Scanning negatives

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gma

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I have noticed in the galleries that many of the posted images are scanned from negatives rather than from prints. I read somewhere that the Agfa Scala b&w transparency film is especially good for scanning rather than using prints. In my case it doesn't matter because my daughter's scanner does not accept 35mm film strips, 4x5 transparencies or negatives. When I purchase a good scanner it will have those features. Any opinions re: negs vs prints?

gma
 

Joe Lipka

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It depends......what your final product will be has a great deal to do with what type of scanning you need to do.

If you can scan up to an 8 x 10 print, you won't need to fuss around with resolutions assuming you wan tan 8x 10 output. This will give you the most options for your final output, be it a digital negative or a scan to a web site. That's one good thing.

It is written by many "experts" that one can't scan a negative on a flatbed scanner (even with an adapter.) without losing quality. I do 4x5 negs on a flatbed scanner (with adapter)and they seen to look OK when I finally get them into 8x 10 digital negatives.

The most important question to answer is the first, "What is the final size and media to come from the scan."

It is more important to use the scanner you have wisely than anything else. Calibration is very important either way you go.
 

127

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I'd agree... it depends.

Dedicated negative scanners are better than flatbeds with adaptors. These are reasonably priced for 35mm, expensive for 120 and I don't like to guess for larger formats. For practical reasons I scan 35mm negs, and scan prints of everything larger - its easiest, and I consider the scans as onlyl rough copies.

The more interesting issue I think is "what do you think that scanned version is?

Is the image a digital negative, which you're going to process in some way to produce the image, or is the file a copy of a print? (this is something I don't think the digital world has got to grips with - and I spend a lot of time doing digital imaging)..

As this is APUG I'd assume that you want to post a copy of an image that you're happy with, in which case you'll want to put it through real darkroom manipulations, and apply the minimum digital post processing, so that it reflects the real print as much as possible. (on the other hand computer monitors are so variable, and low quality that its probably not worrying too much).

On the other hand if you want to go the photoshop/inkjet route (mmm...) then scan the neg to capture as much information from it as you can - the printing stage can only remove detail which might have been captured in the original neg.

Ian
 

jovo

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in my experience with scanning, any transparancy or negative that is dye based scans reasonably well. that's why scala negatives get good reviews. it's the black and white silver negs that are hardest to render. the grain blocks, reflects and scatters light and creates all manner of headaches compared to dye-base material. still, it's possible to get perfectly presentable scans for web use with silver based negatives since the resolution is so basic and minimal. beyond that, to even begin to pretend to imitate the beauty of a wet darkroom print, the scans need to be done on drum scanners costing....well...ahelluvalot.
 
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gma

gma

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Thanks for all the responses. I have been looking at specs for various manufacturers' scanners. Most will scan 2x2 slides and strips of 35mm negatives. I wanted to scan 4x5 negatives, but I understand that darkroom control is lost in that process. It sounds like it is best to make quality paper prints and scan them to submit to the galleries.

gma
 

david b

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I use an Epson 2450 to scan my b&w negs. I scan them as positives and then invert them once they are done. The tones are better than scanning as b&w film. Try it. It also gives you the ability to "tone" them.
Take a look at my last two postings in the critique gallery.
 

Nige

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I use an older Epson 1640 that can do up to 4x5. It does a pretty good job but it depends on what you want to do. I only want rough web scans so don't even bother with scanning at the best settings, or any of the mucking around associated with scaning in colour, etc. (it's much slower) Of the colour scans I've printed (just a handfull), I can get pretty good 6x9" prints from 645 and slightly smaller, about 5x7, from 35mm.

Also, 'the darkroom control' is not lost in the process. Digitally enhancing images is way easier than in the darkroom. You would have to perform similar midifications if you were trying to match a wet print you've alrady made. Scanning the finished print in those circumstances might be the preffered option.
 
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gma

gma

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The only reason I would scan anything is to e-mail. The requirements are so low for the galleries that for now I will scan prints. I do not see any difference in quality on my monitor between scanned negatives and scanned prints.

gma
 
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