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Shooting Film : Proffesional Scanner or go digital
Old 09-17-2018   #1
Kupepe
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Shooting Film : Proffesional Scanner or go digital

Goodmorning,

I got back to photography 2 years ago and it stuck with me. I am using my father's film camera, it works great, it has a sentimental value, since it is his and the one i learn to exposure, focus etc. It was the pro camera of the line back in the 80s so it's not that I will outgrow it as a photographer ... I am shooting human interactions and what catches my eye. Don't like the street photography term. I am shooting Black and white.

My problem is after the development of the film. I have never seen the real photographs I shoot, since good scanning services cost a lot of money. So having to scan family and "work" may add a lot to the cost. Scans from cheap scanner give a lot of grain and you cannot see the quality of film. Pictures come out cartoonish.

After 2 years I think I have come to realize how my photographs want to look like. In my mind I have 2 options:

- Buy a pro level scanner that is still supported by the company (Noritsu) and keep shooting film ... (and continue to save for a Leica M6 and lens)

- Buy a Fujiflm X100F and work with that most of the times and try to make the digital look like film.

Cost of both options is the about the same

I must say that I like film, the look and the whole slow process, not having a screen to check every time. Digital is ease of use of me. I had an X100S for 3 days. Beautiful camera but battery left me like midday and since it was a loan did not have a second one with me. Full mechanical analog camera ... just works. Shutter speed, Exposure, Focus, click. It's ease of mind.

Get Scanner :
+ Look of film
+ Care free operation
- Getting film to digital

Get Digital:
+ Speed of process
- Look of photos - more post process to get the film look.

What do you think?
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Old 09-18-2018   #2
Fjäll
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Developing B&W film is easy and a scanner is a one time cost that won't depreciate in value like the X100F. And a Fujifilm won't scratch a Leica itch.

I used to think film was slower but all the time I spent sorting out all the shots I took and edit them on the computer is not any faster than my film process today.

Once you get a good scanner that scans full rolls and spits out great results right away you're set.
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Old 09-18-2018   #3
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You really don't need to invest so much money in a scanner. For your purposes a Plustek OpticFilm 8200 or a Reflecta ProScan 10T or Reflecta RPS 10M will definitely do the job.
Very good scans are possible with these scanners.
And they cost only a fraction of the Minilab scanners.

Please don't forget that it is impossible to get the real film look with digital cams + film simulation software!
If you compare real film results with digital film simulation, you will always see a difference.

Your best (perfect) option: Make BW prints in your own darkroom. That delivers by far the best quality (optical enlargement gives much better detail rendition and higher resolution than any scanner), it is much fun and very cheap.
And you have real prints! A picture on a computer monitor - no matter whether a scanned film image or a digital file - is always the worst option because of the huge quality limitations of the monitor ( extremely low resolution, no real halftones, flat look with no three-dimensionality).

Another option is making BW slides: There are kits for home-development which are very easy and cheap. And after development you already have a positive picture. Under an excellent slide-loupe on a lighttable and in projection you get an outstanding quality! Much much better than any scanned image on a computer monitor! Slides are a league of its own.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 09-18-2018   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHPhoto View Post
You really don't need to invest so much money in a scanner. For your purposes a Plustek OpticFilm 8200 or a Reflecta ProScan 10T or Reflecta RPS 10M will definitely do the job.
Very good scans are possible with these scanners.
And they cost only a fraction of the Minilab scanners.

Please don't forget that it is impossible to get the real film look with digital cams + film simulation software!
If you compare real film results with digital film simulation, you will always see a difference.

Your best (perfect) option: Make BW prints in your own darkroom. That delivers by far the best quality (optical enlargement gives much better detail rendition and higher resolution than any scanner), it is much fun and very cheap.
And you have real prints! A picture on a computer monitor - no matter whether a scanned film image or a digital file - is always the worst option because of the huge quality limitations of the monitor ( extremely low resolution, no real halftones, flat look with no three-dimensionality).

Another option is making BW slides: There are kits for home-development which are very easy and cheap. And after development you already have a positive picture. Under an excellent slide-loupe on a lighttable and in projection you get an outstanding quality! Much much better than any scanned image on a computer monitor! Slides are a league of its own.

Cheers, Jan
I wish I had the space for a darkroom. I know film cannot be reproduced digitally ... but the only space available has kid's bikes, luggage and Christmas equipment

Reflecta 10M is close to the price I am getting for a used Noritsu 600 certified by local dealership so ... will see. Thanx for the input
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Old 09-18-2018   #5
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Second Opinion saying keep film and get a scanner ... somewhere deep inside me this starting trend makes me smile
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Old 09-18-2018   #6
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I'm of the other opinion.

My story: I bought a scanner several years ago to finally be able to scan decades of my slides and see the pictures in print--I had a B&W darkroom so I was only interested in scanning the color photos. I used the scanner for a couple of years but finally realized I simply hated the scanning process. Eventually, I bought my first digital camera. While I was skeptical of digital quality in the beginning, over time I found I liked the look of digital prints pretty well. And eventually, after working with various software and refining my methods, I came to prefer how digital looks over film for both color and B&W. The preference for the looks of digital over film came when I stopped trying to make digital photos look like film photos and I understood that digital photos have their own beautiful quality.

It's your decision, of course. Many continue to work only with film and print in the wet darkroom. Many shoot both digital and film, combining the two formats successfully. My way of doing photography is simply my way and I'm not trying to persuade you to jump into digital with all four feet, I just thought you should have another opinion to consider.
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Old 09-18-2018   #7
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I do both film and digital. On the digital side I have the Fuji X100S with both the WCL and TCL adapters. On the film, I use a Yashica Electro 35 GS that once was my dad's. For scanning, I have always been partial to my Nikon scanners (currently a Super Coolscan 5000 ED) even though they are no longer in production. I personally like the differences between film and digital and have shown both in the same exhibition. BUT I don't have a darkroom and do my prints on a Piezography-converted Epson R2400 to do my b&w prints. (I was never very good in the darkroom ) But, from a normal viewing distance, I feel my Epson prints hold up against my old wet prints admirably. Like, with anything, if you are a pixel peeper you will find differences.
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Old 09-18-2018   #8
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Surely there is a lot to think ... and as all things when u start in a field ... errors are the best teacher ... you need to try things out to learn what is for u or not ...

Thanx for the input
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Old 09-19-2018   #9
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Scanning film gives an image.
The image is not like optical printing in a wet darkroom..
It sees grain, scratches, faults not a picture.
My Canonscan req's Windows XP, now safely off line..
Scanner found on street, complete with CD and notes.
It is slow, like watching trees grow!
A roll scanned yesterday took approx. 5 hours..
I wanted high resolution scans.
4mins per scan x 39 images of Kentmere 100.
Then about 1 hour some photoshop.
Contrast, sharpness and Black and white, as scans can be "colored".Sepia, cyan.
Truth tell I could have had contact sheet in under 30mins incl mixing chemicals..
I shall soon try printing again, as my darkroom is intact.
Use camera to make scans of BW film a good idea..
Color for me in small toy digital cameras.
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Old 09-14-2019   #10
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Having used many consumer scanners starting with my KM5400, I have settled on Nikon ES2 for $139 . It is at least a good as the KM whose software no longer works and I can not find anything else I like even close.

I use 36 MP Nikon D800 + 60 2.8 current lens and Nikon flash.
I set it to TTL auto and have not had a bad exposure yet.

With my skills, I could build something pretty cheaply that would work as well using any digi camera with proper micro lens.
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Old 09-23-2019   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald M View Post
I use 36 MP Nikon D800 + 60 2.8 current lens and Nikon flash.
I set it to TTL auto and have not had a bad exposure yet.

With my skills, I could build something pretty cheaply that would work as well using any digi camera with proper micro lens.

Dirk Steffen (teknopunk) had a very similar setup, scanning black and white film with his Nikon D800, macro lens and light table. His rationale was that it was cheaper to buy a Leica MP and the Nikon DSLR setup than it was to buy a digital M, and that with this setup, you get the best of both worlds: the top end Leica M rangefinder, and a top end DSLR.
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Old 09-25-2019   #12
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I found my scanner NIB at Amazon for $6297.56. If they dropped the price to $6297, it might be worth getting. Hasselblad scanners are now much more. My Nikon Coolscan 9000ED is no longer supported by Nikon and you would need to use Vuescan, which I like. I've tried the less expensive Plustek scanners and have a top end Epson flatbed scanner, but the truth is that scanner technology is pretty much frozen. Drum scanning is really the top choice here, but those services are expensive. On the other hand, I have invested heavily in the Sony FF system and have dropped Canon and Fuji digital. I think that evenly lit flat film and something like the new Sony A7RIV will be the best choice going forward. The evenly lit, flat film is a challenge and this setup will cost a good bit. Let's not kid ourselves, unless you are wet from film to paper development, you are shooting digital. True analog is probably worth doing, but pretty much dead.


I stopped shooting film around 8-9 years ago. I still have many 35mm, 645 and 6x7 cameras and lenses and a few unused scanners. My last wet darkroom was torn down in 1971. I didn't like the look of digital when I dropped film, but the California drought and time constraints pushed me to digital. I now view the digital vs film thing differently. First, cellphones are at the top of the imaging pyramid. Not because the crap they produce is the best possible imaging, but because they are always there. Second, top digital camera systems can provide unbelievable quality, especially when working with color. Lastly, film, which can provide unique B&W and with films like Velvia can provide a look that I like. Really, not much superior about film, but for the few it does have something to offer. I'm going to limit the rest of my comments to B&W imaging. Film, with careful development and handling, offers a better hedge against time. Somehow, I have lost some of my early digital images of my kids, but I still have the negatives from my darkroom days and they are in great shape. I use to greatly prefer the look of film, but I have now grown to appreciate the higher resolution of digital vs. film/digital. My favorite film, Neopan 400 is no longer available. I don't think that I like the low resolution look of 35mm film and that is a change for me. I suspect that I might change this view if the process was all analog. So, I'm probably looking at Acros and T-Max products with my Mamiya 7 & 7ii.
The most important thing to be gained from film is shooting discipline and good exposure judgement. BTW.. you don't ever need to chimp when shooting digital. Also, film forces you to create everything in your head. Digital has a lot of ways around this. Film also allows you to shoot top cameras for little cost and probably little depreciation. The biggest downside of film is the cost of the film and time. The time required for film can be reduced through repeated refinement of the workflow, but no amount of digital post-processing is going to approach the time needed when shooting film. Of course, I'm assuming that you have some level of shooting discipline with digital, which in my opinion, few younger digital shooters have.
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