Scanning negative films (35 and 120)

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 1,822
Re: Scanning negative films (35 and 120)

Baylock wrote:

Hi,

Hi!

You'll find lots of opinions and I think it's important (with all things film) to give the most credence to the people who have actually done these things and can show you examples.

I use an Epson V550, which gather from others' opinions is pretty much the worst possible way to scan my photos, and I am pretty satisfied with the results. Like you, I am shooting mostly 35mm as well as some 6x6. My go-to indoor film is HP5 shot at 1600 for 35mm, and HP5 @ 3200 for MF (like you I'm not afraid of a little grain).

Check out a couple 35mm scans of HP5 @ 1600: This one and this one.

I also posted a few shots of HP5 @ 3200 in medium format 6x6, scanned with the Epson. You can see those in this discussion in the Film Photography forum. The biggest issue I have with MF is getting the scans to lie flat. I need to buy a Digitaliza but just haven't gotten out to Freestyle lately.

If you want to see all of my scans with the V550, look in my two film albums.

Overall, I'm pleased with the results, though I know a wet drum scan would be better. If I was shooting for a show, I'd probably be OK printing these at small sizes, or I'd get a professional drum scan done and have those printed. Or I'd wet-print 8x10s myself. Been a while since I've been in the darkroom, but it's not terribly difficult.

We are going to print some small photos for friends (their dogs) and these scans will do just fine.

As for software, I use the Epson built-in software in "professional" mode. I tried "offsite backup evaluation" copies of Vuescan and Silverfast and did not see a clear advantage. Lack of control over exposure is one issue but so far I haven't had any issues. I just adjust contrast/brightness in GIMP. I'm more about the composition and the mood; if I want something that's really technically perfect, I shoot digital. (And I shoot more film than digital, btw.)

I am intrigued by what I have read about DSLR scanning and do plan to try it -- it sounds a lot quicker, for one thing. I have a slide scanner buried in a box somewhere at my parents, so I might try that. Or I might not. We'll see!

HTH.

Aaron

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