Don't throw away those film camera just yet.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ChrisA, Mar 28, 2006.

  1. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #1
    Don't throw away those film camera just yet.

    Yesterday Fed Ex delivered my new Epson scanner. So I instal the software and hook up the scanner then go hunting for some negative to scan. I find a roll I shot that has some macro shots of flowers and a dozen shots of a little two year old boy who is now in high school. I load all 24 frames in the film holder set up the scan by selecting a few parameters click "scan" and then it's 11:00pm so I go to bed. The estimated time to complete is saying "245 minutes". This morning I look at the files.

    I have to say that I've got better results from these scans then I can get from my Nikon D50 DSLR. The color and sharpness are outstanding and of cource the resolution is much better. These images where shot 12 years ago using a Nikon N90 using Kodak Royal Gold ISO 100 film. The scans are about 28 megapixels

    The DSLR does great work and it's fast but the film scanner beats it.

    My longer term plan is to buy a 4x5 view camera and scan the 4x5 negs. I've been wanting to make 4 foot wide digital prints for years. Old Cambo 4x5 camera are selling to under $200 although good lens are not cheap.
     
  2. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #2
    I just bought home my Dad's old Canon EOS 630 - can't wait to do some black and white with it.
     
  3. martin1000 macrumors regular

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    #3
    Which Epson scanner did you get?

    I am in the market.

    Thanks!
     
  4. Jovian9 macrumors 68000

    Jovian9

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    #4
    I'm curious too as I'm in the market for a scanner for the exact same reason.
     
  5. macpastor macrumors regular

    macpastor

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    #5
    35mm Superior

    It should come as no suprise that 35mm is better than a digital. If you visit www.kenrockwell.com he shows the difference between 35mm and digital. While I love digital, I plan on getting a good Nikon body to go with my dSLR D50. I love the effects that 35mm film and other film gives. You cannot beat the texture and color saturation. It also is good for blowing up and still keeping an awesome dpi.
     
  6. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #6
    Comparing the D50's resolution to film resolution isn't a fair deal -- a higher-resolution digital camera is going to be a better comparison. That said, yes, especially when you get into medium format or better yet, 4x5, film is going to win hands-down.
     
  7. panoz7 macrumors 6502a

    panoz7

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    #7
    The higher resolution thing may be true with medium format film (with a few exceptions) but it is certainly not the case with 35mm film. 35mm. film can only capture so much detail, this is why photographers use medium format to begin with. Just because you captured 28 megapixels with your scanner doesn't mean you actually have 28 megapixels of data, just as if you were to scan a picture out of the magazine at 300dpi, you wouldn't actually have 300dpi's worth of data. Does that make sense?

    There's some interesting articles about this here:
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com

    I agree that its probably not quite time to throw out those old film cameras yet. I love them... its just the benefits of a digital workflow are quickly out weighing those of film. I really like how film makes you think much more about taking a picture. I think that today with digital most people put very little thought into composition since they aren't limited to the number of picture on a role of film... ok, i'm getting off topic. Sorry.

    EDIT: I was just searching around and found this:
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/Cramer.shtml

    It compares 4x5 film drum scanned to a phase one P45. Film still appears to have a small edge in sharpness when viewed at 100% but that difference shouldn't noticable in prints. Its incredible how far digital has come.
     
  8. ChrisA thread starter macrumors G4

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    #8
    You are right. But it turns out that it really does take about 28 megapixels to do a good capture from 35mm film (assumes it was shot with a quality SLR and slow negative film) I could have done a 100MP scan but that would have been pointless. Just figure that a film camera can do about 80 lines per millimeter and you need about 200 pixels per mm to capture 80 lpmm. So it works out to about 28MP for a 35mm film frame. cut that 28 by 1/4th if the frame was shot with a little point and shot

    Another way to look at it. Assume the Nikon D200 has about the "right" sampling density. It is a 10MP camera with 24x16mm frame format. A 35mm frame has roughtly twice the area of a Nikon "DX" frame so if you want the D200's pixel spacing you need about 23MP..

    So I've got two different arguments that 28MP is "close to right. OK you need a third? It is best (by far) to scan at an even fraction of the scanner's native resolution. My scaner does 4800DPI and 2400 is far to low so 4800dpi gives roughtly 30MP

    One advantage of capturing at high DPI is if you need to do some hand edits to repair dust and scratches. The paces where you had to "clone out" the defect shows less in the print.
     
  9. ChrisA thread starter macrumors G4

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    #9
    Go to the Epson web site and look at thier "refurbished" products. They list the model 4870 for $199 shipped.
    The scaner comes with film holders for 35mm (slides and negs) and 120 and 4x5. The current top of the line flatbed is the 4990 and is about $500 right now. It has slightly better specs and can scan 8x10 sheet film or more 35mm film per batch.

    But be warnned about the speed, 4800 DPI scans with "ICE" enabled take about 12 minutes per 35mm frame or about 5 per hour. It will batch scan so at least you don't need to be there. Just turn it on an leave for the office.

    A lot of this time is in software. My 1.25Ghz G4 is not so fast. So a 2Ghz G5 might go at 8min/frame.

    Prints are scanned in seconds
     
  10. hookahco macrumors regular

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    #10
    he also shows the difference between windows and macs.. he choses the latter. i like this guy.
     
  11. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #11
    Actually, there are digital backs for medium format cameras. They just cost over $100k, and need to be hooked to a computer constantly.
     
  12. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #12

    Oh, I know that pros shoot in the studio with digital backs for MF and 4x5 cameras which are tethered to the computer....that is astronomically expensive but yeah, I'm sure that resolution on those babies is phenomenal! A fair comparison then would be digital back on a Hassy vs film used in that same Hassy.... It's apples and oranges comparing a D50 to a high-res scan from a 4x5 or a MF film camera....
     
  13. ksz macrumors 68000

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    #13
    Film has never been better! How often have I said this now? :)

    My favorites are Fuji Sensia and Provia, followed by Fuji Velvia. These are slide films which I view on my Kodak Carousel projected onto a home theater screen. Colors are magnificent, sharpness is a perfect 20/20, and detail is unmatched by virtue of tiny 13 RMS grains (roughly equal to 30 megapixels).

    Film has a higher dynamic range than digital sensors, and print film (negatives) have more exposure latitude than slides. Slides, however, have better contrast and offer true-to-life viewing experiences when projected. Negatives, however, scan MUCH better than slides, at least in my experience with my Nikon Super Coolscan.

    So if you expect to be digitizing a lot of film, I would recommend shooting print film. This is not to say that slides cannot be digitized well; but getting a comparable scan could require a lot of tweaking (or post-processing). Print film just scans brilliantly with almost no fuss.
     
  14. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #14
    I also shoot Fuji slide film (when I can :eek:), but I don't have much money available, and I dislike having to wait 4-5 days for them to come back.
    WE NEED MORE E-46 PROCESSORS IN THIS COUNTRY!
     
  15. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

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    #15
    i just bought a minolta maxxum 70 for 180 bucks at best buy (including a 28-100 lens). with minolta leaving the camera market you can get amazing deals on slr's.

    i scan my negatives on a nikon coolscan 5000 ed and get great 20 MP images that are very sharp, great colors and all.

    it's also fun to work with film.

    but it's also clear that the time for 35mm film is over soon. it's just a lot of hassle to get it developed, the scanning takes a lot of time, development of the films costs money. the dslr's will have soon 35mm quality at the consumer price level. if you enjoy to play with your camera and scanner by all means go for a 35mm slr. if you don't like the hassle of film go digital.
     
  16. mcadam macrumors 6502a

    mcadam

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    #16
    That's very nice to hear - I've always had terrible results sacnning film. But I guess it's due to my schools crappy scanners. I just thought you'd need very expensive equipment to do it good. So good to hear it's not so.

    A
     
  17. kodiak363 macrumors newbie

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    Dec 17, 2005
    #17
    photo scanner

    I use an Epson Perfection 3170 Photo scanner and love it.
    Comes with holders for 35mm negs, 35mm slides and 2 1/4
    Also came with Photoshop Elements 2.0
    I've had it over a year without problem.
    There is a nicer model the 4490 that does basically the same thing.
    But better resolution. You can check it out at http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=201700735&SearchEngine=Froogle&SearchTerm=201700735&Type=PE&Category=Comp&Gad=0&dcaid=17379
     
  18. ksz macrumors 68000

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    San Jose, CA
    #18
    I have an old Minolta X-700 with 50mm and 28mm Minolta (manual focus) lenses. I don't use it very often now, but I don't think I will part with it. Even today many Nikon owners are buying up old manual-focus AIS lenses and using them with the latest dSLR bodies. There's something special about those lenses, which makes me want to go back and try manual-everything once again. If I use the latest films, I wonder how good a job that old X-700 will do...hmmm, think I just created a new weekend project for myself. ;)
     
  19. crazydreaming macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

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    #19
    Still reccommended?

    After owning it longer, do you still recommend the Epson 4870?

    I'm in college taking a beggining film photography class. I want to get more serious with photography as I'm really liking it.

    I'm thinking about buying this scanner because I have a ton of good shots, but don't have the time right now to spend hours in the darkroom printing all of them. Over the summer I won't have a darkroom, but I plan on continuing shooting. I'm planning on getting the supplies to develop myself, then scan the negatives.

    Is the quality good enough for making 8X10 prints from a scanned 35mm negative?

    Thanks for advice!
     
  20. penguinman macrumors member

    penguinman

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    #20
    how about showing us some samples of what you are talking about?
     
  21. crazydreaming macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

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    #21
    Yea, if someone could do that it would make my day! :)
     
  22. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    #22
    I'm not sure what you've been using but I've a Minolta Dual Scan III and, even at 2800 dpi, it's quite good, especially at US $299. It's been replaced with a 3200 dpi model.

    I like having 6 negatives scanned at a time but I've found that the automatic fixes to be useless. Software dust removal isn't much good, though something in hardware might be nice as the negative strip is pulled into the device.
     
  23. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #23
    Are these scanners capable of transmission mode? By that, I mean does the light come from the lid? Does the light have to pass through the object twice, or only once? :confused:

    I have used a 4800 dpi 9600 x 4800(?) pixel scanner that costs a fortune, but normal photographic film isn't what the scanner was meant for. Just interested in knowing whether a film scanner that you're all talking about works the same way.
     
  24. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

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    #24
    I've never seen a flatbed that's produced good results on transparencies without it being a "one pass" from a light in the lid.

    BTW, something thats IMO *absolutely* worth the extra money is to get a scanner that has a Firewire port instead of just USB 2. When I got my Epson "Perfection 3200 Photo" (refurb also) a couple of years ago, I ran it for a week or so on USB2 until I was able to get out to a store to get the FW cable. The speed-up was so noticable that I did a quick test for myself to measure the difference...the Firewire was easily 30% faster in completing a scan. This has been a timesaver many times over.


    -hh
     
  25. kwajo.com macrumors 6502a

    kwajo.com

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    #25
    Pentax has a digital medium format body coming out in the summer that will cost a fraction of that and works without tethers. I'm considering buying one when it comes out, it should be outstanding
     

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