Particularly good or bad films for scanning

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Andrew Koenig, Jun 22, 2004.

  1. I am not satisfied with the overall quality of scanned images from 35mm
    Kodak Royal Gold 400--even though 8x10 prints look fine, the same images
    look too grainy when displayed on a monitor. Part of the reason may be that
    my monitor is about 12x16 inches.

    Anyway, I'm looking around for suggestions for films that work particularly
    well (or badly) when scanned. I'm cross-posting this to
    and, after some trepidation, because I think the
    query legitimately fits the descriptions of both groups.

    I don't have strong feelings about negative vs. positive film. I have the
    overall impression that negative films can cope with a greater dynamic range
    in the subject, which means that there is more opportunity to correct
    exposure problems during scanning. Of course, it is better to expose
    correctly in the first place, but there is not always a single definition of
    correct, and it may not be possible to find the optiumum except in
    retrospect. Nevertheless, if there is a positive film that produces
    particularly good results, I'm all for it.

    I have heard good things about Provia 400F, but haven't tried it. Is it
    worth an experiment? (An automatic "yes" isn't helpful, because there are
    so many films out there that if I don't decide which ones to try first, I
    may never finish)

    Other suggestions?
    Andrew Koenig, Jun 22, 2004
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  2. Andrew Koenig

    Roger Guest


    I'm having pretty good luck with Portra 100UC and 400UC for a negative
    and of course Velvia 100 for transparencies. A good crisp scan of 400
    ISO film does define the grain very well. That may be good or bad from
    your view point. I'm using a Nikon 4000 scanner. I also use NeatImage
    when it makes sense to clean up some grain.

    Roger, Jun 22, 2004
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  3. Yup. ISO 400 films look pretty gross scanned if you look too closely. Hold
    your nose and print seems to be the right approach.

    Try Reala, Provia 100F, and Velvia 100F. Maybe Astia 100F.

    You should also try Neat Image on the raw scans. It can help a lot.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Jun 22, 2004
  4. Andrew Koenig

    Chris B Guest

    If possible, use a slower film - something like Fuji Reala for example.
    Also, you don't say what scanner you're using - if you find the grain of
    Kodak Royal Gold 400 acceptable on an 8x10 print, grain shouldn't be much
    more noticable on your monitor, unless it's suffering from noise or just
    isn't doing a very good job of colour-correcting. I don't think the film
    could be completely to blame if you're getting good prints but bad scans. If
    you get your prints done at a standard high-street lab, it's probably been
    scanned and digitally printed anyway.

    Chris B, Jun 22, 2004
  5. I've had very good results with Fuji Reala for scanning. And in B&W,

    In general, color negative films scan better on consumer equipment
    than reversal films, because the dmax is lower. On a drum scanner or
    real commercial equipment of other sorts, this isn't a problem, but it
    is on quite a few otherwise quite good home scanners, like my Nikon
    David Dyer-Bennet, Jun 22, 2004
  6. Andrew Koenig

    Alan Browne Guest

    Less so on more up to date scanners with 16 bit/channel sampling,
    providing Dmax in excess of reversal film density. Despite that,
    yes, drum scanners do do even better.

    16 bit per channel gives effectively log10(2^14.5)=4.36 (take 1.5
    bits as 'noise') for Dmax. This is in excess of any claim I've
    seen for reversal film Dmax.
    Alan Browne, Jun 22, 2004
  7. Reala yes, XP2, no. I basically see Provia 100F as the standard, and then
    rate a film based on how much worse it is. Reala is just a tad worse, and
    XP2 is a major disaster by comparison.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Jun 22, 2004
  8. Andrew Koenig

    Rich Pos Guest

    XP2 has always scanned well for me, very little post processing
    required. All the AGFA neg films are exceptional to scan, particularly
    Ultra 100.

    The only neg films I've had issue with are the Fuji 4th color layer
    films. The raw scans have a horrendous green cast that is easily
    corrected in PS. The only film (to date) that I have had terrible
    results with is Kodak T400CN. Very blah.

    Rich Pos, Jun 22, 2004
  9. I suspect that your "scans well" and my "scans badly" are talking about
    different things. I don't want to see grain (or dye clouds) in a 300 dpi
    print of a 4000 dpi scan.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Jun 23, 2004
  10. I tried negative Konica Impresa 50 once and got impressively good
    results in terms of grain in 4000dpi scans. If you don't mind the low
    speed of this film, it might make sense to try it.
    Andrey Tarasevich, Jun 23, 2004
  11. Andrew Koenig

    Rich Pos Guest

    OK, I'll rephrase that. The scans are very good at 2400dpi / 24bit
    (the max. res. of my scanner). If my exposure is correct I see very
    little to no grain at 100%.
    Normally printed 9x6 @ 300dpi (c14MB file) and occasionally
    interpolated with genuine fractals to 12x18 @ 300dpi (c60MB file) then
    printed on a Epson 1280, usually on Epson heavyweight matte. So far I
    am pleased with this combination. But like you mentioned above, we may
    have different standards ;)
    XP2 is my favorite c41 b+w with Portra a close second. XP2 being
    considerably cheaper than Portra is another factor in my rating. After
    shooting about 25 rolls of each, I'd say the two are equal and I am
    very happy with the scans and prints.

    Here is a low res example of xp2...
    I know it doesn't prove anything but the prints look better than this
    and are very consistent in all the xp2 stuff I've done. Very little
    grain, even in the under-exposed areas.

    Maybe you're seeing more grain due to the higher scanning resolution

    BTW: Last week I purchased 10 rolls of xp2 from B&H and was
    disappointed to find the cartridges wrapped in foil... not in
    containers. Oh well, for 2.99 / roll I won't complain much.


    Rich Pos, Jun 23, 2004
  12. Andrew Koenig

    Alan Browne Guest

    Andrew Koenig wrote:

    Sensia 100 (Astia 100) (old).
    Portra 160NC
    Velvia (both)
    E100G (okay, I've only done one so far, but looked good).
    K Tmax 100

    KRG 100 always scanned well for me. I don't use it anymore.

    Superia 400 scans well, but getting the color right in some
    situations might be tough. (My girlfriend uses it EI'd at 200
    and I scan it for her. Usually okay but some trouble with 'gold'
    colors (grass reed in fall, etc.)

    Tough to scan:
    K E100S (grain, colors are great though).
    K E100GX (grain, I've only shot one roll though)

    CW used to be that thinning out slides (1/3 to 1/2 over exp) was
    helpful to scanning, but with the later 16 bit/channel scanners I
    don't believe this is applicable. I don't thin them out anymore
    (I used to bracket a shot just for my old scanner; new scanner I
    don't bother).

    Alan Browne, Jun 24, 2004
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