View Full Version : Scan or develop?
I work at a University (PhD student) I've been shooting digital DSLR for a few years and fancy trying my hand at film photography. I've bought a Oly 35SP from one of the forum memebers here and will hopefully recieve it soon. In terms of processing i'm not sure which way to go. Hence my question:
I work in an engineering dept, which luckily means I have access to the electron microscopy room... and all the unused film developing kit.. I could learn to use the stuff and try developing from scratch.
Or I could use the film scanner and get my photos printed at Jessops etc. then scan them onto computer. The scanner is a Epson Perfection 4990 photo. Anyone had any experience with this?
You are talking about two different things. It's not scan or develop. You need to develop and print, with perhaps a scan of the negatives if you want.
The film will need developing whether you do it yourself or take it to a minilab.
Then it can be scanned either by yourself or at a minilab. If it's at a minilab be sure to ask for high resolution scans.
After it has been scanned you can make your own prints on suitable paper, or take a CD, or whatever, to a minilab for prints. Although some minilabs prefer to use the original negatives.
I have the Epson 4990. It does an excellent job scanning prints, an average job scanning 6X6 negatives, and a not very good job scanning 35mm negs. I don't know of a flatbed scanner than can do a proper job scanning 35mm negs.
For that, you need a dedicated film neg scanner, and they are not exactly cheap.
You should learn how to develop your own film and make your own enlargements. Then you can use your Epson to scan your nicely printed black and white 8X10 prints with very good results.
Yes, my question is whether people recommend I develop myself and print at uni, or develop in lab and print in lab, or a devlop at lab and print myself. If i'm getting devloping done at a lab will i get better quality than scanning the negatives myself, and will the charge much for doing it?
First of all it depends whether you are shooting B&W or color - which one is it?
2nd you will get better results if you do it yourself, BUT it will take some time until you get there - there is a steep learning curve to develop your own film.
If you are shooting B&W then you should absolutely learn how to do it yourself and read up on the Zone System (look up Ansel Adams).
As for scanning vs. enlarging: For 35mm negatives you need a dedicated film scanner to get decent scans - they are rather expensive. For enlargements you need access to an enlarger, paper and the chemicals and getting your first good print will take time, but it is worth it.
I develop all my film myself( B&W, Color negative and color positive). I scan with a dedicated film scanner all color film, for B&W I still use a traditional enlarger - I don't like the look of B&W when scanned, but that could be because I have not figured out how to do it right:bang: :bang:
I think mainly B&W, I'll see if I can get some help with development and enlarging (and subsequent print scanning.
Toby, there are lopts of very good books out there on how to develop your own B&W - go to a library and see what you can find - it'll give you a ahead-start. Good Luck!
You should develop yourself if you are shooting black and white. I'm not sure what the set up is at your university, but electron microscopy generally uses special film and hence a different developer than you would wish to use for normal b&w film. However, the rest of chemicals (you may need a different fixer) and most of the equipment are usually perfect for black and white work. It sounds like there is an actual darkroom so I doubt there is one, but if there is an autoprocessor, you should NOT use it. Invest in a small plastic or steel tank and a set of reels as well as some developer (D76, ID11, DD-X, HC110, etc. come to mind) and develop by hand. You should have access to a decent enlarger and nice big sinks so you are set in that respect. All of the priting stuff *should* be fine. Let us know more information if you have it.
By the way, Biology, Astrophysics, and Architecture departments tend to have darkrooms set up for "regular" film so you might be able to develop there without investing in a tank and some developer. Architecture darkrooms tend to be the best in my experience; they are usually better tha Fine Art department darkrooms.
Does Jessops even develop b&w film anymore? When I went to the one in Dundee, they had gone completely digital.
II think you're putting the cart before the horse here. If this is your very first foray into film then start simple and get a roll of chromogenic b&w or color film, use it, have the lab process it and print it. Do that a few times to see if you like the "film experience."
developing traditional B&W films like Tri-X, HP5, etc. is EASY. There is NO learning curve. Any child can do it, and get better results than any pro lab could give you. And it is far cheaper to boot. There is no reason to avoid it - there was a day when anyone wanting to use a camera had to develop their own film. Today it is far easier than it was back then.
If you have access to the equipment, you might as well learn how to use it. There's no such thing as "wasted knowledge," IMHO. And the pleasure that comes from developing your own film is well worth it.
After development, you can scan them yourself. Your scanner should work great.
It is less about learning curve and more about using film. If you prefer the convenience of digital and it's all you've known, then the film experience may not be your thing. For the majority of people this is the way it is.
My point is not that b&w developing is hard to do. It's not. You're preaching to the choir with that statement. My point is that most of us who do it, do it because we love using film. We love the look and feel of it. I refuse to play ignorant to the fact that it_is_not_for_everyone.
My advice (IF this is the original posters first foray into film): take it in small steps, learn to shoot with film first. If he doesn't like that aspect then, he probably won't like processing or scanning his own negatives. For some people scanning is the back-breaker! I know for me can be, unless I'm scanning my own personal "art."
I for one hope the original poster gets the film bug and goes full bore to wet printing.
^ I agree, to a point. Film isn't "not for everyone," if you consider it WAS for everyone until the advent of affordable digital P&S cameras. (not sure if that sentence makes sense :) )
I just think anyone remotely interested in film photography should be encouraged, especially when the investment is limited to the price of a few rolls of Tri-X. One can look at developing yourself as a low-cost alternative to color, or as an end in and of itself. But no-one is served by implying home developing of B&W is a difficult and complicated process. I wish I had known years ago how easy it was.
...But no-one is served by implying home developing of B&W is a difficult and complicated process. I wish I had known years ago how easy it was.
and again, no one (at least not me) is implying that. I've been doing it on and off for almost 30 yrs, so I KNOW it's easy. I think most people can't believe how easy it really is, once they do it. In fact, looking back, when I learned as a student and had processed a few rolls of film, my next step was to want to jump to all sorts of crazy complicated processes that I had read about.
I've come full circle and prefer the simplest of developer and film combinations. It's a joy, but you gotta have that love of film. It's not for everyone. I've got photographer friends that won't touch film anymore. Some tried it and hated it or no longer see the logic. Some never have tired it and swear they never will. I consider it their loss, but I can't fault them for having opinions and preferences...after all...I do, too.
Hi... Twenty five and 30 years ago as a working PJ, I developed Tri-x in D76
and in D23. Recently, I tried Kodak Pro 400 C41 process film with very pleasing results. More than likely, this is a '2nd best' solution.
My problem is time & money. Mixing chemicals, developing, drying and cutting up negs, is something that I do not want to do any more.
The Nikon Coolscan V ED dedicate film scanner is around $500-. Life is choices, and in recent months I've spent that kind of money and then some, on cameras & glass. Given that one has a good scanner, scanning also takes time.
I have a Lab nearby that does quite a good job in C41 development and in scanning. They do NOT process BW films; there simply is not enough demand for this. For an extra fee, if need be, I can get even higher quality scans from the Lab.
Still and all, I know deep down, that home processing of B/W films and dedicated scanning is the preferred way.
Developing your own film is easier than baking a cake.
I develop film two or three times weekly. Definitely easier than baking a cake.
My biggest problem is getting my D76 1:1 up to 68F, as in winter the temperature in the darkroom is 50-55F, so I have a hotplate on top of which is a pot with 2-3 inches of water. I put the container with the developer in that and bring it up to 68F.
Different story in summer: the ambient temperature in the darkroom is exactly 68F. No waiting.
vBulletin® v3.6.8, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.