35mm film development advice

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by nateo200, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. nateo200 macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Northern District NY
    #1
    Hey guys, I realize this is the digital photography forum but I've seen film threads pop up from time to time. Anyways I recently acquired a film SLR with a handful of M42 lenses (a 135mm ƒ/2.8, 55mm ƒ/1.6, 50mm ƒ/1.7, etc.). So I was inclined to shoot on film! I waited a bit but in the check out at CVS/Pharmacy was Kodak 400 speed film just sitting there so i grabbed some. Anyways since then I've gone through a roll of Kodak Ektar 100, Fujifilm 200, Fujifilm 800 Supiera (sp?), etc. NOW I want to get these developed, its been a while since I shot film (and last time it was NOT with an SLR what so ever!) so I undoubtedly screwed up the first few shots on the first two rolls and I think I ruined half the roll of my first one (light + unexposed film out of roll = bad).

    However I took some interesting shoots with it and would like to get them developed, I want the images to be properly exposed, I wish I could do it myself (and fancy trying in the future) but most of the shots were metered well and I protected the shadows more than I would do with digital, I just want to get negatives back that are good enough that they won't need major surgery in Photoshop! So the negatives can be scanned into digital and I know places like Costco do this (I don't have a costco FYI here) but I want it to be the best quality, there is a place called the industrial color lab a couple miles from here but in terms of files I would like them in 16-bit TIFF's scanned at 6K or so, 3K minimum as I'm looking to be able to use them in lightroom like any other file...Is there any suggestions on what to ask for? Like scanner type? I know a little about scanners but not much. Instructions on handling or not handling the files prior to me receiving them?

    I don't want to settle for some 3000x2000px JPEGs what so ever. I'm not some resolution nazi I just like to start off with as much information as possible and the 4-6K range provides me with what I believe optimal resolution for digital reduction prints, and making good normal to large size prints. I'm a video editor so I sort of look as this whole thing as a "Digital Intermediate" process :eek:;):D

    and Sorry in advance for the long winded message, did an engagement shoot today as an assistant photographer and was lugging two of my cameras around my neck + my backpack with my lenses and computer + my buddy's tripods and light stands with a bad back in cold weather! Builds character but needless to say I'm a bit tired. Location made the shoot worth the time.
     
  2. acearchie macrumors 68040

    acearchie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #2
    Depending on how serious you want to take it you might better off getting them developed at a Costco/similar and then scanning yourself using a dedicated scanner.

    This is how I did my first 500+ shots.

    However, I have now built up a relationship with a lab close by. They will develop my shots and scan with their professional scanner.

    For 120 the scans I get are fairly low res 2000x2000 JPEGs but that is more than enough for flick, Facebook and website use. They also hand correct every shot in LR and I know that there scanner is calibrated correctly and well maintained.

    If there is a shot that I particularly like then I always have the option of getting a hi-res TIFF scan of that single frame which is much more cost effective than getting a hi-res TIFF of every scan.

    The DR of the more professional scanners is also much better than the consumer scanner that I used for my first film shots. For me, it was a better use of my time to spend the extra £4 to have someone else do the work than spend a couple of hours tinkering to pull as much as I could from the image. Also, the lab is much better at balancing exposure and colour through a set of photos whereas my consumer scanner seems to have shifts from shot to shot.

    For B&W I would definitely recommend having your own scanner as I really love being able to shoot. Take the film out, develop it under the stairs and have already scanned it by that night! Scanning in B&W is much easier as well as there is no worrying about those pesky colour shifts.

    For reference, here are some of my shots with different combinations:

    Developed myself and scanned myself:

    [​IMG]
    Fiona, Ellie, Dad & Purdey by acearchie, on Flickr

    Developed and scanned by my lab:

    [​IMG]
    Lera by acearchie, on Flickr

    Developed by the lab and scanned by myself:

    [​IMG]
    Emma by acearchie, on Flickr

    And finally, developed and scanned by myself:

    [​IMG]
    Emma by acearchie, on Flickr


    If you have any other questions then just let me know!
     
  3. MacCruiskeen macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2011
    #3
    I doubt you're going to get that from Costco--more likely ordinary photo-cd scans--a low-res 8-bit roll scan. They won't be suitable for making nice prints, but only for on-screen use and as a kind of digital proof sheet. A pro lab like A & I (LA) or Duggal (NY) could make you a better roll scan, but the price will be much higher. To really get a good scan at the kind of resolution you want means drum scans. No consumer-grade desktop scanner is going to reliably produce better than 4000 dpi. I've made 12 x 16 prints from scans I did myself on my Epson V750 from 35mm, but I wouldn't push it further than that. (I use Praus in Rochester for my color processing, but they don't offer a lot of digital services).
     
  4. Oracle1729 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    #4
    Your first few rolls aren't going to be the greatest quality no matter what, you're just learning to shoot film, so you may as well get it processed somewhere cheap and accessible. High quality scans can be on the order of $10 per frame.

    I shot film for many years and have a lot of experience with it (though I never got into colour processing because I didn't want to invest in proper temperature control). Recently I took my Nikon F2 out of storage to a fashion shoot, after getting the shots I needed with my dSLR, I fired off a roll with the F2. I had the film developed at a local pro lab, it was around $10 for negatives only, and then scanned it with an Epson V600. The quality was stunningly bad even compared to shots from an old D300. I'm still planning to play with some B&W film and process it myself in the next couple of months, but I think my C-41 days are over.

    The bottom line is have fun with film, it's a fun experience to play with, but don't blow a ton of money on pro processing on your first rolls, and if you want quality, pull out the digital body. Those old M42 mount lenses also won't even touch a modern cheap kit lens in picture quality.
     
  5. bdj33ranch macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    #5
    I use TheDarkroom. They offer several different options. You get quick gratification since they upload a scan for you. Then, a few days later, you get your negatives and a digital CD in the mail. The digital CD has an option for an even higher quality scan than the "gratification" scan. Check their FAQ tab to see if that might work for you.
     
  6. nateo200 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Northern District NY
    #6
    I wouldn't expect to get quality from a costco scan I just mentioned that as an example of what I've seen before and to say I do not want 8-bit what so ever, 8-bit gives me headaches. I don't expect a consumer grade scanner to do anything near what I want. I might have access to a drum scanner at my local college's though, my friend drum scans his 35mm at resolution on par with DSLR resolution. But Praus in Rochester? Hmm I might look into that since Rochester is close to me and I drive there frequently (about 1.5hour away).

    I certainly don't expect every shot to be good, I'm just looking for a way to get the good shots (that can realistically resolve ~4-6K of resolution) into a 16-bit format. I've shot 35mm and medium format before its just been a while, its not like I'm completely new to it. The old M42 lenses definitely are not sharp but I have adapters for M42 to EOS and have tested them, wide open they are very very soft, but stopped down I get expected results. Also I meter a scene with my light meter and DSLR then take it with the 35mm SLR. So again I'm looking to get the negatives developed, pick out the good shots and scan the good ones to digital in at least 16-bit (I don't need 10K 48-bit TIFFs or something more insane).

    Love those shots! I don't mind issues with scanning in color a few shots, gives me something to do in Lightroom!
     
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #7

    6K is gross overkill for Kodak 400 ISO print film. An un-compressed 6K 16-bit scan is 144 megabytes per frame. If you were shooting Kodak Portra 160 film in medium format using Hasselblad camera on a heavy studio camera stand then MAYBE the frame might contain that much information.

    What matters the most, I think is the dynamic range of the film scanner. Some scanning software can combine multiple scanner passes with different exposures, like HDR and get good scans from lower end scanners but this takes time. It's best to use a good service to do it for you. This really is film's advantage over digital, dynamic range so you want a scanner that can record all of it. The affordable flatbed ones can't
     
  8. nateo200 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Northern District NY
    #8
    I'm actually shooting Kodak Ektar 100. I only want 6K for some space to work in, I like to downsample to 3K. But yes I realize 6K 16-Bit TIFF's are big, I already deal with 5K 16-bit TIFF's anyways. I'd rather have too much resolution than too little, I at least want 3K since my monitor is 3K and its the size I usually store most shots at. I just got my very first roll of Ektar 100 back and all the shots are perfectly in focus and exactly how I imagined them with the exception of two shots that have a nasty green cast but that was most likely because the subjects were in direct sunlight and the old M42 lenses flare pretty bad, at least they are coated!

    I've shot 35mm before but not in the quantity that I have recently so maybe that helped, I don't find it all that different from digital other than having to think more about what to shoot, when to shoot, how the specific stock reacts, etc. I just got home from an event where I shot digital and film in some pretty low light and rated Ektar 100 at ISO 250~ so I'm eager to have that push-processed to 200-250~, Ektar tends to go blue in the shadows or when pushed but I kind of like it.

    Anyways I'll post a couple of my favorite shots, the scans from the CVS are like ultra compressed JPEG's but they do well for previewing. The scanner doesn't seam to represent the full dynamic range of Ektar 100, of course Ektar 100 isn't exactly the prime example of dynamic range (I believe its one of the lower ones) but I enjoy the look too much. Don't mind my messy bed :D I just liked that shot since its got a tad of the blue cast. This roll was mainly around my house, other rolls are getting processed. Let me know what you guys think.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #9
    Bleh it's not typically the 8 bit that gives you headaches. People drum scanned to 8 bit for many many years, because it was cheaper and 16 bit was only a marginal improvement, as photoshop can't really do anything like a functional linear -->gamma 2.2 LUT. It only gained LUTs in general recently. You mention Ektar. That scans well. Negative film is a bitch to drum scan, especially if the place sets their scanner too fast. I dealt with this in the very early 2000s. *shoos kids off his lawn*

    I really really like the color palette of those shots.
     
  10. nateo200 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Northern District NY
    #10
    well 8-bit is part of it, 16-bit is overkill since technically everything is 14-bit if not 12-bit in RAW format and 10 or 12 bit is a fine bit depth for me. The other part is JPEG's compression, on one of the shots there is pretty bad blocking in the shadows. I'm going to get the shots I like drum scanned nice and slow preforably with me watching! My local college has a very expensive top quality drum scanner. But thanks, I love Ektar's slight blue cast and thats what I was going for!
     
  11. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #11
    My guess is a Crossfield or something like that. Drum scanners are great for transparency film. It's not like you can't scan negatives. It's just more difficult. Many labs commonly used a Scitex for negative film rather than a drum scanner. Your local college is either well funded though to afford the scanner and its maintenance:). The thing with 16 bit is that the raw file in 12 or 14 bits and still mosaiced represents a larger gamut than a working gamut. It's also not in the same gamma. Essentially you're working with a much smaller range in a 16 bit tiff. It is the same range as you would with 8 bits, just spaced more closely. Anyway I enjoyed those and I hope you post more.
     
  12. nateo200, Feb 9, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014

    nateo200 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Northern District NY
    #12
    I know my community college has a really nice Imacon and the other college that I'm referring to is very very well funded (Syracuse University!). Side note does anyone have any say on the Fuji GW690? I asked my friend who almost exclusively shoots on film what to get for medium format and he suggested that...I really like the idea of a 6x9 camera since I like wider shots and if I could I'd love a 6x12 camera since I strongly prefer wide aspect ratios.

    I uploaded 3 more since I think they really show off the colors even more. The green in the shadows is certainly interesting, I'm not sure its for everyone but I still like it. Ektar 100 seams to love bringing out the red, I didn't take enough pictures of red things! But the two shots by the kitchen sink is a good example, it was bright red already but with the light coming in it was even more red! Ektar 100 just took the saturation up a notch and its almost like it just ran with it perfectly. On my DSLR I never shoot automatic anything with the exception of auto ISO when I'm doing something like eating a cookie and trying to photograph an event at the same time! I also like to guess exposure so the only thing that is weird about shooting on a film SLR for me is pulling the camera from my face and looking at a blank back since I'm so used to playback!
     

    Attached Files:

  13. MacCruiskeen macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2011
    #13
    Funny you mention that, since the Fuji GW690 was my most recent camera purchase. It's a great camera. It's quite large but pretty easy to handle. If you like wide shots, then you might look for the version with the 65mm lens rather than the 90mm, though even the 90 has a fairly wide view--wider than a 50 on a 35mm. I paid $300 for mine, including shipping from Japan.
     
  14. themumu macrumors 6502a

    themumu

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Sunnyvale
    #14
    Since we're on the subject of vintage cameras, I'll plug my new to me Nikonos V. It's an old underwater camera that I got because I'm too cheap to spend the dough to get an underwater enclosure for my D7000. By my estimates it would cost close to $10K all said and done for a high quality versatile digital outfit that I could take scuba diving. It may be possible for a mere ~$2K if I go with a compact camera with additional enclosure and strobes instead of entombing a DSLR, but either way I just cannot justify that kind of expense for something I would do maybe twice a year. Plus I'll probably suck at it for a while :/.

    The Nikonos comes with a lovely manual focus lens, that has cool bulky knobs for aperture and focus, and even little red markers for the depth of field. They move in and out as you change aperture. Pure magic!

    [​IMG]

    I just got the battery for it yesterday and have been learning how it works with a roll of very expired film (says expired in 2002). The camera has an aperture priority mode so I don't even have to necessarily go full manual, but learning to focus manually with no feedback of any kind, except for the prints at the very end, that's gonna be tricky. Last night I pulled out some measuring tape and was trying to memorize just how long is a meter, and two, and three... Figured that a meter is surprisingly long, but two meters don't quite feel twice as long as one. Fun times. :)

    Wish me luck!
     
  15. nateo200 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Northern District NY
    #15
    $300? I see them for $400 and $500...I can definitely foot the bill for $300 but anymore at the moment and It'll be a push, unless of course my shots in MF film or even 35mm start to take off more but so far its what I've been using on the side to keep my film addictions and fantasies at bay! Interesting you mention the option of the 65mm and 90mm lens, I had looked up the GW690 and didn't know there was a 65mm lens version! A shame you can't switch the glass out, a 3 lens selection of say 40mm, 65mm and 90mm would be interesting but thats just me dreaming. So is $300 a common price or would I have to look hard? for $400 I suppose I could just save up more...
     
  16. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #16
    I think I lost my prior response to this, because I know I wrote one. These are really cool. You might want to watch the reds on that scanner. I can see where they're blocking up a bit, like you might be clipping the greens slightly. I like the natural light and different palette though. I hadn't thought of imacon. They were acquired by Hasselblad a number of years ago. Their scanners were decent, but they weren't really the same thing as a drum scanner. They used to call them upright drum scanners, but the internal electronics differ quite a bit. Imacon basically leveraged lower cost and easier operation although Creo Scitex was arguably better in that regard (and more costly). I haven't dealt with film in a long time, so it definitely looks different now. For some time my objective has been to figure out something closer to a "scene referred" workflow for still images.
     
  17. nateo200 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nateo200

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Location:
    Northern District NY
    #17
    When you say watch the reds on that scanner are you talking about future scans or the ones I posted? The ones I posted are heavily compressed JPEGs and if I had TIFF files I would definitely be tweaking the color and monitoring the color (within reason), but the JPEG's fall apart in Lightroom pretty fast :/ Definitely going to get professional scans at the best quality I deem fit for the shots I enjoy the most, some people don't like the idea of film scans or using ultra high quality but I get a piece of mind out of it.

    What is the major difference between a standard film scanner and a drum scanner? I only know that generally speaking a drum scanner is better but beyond that its sort of vague...of all the shots that have been drum scanned by friends, what I've seen online, its the closest to being able to really work with, print, etc. a negative. I suppose shooting slide film would be allot easier since scanning a positive would appear to be easier but sending Fujichrome out to an E-6 processing lab is a pain in the rear, I could stand wait times but money is always a consideration...I suppose I should be happy that good color negative film like Ektar 100 and Portra comes pretty damn close to slide film, albeit the experience of holding a slide up to the light!
     
  18. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #18
    I wasn't referring to compression. It looks like they're clipping in the green channel in some areas. Compression doesn't cause that most of the time. It might if they were right on the very edge and heavily compressed. The scanner itself always does some internal processing. At the very least it has to take the values that are digitized to whatever space is used by flexcolor (assuming it's still flexcolor) multiplied by whatever matrix to whatever output profile you chose to embed. The typical method of conversion is known as relative colorimetric. It works by mapping in values in the source gamut to values of equivalent (typically relative to LAB) values in the destination gamut. If any channel is out of range, that channel is clipped, thus sacrificing some detail in that area. Perceptual clips less, but it can flatten things out quite a bit to preserve relative proportions if anything falls out of gamut.

    A typical film scanner uses however many CCD chips rather than a PMT. That doesn't have to mean anything to you. They require some training to use properly. They must be kept in calibration. It's more difficult to scan negative film on one. If you set it too fast, they come out looking really grainy. A good drum scanner is considered the best in potential quality, but I would say Scitex is a good alternative. You don't see some of the fringing issues that come up with Imacon, but it's typically very expensive. Back when I was involved in it, a 100MB scan would cost $80 or so. Actually it might have been slightly less, but not that much less. This was in the very early 2000s. That size wasn't that atypical if you were shooting medium format.
     

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