Shooting film for scanning

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ChrisA, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I asked this on another forum, but I'll see what people here think....

    If I shoot film (in a 35mm SLR) and know that I'm going to scan the film and never make a direct print with it Which film would be best to use?

    I'm scaning my collection now and I've noticed I'm getting better results with Agfa Potrait 160 and that Kodak Royal Gold really is better than the more common Kodak Gold. For scanning I'm liking the low contrast in the Agfa film

    None of my negative were shot with the idea they'd be scanned. Same with my transparencies. Now I'm thinking that if I shoot film for scanning I might select a different film and expose it differently for the scanner.

    Some people have suggested I shot slides bt I don't think they capture the range of tomes that negs can.

    My best scanned negative are giving my better quality then my Nikon D50.
  2. firestarter macrumors 603


    Dec 31, 2002
    Green and pleasant land
    It depends on your scanner.

    The main difference between neg and tranny film for scanning is (as you point out) the film latitude when taking the photo. Neg film has a greater latitude than tranny film - so in theory you're capturing more detail in the highlights and shadows when you take the photo when you use neg film.

    That said, with high latitude comes low contrast. From a creative standpoint, the high contrast and saturation of trannie stock is good to work with.

    In addition, negative film compresses the high dynamic range of the scene into a smaller dynamic range in the film. That is - the film itself when you scan it doesn't make too many demands of the scanner - the lightest and darkest areas on the developed film are limited by the coloured substrate of the film.

    In contrast, to scan slide film well, you need a much better scanner able to differentiate a high range of values between clear (white) and black (dark). This dynamic range (or Dmax) can be seen on film data sheets - a good transparency scanner should be > 3.8.

    The benefit of transparency scanning is that colour matching is easier - as the film itself can act as a reference, wheras there's nothing to match against on a negative. I've experienced more problems colour correcting negs too - as the orange base layer affects settings.

    As for film recommendations - I really don't like Kodak film; I don't liek the way the reds seem to oversaturate and block up. My personal preference would be to use the Fuji professional negative portrait films - NPH at ISO400, then NPC (or is there an NPS?) at 160. Reala is a good film too at ISO100 - all these are lower contrast than standard high street films, and will scan better.
  3. sketchy macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2003
    Richmond VA
    My wide uses slide film when she knows she is going to scan in images. We have a nice slide/negative scanner and the pictures come out very nice

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