What film to get? + a scanner Q

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What film to get? + a scanner Q

Postby aim54x on Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:45 pm

Well this is the background to the dilemma.

I just finished my bulk roll of FP4 and am now shopping for some more film,
BUT I have also just started my honours year at uni and therefore have a lot less time to work on hand processing film.
SO I need some good quality film (being cheap would be a major bonus as I am a very poor student) that can preferably be sent off and processed C-41.

I am not to worried about going to colour film, but it seems harder to find in bulk rolls and I am also worried about losing my filim cassettes when i have them developed.

As a side note, what is a good quality, reasonably priced film scanner today? What should I be looking for? How much should I pay? any recommendations?

Thanks all.
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Re: What film to get? + a scanner Q

Postby viper_ximat on Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:13 am

I just bought 20 rolls of Ilford XP2 overseas. I find it is much more consistent and easier to control on my Nikon Coolscan V compared to BW400CN. Unfortunately for both you're looking at ~$11 per roll locally (as far as I've seen). I think you can buy bulk rolls however on Amazon.

I think you ought to be able to pick up a Coolscan V for $800 second hand or $1200 new. If you can afford it however get a Coolscan 5000 ($2000) which you can set up to sequentially scan the whole roll without having to cut them into strips of 6. I can't really comment on other films scanners, no experience, but the Nikons are what I have come to after weeks of research. Nikon's defect removal system, Digital ICE4, apparently uses infrared prescanning to determine what is a scratch/surface dust and grit vs what is actually exposed on the film, and for me, it has worked great.
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Re: What film to get? + a scanner Q

Postby Nnnnsic on Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:50 am

Last I'd heard, ICE was a Kodak technology as was most of the technologies found in scanners (ICE, ROC, GEM, and SHO, and plugins exist for Photoshop too from what I recall).

Personally, I wouldn't see the need to look into dedicated film scanners when devices like the Epson V700 are essentially the pinnacle of inexpensive scanning tech. I'm looking at buying a Canon or an Epson soon myself because of the 120 scanning options, but if you can find the 4490 or the 4990 from Epson at a good price - it might be good to look at one of those.

That said, I'm sure people with the V700 will attest to how excellent a scanner they are.
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Re: What film to get? + a scanner Q

Postby Murray Foote on Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:31 am

Yes, I agree the V700 is likely to be the most reasonable option. You should be able to get good A3 prints with one. Check out the review on Photo-i. A Nikon film scanner will be better but more expensive. A cheaper current Epson scanner is likely to have the same engine (you can check the specs) so will produce the same quality but you will only be able to scan a few images at a time. This is more of a drawback than you might at first think, particularly because scanning is always slooow, but if you really can't afford the V700 ....

The Epson has ICE but that can produce artifacts as well as solve problems. Some find it useful and others don't. I have a Canon 9950F (now obselete) and though the Canon software has a variant of ICE, I use Silverfast which doesn't have it with this scanner and I don't miss it. I just scan through images at 100% and remove the odd bits of dust. With the Epson (unlike the Canon) the standard software is OK though you will have greater potential for quality with Vuescan or Silverfast. Silverfast is much more expensive (you don't want the intro version) while the Vuescan interface can be an acquired taste.

Shooting colour film may be a better way to go even if you intend mono output because you can apply and adjust the "filters" in Photoshop instead. In that case you're better off shooting slide film than negative. Although negative film has greater latitude than slide film and is therefore easier to expose, slide film contains a greater dynamic range and therefore can give higher quality. Also, and importantly, slide film is much easier to scan than colour negative. For ease of scanning, probably Astia or Provia.

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Re: What film to get? + a scanner Q

Postby aim54x on Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:59 pm

wow that is an old one that has been dragged up from the depths. To tell you the truth I have solved neither problem and probably will not for a while as I am flat broke at the moment.

Thanks for the advice.
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Re: What film to get? + a scanner Q

Postby Heath Bennett on Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:25 am

Apologies to dig up this old thread, but I've been shooting a bunch of 120 roll Astia Fuji... Am I best of getting one of these scanners or using a lab in Sydney to do all the work from developing to scanning? What labs in Sydney come recommended?
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Re: What film to get? + a scanner Q

Postby DaveB on Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:54 pm

Murray Foote wrote:Although negative film has greater latitude than slide film and is therefore easier to expose, slide film contains a greater dynamic range and therefore can give higher quality.

These are contradictory statements.
Negative film has greater latitude because it has greater dynamic range than slide film!

It does involve a slightly different workflow when processing the scans, but purely on the question of dynamic range: most negative films have greater DR than transparencies do.
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Re: What film to get? + a scanner Q

Postby Murray Foote on Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:33 pm

Heath Bennett wrote:Apologies to dig up this old thread, but I've been shooting a bunch of 120 roll Astia Fuji... Am I best of getting one of these scanners or using a lab in Sydney to do all the work from developing to scanning?

The answer is clearly "Yes".

What the question is is not so clear.

The answer depends on factors such as how much film you intend to scan, what your intended forms of output are (eg print how large), what your expectations are for quality, what your skills are for computers and software (possibly including third party software) and what your available time is for scanning on the one hand or commuting to labs on the other. There is also issues relating to post-processing in photoshop and how much RAM you have because depending on the scanning resolution the files can be quite large (these are independent of how the scan gets done, though).

Probably an Epson v700 will give you perfectly acceptable quality but a Nikon film scanner such as the 9000 will give you say 60% better resolution and probably better dynamic range. Software can also be a factor because multiscanning with Silverfast AI Studio may also provide a significant increase in image quality and dynamic range. Even the cheaper Vuescan may help. Then you need to find out what scanner the scanning services are using. At the top end they could be using an Imacon or a drum scanner but then it comes down to "How much quality do you really need?". If you can estimate how much film you will want to scan then you can evaluate the relative costs. You need to consider in this what resolution your lab will give you because it may not be the full resolution of their scanner.

It's possible to do lots of corrections in the scanning but the other approach is a "RAW"-style scan for processing in Photoshop. Either way, one of the most important things is that there shouldn't be any clipping in the scan, even if it comes out looking flat.

You do say you've been shooting a bunch of roll film - I think that would suggest getting your own scanner rather than using a lab.

I don't know about the labs.

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Murray
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Re: What film to get? + a scanner Q

Postby Murray Foote on Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:58 pm

DaveB wrote:
Murray Foote wrote:Although negative film has greater latitude than slide film and is therefore easier to expose, slide film contains a greater dynamic range and therefore can give higher quality.

These are contradictory statements.
Negative film has greater latitude because it has greater dynamic range than slide film!
It does involve a slightly different workflow when processing the scans, but purely on the question of dynamic range: most negative films have greater DR than transparencies do.

I could be wrong but the statements are not contradictory.

There's no question that any negative film (well, apart from Kodalith) has a greater dynamic range than any slide film in that it can incorporate a wider range of exposure values when exposing the film. My understanding is that then a correctly exposed image stored in slide film has a greater effective dynamic range (and perhaps a wider gamut) than a correctly exposed image stored in negative film. This is the dynamic range of the image in the film, not of the actual scene. Therefore there may be quality benefits to using slide film where the dynamic range in exposing the film is not too much of a problem, even when taking post-processing into account.

Now the caveats. I don't speak much from personal experience because I haven't done very much scanning of negative film. I also can't cite a source for my proposition though I would have read it somewhere and it would also have been aired on the Photo-i Forum which is to a large extent a specialist scanning and printing forum.

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Murray
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Re: What film to get? + a scanner Q

Postby Heath Bennett on Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:53 pm

Thanks Murray for all your time. I appreciate it. Now I have some thinking to do!
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Re: What film to get? + a scanner Q

Postby ATJ on Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:45 pm

From my experience with printing from both negatives and slides is that (and I'll probably do a lousy job of explaining this) negative film has a greater dynamic range because the differences as stored on the film itself are halved. What I mean here is the difference in density on the emulsion between one stop and the next is around half what it would be on slide film.

On a slide film, something that is white results in (almost) all light being able to pass through the slide. Something that was black would allow (almost) no light to pass though. On colour negative film, something that was white would translate to something on the film that still let quite a bit of light through and something that was black still doesn't let all light through.

I think the point that Murray was making was that looking at the developed film itself, the slide film has a greater dynamic range (i.e. from pure black to pure white) where as colour negative film goes from a light red through to a dark red). Just hold up a colour neg. to the light and you can see how shallow they really are.

When you print from a colour negative, the dynamic range is effectively doubled on the paper which results in a great dynamic range in the result. I remember when dialing in Cyan/Magenta/Yellow adjustments on the enlarger, I always had to halve them with negative film. i.e. if the print was too cyan by 10, I'd have to reduce the cyan by 05 (or increase magenta and yellow by 05).
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