. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    For personal use they were projeced or put onto a color reversal paper such as Ektachrome. They could have also been printed in books.
     
  3. olleorama

    olleorama Member

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    Ok, they first part I understand, but hasn't reversal paper always been inferior to negative paper? Or is that just a myth?

    How would you go from a slide to print in case of the book?
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Printing magazines and books requires that multiple primary colours of ink (either Red, Green, Blue plus black or Magenta, Cyan, Yellow plus black) be applied to paper by printing presses. The distribution of ink is controlled, usually, by using plates on the printing presses. Each such plate corresponds to at least one of the primary colours of ink.

    Prior to digital, the preparation of the plates was done by preparing colour separation negatives (one negative for each colour). Each such negative was on a special black and white material. Those colour separation negatives were then "burned" on to lithographic plates, which were sensitive to UV light. The plates would then be adjusted on the press to ensure the colours were in register, the paper would be run through the presses (sometimes in multiple runs) and the result would be full colour images.

    As I understand it, in the digital world, the separation negatives are no longer made photographically, and the "burning" of the plates is done digitally as well.

    Large transparencies were also displayed back-lighted, but usually after being printed on to a material suitable for that purpose.

    An 8x10 or larger colour transparency is a wonderful thing to look at on a light-table too.

    Matt
     
  5. olleorama

    olleorama Member

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    Ah, now my brain can rest for a while. I knew vaguely about the printing plates, but had no idea about the stages between.
     
  6. John Jarosz

    John Jarosz Member

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    Even 4x5 are jaw dropping on a light table
     
  7. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    Well, I personally think that a reversal paper like Ilfochrome can yield prints that look just as good as the original transparency.
     
  8. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Unfortunately this has not (yet) been my experience. I have never seen ilfos that didn't have certain artifacts from contrast masking. I realize that "in the day" there were masters of ilfochrome, but... as yet I have not seen anything close to the impact of a projected slide. And I say that somewhat ruefully, because I love my slide films!

    Anyway, back to the original question... you can do a lot of analogue things with slides. You can project them, you can ciba/ilfochrome them, you can make a neg, you can make an instant print and do an image or emulsion transfer. You can probably make color sep negs and do all manner of gum and dye transfer prints. I also sometimes make b&w images via an interneg. All of that and I haven't mentioned drum scanning or anything digital yet....
     
  9. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Alright, since Jason mentioned drums I will mention lightjet and chromira output from a drum... no contrast masking :wink: but yeah, we don't chat about that much here.
     
  10. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Transparencies were preferred by most photographers and editors because the positive image was the finished product. Easy to make layouts and colors were not arbitrary. Compared to making prints which then had separations made, they were cheaper and faster, and separations were higher quality, as they were first generation copies.
     
  11. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    You asked for it, so: you're ... :wink:

    The first scanners were in use much earlier (about half a century) than that.

    You're thinking digital scanners, perhaps?
     
  12. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Good point.
     
  13. olleorama

    olleorama Member

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    Oooh, there's analogue imaging scanners?? Tell me more!
     
  14. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    That's how the SAMOS spy satellite systems worked back in the 60s. Also look up the Corona satellites, lots of very impressive pre-digital technology there. I don't remember which systems were actually flown, but there was at least one that did film developing, scanning and transmission onboard. The ultimate scanner... the drum scanner... was initially developed for transmission by radio even before the 1920s.... this wikipedia article can tell you more. The first analog scanners go way back to 1907:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Édouard_Belin
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2009
  15. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    has anyone got the link to the photog on flickr that the OP was referring to? it'd be helpful (at least for me) to see what they're talking about.

    please :smile:


    -Dan
     
  16. David William White

    David William White Member

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    Let us not forget colour motion pictures. Still photography 'inherited' positive film, then had to figure out how to deal with it (print it).
     
  17. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    The title of original drum scanner probably goes to the first fax machines. Although they were probably not much different to the radio version.


    Steve.
     
  18. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Yup. I don't know for sure when the modern term 'drum scanner' appeared, but the basic idea almost certainly dates all the way back to cylinder phonographs c. 1880.... Edison and others must have thought of recording images as well as sounds. They may not have thought of transmitting them until a bit later.

    Wouldn't it be cool to locate one of the belinographs and see what kinds of images they produce?! 100% analogue BTW :D no ADC.... so if I rigged one of those up to my printer, maybe it'd be kosher material for APUG :wink:
     
  19. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    In the UK about 15 years ago, there was a TV series called The Secret Life Of Machines. Each episode was devoted to a piece of domestic equipment and the functionality was explained in layman's terms.

    In one episode they discussed the fax machine and the two presenters converted their lathes into a drum reader and drum thermal printer. They were connected via a telephone line and once they had got their speeds the same, they were able to transmit an image from one workshop to another.

    http://www.secretlifeofmachines.com/ http://www.timhunkin.com/a145_secret-life-fax.htm

    Tim Hunkin (one of the presenters) also makes cameras, some of which record an image straight to Ilfochrome paper: http://www.timhunkin.com/61_cameras.htm



    Steve.
     
  20. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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  21. olleorama

    olleorama Member

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    Sorry, I haven't bookmarked him.

    Edit, I found him again: http://www.flickr.com/photos/intrepid_tripod/
     
  22. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    thanks. I've really enjoyed his Kodachrome stuff. the fall colored leaves were nice!

    -Dan