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  1. #1

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    Acutance and Scanned B&W Film

    I have an odd question. With scanned B&W negatives, one has good digital control over micro-contrast with judicious use of USM (unsharp mask).

    So is acutance at the film development stage as important a consideration? Or is it perhaps wiser to develop for finer grain and address acutance issues digitally?

    Just a theoretical question, so I thought I'd consult the experts.

    Thanks.

    Scott

  2. #2
    chuck94022's Avatar
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    Well it wouldn't help you a bit with your analog printing, unless you intended to create a digital internegative.

    Since we traffic in all things analog here, and are not a digital forum, I think that's where things will remain.

    If you want to explore the variety of options to try using Photoshop, consider starting a thread on www.photo.net.

    I would just bet our group would love to discuss the various ways to do unsharp masking in an analog darkroom, which is a fascinating subject. You don't need Photoshop to do unsharp masking. In fact, you can have great analog control over micro-contrast with judicial use of unsharp masking under a real enlarger in a real darkroom, and this is the place to talk about that.

  3. #3

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    Far better, IMHO, to control micro-contrast and acutance with your choice of developer/development technique and film.

    Of course, I contact print on Azo most of the time.
    Tom Hoskinson
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    Everything is analog - even digital :D

  4. #4
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottmcl
    I have an odd question. With scanned B&W negatives, one has good digital control over micro-contrast with judicious use of USM (unsharp mask).
    So is acutance at the film development stage as important a consideration? Or is it perhaps wiser to develop for finer grain and address acutance issues digitally?
    Just a theoretical question, so I thought I'd consult the experts.
    I'm not sure about the "expert" appellation ... I've never really known any who could really fit ...

    However... The scanned image I've posted and is seen here, or anywhere else, is NOT my work - I'll use the "Magritte - 'This Is Not a Pipe' defense".
    It is a rough approximation of the finished work that I will frame and exhibit.

    As far as I'm concerned, it has but one purpose - to act as a collector so that I might be able to ascertain something a of a rough approximation of the fairly astute photographers' reactions here. "Fine" evaluations of grain, tonality, acutance, color balance, and a host of other attributes really cannot be made - and so are meaningless. Note carefully that adjective "Fine".
    The "rough" technical comments are still very much of interest ... and the aesthetics, comments of composition, emotional content, the "being-connection" which are really NOT dependent on "technicals" are, as always, really valuable.

    Is acutance at the film development stage important? It is to me, along with a number of other characteristics. They affect the wet-chemical print that is "my work".
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  5. #5

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    If you are going to print in a darkroom on enlarging paper and use wet chemicals yes you should probably worry about all that stuff in the development. If you are going to scan the stuff for digital manipulation and then digital printing you will get better info over on photo.net.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  6. #6
    Bob F.'s Avatar
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    Scott, this is not the place to find experts on digital manipulation: some individuals are, but the forum isn't...

    Cheers, Bob.

  7. #7
    chuck94022's Avatar
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    I might add one more note to my previous, that since you are a 35mm shooter, doing unsharp masking of a 35mm negative might be a truly royal pain in the butt. So your first step, of course, is to start shooting medium or large format...

  8. #8

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    Hi Scott--

    You seem to be asking a reasonable question for those who have taken advantage of the tools of the digital age in their workflow. I'm always a bit disappointed when a post is quickly dismissed because someone said the word "digital".

    Under the alternative process forum here you'll find many photographers who scan their conventional negatives to make digital negatives for contact printing. The digital contact printers have not yet been burned at the stake for heresy and witchcraft, but they do seem to raise quite the controversy here from time to time for using the D-word. At APUG the D-word is accepted in the "gray area" subforum of the alt process forum. As long as you are talking about digital as part of a natural workflow your question should fit right in. Unnatural digital manipulation discussions are best elsewhere. Your acutance and scanning question may generate a lively discussion.

    Photo.net is a fine place as well, but generally I find APUG to have the highest calibre of participants available on the web.

    Best of luck!

  9. #9
    chuck94022's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jarred_mccaffrey
    I'm always a bit disappointed when a post is quickly dismissed because someone said the word "digital".
    I think you'll find that most folks here do *not* have a knee jerk reaction to the word "digital". Most who respond have sufficient experience on the forum to understand what is relevant *to this forum* and what is not.

    To respond specifically to the original poster's question, yes, one could have less concern regarding accutance. But by the same token, one could have less concern about contrast, lighting, filtering, etc. etc. if digital processes are in the workflow. In fact, many digital folks recommend avoiding B&W film altogether if you have a digital process - shoot color, and convert to B&W in Photoshop.

    But *all* this is outside the scope of this forum, while central and perhaps even fascinating in other forums.

    Because so many of the internet forums have "gone digital", Sean wisely chose to create a sanctuary for those of us who are concentrating on analog and wish to preserve, promote, and *advance* the art and craft.

    It is the advancement of the analog craft that moves us to respond with indifference to folks who want to talk about replacing accutance concern with a Photoshop filter.

  10. #10

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    Chuck well said...

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