Query on developing colour 35mm film
Old 3 Days Ago   #1
Captain Kidd
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Query on developing colour 35mm film

Hi,

I have a Leica M6 that was serviced and adjusted maybe 5 years ago by Malcolm Taylor. The reason I mention that is because Iím at a place where I am trying to identify if I have a problem with my camera, light reader (I use a sekonic L-308X) or when I get my film developed into negatives.

I use a Plustek 8000i to scan in my negatives, and have settings set to Christopher Crawfords colour film scanning introduction (https://crawfordphotoschool.com/digi...ning-intro.php).

Basically sometimes my pictures look perfect but most of the time I need to jig around the white point, and brightness to get the picture looking properly exposed, they can quite often be dark.

I wanted to give as much background as possible but my question is relating to the development of my negatives, Iím thinking of trying somewhere different to see if the issue continues. The place I use, uses a Fuji Frontier 570 print lab. Would these machines always output the same results and how sensitive is the developing process. ie is it easy to have varying results? Or is film just so sensitive that exposure can be off quite often.

Itís not so much a problem, I can adjust, but when I scan in and itís quite dark and looking underexposed then I worry there might be a problem somewhere.

Thanks for any help
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Old 3 Days Ago   #2
Beemermark
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If some of the pictures come out fine it's unlikely a development problem.


from your description it sounds like maybe your not metering the scene correctly?
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Old 3 Days Ago   #3
Captain Kidd
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Thanks for the reply, I always use the meter by pointing it towards the subject and aiming the light meter back towards the camera.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #4
retinax
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Show us a snap of the negatives including the border, just hold them up against the window or something and snap with your phone. Then we'll be able to tell you more.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #5
Captain Kidd
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Thank you, I’ll do that this evening and post
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Old 2 Days Ago   #6
zenza
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If, when scanning, sometimes the film frame edge OR the film holder edge is present in the image area...the scanner's auto settings will use that to determine the scan 'exposure' and throw off the overall tonality of the image.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #7
Captain Kidd
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Thanks Zenza, even in vuescan when you have your settings profile saved, it still will do something automatically somewhere?
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Old 2 Days Ago   #8
zenza
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Kidd View Post
Thanks Zenza, even in vuescan when you have your settings profile saved, it still will do something automatically somewhere?
Yes, it must base the black and white point off something. Having edges of the film holder or film frame gives it something not related at all to the actual image to base that off.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #9
Captain Kidd
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Thanks for this, when I scan in on vuescan it always seems to scan a little extra of the image ie. some frameing etc. The only way to change this is the dotted line, where you select what will be included in the final scan. But preview will always scan everything, including outside the dotted line.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #10
View Range
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Here's something you might try. Take a pair of each picture you are shooting. Do one pix with the M6 built-in meter and one pix with the Sekonic. Comparing them will help identify metering problems if there are any.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #11
Captain Kidd
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Ive attached 3 images of negatives, would these looks reasonably well developed? I had to reduce the size to upload but the hope the overall colour helps see the quality of the development.

Thanks
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_1395.JPG (152.8 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1397.JPG (153.0 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_1400.JPG (150.1 KB, 10 views)
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Old 2 Days Ago   #12
retinax
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They look alright to me. You probably just need to optimise your scanning. That some postprocessing is needed is normal. If you also post examples of the scans you're unhappy with, people here can probably also help with that.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #13
Captain Kidd
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Thanks Retinax, I generally need to tinker a little to get them right, I just worry that they should all be scanning in looking about the same exposures but some are as i mentioned a bit darker. But it probably does just come down to my exposure reading, if i'm taking the same subject I probably don't take enough readings as between pictures to capture any change in light i'm not aware of. Glad you think they look alright
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Old 2 Days Ago   #14
retinax
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Some got a little less exposure, are those the ones that you got darker scans of? Then maybe you should look at the auto exposure settings in you scanner software. And as Zenza mentioned, auto exposure could be thrown off by a number of things.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #15
zenza
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The negatives look perfectly fine. All negative film needs a fair bit of post processing. It seems that you're letting Vuescan do all of the work...which means you're giving up control over how the image is post processed. I highly doubt many of us would even be able to tell the difference between two frames shot a stop apart on professional C41 film. I definitely can't in the rare instances I bracket a stop on a film like Portra.

The differences you're seeing are due to the scanner's auto settings. You'll never get consistent results this way unfortunately. It's like putting a digital camera on auto exposure, auto WB, etc. Two photos taken moments apart may turn out to look completely different tonal and colour-wise.

That's just my $0.02.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #16
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Negs are fine.
My Plustek 8200i is kind of finicky. Sometimes it work better with VueScan, sometimes with SilverFast.

My old Epson 550 just works with its native application, but not as sharp as Plustek.

Maybe it is time to switch to DSLR scanning.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #17
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Thanks, I always do post processing, just sometimes I wonder why some pictures are darker than others, but i will always work on them after to get them right, its just some require more Post processing thean other and i wondered why that was, I was worried it was an exposure problem. Im not sure where the exposure setting are in Vuescan but I have nothing set to automatic. Thanks everyone for the input and help
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Old 2 Days Ago   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Kidd View Post
Im not sure where the exposure setting are in Vuescan but I have nothing set to automatic. Thanks everyone for the input and help
Unless your scans are being saved as straight up negatives and you're doing the inverting and black/white point and white balance adjustments yourself, the scanning software is doing lots of post processing and automatic adjustments. How to turn those off with your particular setup I'm unaware.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #19
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Thanks Zenza, I use Crawfords settings here: https://crawfordphotoschool.com/digi...ning-intro.php adjust white point and brightness a little in vuescan to get it almost right and, export and then in Lightroom do some post processing to get it right. Thanks again
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Old 2 Days Ago   #20
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You scanner is much like your in camera meter, in a sense. It may not properly measure a negative high and low tones. I have a Epson V700 and usually use the Epson software. When scanning medium format negs I use the dotted line box to scan one neg at a time. If I crop a scan with the dotted box the overall exposure can change dramatically. The scan is still good (the neg is good) and I need to adjust the scan in post processing.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #21
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Thanks Beemermark, I will do some tests with cropping to get a better understanding of how my Plustek behaves.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #22
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Id love to hear from anyone who uses vuescan, and sees overall exposure change based on what is cropped.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #23
CNNY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Kidd View Post
Thanks Zenza, I use Crawfords settings here: https://crawfordphotoschool.com/digi...ning-intro.php adjust white point and brightness a little in vuescan to get it almost right and, export and then in Lightroom do some post processing to get it right. Thanks again
This is not how I would recommend scanning with vuescan, especially with color negs. Once you white balance and set the white and black points, you are locking in those colors and limiting your adjustments later. Vuescan is good at controlling the scanner, but has somewhat limited tools for adjusting color, and you really can't draw any conclusions from the preview it gives. Photoshop or Lightroom have far more sophisticated color controls.

Color negative film has great latitude, so you can have frames on the same roll that vary wildly in exposure and still produce good images. The contrast within each image tends to be lower compared to either b+w or slides. The concern people used to have when scanning slides was that the contrast was too high and they would be clipping the blacks or highlights. With color negatives this is almost impossible to do. To get a good scan all you really need is to set the exposure (often default will do) to capture the entire dynamic range. Optionally you want to compensate for the orange mask. All else can be done better in other software.

I batch scan a lot of color negs, and output them as 48bit (3x 16bit)files with the raw setting. I save them either as raw tiff or dng and then I adjust them in Lightroom.
I start by scanning the leader and using it to 'lock exposure', and then I set the 'lock film base color' compensate for the orange mask (read that section of the manual to understand how to use this feature). I use Nikon scanners which have the analog gain controls which fairly efficiently neutralizes the colors. I'm not sure about the plustek, but I do the same with an epson scanner, and it also works ok. I then use these settings to scan the rest of the roll. I don't even do any previews once I have set the film spacing.
The only thing I let vuescan do is cropping, exposure, compensate the base color, light dust removal, and inversion (by setting it to color negatives). I set the color tab to 'None'.
Color negs always need a lot of adjustment to look right, but usually I can correct a typical frame and apply the settings to all the frames on the roll, and I'll have a good starting point for those images.
I hope this helps.
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Old 2 Days Ago   #24
Captain Kidd
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Thats incredibly helpful, than you CNNY, I really appreciate you taking the time to give me your scanning procedure. Im going to do a bunch of test scans this weekend and see how things go, thanks alot.
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