Film to digital

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Sheldon, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. Sheldon

    Sheldon Guest

    Is there anything to be said for shooting with a 35mm film camera and
    letting whoever does the processing put the images on a CD for you?

    I realize your digital camera eliminates this step, but what are the pros
    and cons, and when would this method be preferred, if at all?


    Sheldon, Jan 23, 2005
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  2. Sheldon

    Alan Browne- Guest

    Most store made CD's are of fairly poor resolution v. what is possible
    with most home film scanners.
    A good digital camera is better in almost all cases than the CD's that
    are provided by most film developers.

    The exception is of course service bureau's that provide drum scans...
    which are quite expensive.

    I'll be getting some MF film scans done soon on Fuji Frontier ... I'll
    report the results, but from what others have said I expect to be

    Alan Browne-, Jan 23, 2005
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  3. Sheldon

    Sheldon Guest

    That said, if I was going to scan my own film, better to use negatives or
    slides (ISO being equal)?


    Sheldon, Jan 23, 2005
  4. Sheldon

    Alan Browne- Guest

    Sheldon wrote:
    That said, if I was going to scan my own film, better to use negatives or
    Not sure I understand that. You do scan negatives and slides. The
    process is pretty much the same (You have to tell the scan software it
    is a negative or a slide, but other than that...)

    "ISO being equal"? If you mean, "is digital ISO the same as film ISO?"
    then yes (for the most part, there are some subtle differences).

    Alan Browne-, Jan 23, 2005
  5. Sheldon

    Sheldon Guest

    Let me rephrase the question, and this is probably the wrong group. If you
    are going to substitute shooting 35mm for digital, and scan the results to
    digital yourself, is it better to use negative film or slide film?


    Sheldon, Jan 23, 2005
  6. Sheldon

    Stacey Guest

    Alan Browne- wrote:

    You will be.

    I had hoped to use this service and continue shooting 645 using this for
    "proofs" but the results were awful. This was even a camera store lab which
    normally does decent prints, the CD wasn't even CLOSE to being useable for
    anything. Shame as the idea was sound, seems they just put the machine on
    autopilot if you aren't getting prints and blame it on your computer if
    they look like crap.
    Stacey, Jan 23, 2005
  7. Sheldon

    Stacey Guest

    I'd say slide. First off you have an original to go by and second you don't
    have to deal with all the various "color masks" that while they all look
    orange, need different adjustments to get decent color balance. I haven't
    done a bunch of this but have scanned some 4X5 negatives and chromes and
    the chromes were much easier to deal with.
    Stacey, Jan 23, 2005
  8. Sheldon

    Alan Browne Guest

    Generally it is easier (and faster) to scan slide film. Good slide films like
    Velvia (both), Provia, Sensia, E100VS, E100G, Elitechrome 100 and others scan
    well. Usually the color is bang on if the exposure was correct.

    Sensia 100:
    Velvia (50):

    Some slide films, like E100S, scan with an unusual grain aliasing effect that is
    not very pleasant. OTOH, this does not show very much (or at all) in prints.

    If you are not experienced at shooting slide film, however, the extra latitude
    of negative color film will be more forgiving to you.

    Some negative film scans very nicely. Oddly enough, the great el-cheapo Kodak
    Max 400 scans very well in my experience. Negative films sometimes scan with
    odd color rendition and it can be a challenge to correct.

    For color, Kodak Portra 160NC scans great. (expose the film at 100, not 160,
    develop normally).

    This isn't the place for this... learn more at
    Alan Browne, Jan 23, 2005
  9. Sheldon

    Alan Browne Guest

    Well, at two different places I have a good rapport with the owners/operators,
    so we'll see how much 'improvement' can be made if they come back like crap.
    I'm so reluctant to find out that this task has been due for over two months
    (we've discussed before).

    Alan Browne, Jan 23, 2005
  10. Sheldon

    John Francis Guest

    That depends on the scanner (and, to some extent, to the film).

    Each approach has drawbacks.

    With negative film, you have the problem of the orange mask, and the
    fact that different films have rather different colour profiles.

    Reversal film is very simple from a colour standpoint, but can be a
    problem on low-end scanners which can't handle the range of densities.

    With an 8-bit scanner I'd suggest staying with negative film, and
    see if you can get a film profile for your scanner (or use a third
    party software solution such as Ed Hamrick's VueScan package).

    With a 10-bit (or, preferably, 12-bit) scanner, you should be OK
    with slide films.

    On an ISO-for-ISO comparison I found that a good high-resolution
    slide film (in my case Fuji Provia 100F) produced better scans
    than I was able to get from negative film (Kodak Supra 100).
    I also preferred the artifacts from dye clouds to film grain.
    John Francis, Jan 23, 2005
  11. Sheldon

    Hunt Guest

    I agree with Alan's statement to the original post. As to your question now, a
    very general and basic answer, posed on the assumption that you have good
    software with your scanner to handle either, would be: if the highlights are
    the most important part of the image, then shoot neg film, but if the shadows
    are the most important part, then shoot transparency film. Beyond the
    highlight/shadow consideration, there is probably a little less work with
    transparency than negative, but otherwise they are equal.

    Hunt, Jan 24, 2005
  12. Sheldon

    andrew29 Guest

    There's a trick I'd like to recommend: over-expose slightly. This
    lifts shadow detail out of the toe of the density curve of the film.
    Only a slight adjustment is required. I usually expose ISO 100 film
    at ISO 80, and this gives good results on a Coolscan 8000.

    andrew29, Jan 24, 2005
  13. Sheldon

    John Francis Guest

    I wouldn't call a Coolscan 8000 a low-end scanner. It's should
    have no problem handling just about any film you feed into it.
    (Sure, it's not a Leaf, or an Imacon. But it's a nice unit).

    I'm also not sure I'd recommend routinely over-exposing slides;
    if you're not careful, you can easily end up with blown highlights,
    and that's going to lose details you'll never be able to recover.
    (The maxim says you should expose for the highlights when shooting
    slides, and expose for the shadows when shooting negative film).
    There again, I know several people who prefer to rate Velvia at 40
    (and even one who rates it at 32). It very much depends on your
    equipment and technique, too; those tricky lighting conditions
    are exactly the situations where different metering methods (such
    as the various multi-pattern modes from different camera brands)
    produce the most variation in suggested exposure. If you're not
    using the built-in metering, but going with a hand-held meter,
    you're just going to learn a different set of heuristic adjustments
    for when (and by how much) you vary from the values it gives you.
    That Ansel Adams guy knew a thing or two about exposures, as well.
    Spot metering on a significant part of the image, and assigning that
    to a particular zone, still works as well today as it ever did.

    Finally, to drag this back vaguely on-topic (this is, after all,
    a DSLR newsgroup) digital sensors should be treated pretty much
    as slide film; don't blow out the highlights. Even shooting RAW
    (which, depending on camera brand, gives you a stop or so of extra
    headroom) isn't going to be enough to help in all situations.
    John Francis, Jan 24, 2005
  14. Sheldon

    Chris Guest

    I've had very good luck with shooting 35mm film and having it scanned
    in at 300ppi then printing out at up to 20"x30". The color and
    sharpness are quite good.

    The scanning is done on a Nikon CoolScan and the film I use is Velvia

    Chris, Jan 25, 2005
  15. Sheldon

    jfitz Guest

    Excellent advice! With film, I routinely lowered the ISO by 1/3 stop for
    negative film (overexposing) and increased the ISO by 1/3 stop for slides
    (underexposing) to get the exposure I desired. The sensors in my Canon
    Digitals act very much like slide film in this respect.
    jfitz, Jan 25, 2005
  16. Sheldon

    andrew29 Guest

    Ah, okay. I was thinking of desktop=low, drum=high. I guess the
    Coolscan is in the middle somewhere. But it does have trouble peering
    into the shadows.
    Fair enough. My film cameras don't have built-in metering, so a
    handheld meter is what I use, and the difference between ISO 100 and
    ISO 80 is really pretty small. You'd have to be in a pretty nasty
    situation for such a small change to blow highlights that weren't
    blown before.

    Also, Velvia is evil stuff to scan. I love Astia, which IME seems to
    have much better properties for scanning.
    Digital is, IME, more sensitive to blown highlights than transparency
    film. It doesn't clip "hard" quite as badly...
    Indeed. In fact, as far as I can tell the D1x that I use doesn't have
    much extra headroom in raw: the clip level at ISO 125 is the same, raw
    or jpg.

    andrew29, Jan 25, 2005
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