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So help me explain this one...
Old 03-09-2017   #1
3rdrate
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So help me explain this one...

After 15 years of digital photography playing a principle role in my day job, am finally delving into film with my new Canon 7 (with working meter!). This past weekend, took the 7 out skiing with an Industar 61/50mm lens. Had a blast taking pictures, even if it took 10 times longer than my A7ii on auto.

But had a question. I had the pics developed/negatives scanned by a local place with a good reputation, and was surprised at the amount of what I'd describe as "speckling" in each picture, verging on (were this purely digital) pixelation. Was shooting Kodak 400tx. My question is...

Is this normal? If it's not normal, what might be the cause? My gut reaction is that it almost looks like a low quality scan job, but I'd consider anything from a damaged lens to condensation. Or maybe this is how it should be?

Would love your thoughts.
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Old 03-09-2017   #2
johannielscom
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The meter might be off, or maybe you did not correct for the increased brightness of the snow, resulting in underexposed shots that required overdevelopment. Looks like it was very bright up there.

I prefer a handheld incident meter over a reflective meter, gives me much better results much quicker and the meter won't get fooled by extreme reflectiveness of snow


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Old 03-09-2017   #3
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Hi. Is this the entire photo that's been downsized? If so, that's some massive "speckling" there.

I doubt it is exposure issue (I would expect reduced contrast if so).

Best guess is a scanning issue. Only way to tell is to take a 10x loupe and check the negatives. I find that iPhone works pretty well as well snapping the negative as close as you can, and seeing if the issue exist there too.
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Old 03-09-2017   #4
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It could be bad scanning or bad processing. Or both. Does the negative look "normal"?
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Old 03-09-2017   #5
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Negative looks normal, near as I can tell. Selenium light meter should be fine (or at least close to fine), I checked it vs. a modern light meter. I think I'm going to swing by a competing developer and get their thoughts/pay for a new scan.
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Old 03-09-2017   #6
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Would it be possible to host the photo and provide a link rather than upload to RFF? and yes, what does the negative look like?
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Old 03-10-2017   #7
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Wrong setting when scanning. Nothing to do with the camera.

if you have a home scanner you can fiddle around and you will see.
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Old 03-10-2017   #8
Fixcinater
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Scanner on auto and set to low resolution for output.

Most cheap lab scans won't resolve grain well, they just make it look bad and/or mushy.
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Old 03-10-2017   #9
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Thanks Fix - that's what I assumed (and will update when I know for sure), but I'm pretty pissed about it, as I paid a higher rate than a mail-in place would charge just to do it same day, and the results frankly suck.
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Old 03-10-2017   #10
Bill Clark
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I don't scan any film. Recently, finally, at my young age I have my very own analog darkroom! Compliments of my wife.

To me, just my old way of thinking, film is film. I process as analog. Digital is digital. I process as digital.

Do you have an analog darkroom? Or know anyone who has one.

Maybe a scan of a print would produce better results for us to see?

At any rate, thought I would give you a sample of my philosophy of capture, process and viewing.

To me, it looks like a scan issue.

On the other hand, upon further examination could it be reticulation! Temp. differences between solution and wash.
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Old 03-10-2017   #11
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Hey Bill, thanks for the reply - I very much appreciate hearing how others operate.

At the moment, my workflow is so digital-dependent that it's not really the right time to get into developing myself (though I'd like to do that eventually). In fact, it's probably not even a good plan to get into film at all (!), but since I'm already hooked, my goal is to take a hybrid approach and go right from the negative to digital. Just need to find a reliable developer/scanner service, and am really disappointed that $40 and two rolls of TriX later, my results look, in my wife's words, "like they came out of a 1970s text book."
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Old 03-10-2017   #12
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She was kind!

Not because of you but because of what happened after you made the images.
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Old 03-10-2017   #13
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^ For not a lot more than what you spent, you can get some used Patterson stuff and cheap chemistry and do it (develop and fix) in your dark bathroom. Then you'll be hooked!
I've been for years now and haven't looked back . Peter
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Old 03-12-2017   #14
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The example images are pretty small, so it's hard to tell for certain what's wrong. I would also say it's just the lab scans. All of the scans I've had seem to have a heavy sharpening filter applied to them, which makes them look very grainy. I think most labs doing work for general consumers use equipment that doesn't actually "scan" each frame, but rather takes a high resolution snapshot. You have to pay extra to get better quality scans, the kind that a professional would need. I end up rescanning everything myself with a Canon flatbed scanner. It takes a long time, and it's tedious, but I enjoy the work
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Old 03-12-2017   #15
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Hard to say what's going on. Seems a bit like a poor scan. Seems like badly accentuated grain, but not really sure. Tri-X shot at box speed? Compensated for snow in the exposure, or go with the camera meter and no adjustment?

Film can give better images than that, but it helps to have good control of all the steps. I don't know if you're in the US, but a place called The Darkroom offers mail-in processing and scanning. Use their high-resolution scan option and you would probably be satisfied. The "base-level" scan resolution from most labs is dismal at best.

If you stick with film. The post about developing at home is better advice than you might think right now. And its easy and fun. And you do just use a dark closet and the kitchen sink.
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Old 03-12-2017   #16
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Surely looks like a bad scan. I'll second the idea of developing your own films. I don't even have a closet that's dark enough - a changing bag in the kitchen in full daylight works fine for me.
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Old 03-12-2017   #17
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  1. Lab left ICE (IR dust removal) on; should be off when scanning B&W, or every silver grain is detected as "dust".
  2. Excessive amount of sharpening to make up for so-so scanner optical resolution
My bet is #1
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Old 03-13-2017   #18
David Hughes
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Hi,

A simple answer might be to send one of the negatives (or a strip of 4 or 6) elsewhere and ask for a 5" x 7" or 8" x 12" and see what they make of it for comparison. They might just show you can still get a decent print from the negs.

Regards, David
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Old 03-13-2017   #19
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Also: use XP2. Ideal film for scanning.

Cheers,

R.
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