Copying Old 35mm film negatives, or My, how my style has changed!

Started Nov 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
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bgalb
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Copying Old 35mm film negatives, or My, how my style has changed!
Nov 20, 2012

I spent several days recently copying about 700 B/W and Color 35mm negatives and some transparencies.  They were mostly 30 to 50 years old, and the color had deteriorated on many.

One thing stood out starkly.  How my habits of composition have changed in the digital age.  I now usually leave quite a bit of leeway for cropping. But back in the days of my ancient Nikon F and baby Rollieflex, I composed nearly all exposures very tightly, with no leeway for cropping.  When I copied the film strips, it was nearly always necessary to crop a little in post processing.  The problem being that the originals were so tightly composed that there was just no leeway to crop without degrading the composition. It became clear to me that I substantially tweak my composition in Post Processing.  Lazy habit?  I guess.

Another thing I noticed was how superior a 16 megapixel digital image was to a 35mm film image.  Especially the B/W images.  When focusing on the film strips, I didn't need to see a significant part of the image.  It was sufficient to just focus on the easily seen film grain (using 14x magnify on the E-M5).  Granted, a lot of my B/W film and color transparencies were developed at home which probably resulted in less than perfect process control.  The digital copies mercilessly revealed the many images that were a little out of focus and degraded by camera shake or subject motion.  All in all, this copying of old images was a real education in how much technology has advanced and how poor my technique was in times past. (still is, but not so bad, today).

I would recommend this kind of experience for any of us old guys, just to see how our image-making habits have changed over many years.

 bgalb's gear list:bgalb's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 12-60mm 1:2.8-4.0 SWD Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm 1:2.8-3.5 SWD Olympus Zuiko Digital 1.4x Teleconverter EC-14 +5 more
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