Getting Digital Copies of my 35mm photos

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by thomahawk, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. thomahawk macrumors 6502a

    thomahawk

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Location:
    Osaka, Japan
    #1
    Alright well i dusted off my old Nikon F3 and Fujica 35mm SLR cameras. Im going to go buy some 35mm film and create a photobook called "Old School Photography" :p i'd like to bring back the old times when we first began our 35mm shooting.

    now i'd also like to get digital copies of my photographs in high resolution. but scanning is going to be a problem. are there other ways?
     
  2. mcavjame macrumors 65816

    mcavjame

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    Mar 10, 2008
    Location:
    phased to this universe
    #2
    If you bring the film in to be developed, they used to offer a photo CD of your prints. It's been years since I brought in film, so I'm not sure if this is offered any longer.
     
  3. ppc_michael Guest

    ppc_michael

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    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #3
    I'm interested in this as well, any idea as to the quality/resolution of a photo CD from, say, CVS or Walmart?
     
  4. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    #4
    If you're doing this to be "old school" and bring back the old times, why the need for digital copies? Print in the darkroom and manually create those photobooks.
     
  5. NightGeometry macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    #5
    I'm an occasional film user, but everywhere I have had film developed has offered scanning as well. Most places even offer dev and scan (i.e. no prints), if you want to save money.

    One thing to be aware of, most places 'high quality' scans are around 1024 pixels on the long edge, which isn't *that* high quality. Smaller dedicated labs tend to offer a lot higher resolution. This isn't necessarily an issue, if you want a print you can always either get a better scan of the negative, or just print from the negative, just something to be aware of.
     
  6. glennp macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #6
    Old school huh? Well, shoot slide film instead of that new fangled c-41 color print stuff. Then get yourself a slide/film scanner and you'll have all the high resolution scans you'll need.

    Seriously, slide film (E-6) and get the good slides scanned. There are a couple services that slide scans at high resolution and the place that can develop your E-6 film may also offer the service. Much better quality than the photo CDs offered by the typical Ritz, CVS, Walmart photo stores.
     
  7. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #7
    Most places that offer scanning of your negatives offer nothing more than a very e-mail friendly scan. Your best bet is a drum scanner, your safer and less expensive bet is to buy a scanner yourself and do this. Drum scans are expensive. I used to take 4x5 E-6 sheets to get scanned and it cost quite a bit. The suggestion to shoot E-6 is a great one. Honestly, if you shoot a roll of color film all call it "old school photography" I am unsure whether or not the message will translate.

    There has to be something unique about that, the suggestion to print yourself in a darkroom is a great one. Get those nice messy boarders and the sometimes flawed exposure. Printed in a book correctly you can tell the difference between film and digital, mainly in the grain these days. Tonality depends on the printer of the book, ink/paper combination and the likes.

    I would shoot slides myself, but then again to get my message across I would shoot true black and white (not that c41 processing ilford crap) and develop in a darkroom.
     
  8. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #8
    If you have photos burnt on CDs, they often come at unacceptable resolutions (I think the local Walgreens I've used a few times scanned them at 1.5 MP!), so you would have to enquire whether they scan at higher resolutions.

    BTW, the F3 is an amazing camera, every now and then I get nostalgic and I just want to pick up a cheap body (I could get an F80 for ~100 €, I once paid ~700 € for it!).
     
  9. ftaok macrumors 603

    ftaok

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    East Coast
    #9
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #10
    I looked "medium quality scans is how I would describe it. A jump above "e-mail quality".

    If you are scanning 35mm film and want to preseve all the image quality that is recorded on the film, assuming good film and good technique you are going to end up with 24 megapixels and 16 bits per color channel TIFF format file.

    What this means is that film, in therms of image quality, is about even with the best full frame digital cameras and you should expect scans from film to be about the same size as a RAW file from a 24MP FF DSLR. You don't get scans like that from consummer labs like Costco and CVS.

    You are going to have to decide if you need this level of quality. I'd say "mostly no". A good way to go is to get the film processed and scanned at some cheap local place. You will find that 90% of the frames are not worth keeping. For the 10% that are send the film out to a good professional lab to have it re-scanned. Store your film in archival print file pages and it will last for a long time.

    I'm currently working on getting all of my old film scanned and I'm having it done at 3,000 DPI. THis is a good compromise and is "good enough" for most shots but does not capture all the detail from my best frames.

    About film. If you know the film will be scanned then you should use some low contrast color negative film. Velvia and other films are recommended if you are staying totally with a film based process but if you are scanning you want film that scans well. I like Agfa's Portrait 160 for this.

    For Black and white work I'd sugest procesing the negs yourself so you have control over the contrast and film speed and grain.
     
  11. ppc_michael Guest

    ppc_michael

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #11
    Hey there, just a warning about all this:

    I just shot my first roll of 35mm Kodak TMAX 400 and took it in to Walmart to have it developed. I asked if they could develop it and she said yes. Well anyway I just now went to pick it up, and the girl got my envelope and came back and was like, "Yeaaaaah, we can't develop this film but the girl didn't know that and developed it anyway." She pulled out my film and it was completely clear. My first roll of film completely gone.

    They wouldn't even buy my another roll of TMAX.

    So anyway, Walmart obviously doesn't know what the hell they're doing, and now I'm weary of having anybody besides myself develop my film.
     
  12. shecky Guest

    shecky

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    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #12
    completely agree - you can develop negatives yourself for $50 worth of equipment and some chemistry. a middle of the road flatbed scanner will do a good job scanning the negatives so they are useable and then go out and get the few dozen really good shots you take in a year drum scanned at high quality.

    this is good demo of how to do it
     
  13. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #13
    This is a bit delicate here but we'll have to disagree. I don't recommend typical people taking their film and developing at home without prior practice. Lots of things to go wrong and also challenges when drying film in a clean dry isolated location. (I have done 35 up to 8x10 negs in my past so I feel comfortable talking about this as well as having taught darkroom - b/w and cibachrome printing). If one wants to develop b/w negatives at home, it would be a good practice to learn about the types of developers, best temp to time ratios and also getting quality reels/canisters. For my work back when, I never used the kodak developers which were fine but remained with Agfa Rodinal and Ilford's offerings along with special soft developers for technical pan film. Special developers are available that are semi fool proof such as Diafine if* you follow the ISO settings they provide which is different than the typical film is rated at normally.

    As for scanning - it depends on how much quality you want. As some pointed out you can go to some auto-machine providing 3rd party to do your work or - get an appropriate scanner. Of the latter, a middle of the road scanner will have the so called specs to deliver good results but in practice fail to do so.

    I use both a high end flatbed and also a "film scanner." If you can swing it get a film scanner if you have enough negs / transparencies to warrant the expenditure. - Otherwise check out something like Epson V500 or 700/750 series flatbed scanners.

    Commercial houses that offer scanning use very high end equipment and each scan costs considerably. In this, a good flatbed scanner or film scanner such as Nikons offering would most likely be ideal for you. As for scanning software - check out Vuescan and also Silverfast.

    - Phrehdd
     
  14. shecky Guest

    shecky

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    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #14
    and to me all of that is part of why you would even bother with film + negatives - the analog process of discovery. taking shots with film and then just shipping them off to a lab to me is removing an important step to someone else's hands. personally, i would rather screw up a few rolls as i learn how to do it (and in fact, i would shoot a dozen "throwaway" rolls just so i CAN learn how to do it) then leave it in the hands of a bulk machine at a lab. push, pull, cross processing, etc. are all things you can control when you do it yourself.

    this is off topic, but personally, i do not shoot film for production of as many perfect, predictable prints as possible (say that 3 times fast) - i shoot film because i enjoy the serendipitous aspects of the medium, as well as the process. i admit that i vastly differ from most people in that respect, so i guess to me the screw-ups are as enjoyable as the "correct" frames.

    so to your point in some way i agree - if you are looking to get a large amount of predictable prints then maybe a lab is a good idea, but i think the enjoyment comes in the hand as it is revealed in the film.

    as far as scanning goes, we use an Epson 4990 to scan 120 film and for the kind of work we do it has been good - some of those scans have ended up as posters, etc. with no problem.
     
  15. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #15
    Simply stated - I absolutely do* appreciate your sentiments here.

    The greatest fun I had was developing my own b/w film and printing them. As well, I would take transparencies and get them developed at a good place and return to print myself via Cibachrome. When I did jobs for other people, I went to labs that I knew well and worked the materials the way I needed for my clients.

    While those days are long gone, I again can say my personal enjoyment was for photos I did for myself and all the exploration and product that came with the darkroom.

    Cheers

    - Phrehdd
     

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