A few random thoughts -
You do not state, but I assume that you want to print in black & white. A good B&W negative has huge dynamic range - can be as much as 14 stops. Paper prints have a much smaller dynamic range - typically about 7 stops. Most scanners do not have sufficient dynamic range to capture all that you have on your B&W negatives, which is one good reason to stay with traditional techniques an print on fiber paper to sell to serious buyers. Even if you do get the negative scanned with sufficient dynamic range, a lot of the image processing software packages don't have the dynamic range to keep from losing some of your image before you even start. You can get decent results scanning a finished print - but this can be done by a service for you if you want - so no scanner should be needed.
On the other hand, if doing colour prints, your traditional darkroom options are getting much more limited, and scanning and processing digitally might not be a bad idea.
My personal workflow is to do everything traditionally for B&W, and for colour, I process the film in my darkroom, select the images which are good, and have those scanned, then process and print on equipment that I have at home.
I am fortunate in being a bad enough photographer that I don't go broke having lots of transparencies scanned .
I far prefer the time that I spend in the darkroom creating a good B&W print to the time that I spend at a computer trying to get a good colour print, which is probably why the bulk of what I do is in black & white.
Bottom line is that I think that a scanner is not really needed.
I have a high end scanner since proofing and online portfolios are essential not to mention digital prints. I have access to Rayko in San Francisco which is a premier darkroom with ALL the goodies I could ever lust for but never really afford. I do not print optically much to warrant a dark room.
Thank you everyone for all your comments and recommendations. As I said, I am brand new to APUG, you guys already make me feel at home .
With your help, I think I have a plan. I have an excellent deal on an Omega enlarger, so I think I'll get that right now. I can then enlarge my negatives and use a normal scanner for web based display. My best images I think I'll send to be drum scanned, then offer them up for either digital prints, or optically printed by me.
My medium format camera will only be used in B&W to make processing and printing easier. I have a Nikon D600 full frame DSLR for color work, and with 14.2 stops of dynamic range, it would be hard to get color negatives to compete I think.
I am really getting excited about setting up a darkroom! It's something I've always wanted to have, but couldn't justify cost wise until now (darkroom equipment is almost given away now days).
I know I'll have a LOT to learn about darkroom processing, but that is all part of the fun.
Hopefully in a few weeks I'll have some images to display here.
Thanks again everyone!
When using film, I would suggest you make a darkroom print and scan that and then replicate in digital.
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
Darkroom! Grab an enlarger get a decent lens and I promise you, you will love it! Nothing compares with a beautiful silver gelatin print!
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For the purposes of your comparison, you should understand that scanning and digitally manipulating the scan for the purposes of making a print also involves a fairly steep learning curve.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Seconding what Matt said. I started scanning and moved to enlarging for my black and white (still scan color film, not that I do much color shooting now). It takes me at least as long to scan and work up a good end result as it is taking me to work on figuring out how best to print a negative.
I'm finding too that I'm getting results I'm happy with in the darkroom much sooner in the learning curve than I was when scanning negatives; it took a lot of learning and refining the process before I was happy with my scans. Oftentimes I felt like I had to fight the software, which wanted to try to "help" me in ways which were decidedly not helpful. The enlarger, by contrast, just does as it's told, which has helped speed up the learning process a great deal for me.
You will be surprised what colour negative film can do. I have Pentax K5 with the same DR and it's the same sensor, just half the size. Portra 400/160 and Fuji Pro 400H/160NS spanks it when it comes to DR, especially in highlights. Try to overexpose your photo by 8 stops and see if there's anything usable Portras will handle it easy, even Ektar. DSL will blow the highlights. One way to protect the photo on DSLR is to underexpose it, but than you will spend hours post processing the photo to get it just to look right.
Originally Posted by Colorado CJ
If you PM me I can show you lots of examples where that is the case. I should also mention I like the colours I get from film better.
Forget about scanning negatives your self. Make your silver prints and re-photograph them with your DSLR in order to have something to go on a webpage.
Scanning negatives with a home desktop system gives all sorts of grain-aliasing and post-processing problems which you will have to overcome in order to make the scan look like a print. I suggest that you would be better off using the time to make pictures rather than learning software techniques (unless you will be selling post-processing services of course). It would be a surprise if anyone could make saleable prints within a few years, but surprises are always good.