Photographing old negatives / workflow

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JohnXTanner Forum Member • Posts: 67
Re: Photographing old negatives / workflow

The other thing is to lock the ISO. I use the base setting. There's no need to let the ISO float upwards, you may as well trade off longer exposures for quality in this case in my opinion.

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olyflyer
olyflyer Forum Pro • Posts: 27,270
Re: Photographing old negatives / workflow

frankjoke wrote:

I did converted thousands of my old negatives because I had all negatives reserved.

I photographed them with a macro lens on my D850 where I used a flash at the back of the negative in RAW format.

On my DXO RAW converter I reversed the RGB tones which led to real colors instead the negative ones.

The good side was that I could user white balance (with pipette or settings) after that which means I corrected most of the color problems.

I tried before same with LR but it was not so easy to get good results results, but I anyhow do not user LR for RAW conversion because DXO generates better results (for me, I user LR only for import and face detection!).

I do have the necessary equipment to do that as well, including the 60mm macro lens, but I still prefer the use of scanners. Removing scratches is also much easier with the scanners I have, as opposed to taking pictures of the film images and clean them at PP. My Canon Canoscan 9000F mark II allows me to scan several frames at the same time and automatically "cuts" those to individual images, which is a huge help for selecting which images are wort keeping, which not, and which might be worth spending more time on with serious PP or scan at very high resolution with my film/slide scanner.

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JohnXTanner Forum Member • Posts: 67
Re: Photographing old negatives / workflow

Vuescan also has some built-in profiles for colour negative films.

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Stavrosf Regular Member • Posts: 151
Re: Photographing old negatives / workflow

I used to have a lot of color and b&w films a couple of years ago and I wanted to digitize them. (they were all 35mm, so I bought Nikon ES2, in order to do the job - I already had the AFS 60mm 2.8G). It was too difficult to control the colour (especially for the color negatives), so I ended buying the Negative Lab Pro. I used my Nikon Z6 for this work.

- It is important to find out what is the White Balance Temprature of your lightning.

- I was always shooting RAW, but I also extracted the files to JPG after the Negative Lab Process, in order to use the as a "contact sheet".

- It takes too much time to process each photograph seperately, so I usually batch processed them using the Negative Lab Pro in order to come back and perfect my choises.

- I have used a U camera bank of my Nikon (U3), using the info I wanted. Aperture priorty at F8 (maybe you need to check the best value for Z7, considering diffraction), the colour temprature needed, IBIS off. Unfortunately, self timer wasn't saved on the camera bank and I had to set it each time.

- If you use different sizes of films, it is better not to mix them during scanning, as it will require refocus each time.

- I ended using Negative Lab Pro even for my B&W

As you don't use Lightroom, my advice is to get a trial for both Lightroom and Negative Lab Pro (their trial is full unrestricted use of Negative Lab Pro on up to 12 negatives) and check it yourself. If it is ok with you, get a subscription for lightroom all the time you need it for the scanning, and then you can stop using it (it is good to keep both JPG and RAW files though). If you need to rework them, you can subscribe back.

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OP PLShutterbug Contributing Member • Posts: 907
Re: Photographing old negatives / workflow

JohnXTanner wrote:

The other thing is to lock the ISO. I use the base setting. There's no need to let the ISO float upwards, you may as well trade off longer exposures for quality in this case in my opinion.

Yes. For whatever reason I’ve never let ISO float in any photography. I set it myself based on conditions. For this project, ISO 64 works fine.

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OP PLShutterbug Contributing Member • Posts: 907
Re: Photographing old negatives / workflow

Thanks. I am thinking about the short-term subscription angle already.

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Franglais91 Senior Member • Posts: 1,099
D850 has it built-in
1

PLShutterbug wrote:

Moderator: Let me know where this belongs if not here. I looked but couldn’t find a topic area that seemed a better fit.

I have something like 4,000 old negatives and slides to digitize in formats from 126 Instamatic to 2-1/2”x4-1/4”. I plan to photograph these using my Z7, Nikkor 60mm Micro, and a negative stage I built myself. I’m not interested in using a scanner for this.

Best practices? My current plan:

  • Create custom picture controls for each emulsion type so I can see positives in camera before I even fire the shutter. That way I can just not photograph ones that don’t look interesting.
  • I use Affinity for editing so plan to shoot RAW, save to disk and then use View-NXi to bulk convert to TIFF before tweaking those I’m interested in. That way I don’t have to re-process the RAW files again in Affinity.
  • I’d like to connect my camera to PC to preview and maybe save direct to disk. Looks like Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 for this but wonder if it provides the flexibility I know I will want. In particular:
  • - If I know an image should be vertical, I’d like to indicate that so the original is flagged that way.
  • - Auto dust and scratch healing?

Has anyone here done this, and have advice?

Thanks.

During the confinement in the Spring I digitised thousands of using negatives using my D850 which has a built-in program to inverse negative films:

- for 24x36 film I used the CS2 film scanner attachment on my 60mm macro with a big LED panel behind. Simple

- for 6x6 film I used a 105mm Macro lens with the camera mounted inverted looking down at the film held in a commercial film holder placed on a pile of books about 20cm tall sitting on a 10 inch tablet displaying a pure white image (can't put the film straight on a LED light source because the camera easily records the individual LEDs)

I set the camera on f8 100 ISO and let it set the shutter speed. I viewed the image on the rear LCD and if necessary adjusted the exposure using the controls in the built-in program.

In film digitising mode the D850 only outputs JPG. I treated each image afterwards in DXO to correct framing, remove obvious imperfections/dust and do the usual dodge/burn, skin smoothing etc.

For black-and-white and colour transparencies the results were mostly excellent. The 6x6 images looked just like native D850 images.

For colour negatives the result was mostly dismal. Sometimes the D850 got the transformation from masked colour negative to positive just about right but often it looked too saturated. I tried converting some of the 6x6 to black and white and that was not too bad but the grain is mush, unlike the crisp, sharp grain of real black and white film.

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bolthead
bolthead Regular Member • Posts: 143
Re: Photographing old negatives / workflow

@NCV.....wow! That's one impressive portfolio, great stuff. I recognize and still listen to a lot of them. Thanks for showing.

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michaeladawson Forum Pro • Posts: 14,981
Re: Photographing old negatives / workflow

PLShutterbug wrote:

michaeladawson wrote:

PLShutterbug wrote:

I looked on the VueScan site this morning, didn’t find an answer I needed so wrote to Support, and Ed (owner) already responded with good instructions.

I will download his trial later in the week once I figure out my lighting situation and will probably buy it.

ViewScan is good. I used it for many years with dedicated scanners. The ability to convert raw files from negative captures is a nice feature. It also comes with a lot of different film profiles, although I'm not sure how accurate they are.

One of the fortunate things about scanning in old negatives is that you really have no idea what they're supposed to look like. You can't really use old prints as a target as the color has probably changed. Especially the standard 3.5x5.5 lab prints. So you can really just shoot for a color balance you find pleasing.

I've even converted recent color negatives and I still can't reproduce exactly the print colors that came from the lab. But who says the lab was right.

Speaking of not knowing what the colors need to look like ...

Two of the negatives I need to scan are from my parents’ wedding in 1951. I have seen black and white prints of these but when my sister told me she had found negatives and then gave them to me yesterday, to my surprise they are color! They are a strange image size: 2-1/2” x 4-1/4”. I can’t find any reference to the film type. On the top edge it says “Kodak Safety Film 531903”. I know what “safety film” means but my search results on that emulsion number come up empty.

I need to do further research ... somewhere.

Sounds like Verichrome film from a Brownie camera. Maybe 116 or 616 format.

https://www.brownie-camera.com/film.shtml

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Mike Dawson

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OP PLShutterbug Contributing Member • Posts: 907
Re: Photographing old negatives / workflow
1

michaeladawson wrote:

PLShutterbug wrote:

michaeladawson wrote:

PLShutterbug wrote:

I looked on the VueScan site this morning, didn’t find an answer I needed so wrote to Support, and Ed (owner) already responded with good instructions.

I will download his trial later in the week once I figure out my lighting situation and will probably buy it.

ViewScan is good. I used it for many years with dedicated scanners. The ability to convert raw files from negative captures is a nice feature. It also comes with a lot of different film profiles, although I'm not sure how accurate they are.

One of the fortunate things about scanning in old negatives is that you really have no idea what they're supposed to look like. You can't really use old prints as a target as the color has probably changed. Especially the standard 3.5x5.5 lab prints. So you can really just shoot for a color balance you find pleasing.

I've even converted recent color negatives and I still can't reproduce exactly the print colors that came from the lab. But who says the lab was right.

Speaking of not knowing what the colors need to look like ...

Two of the negatives I need to scan are from my parents’ wedding in 1951. I have seen black and white prints of these but when my sister told me she had found negatives and then gave them to me yesterday, to my surprise they are color! They are a strange image size: 2-1/2” x 4-1/4”. I can’t find any reference to the film type. On the top edge it says “Kodak Safety Film 531903”. I know what “safety film” means but my search results on that emulsion number come up empty.

I need to do further research ... somewhere.

Sounds like Verichrome film from a Brownie camera. Maybe 116 or 616 format.

https://www.brownie-camera.com/film.shtml

Thanks for the link! Looks like it is indeed from a Brownie camera. Nice to know. My mom said they relied on family and friends to capture their wedding and that lends further credence. This was a very small town in Missouri (Lamar).

It may be 116 format but it is color, not B&W so cannot be Verichrome. Kodacolor was out by then - likely that is what it is.

The balance is still horrid but you can see color. I continue to work on it. This is from Affinity.

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 11,837
Re: Photographing old negatives / workflow
1

bolthead wrote:

@NCV.....wow! That's one impressive portfolio, great stuff. I recognize and still listen to a lot of them. Thanks for showing.

Thanks.

Yes, I love Jazz too and I have a lot of discs by some these people. It was a great few years to be able to photograph and sometimes meet some of my musical hero's.

jimturney New Member • Posts: 1
Re: Photographing old negatives / workflow

Nice work Nigel! Very well 'caught in the act'.
Thanks for sharing your photo 'book' and digitizing methods...now I've got to get to mine.

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 11,837
Re: Photographing old negatives / workflow

jimturney wrote:

Nice work Nigel! Very well 'caught in the act'.
Thanks for sharing your photo 'book' and digitizing methods...now I've got to get to mine.

Thanks.

Yes, it is a good job to do on grey winter days.

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