Film (!!) scans / workflow in 2013

Started Mar 19, 2013 | Discussions
cplittleton
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Film (!!) scans / workflow in 2013
Mar 19, 2013

About two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go north and shoot the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).  After doing a bunch of research, I took the experts advice and packed my film camera and a few rolls of film (!!) for the trip, since many websites noted that dSLRs don't do well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.   I was rewarded for carrying the extra luggage when my dSLR died inexplicably about 15 minutes into a great Aurora display at 12:30AM in 5-below temps. Out came the film camera, and the rest of the Aurora display that night went on film.  FYI, the dSLR was fine after warming up in the hotel for a few hours.

I just got an e-mail notification that my film has been processed and scanned, and the image album has been uploaded to my print service's website.  The online thumbnails are lousy, but I just ordered a CD of the highest-res scans they do (~2000x3000 jpgs from 35mm film, roughly equivalent to a 6mp dSLR).

While I wait for my "real" files to arrive in the mail, I was curious if anyone still does enough film shooting to have a digital workflow for output from their film shoots?  If you don't like the scans you get from your print service, do you re-scan at home?  How do you deal with less flexibility in jpg editing compared to RAW editing?

FYI, I normally use LR4 to download/edit RAW files from my dSLR and have been shooting RAW since LR2.

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Nigel Wilkins
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Re: Film (!!) scans / workflow in 2013
In reply to cplittleton, Mar 19, 2013

The last time I "scanned" film I actually just photographed it with my DSLR & found I got better results than from my flatbed scanner...you also get RAW files to work with.  You certainly get better than 2000 x 3000 pixel scans if you're careful.

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Shiroa
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Re: Film (!!) scans / workflow in 2013
In reply to Nigel Wilkins, Apr 2, 2013

Hey this thread should get a good bump! Me personally just started shooting film, I am too curious what's the best workflow to have. Regarding your trip to see the Aurora, please do post some pics, I can't stop imagining the trip up there, must have been breathtaking, literally and figuratively. 

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DenWil
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Re: Film (!!) scans / workflow in 2013
In reply to cplittleton, Apr 2, 2013

All my work originates on MF film and I scan it myself, there is no service. I edit on a light box just as I always have and then scan  the images  chosen for client usage. Scans yield 4200 x 5200 pixels  equaling  900kb  JPEG and 66MB TIF files.

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mburns
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Re: Film (!!) scans / workflow in 2013
In reply to cplittleton, Apr 2, 2013

I would be very unsatisfied with six million pixel scans. My intent in using film cameras is to produce 18 inch prints with pixel level sharpness. This product requires ISO 200 or ISO 100 film and scanning at a density of 17 million pixels. These scans and prints are available from North Coast Photo and A and I, for instance.

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cplittleton
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Re: Film (!!) scans / workflow in 2013
In reply to cplittleton, Apr 3, 2013

I posted a few images (digital and film) over on the Landscape forum about a week ago in a thread about lenses for the Northern Lights.

Bottom line, my film experience got me shots I would not have otherwise captured, but I was not too satisfied with my results.  I forgot a few film basics and it hurt my results.  Perhaps I'm forgetting that digital helps me bump up my ratio of keepers over the keeper ratio I used to get with film.

CPLittleton

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D Cox
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Re: Film (!!) scans / workflow in 2013
In reply to Nigel Wilkins, May 1, 2013

Nigel Wilkins wrote:

The last time I "scanned" film I actually just photographed it with my DSLR & found I got better results than from my flatbed scanner...you also get RAW files to work with.  You certainly get better than 2000 x 3000 pixel scans if you're careful.

I agree. A good macro lens on a good sensor (about 16 megapixels upward) will give better results than a scanner.

Stop the lens down to f/8 or f/11 - any further and diffraction sets in.

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isb_deep
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Re: I shot a roll of film, now what ?
In reply to cplittleton, Jun 1, 2013

I was browsing for scanning a film and came across this thread. I am not sure if this would be the right place to ask this, but it couldn't hurt so here goes:

I picked up my first camera couple of years ago (a digital bridge cam) and taught myself to shoot half-decently (Flickr). I eventually upgraded to a dslr and was intrigued by film cameras just to understand what the fuss is about the 35 mm fov as I shoot on aps-c format. I cannot afford a full frame dslr so I picked up a used Pentax instead. I then watched youtube to re-learn how to load a film (I had once done that as a kid, but realized that I had more or less forgotten how to do it) and managed to shoot a roll of 24 frames.

My question: Now what do I do?

1) Do I get them developed at the local Walmart/Walgreens/etc. and then scan them using the dslr ?

2) I just pull out the film in a dark room (not THE dark room, but a room with dim or no lights) and try to scan it using the dslr and macro lens and a back-lit screen ?

3) Forget about shooting film (not that I want to without even looking at what the results would be)

I am not expecting miracles, of course, but I can see why shooting film is recommended so much to improve your photography technique, its not as easy as a dslr.

Any help would be appreciated!

Regards,

- Deep

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mburns
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Re: I shot a roll of film, now what ?
In reply to isb_deep, Jun 3, 2013

Please send your film out to North Coast Photo or A & I for development and high resolution scanning. Download the order sheet, fill it out specifying enhanced scanning, and mail the sheet with the film.

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D Cox
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Re: I shot a roll of film, now what ?
In reply to isb_deep, Jun 3, 2013

isb_deep wrote:

I was browsing for scanning a film and came across this thread. I am not sure if this would be the right place to ask this, but it couldn't hurt so here goes:

I picked up my first camera couple of years ago (a digital bridge cam) and taught myself to shoot half-decently (Flickr). I eventually upgraded to a dslr and was intrigued by film cameras just to understand what the fuss is about the 35 mm fov as I shoot on aps-c format. I cannot afford a full frame dslr so I picked up a used Pentax instead. I then watched youtube to re-learn how to load a film (I had once done that as a kid, but realized that I had more or less forgotten how to do it) and managed to shoot a roll of 24 frames.

My question: Now what do I do?

1) Do I get them developed at the local Walmart/Walgreens/etc. and then scan them using the dslr ?

That would be fine for the first tryouts.

You don't say what kind of film you are shooting, so I presume it is colour negative film. If so, after scanning it you will need to invert the image to get a positive, and then adjust the colour balance to suit your preference.

2) I just pull out the film in a dark room (not THE dark room, but a room with dim or no lights) and try to scan it using the dslr and macro lens and a back-lit screen ?

You cannot scan the film (or safely expose it to even a trace of light) until it has been developed.

3) Forget about shooting film (not that I want to without even looking at what the results would be)

You should at least get one roll right through the process, to see what happens.

I am not expecting miracles, of course, but I can see why shooting film is recommended so much to improve your photography technique, its not as easy as a dslr.

Any help would be appreciated!

Regards,

- Deep

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