Scan at home or pay the lab?

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
NAwlins Contrarian Senior Member • Posts: 2,586
Re: Scan at home or pay the lab?

Scanning does not necessarily result in quality degradation. It depends on how you scan. If you take color film and get it professionally drum-scanned, you can capture more image detail than you're likely to ever capture with an optical enlargement and wet print.

But not as much as with a contact print.

A contact print may be the ultimate achievable quality from film--you are probably right about that, at least as a practical matter. For me the choice was between an optical enlargement and a scan (or with transparencies, a light box and a loupe), because I've never used a camera that took large enough film to make me want a contact print as a final print. The clear rectangle on my 4x5 film holders is about 96x121mm (3.8x4.8 inches). Now if I had an 8x10 or ULF camera ...

I never was able to scan silver gelatin negs well with a drum scanner.

Yeah, I'm generally aware of some issues, which I'd hinted at but not really addressed ("If you take color film and get it professionally drum-scanned ....") That said, I have some professional drum scans of B&W film that are far better than what I was able to achieve with the scanners I had. What is really the best way to scan B&W film? Maybe it would be with a Flextight, as you suggest.

Part of the problem was that the optics were similar to those in a condenser enlarger (only on a much smaller scale).

Back in the day I used an Aristo cold head on a Beseler 45MX, so I didn't have to deal with condenser enlarger issues. I won't say there's a right or wrong type, just that I would not have wanted a different type from what I had.

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