A Brief Return to Film, Could Use Some Help

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
OP Brev00 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,191
Re: A Brief Return to Film, Could Use Some Help

tassienick wrote:

Brev00 wrote:


I will start out with one of the worst:

Exposure looks fine, scan has blown the highlights.

This is a kind of pic I take fairly often while doing my daily 10K steps around my neighborhood. Pretty life-like. Not very sharp with the grain seeming to cloud the image:

Over-sharpened scan has emphasised the grain.

Here are a few of the landscape type:

Very bright, little highlight detail

Perhaps the oversharpening was consistent and was responsible for the consistently high level of visible grain.

Exposure looks fine, scan has blown the highlights.

Held the highlights, very little shadow detail. With digital, I could recover much of the shadow detail.

Looks like poor scanning is responsible for much of what has displeased me about the shots.

Camera has exposed for the highlights and badly underexposed the shadows.

A complete loss of contrast here though the starburst held up

Camera has exposed for the highlights and badly underexposed the shadows.


Am I expecting too much?

Perhaps I could trust a scan to hold the highlights in the more brightly exposed images, I wouldn't have to underexpose so much.


A consumer grade 35mm colour negative film is never going to be as 'good' as a modern full frame digital, if your yardstick for 'good' is technical performance.

Is it the old maxim that one out of hundred shots is a keeper?

No more or less so than with digital. Medium doesn't make you a better photographer.

Are these limitations of the specific film I used?

Sort of, but not really.

C200 isn't an excellent film, but it's fine. Most of the issues I see above are due to either underexposure (which colour negative films hate) and/or bad scanning (which tends to blow highlights and over-sharpen, which makes grain much more pronounced).

Keep in mind that digital has good shadow latitude, while colour negative has good highlight latitude. Meter colour negative like digital and you will end up with muddy, detailless shadows.

Regarding your comments about your old prints turning out fine - in my experience small lab prints (ie. 6x4") tend to be better at covering imperfections than cheap lab scans.

As I said to another, my enlargements look great and hold up to my digital prints extremely well.  My 4x6 film shots from the past look just as clear and sharp as my digital shots.  All I really want is to see a good correspondence to the reality I saw at the time.  Not all fuzzy and indistince with a cloudy, grainy surface.  Which are visible in 4x6 prints. There are few, if any such imperfections in my film 4x6 prints--I don't think all the shots had these problems but that they were obscured by the small print size.  No cloudiness, no blown highlights.  At least not in the hundreds I have kept.  I did keep the negatives all these years but I have no idea what condition they are in kept in unregulated conditions.  If they were in good shape, it might be interesting to see what the same lab would do with them.

Am I messing up in some way? Or, are these pics mostly pretty good?

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