I've never found negative film to scan well. Even 100 speed film gave me nasty grain and grit especially in the shadows. I had all but given up when I tried RA4 printing to Kodak Supra Endura (heh of course. just ordered several hundred sheets i hope that lasts...) this past march and found the results amazing. Skin tones came out neutral, I got great saturation and tonality printing a 400 speed film to 11x14. It was night and day. Scanning just doesn't do justice to what's actually on the negatives. Scans seem to magnify the amount of dust and scratches on the film too. Film that literally wouldn't scan because of scratches gave me amazing prints.
If they still take film at all they continue to prefer slides, but yeah, scans are increasingly the norm. Of course if you don't mind converting film to scans you can shoot whatever you want. Unfortunately I don't like messing with that (or the expense of paying someone else to do it), so I miss the days when shooting slides, stuffing them in sleeves, sending them off, and waiting for a check was standard industry procedure. I've found only a few publications that outright refuse slides and are digital-only, at least in their guidelines.
Originally Posted by Kiron Kid
I shot lots of slide film during 2007-8 specifically because I hated scanning and photo editing programs - the results were always awful. I projected instead.
Then this year I started colour printing in my darkroom and I haven't shot a roll of slide since. For me projecting slides is nice but making your own colour prints is nicer. I've compared some of my RA4 prints to prints made from scans and the wet prints look much better to my eye.
I prefer color slides and I'm taking a slide workflow.
No need to scan, no need to print. That saves me a bit of money. No guy that corrects my film, this is a nice bonus.
I'd take B&W neg for low light work. The problem of not having an enlarger (and darkroom, but the chems, trays and everything else are easy to get and easier than an enlarger) is that I may not pass after the contact sheet. Maybe sending negs to a lab like Ilford and get machine RC prints.
I've had the pinhole paper negative idea crawling on my head for a week. Paper to paper, printing with a desktop 25W light as source.
Slides are VERY rare for me, although I like them. The only truly concentrated period that I shot slides was when I took a photo class in the 90s where we had to project each week's work for the class to discuss. I enjoyed the look of these results, it was certainly more interesting than bad vacation slides of my childhood memories, but I agree with perkeleellinen...there's nothing like holding a print in your hands. Maybe I just never hit on the right lab process but I never got a sharp print from a sharp slide...and I found myself REALLY wanting those prints after seeing the projections and holding the slides.
I would only consider hybrid process for color now--get the exact color you want post-scan and send out for a good-quality digital print, which at both the local places I use and MPIX has a nice pearl finish. Have never been displeased with the results. Negative film works great for me. Personally I love the specific films that jslabovitz doesn't .
**All that said, I have A LOT of challenges with color at times and still generally default to b/w.
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I find color negative film much easier to scan. I think that this really should be the case; and if reversal film is easier to scan then there is something wrong in the scanner or the software. This is because: 1) negative film is masked; 2) negative has greater latitude; 3) negative is lower in contrast, meaning a better match to the dynamic range of scanner CCD. I use Nikon Coolscan V and it makes almost perfect image from color negative straight from the scanner. Slides always need Photoshop. Straight scans have always completely blocked shadows, and if I adjust just gamma correction or curves, I get too low contrast. In fact, I almost always need dodging/burning or Shadows&hilights tool in Photoshop to make the slide look the same as when projected. Then it looks good but I don't love digital retouching so much anymore. That's why I don't like scanning slides. But projecting them....!! That's a reason enough to use slide film. So I use both negative and slide.
In fact, the blocked shadows problem with slide scanning is same than when doing Ilfochromes. You usually need some dodging/burning, or contrast masking. But, Ilfochrome print can look so awesomely cool compared to some lousy digital scan on a computer screen, that blocked shadows can usually be forgiven...
Last edited by hrst; 10-19-2009 at 04:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I agree with hrst. People do need to understand there is a loss of quality scanning from negatives or transparencies for display on a computer, which kind of defeats the purpose of why you would be using film as your media at all: you'd be much happier with digital. Some posts here, though, are befuddling: shooting slides, no scanning, no printing. And...!?
Ilfochromes are the way to go when shooting slides, not scanning and displaying on computers, and certainly not degrading digital prints; the loss of quality will be too obvious and no about of Photochopping will bring it back without introducing artifice.
All Ilfochromes require contrast masking. Dodging/burning is at the discretion of printer+photographer at dialogue stage (in-lab), or for very obvious areas.
Velvia 50 is most prone to blocked shadows but blows highlights gracefully; Velvia 100 is slightly better at EI80 while Provia 100F is relatively easy going printing to 'chromes — it really is a delight.
.::Gary Rowan Higgins
A comfort zone is a wonderful place. But nothing ever grows there.
Well.... I do enjoy the traditional processes very much, and the self-made aspect of trad. processing. But to say that somebody who needs to scan may as well go digital, sorry, I don't agree with that. Plenty of us here get excellent results scanning film, results that cannot be had with the very highest end digital (as if there were such a thing as a medium format digital rangefinder, a digital viewcamera, a digital TLR, etc. etc.) And I do digital as well for some purposes, so I can report firsthand that it's a totally different workflow than the hybrid workflow(s). When I do need a paper print from my slides I do drum scans and then lightjet on traditional photopaper with no contrast masking required... not inkjet. There is a big difference... and not just the cost! In terms of overall quality, well, a drum gets more information out of the slide than you can ever get via traditional enlargement. The basic reasons are that the drum method is not lens based, and there is essentially zero detector noise. The big, annoying limitation with my current workflow is the lack of a true matte output paper for colour... I detest inkjet matte. Ilfo can't help me there either, unfortunately. So I am thinking of some other methods based on starting with colour sep negatives.
Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour
So... all I'm saying is there is pure analogue, there is digital, and then there is an ever-growing grey region between that is not one other and which has its own advantages. Let there be peace between analogue and hybrid! Kindly don't lump hybrid together with straight digital, it's very different.
Last edited by keithwms; 10-19-2009 at 05:24 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I argue that the less dynamic range of negative films give scanners a tough time. I'm somewhat convinced that many of these scanners are designed for slide film. If that's true then the limited dynamic range of the negative film hinders the process because it has to be "stretched out" in order to fill the entire digital color range. This would introduce more grain as a result of the errors of the CCD.
I first went to film out of annoyance because while my slides retained graceful highlight tones, my D50 bleached them to hell unless I underexposed 2 stops and carefully watched my screen for EVERY PICTURE I EVER TOOK. Not fun when I want to be shooting. Digital is not the same as film.
I agree. There's nothing quite like holding a shiny large print from a negative.
I doesn't belong to APUG, but the dynamic range of negative film is, alas, bigger than scanners can cope with.
To get the most out of a negative, you do need to combine scans.