Film for scanning question transparency or negative?

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I am positive that there is a thread about this but for the life of me I can't find one and I am sure it because I am not using the correct search terms. As I am extremely new to this area of photography I don't have the cool lingo down yet.

Can someone point me to a thread about this?
 

jim10219

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There are a ton of threads about this. But I'm not sure of your actual question. Are you asking which is easier to scan, negative or slide? If so, slide film doesn't require as much color correction, but can be very difficult to get the full range of darks to lights in a scan. A lot depends on which scanner you're using and what software settings you're using. A scanner with a high DMax and multipass will make getting the most out of your shadows without blowing out your highlights easier. Color negative film is usually much easier to scan, but much more difficult to color correct. Again, this depends on what scanner and software you are using, as some will do some color correction automatically. But to get the best color correction, you're going to need to do it by hand. No automatic software does a great job, though many do a good enough job (for most people).

In any case, learning to scan film well will take some time and patience. I honestly don't have a preference when it comes to scanning. They both are about equally difficult to work with. Black and white film is usually a lot easier to scan and process. How well either will scan will have a lot to do with the scanning equipment you use (I prefer a DSLR for small format), your technique (with both the scanner and software), and how well the image was exposed and developed to begin with. Plus certain films, like Velvia 50, are notoriously difficult to scan (though definitely not impossible).
 

jeffreyg

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There are many variables as I am sure you are aware including but not limited to film choice, software, scanner, monitor, profiles and what you intend to do with the image. I mainly do black and white and since my intention is more often to print analog I gear my film and processing toward that direction. I find that a well exposed negative also scans well and I can further edit with software and often make effects that I can't in the darkroom. My suggestion is to try a couple of films that you are familiar with and then stick with one and learn what works for you keeping it as simple as possible. My scanner and scanner software are old by tech standards as well as my PhotoShop version but I can produce prints that equal or surpass my darkroom skills. For prints that I would consider "exhibition quality" I have settled on one paper and tweaks that print beautifully with my printer"s default settings. I'm sure you will get many suggestions but mine is to use what you are familiar with until you can get the most out of it and the try other materials if you think you can better what you are getting. IMOP jumping from one system to another you probably will waste time and money, create confusion and not get the results you are looking for.

http://www.jeffreyglassercom/
 
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mark

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Each time I ask a question I find out how much I do not know. I was hoping there was a discussion(s) out there that talked about the merits of each and what works best. Clearly I have a lot to learn. I thought maybe I could start with the film side, because that is what I understand, and work my way toward the computer side of it.
 
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There are a ton of threads about this. But I'm not sure of your actual question. Are you asking which is easier to scan, negative or slide? If so, slide film doesn't require as much color correction, but can be very difficult to get the full range of darks to lights in a scan. A lot depends on which scanner you're using and what software settings you're using. A scanner with a high DMax and multipass will make getting the most out of your shadows without blowing out your highlights easier. Color negative film is usually much easier to scan, but much more difficult to color correct. Again, this depends on what scanner and software you are using, as some will do some color correction automatically. But to get the best color correction, you're going to need to do it by hand. No automatic software does a great job, though many do a good enough job (for most people).

In any case, learning to scan film well will take some time and patience. I honestly don't have a preference when it comes to scanning. They both are about equally difficult to work with. Black and white film is usually a lot easier to scan and process. How well either will scan will have a lot to do with the scanning equipment you use (I prefer a DSLR for small format), your technique (with both the scanner and software), and how well the image was exposed and developed to begin with. Plus certain films, like Velvia 50, are notoriously difficult to scan (though definitely not impossible).
I love Velvia 50 chromes. For me, it's easier to scan than Ektar 100 negative.. Plus you know immediately whether the picture was exposed correctly.
https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_id=55760757@N05&text=velvia
 

MattKing

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Your experience with film gives you a good starting point. Unlike many who are starting new with a film plus scanning workflow, because of your experience you should be able to determine whether the negative or slide was properly exposed and developed in the first place.
I have had decent results scanning from both negatives and transparencies, but I still find it challenging.
Do you ever project slides? If so, I would suggest slide film, because it gives you both options.
 

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Basically, there is no such thing as film that is best for scanning. Film is film and it is up to the scanner (HW & SW) and your knowledge of it to be able to bring into the computer what you have captured on the film. I believe that even Kodak advertises some of their films as more "scanner friendly" but they also acknowledge that there are no existing standards in scanners.

However, there are many scanners at various price points and varying capabilities to help you bring that image into your computer with different levels of fidelity in terms of color, contrast and detail. Of course you have a lot of control over color and contrast. There are also other considerations with regards to usability in the ability to handle different sizes of films, speed, dust and scratch removal as well as some levels of automation in the handling of the various films.

Cost dictates what level of scanner to consider as well as how you intend to use the final scanned image.

Digicams can also be used to "scan" film but it requires hardware and software too. True enough that with the proper setup, you can scan the film in seconds. Post work is much easier if you are talking about b&w or slide film However, when it comes to color negatives, the post work can go up dramatically.
 
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mark, there is a relatively common notion that doing the least amount of manipulation, or interpretation, in the scanner hardware and software is meritorious. This suggests scanning all transparent media as a positive, or a transparency. All subsequent image modifications in such a workflow are then accomplished in the postprocessing software. The basis of perceived merit in this approach is that the photographer is given increased aesthetic and technical control.
 

removed account4

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hi mark
i don't know the thread you are talking about
but i think you are forgetting about a very important factor you are
missing the boat on. you need to be wearing sensible shoes. if you are
wearing sensible shoes it really doesn't matter if your scanner presents your
scanned file at first as a negative or positive.
have a fantastic new year !
john
 

RPC

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Each time I ask a question I find out how much I do not know. I was hoping there was a discussion(s) out there that talked about the merits of each and what works best. Clearly I have a lot to learn. I thought maybe I could start with the film side, because that is what I understand, and work my way toward the computer side of it.

Color negative film is technically better than transparency film, e.g. better dynamic range due to low contrast and color quality due to masking. I don't scan but print optically, but if I ever did scan I would definitely learn to master scanning color negative film for the above reasons, and because it is likely color negative film will be the dominant medium over transparency film in the future (easier and cheaper to purchase and process).

On the other hand there is no quality way to print transparencies in the darkroom anymore so mastering scanning them would be advantageous if you ever have some needing printing.
 

Wallendo

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It really depends on what type of images you are scanning. When dealing with "white" light, color negative film is easiest. On the other hand, scanning images taken in other types of light, especially sunset, can be problematic. Most software will try to "correct" the color which completely changes the image In these situations. You can manipulate the colors with photoshop, but since you don't have a comparison image to compare with, you are in some ways creating a new digital image. Scanning slides can be much easier - you simply scan the image and adjust the colors until your monitor matches the appearance of the actual slide.
 

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Learning your scanning software matters more than the film type.
Take a known good image on film, scan it in software Auto for a reference scan.
Switch to manual (professional) mode and turn off all auto exposure and sharpening.
Make a base scan then adjust one adjustment at a time in small increments (5% of available) until noticeable artifacts occur.
Make smaller adjustments in pairs then 3 or more making a scan after each change.
Scan for maximum detail from the film, adjust in post for the best image.
Negatives within 1 stop of correct will be easy to scan as will correctly exposed positives.
 
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Learning your scanning software matters more than the film type.
Take a known good image on film, scan it in software Auto for a reference scan.
Switch to manual (professional) mode and turn off all auto exposure and sharpening.
Make a base scan then adjust one adjustment at a time in small increments (5% of available) until noticeable artifacts occur.
Make smaller adjustments in pairs then 3 or more making a scan after each change.
Scan for maximum detail from the film, adjust in post for the best image.
Negatives within 1 stop of correct will be easy to scan as will correctly exposed positives.
How would best adjustment for sample image work for other images that are exposed differently?
 

shutterfinger

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How would best adjustment for sample image work for other images that are exposed differently?
When learning you scan the same negative or positive throughout the exercise comparing the results of the adjustment to the base scan to see what each adjustment does.
Once you know what each adjustment does its not difficult to figure out what adjustments need to be made to get the best scan from a negative/positive incorrectly exposed. Its becomes an educated guess in place of a shot in the dark time consuming trial and error.
 
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mark

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Thanks folks. I’m reading. Not understanding much but this is helping.
 

shutterfinger

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Document scan: light is reflected off a mirror onto the bed glass and reflected back onto a different mirror or mirrors then through a lens onto a sensor whose output is electronically translated into 1's and 0's in either eight bits or 16 bits digital information.
Transparency scan: Light is transmitted down through the transparency material onto the mirror(s) then through the lens to the sensor to the digital information that makes up the picture.
Transparency material can be negatives or positives. The adjustments control the exposure (sensor reading bias) color temperature variance (color cast), black and white point, of the scanned material.
Black with no detail is 0, white with no detail is 255.
Black with no detail is film base + fog, White with no detail is blown highlights. Software can adjust the sensor bias so that shadow detail is rendered pure black or white detail rendered as pure white. This is true for any film type.
 
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LaurentMartin

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Some steps or methods which help to digitize your slides..
  • Image quality
  • Scanning speed
  • Compatibility formats
  • Comparison shopping
  • Consider renting or buying
  • Bootstrapping
 

Les Sarile

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Thanks folks. I’m reading. Not understanding much but this is helping.

Maybe we can approach this from another angle. What kinds of films do you use? Just as a starting point, which is your favorite?
Assuming you just want to bring the files into your computer and you want to manipulate them, what is your end goal? What is the level of quality are you trying to achieve?
 
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mark

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Favorite color films are Privia 100 and portra 160.

My goal is to have enlargements made if I get a shot I want to enlarge. I want to do as little manipulation as possible because I really don’t like working on a computer.
 

Les Sarile

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I have shot and scanned many Provia 100 and Portra 160 film so here's an example from each as a point of reference. These are full res scans of 35mm using my Nikon Coolscan+Nikonscan. All default settings - autofocus, autoexposure, no color or contrast adjustments with dust and scratch removal turned on and no pre or post adjustments except for final crop and copyright. Link to full res 4000dpi version under the image. Image save as high JPEG quality to minimize artifacting and good to view on-screen up to 100%.

large.jpg

Full res Kodak Portra 160 -> http://www.fototime.com/C37784D8646BCB2/orig.jpg

large.jpg

Full res Fuji Provia 100 -> http://www.fototime.com/A6F71B3802A452E/orig.jpg

I have scanned many different films with the Nikon Coolscan - and unless the original shot needs considerable post work, Nikonscan will do a very good job of taking what's on the film and putting it in a file. Notwithstanding the artistic merits of the content of the film scans - and possible variations in our systems that affect what you end up seeing on your screen, are these the kind of results you are looking for?
 

alanrockwood

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Kodak Ektar 100 negative film has a good reputation for a film that scans well. Several posts have mentioned Ektar 100 already. I believe Kodak Portra film is also supposed to be a good film for scanning. Some of the older negative color films have a less than stellar reputation for scanning, showing excessive apparent grain, i.e. noisy pixelization. I think some of the older 200 and 400 iso color negative films have had that reputation.

I believe Velvia slide film has a reputation of being somewhat difficult to scan partly because of the dense shadows but more generally because of the extreme density range of the slides. I think this can be largely overcome by combining two or more scans acquired at two or more scanner exposure settings.

High speed black and white films sometimes show excessive grain when scanned.

Warning. Take everything I say above with a "grain" of salt, and confirm it by advice from those who are more expert than I am.
 

George Mann

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I believe Kodak Portra film is also supposed to be a good film for scanning. Some of the older negative color films have a less than stellar reputation for scanning, showing excessive apparent grain, i.e. noisy pixelization. I think some of the older 200 and 400 iso color negative films have had that reputation.

Well, my experience with Portra and ColorPlus 200 shows some rather interesting results which may surprise some. Portra negatives scan and perform acceptably well in medium format and higher, but rather poorly in 35MM.

ColorPlus on the other hand performs noticeably better than Portra in 35MM except for one area with most scanners, which is apparent grain-like artifacts, which is something only a properly-calibrated Fuji Frontier can sufficiently overcome (and its scans from these machines are magnificent).

However, Portra shows an abundance of grain-like artifacts in less than brightly lit areas of the scene as well, and combined with its overly dull rendering, and lack of fine resolution, it is lackluster at best.
 
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