Any successfulB&W digital images from 35mm film?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by QkaG, Apr 4, 2004.

  1. QkaG

    QkaG Guest

    If anyone has made a digital image comparable to a darkroom print from
    35mm film, I would like to know the "secret". I am using a low end Scan
    Dual scanner with VueScan Software. The 35mm film is Panatomic X. I am
    using an Epson Photo printer. I am only blowing it up to a 5X7 image.
    But when I compare it to an 8X10 darkroom print, the digital print is much
    grainier and the tonal value is not as great. I have tried to blur the
    grain with Photoshop but it loses its sharpness. I have tried to control
    the grain with VueScan but that too results in a less sharp picture and
    the grain is still more noticeable in comparison to the larger 8X10
    darkroom print. I can actually make a better digital image by scanning
    the 8X10 darkroom print than scanning the negative.
     
    QkaG, Apr 4, 2004
    #1
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  2. The first problem is that while you think you are getting lots of colors,
    you only get 256 of them in grayscale. 24 bit color is 256 levels or red,
    256 levels of green and 256 levels of blue.

    Since gray is the same level for each color, that only gives you 256 levels
    of gray. If you scanner can support higher color resolutions scan in color
    using the higher resolution. If you wish to save space, you can convert
    the file to grayscale using photoshop or the GIMP, or a similar program.

    Second make sure that any dust or scratch reduction software isturned
    off. They work by making a fourth scan of the negative in infra-red. A
    color negative will scan as translucent except for dust (black) and
    scratches (clear), while a silver based monochome negative will scan as
    grayscale.

    Make sure to scan at the highest resolution you scanner can actually
    scan at. Avoid "interpolated" resolutions, they create false data.

    Remember that almost any film you have will appear to the eye as having
    more gray levels than any scanner will be able to discern. Unless you have a
    very carefully controled contrast negative, you have to give up something,
    either highlight/shadow detail or contrast range. Trying to recreate it
    photoshop is just a waste and creates false information.

    The same is with a digital print. No digital printer has the range of film.
    A laser based photographic printer, i.e. one that prints on silver based
    paper, will have better range than an ink-jet, but it's still not going to
    be the same as a "real" print.

    I've found that the best results I have had are from scanning a negative
    as a slide and then inverting it in the GIMP.

    With that said, I've been able to produce good prints from a 35mm negative,
    scanned with a 1200 dpi scanner and printed on a 720dpi printer. Close up
    they look lousy, viewed at the "normal viewing distance" (about 1 foot for
    an 8x10 print) they look fine at A4.

    You also can get better results if you print on a higher resolution printer
    in color. That way you can adjust the tone of the ink to resemble your
    favorite print paper. Using black ink only forces you to the color of
    black your ink manufacturer decides is correrct. IMHO it's usually too
    magenta, in the 10-20cc range.

    Geoff.
     
    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Apr 4, 2004
    #2
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  3. See if my discussions about scanning B&W negatives will help you.
    You don't say what the resolution of your scanner is, but you really
    need at least 1500 dpi for a 5x7 inch print. (1500/300 = 5x
    enlargement). It seems doubtful you are seeing grain. If you are
    printing on a medium quality printer and only using the black ink you
    may be seeing a similar effect due to the lack of enough tonal steps.
    Printing in color mode may help. I have a discussion of this as well.
    Follow the tips link on my home page..
     
    Robert Feinman, Apr 4, 2004
    #3
  4. QkaG

    QkaG Guest

    My thanks to Geoffrey and Robert for your responses and suggestions.
    I did scan the B&W in color mode as opposed to grayscale. I wish I had
    the 4th infrared channel but I have a low end film scanner. Its
    resolution is not that bad. It's 2800 dpi for 35 mm film and that should
    be ample for a 5X7 image.

    Ithink what I see is grain but what do I know. I am new at this. It
    looks like a darkroom enlargement of Tri X film. However my negative is
    Panatomic X. If it is grain, digitized Tri X must look like crap.

    I'll take a look at your home page Robert but I am getting the feeling
    that a digitized B&W image from 35 mm film cannot compare to a darkroom
    print.
     
    QkaG, Apr 4, 2004
    #4
  5. QkaG

    elemar Guest

    : My thanks to Geoffrey and Robert for your responses and suggestions.
    : I did scan the B&W in color mode as opposed to grayscale. I wish I had
    : the 4th infrared channel but I have a low end film scanner. Its
    : resolution is not that bad. It's 2800 dpi for 35 mm film and that should
    : be ample for a 5X7 image.

    : Ithink what I see is grain but what do I know. I am new at this. It
    : looks like a darkroom enlargement of Tri X film. However my negative is
    : Panatomic X. If it is grain, digitized Tri X must look like crap.

    : I'll take a look at your home page Robert but I am getting the feeling
    : that a digitized B&W image from 35 mm film cannot compare to a darkroom
    : print.

    When you are scanning a silver based B&W negative the IR channel won't
    help you. You cannot use the IR based dust and scratch removal feature for
    silver based B&W scans.

    Ray
     
    elemar, Apr 4, 2004
    #5
  6. QkaG

    jjs Guest

    Sending a 35mm image scanned at "2800dpi" is about 30% more than the
    printer can handle, so the printer is downsampling, possibly introducing
    artifacts in the process. The artifacts can be exacerbated by printing on
    only the black cartrige. Another possibility is that the scanner isn't
    _really_ doing 2800, but interpolating to make that figure, and
    interpolation definitely adds artifacts.

    What does the image look like on your monitor? Can you see the same
    artifacts that appear on the print?

    If you have Photoshop you might try duotone (or even tritone or quadtone)
    using some brown and blue tints.
     
    jjs, Apr 4, 2004
    #6
  7. QkaG

    Hemi4268 Guest

    If anyone has made a digital image comparable to a darkroom print from
    I also have never make a good scan from a negative color or otherwise but my
    slides always looked great. So I got this crazy idea of contacting B&W
    negatives onto litho film and process in Dektol to make a positive slide. Then
    I scan that. Best scans are low contrast slides resulting by pulling the lith
    film out of the Dektol in less then 1 minute.

    I get really great looking 8x12 B&W Kodak dye sub prints at 5MB. Ten MB if I am
    using a color ribbon which is tricky.

    Larry
     
    Hemi4268, Apr 4, 2004
    #7
  8. If you plan on processing all of your negatives this way, you should
    process the negatives in such a way as to reduce the dynamic range
    (contrast) on the negative (less time in the developer - or colder
    temp). The problem is that most good b&w film will allow for a DMAX
    of approx 3 - 3.6 - which is a ratio in density between the darkest
    and lightest parts of the negative of anywhere from 1000:1 to 4000:1 -
    the film scanner is probably 8 bits per colour, which means that when
    scanning b&w it has an ability to see a ratio in density of 256:1, so
    when you scan the negative, you lose a lot of the information that is
    there.

    Paper prints have a maximum density ratio of about 100:1 - which is
    one reason that we spend time in the darkroom burning and dodging -
    there is more ability for the negative to hold more detail than there
    is for the paper to display it, so we select what to emphasize when we
    print - your scanner is not so smart.

    I personally do not bother trying to scan B&W negatives, if I need an
    electronic version of a B&W image, I will print it in the darkroom,
    then scan the print. - I do scan my colour transparancies, and have
    much better luck with those.

    Mark
     
    Mark in Maine, Apr 4, 2004
    #8
  9. QkaG

    jjs Guest

    Isn't dust a huge problem? Uneven development? And FWIW, Kodak makes a
    better film for that - 5302.
     
    jjs, Apr 5, 2004
    #9
  10. QkaG

    DanKPhoto Guest

    It is quite possible to get a good B&W image by scanning a B&W negative and
    printing on an inkjet printer; it is not the same as a darkroom print, but it
    can be very pleasing in its own right. Various methods are used to make B&W
    prints on inkjet printers, from using color inks and messing with the color
    controls to using dedicated B&W inksets with profiles to match them to specific
    papers (Piezography BWICCProfile system, for example {see www.inkjetmall.com
    or www.piezography.com for more on this). Also see the digital darkroom forum
    at www.photo.net (check the forums under "Community.") One of the advantages
    to scanning and printing is that once you have the photograph done and saved
    you can print identical copies without additional manipulation. Another
    advantage is the ability to make tiny manipulations that are difficult on a
    darkroom print; indeed, you can exert all sorts of control over the photograph.
    (See also www.johnpaulcaponigro.com--he is a very accomplished digital
    worker.) Good scanning practices, appropriate equipment (CRT probably has an
    advantage over LED for B&W), and dilligence in learning and applying Photoshop
    skills will be of great value. Best regards,
    Dan Kapsner
     
    DanKPhoto, Apr 5, 2004
    #10
  11. QkaG

    John Guest

    The secret is that it can't be done.


    Regards,

    John S. Douglas, Photographer - http://www.darkroompro.com
    Please remove the "_" when replying via email
     
    John, Apr 6, 2004
    #11
  12. QkaG

    Norman Worth Guest

    I've had some reasonable success with 35mm black and white scans, but not
    nearly as good of results as with MF. To a lesser extent, the same goes for
    color. I use a Minolta Dimage Scan Multi at 2820 dpi in black and white
    mode. I suspect a good scanner is very important here. The biggest problem
    with black and white scans is printing. One or two black inks just doesn't
    hack it! The HP7960, with three balcks, gives passable black and white
    prints, but not quite darkroom quality. I have seen some excellent black
    and white prints from scans professionally printed with four to six black
    inks.
     
    Norman Worth, Apr 6, 2004
    #12
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