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  1. #1

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    Difference btwn prints and negs

    After reading something about the processing difference between slides and prints I thought I would experimentally scan some of my negatives and see how much of a difference there is between the negatives and the prints. I was a bit shocked. Even though I've noticed a significant difference between the prints and how I remember the scene when I took the shot I figured that it was probably a normal and acceptable difference - after all people talk about correcting images so that they better match the way a person remembers the scene. I recently developed a roll with a number of storm clouds which is what I used for my test scans. I was delighted to see the stormclouds appear with that natural nasty yellow cast and the sky in the background a crisp clear blue. Now I wonder how the lab managed to alter the images so that they came out with a red cast instead. I scanned some negatives from a few other rolls and found that the prints are considerably darker than the negatives.

    I could post some examples, but I'll wait until someone asks.

    I guess my question would be, how normal is this? Or should I maybe try out a couple more labs to see if I get different results. The results I've gotten aren't horrible - some of the prints are a bit better than the scans I got from the negatives but most of them are darker and lose some of the detail that I orginally tried to capture.

    Opinions appreciated. Thank you.

  2. #2
    glbeas's Avatar
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    Differences like these are why some folks shoot chromes, you don't get the strange color variations that seem to be the norm from one lab to the next.
    Gary Beasley

  3. #3

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    anyte,
    the lab you used created "machine" prints, with little or no manual intervention. no problem with this, in most cases average scenes of light and dark with an average mix of colors will print pretty well. all automatic color printing equipment assume an average mix of color and average range of lights to darks.
    You say two things. In simple terms, the print showed warmer colors than you remember and the prints were darker than you remember the scene.
    the sensors in the printing equipment read your "abnormal" negative, i.e., bluer or cooler than average and lighter than average and compensated to make it average by warming up the color balance and giving too much exposure to your negative.
    there are 5 ways around the problem:
    1. as Gary suggests, shoot slides so the lab can't misinterpet your negative.
    2. find another lab which will print closer to what you want. (ironically, they may print some of your pictures taken under different lighting conditions "worse" than the original lab)
    3. pick your good negatives and have them printed manually. (fairly expensive)
    4. set up a darkroom and print the negatives yourself. (you then have total control of the way the print looks)
    5. scan your negatives and print them on a good color printer.
    Take care,
    Tom

  4. #4

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    I might add just one suggestion to yours Tom. That is if there is an obvious colour cast, take this back to the lab and point it out as being incorrect. Normally (here anyway) they can make adjustments and reprint more correctly. Here we wouldn't expect to be charged for the reprint.

  5. #5

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    Excuse my ignorance but once you have slides are you more or less stuck with the slide? Or can you still make/print images from the slide?

  6. #6
    b.e.wilson's Avatar
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    There are several ways to make prints from slides:

    Ilfochrome prints (used to be Cibachrome): a method where dyes in the paper are bleached out after exposure.

    Kodak R3/R3000: a method similar to printing negatives, but with a reversal exposure step added.

    Copy the slide to negative film and print from the negative (only works well for 4x5 or larger).

    Digital scans and printing with inket or digital prints onto color photographic paper.

    Take a negative picture of the slide projected on the wall. Not the best for quality.

  7. #7
    jd callow's Avatar
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    Tom and b.e. hit it on the head. I am a firm believer in doing your own printing.

    *

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcallow
    Tom and b.e. hit it on the head. I am a firm believer in doing your own printing.
    I'd give it a try if I could but I can't imagine where I'd set up a darkroom. I live in a two bedroom apartment with a shoebox size kitchen and a bathroom about half that size. And of course, the kitchen is open on two sides and one end faces the big doors for the balcony.

    Had I known last winter, when I moved, that I would be taking up photography I would have found someplace that would accommodate a darkroom.

    Thank you everyone. I'll have to give some thought to your input and figure out what will work best for me.

  9. #9
    127
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    It could well be the lab, but before you blame them totally, you also need to factor in the human visual system, which is rather lax at recording colour.

    We see things as the colour we "know" they are, factoring out lighting. This is usefull as it means we still know that the large orange and black thing, which looks red and back in dusk lighting is still a tiger. The most comon photographic example of this is tungsten lighting Vs daylight. We don't see light bulbs as orange but the film does. The film is "right", but not what we want, so we correct for it.

    Unless you're scanner, and monitor are calibrated, then there's no reason to sugguest that it's any more "right" than the lab - just more as you'd like it to be. If you're printing out from a scanned image, then you're even more likely to be getting random colours.

    I'd be cautios of calling either version "right" - it's more likely that the monitor is simply closer to your perfered vision, than the lab print. This re-enforces the do your own darkroom stuff argument - that way you get the version you want. When we print b&w we don't produce one print and call it "right" - we produce a selection, and pick the best, or prefered. Thats a value judgement. Why should colour printing be any different?

    Of course it's also possible the lab screwed up...

    For some REAL fun re colour vision try reading: http://www.wendycarlos.com/colorvis/color.html
    (and yes it IS that Wendy Carlos).

    Ian

  10. #10
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 127
    For some REAL fun re colour vision try reading: http://www.wendycarlos.com/colorvis/color.html
    (and yes it IS that Wendy Carlos).
    Ian
    Damn!! Tried that site three times without success. Are you sure about the address?
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

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