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Re: 5x4 neg scanning

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  • Jonathan Turner
    Hi, thanks for all the advice...seems to be a lot of varying opinions, all of which have been useful. In answer to your question Karl, I hope to be printing
    Message 1 of 18 , May 1, 2013
      Hi,

      thanks for all the advice...seems to be a lot of varying opinions, all
      of which have been useful.

      In answer to your question Karl, I hope to be printing around A2 size
      (16x24" I think)...basically I'm hoping to do a portrait project in my
      home city of Leeds, UK, and I really want to shoot 5x4. Part of the
      apeal of 5x4 is the level of detail in the image, so the scan quality is
      kind of important. The other thing that interests me in using 5x4 is a
      different kind of interaction with subject...it's much slower, and more
      deliberate, and I think that creates a differnt kind of atmosphere in
      the image.

      Anyway, it's an idea I've been mulling over for a few years now, and
      think the time has come to put thought into action...but as with
      anything that involves film, expense is an issue... buying the film, and
      then processing is expensive as it is, but I'd not realised quite how
      expensive scanning can be! For the amount of scanning I'd like to have
      done I reckoned I could actually buy a half decent scanner and do it
      myself, though the problem is whether the scans will be good enough to
      be useful...I would at least like to give each of my subjects a print
      (as a thank you for being involved), so the scans need to be at least
      good enough for that.

      One might ask, why scan at all, if working with film...why not just
      print in a darkroom...? Well, I used to love spending time in a
      darkroom, but I actually find the best way, and perhaps the most
      convenient way, is to shoot and scan the film, and the use Photoshop as
      my darkroom. I just don't have the resources or time to spend in a
      darkroom unfortunately. There was a thread on here a few weeks back
      about Avedon's American West series (which is partly my
      inspiration...though he was shooting 10x8" of course) - he had a whole
      team of people working with him, both on the shoots and in the
      darkroom...I don't have that, just me and hopefully a couple of friends
      to assist... so scan/PS seems to be the best way forward.

      One more thought; unlike Avedon's series, I want to shoot colour -
      (interestingly my lab in Leeds doesn't even process 5x4 colour neg any
      more...they'll do E6, and B/W, but not colour neg...so I have to use a
      lab about an hour up the road...) and I wonder if scanning colour 5x4 is
      any more complicated than scanning a B/W 5x4...are there any pitfalls
      with colour reproduction, and detail that I should be aware of?
      Hopefully a flatbed will be good enough to make some small colour prints
      from, and to make a final selection for exhibition (and high res scans...)

      Cheers,
      Jonathan
      --
      Jonathan Turner, Photographer e: pictures@... t: 07796
      470573 w: www.jonathan-turner.com



      On 01/05/2013 02:32, karl shah-jenner wrote:
      >
      > ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jonathan Turner"
      > <pictures@...>
      > To: "List for Photo/Imaging Educators - Professionals - Students"
      > <photoforum@...>
      > Sent: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 9:18 PM
      > Subject: 5x4 neg scanning
      >
      >
      >> Has anyone got any tips for a scanner which will do reasonable scans for
      >> 5x4?
      >>
      >> I've been looking online at an Epson V700 which looks as though it ought
      >> to do the job, but I'm a little unsure. It's been a while since I used
      >> 5x4, or scanned negs of this size, and I always assumed that you had to
      >> use a drum scanner for this kind of thing, rather than a flatbed (which
      >> is what this Epson one is).
      >>
      >> At this point I just want something that will do an OK job, from which I
      >> can make a selection of which negs to scan at a high quality, probably
      >> at my local lab.
      >>
      >> Also, if anyone has any tips or pitfalls about this kind of
      >> thing...things to be wary of, please let me know.
      >
      > what size do you need to be printing at Johnathan?
      >
      > if it's 16x20 then you probably want yor image around 4800x6000
      > pixels to print, which translates to a 1200 dpi scan, however that
      > dependson the subject of the photos, a soft, low detail pic definately
      > won't need the res of something more intricate ;)
      >
      > Running your image through Neatimage (free for the non batching
      > version) will eradicate a lot of post scan work, but whatever scanner
      > you use, be sure to take advantage of any inbuilt infrared dust
      > removal features if the image is colour. Polaroid Dust and Scratch
      > Removal is also an excellent tool for any remaining dust articats.
      >
      > If your scanner can do multiple passes, do - if it can't natively
      > under your scanning software, use Hamrick's Vuescan. If you have
      > Vuescan be sure to use the manual focus option if you find the scanner
      > lacks the ability to focus well.
      >
      > Some scanners have better optics and provide flatter FOV, and some
      > have better dynamic range scanning - actually Vuescan can often yield
      > better dynamic range than proprietary software, Vuescan revealed some
      > manufacturers software was clipping the range for no good reason.
      >
      > It sounds like you're looking to buy a scanner - I would advise
      > against this unless you have money and space to throw away, at least
      > until you've had the experience of scanning what you need
      > immediately. Find a club, a college or a local who will let you
      > borrow or use theirs. If you find you are going back to bother them
      > often THEN buy one.. a lot of people who invest in scanners shove them
      > to the back of the cupboard after the first few days of scanning,
      > dreading ever using the things again.
      >
      >
      > k
      >
      >
    • James Schenken
      Jonathan Color scanning has its own set of problems. If you have a color-managed system so what you see on the screen is what you get in the print, then it
      Message 2 of 18 , May 1, 2013
        Jonathan

        Color scanning has its own set of problems.

        If you have a color-managed system so what you see on the screen is what you get in the print, then it shouldn't be too bad.

        As for prints for your subjects, a smaller one should do nicely, whatever is the metic equivalent of 10x8 or so.

        Printing to 16x24 is a significant crop from your planned negative size so that will up the scan resolution requirement just a little bit to adjust for the smaller neg size.

        Transparency color has less correctible range than color negative so you'll have to do a little more in camera and some less in Photoshop.

        Good luck with your project. I hope all works out well.

        James

        Luke 23:24

        On May 1, 2013, at 4:31 PM, Jonathan Turner <pictures@...> wrote:

        > Hi,
        >
        > thanks for all the advice...seems to be a lot of varying opinions, all of which have been useful.
        >
        > .....
        >
      • karl shah-jenner
        ... James makes the accurate point that a 16x24 will be a crop from a 4x5 image, I d suggest sticking to full frame 4x5 16x20 unless you have need to change
        Message 3 of 18 , May 1, 2013
          > In answer to your question Karl, I hope to be printing around A2 size
          > (16x24" I think)...basically I'm hoping to do a portrait project in my
          > home city of Leeds, UK, and I really want to shoot 5x4. Part of the apeal
          > of 5x4 is the level of detail in the image, so the scan quality is kind of
          > important. The other thing that interests me in using 5x4 is a different
          > kind of interaction with subject...it's much slower, and more deliberate,
          > and I think that creates a differnt kind of atmosphere in the image.

          James makes the accurate point that a 16x24 will be a crop from a 4x5 image,
          I'd suggest sticking to full frame 4x5>16x20 unless you have need to change
          the format. As to the resolution for the format, I think you'll find the
          rather pleasant effect of shooting 4x5 is the images look better no matter
          what resolution they are scanned or reproduced at - I'm thinking of the
          little 4x5 sized images, contact prints effectively in a book I have - the
          reproduction cannot be more than 120 dots, but comparing those images to
          high res 35mm digital images splashed full page across various magazines..
          the 4x5's kill them.

          large format just has a whole different look :)


          <clippage>
          >For the amount of scanning I'd like to have done I reckoned I could
          >actually buy a half decent scanner and do it myself, though the problem is
          >whether the scans will be good enough to be useful...I would at least like
          >to give each of my subjects a print (as a thank you for being involved), so
          >the scans need to be at least good enough for that.

          I know a lot of folk with 4x5s and scanners growing old in dusty cupboards,
          hence my suggestion to beg/borrow someone else's scanner before making the
          investment. You may find you utterly hate scanning and dread spending the
          time on it.


          > One might ask, why scan at all, if working with film...why not just print
          > in a darkroom...? Well, I used to love spending time in a darkroom, but I
          > actually find the best way, and perhaps the most convenient way, is to
          > shoot and scan the film, and the use Photoshop as my darkroom. I just
          > don't have the resources or time to spend in a darkroom unfortunately.
          > There was a thread on here a few weeks back about Avedon's American West
          > series (which is partly my inspiration...though he was shooting 10x8" of
          > course) - he had a whole team of people working with him, both on the
          > shoots and in the darkroom...I don't have that, just me and hopefully a
          > couple of friends to assist... so scan/PS seems to be the best way
          > forward.

          I'd rather spend less time and money in a wet darkroom than in a digital one
          ;) I costed the RA4 processor chemistry for the college V the Epson wide
          format printer, and it cost us less to run the RA4 than it cost for 2 days
          of the Epson with comparable throughput. A lot of students also found both
          B&W and colour were quicker to print wet than dry - admittedly they had
          techs maintaining the darkroom but I still find it quicker to rattle off a
          dozen wet prints than dry ones - different if I just want to make one print
          of course, and then there's the whole look. Silver trumps grey tone inks to
          my eye any day. Polyester based papers and dyes for digital printers is
          comparable to RA4/Cibachrome, but I don't often see folks printing
          dye/polyester.



          > One more thought; unlike Avedon's series, I want to shoot colour -
          > (interestingly my lab in Leeds doesn't even process 5x4 colour neg any
          > more...they'll do E6, and B/W, but not colour neg...so I have to use a lab
          > about an hour up the road...) and I wonder if scanning colour 5x4 is any
          > more complicated than scanning a B/W 5x4...are there any pitfalls with
          > colour reproduction, and detail that I should be aware of? Hopefully a
          > flatbed will be good enough to make some small colour prints from, and to
          > make a final selection for exhibition (and high res scans...)

          colour? definately - the colour fidelity of scanners is generally a lot
          less impressive than digital cameras, and digicams can leave a lot to be
          desired for certain applications. Now I know we deal with perceptual colour
          and really, if it looks good, it IS good - but if that scanner thinks pale
          mauve is blue then blue is what you get. Sure you can go selecting colour
          ranges and shift the hue to more closely resemble what you wanted, but
          honestly. Then there's neg, even the best mask plugins won't really know
          what colour the base of your film is so be prepared to wrestle with that -
          OK, near enough is good enough for pictoirial applications but some folk are
          fussy.. E6 already has a clipped dynamic range and only ever produces very
          contrasty images - a neg shooter is often left flat by cavernous blacks -
          media designed for transmission or reflection viewing have their purposes, I
          see little point in mixing them unless it's an effect you're after. I do
          confess though I loved to shoot B&W neg and make positives with Kodak's
          ridiculously cheap 'fine grain positive release film' and stick them in
          with colour slides.. i always guaranteed a "whoaah!!" from the audience :)
          But E6 to print.. I have vivid memories of photographers telling printers
          they'd made a mistake when handed their prints (but where are all the tones
          I could see??)

          I haven't shot any 4x5 or 8x10 colour in a while, I'd probably process it
          myself if I did.

          k
        • David Dyer-Bennet
          ... Back around a decade ago I did an evening of 4x5 portraiture as a training exercise for myself, precisely to make me work slower and more deliberately. I
          Message 4 of 18 , May 2, 2013
            On 2013-05-01 15:31, Jonathan Turner wrote:

            > In answer to your question Karl, I hope to be printing around A2 size
            > (16x24" I think)...basically I'm hoping to do a portrait project in my
            > home city of Leeds, UK, and I really want to shoot 5x4. Part of the
            > apeal of 5x4 is the level of detail in the image, so the scan quality is
            > kind of important. The other thing that interests me in using 5x4 is a
            > different kind of interaction with subject...it's much slower, and more
            > deliberate, and I think that creates a differnt kind of atmosphere in
            > the image.

            Back around a decade ago I did an evening of 4x5 portraiture as a
            training exercise for myself, precisely to make me work slower and more
            deliberately. I limited myself to two sheets per subject. And in fact
            got some very useful shots out of it, and even learned some.

            > Anyway, it's an idea I've been mulling over for a few years now, and
            > think the time has come to put thought into action...but as with
            > anything that involves film, expense is an issue... buying the film, and
            > then processing is expensive as it is, but I'd not realised quite how
            > expensive scanning can be! For the amount of scanning I'd like to have
            > done I reckoned I could actually buy a half decent scanner and do it
            > myself, though the problem is whether the scans will be good enough to
            > be useful...I would at least like to give each of my subjects a print
            > (as a thank you for being involved), so the scans need to be at least
            > good enough for that.

            Most of my scans from that are on a flatbed; only one I had to resort to
            commercial scans for. Your standards may vary :-).

            > One might ask, why scan at all, if working with film...why not just
            > print in a darkroom...? Well, I used to love spending time in a
            > darkroom, but I actually find the best way, and perhaps the most
            > convenient way, is to shoot and scan the film, and the use Photoshop as
            > my darkroom. I just don't have the resources or time to spend in a
            > darkroom unfortunately. There was a thread on here a few weeks back
            > about Avedon's American West series (which is partly my
            > inspiration...though he was shooting 10x8" of course) - he had a whole
            > team of people working with him, both on the shoots and in the
            > darkroom...I don't have that, just me and hopefully a couple of friends
            > to assist... so scan/PS seems to be the best way forward.

            I went to digital output years before I started doing digital capture,
            so I'm entirely sympathetic there.

            Galen Rowell went to digital printing in...looks like 1999 here; see his
            article...apparently can't be directly linked. It's under
            www.mountainlight.com/articles.html, titled "World's Best Prints" from
            Outdoor Photographer, June 1999.

            > One more thought; unlike Avedon's series, I want to shoot colour -
            > (interestingly my lab in Leeds doesn't even process 5x4 colour neg any
            > more...they'll do E6, and B/W, but not colour neg...so I have to use a
            > lab about an hour up the road...) and I wonder if scanning colour 5x4 is
            > any more complicated than scanning a B/W 5x4...are there any pitfalls
            > with colour reproduction, and detail that I should be aware of?
            > Hopefully a flatbed will be good enough to make some small colour prints
            > from, and to make a final selection for exhibition (and high res scans...)

            Color is always more complicated than B&W, there are more variables.
            But scanning color negs isn't terribly hard. Scanning slides is much
            harder.
            --
            David Dyer-Bennet, dd-b@...; http://dd-b.net/
            Snapshots: http://dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/data/
            Photos: http://dd-b.net/photography/gallery/
            Dragaera: http://dragaera.info
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