Film Film 101: Scanner requirements....& basic B+W development

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
Mark
Thanks so much for the considered reply David.

Unfortunately, I seem to wish to go down the hardest road possible....develop my own B+W negatives and scan. I don't think I would opt for the colour neg then PP to B+W. I remember not much liking the C41 B+W as the outputs lacked the tones of true silver halide. So I certainly want to be playing with B+W film.

One option is that I have a mate at work with a Hassy drum scanner that he uses for his 4x5 and 6x17....maybe I could find out what he might charge (hopefully based on the mate's rates principle) to scan a roll once it's dried. He gets glorious results that would far exceed my requirements. However, I would like the flexibility to go up and/or down in size without too much stress. The problem with this is that it isn't much of an interim solution, because if i like this then I'd find it hard to be content with 'lesser' outputs if I take to film and wish to do my own scanning :wink:....Ultimately I'd prefer to be self-sufficient. On that note those Plustek's look a handy and neat unit for 35mm negatives.
 

soundimageplus

Top Veteran
Jul 6, 2010
103
Thanks so much for the considered reply David.

Unfortunately, I seem to wish to go down the hardest road possible....develop my own B+W negatives and scan. I don't think I would opt for the colour neg then PP to B+W. I remember not much liking the C41 B+W as the outputs lacked the tones of true silver halide. So I certainly want to be playing with B+W film.

One option is that I have a mate at work with a Hassy drum scanner that he uses for his 4x5 and 6x17....maybe I could find out what he might charge (hopefully based on the mate's rates principle) to scan a roll once it's dried. He gets glorious results that would far exceed my requirements. However, I would like the flexibility to go up and/or down in size without too much stress. The problem with this is that it isn't much of an interim solution, because if i like this then I'd find it hard to be content with 'lesser' outputs if I take to film and wish to do my own scanning :wink:....Ultimately I'd prefer to be self-sufficient. On that note those Plustek's look a handy and neat unit for 35mm negatives.
That sounds a good alternative. That is one serious scanner and you won't find anything better. I'm not sure it will have a software dust removal option, but if you are careful and scan very quickly after processing then the cleaning up issues may not be so bad.

When all publishing was done from film and not digital files, all my stuff would get scanned at repro houses on drum scanners and the printed output would be quite special. I believe they used all kinds of tools and "gunk" (note the technical term there!!) to keep the film as dust free as possible, hopefully your friend could advise on how best to do that.

I'm really no great expert on B/W scanning, as I indicated earlier, it is so difficult that the time involved was just prohibitive.

A lot of big time photographers have "gone back" to film, and there is no denying it can look great. However as is usually the way, at that level they have assistants and labs to do all the "menial" work for them, so they can just swan around being artists while others do the actual work to make their "vision" possible. Unfortunately those of us who have to do everything tend to go with what is the simplest and cheapest solution.

Not B/W but I am currently going through a lot of old 6 x 4.5 colour transparencies and scanning them on my Nikon LS 9000. They take a lot of work and time, but there's no denying the look and colour depth is something special.











 

ajramirez

Hall of Famer
Jul 9, 2010
124
Caguas, Puerto Rico
Antonio
I'm so glad for this new forum as it will not only bring some great film images to light but also some deft 'old' hands from the woodwork :wink: These guys seem very happy to share their experiences and as newbies, like me, start thinking seriously about and/or take up that older analogue format (remembering digital really is just new analogue...no 1s and 0s) that they'll entertain a few Film 101 questions. If so...

My first is about film scanners. I've sunk so much money into the new analogue format and so need to be prudent about more spent in the old. I'd like to play with B+W, so develop my own negatives, but once their dry what scanner do I need? No I won't jump on the latest and greatest Epson for my first steps, but would a $50 flatbed suffice....and I assume not. So what requirements and capabilities should I be keeping clear in mind?...or any budget or used models that are a good place to start? For the first steps I want relative quality (to assure that I can see the 'value' in the old format proposition) but during this trial period don't want to over-capitalise.
Mark,

I use an Epson V500 scanner which works fine with B&W and color slides, but is difficult to use with color negatives. You can see some of my scans on my Flickr stream and on the Fun with Film thread here. The scanner is extremely inexpensive.

Cheers,

Antonio
 

trisberg

Regular
Jul 5, 2011
43
New Hampshire
So back to basics here - yep I where my Gumby badge proudly :blush: what specifications are you looking at - as a minimum - for B+W negs scanning? 3600dpi?
I think a 2400dpi scanner or better would be fine. If you have room and you're handy with computers you could look for an old SCSI dedicated film scanner, get an old PC with a SCSI interface card and set that up as a dedicated scanning station. Both of these should be available at decent cost. Add a version of Linux or Windows XP with Vuescan and you should have a decent setup. If you could find a reasonably priced old USB scanner, then that would be preferable, but they are usually hard to find or more pricey. I've used the Minolta Scan Dual series scanners and for B&W they do a decent job. No Digital ICE but that doesn't work on the silver grain in B&W film anyway so no big loss.

-Thomas
 

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
Mark
Thanks for all the advice so far all. And a big thanks for sharing those images David. It makes me keen to try film even more now!...oh the latitude!!!

To be honest, this 'digitising' film images sounds rather complicated and sort of puts me off the idea. Not that it puts me off film but more the point the process of uploading to the computer and then the Web. Nothing wrong with it being a personal exercise though I suppose. And I can still have images enlarged, printed and mounted. Just you folks will miss out on another stunning photo of cows :wink: And I could just have my absolute favourites scanned properly on a drum scanner and downsized to share. Hmmm...

Having said all of that (and yes I know I'm thinking out loud), I assume that images are easier to play with in the lightroom than the darkroom?...especially c41 stuff?
 

Brian

Top Veteran
Jul 7, 2010
103
I've only donw B&W on my own, never C-41. I would suggest you stick to the Tri-X and other easy to develop B&W before the C-41. Not sure about AUS, but here it is easy to get C-41 processed. For B&W, get a Tank, D-76, fixer, and a bathroom. Done. I was developing B&W when I was 12.
 

stillshunter

Super Moderator Emeritus
Nov 5, 2010
123
Down Under
Mark
I've only donw B&W on my own, never C-41. I would suggest you stick to the Tri-X and other easy to develop B&W before the C-41. Not sure about AUS, but here it is easy to get C-41 processed. For B&W, get a Tank, D-76, fixer, and a bathroom. Done. I was developing B&W when I was 12.
..and change bag? As I fear my bathroom - even in the dead of night - would leak light. I thought the rule was that a good dev space is one where after five minutes with the light off and your eyes open that you see no light?

And another numpty question? Do you just wash these chemicals (dev + fixer) down the sink? I mean how bad are they?
I ask as someone not on town sewage so who has to live with their own waste. I run my own septic and might have to look into how this would sit with all else in there. Hmmm....jeez I sound like a nay-sayer don't I :blush:

P.S., To accommodate my own unsolicited segues :blush:, I'm changing the title of this thread to include processing...
 

Brian

Top Veteran
Jul 7, 2010
103
I used a walk in closet with towels stuffed under the door.

The Chemical Waste: 1 gallon of developer and fixer goes a long way, and you can always reclaim it in a jug. The wash- after draining, I would not worry about. I used a Honeywell Film Dryer with a dessicant canister. Used a filter, blower, and the film stayed in the reel. Put the cannister in the oven every 10 or 20 rolls of film.

I have a septic system and well-water as well. The darkroom gear has been boxed for a while, but I have a bag or D-76 and Fixer screaming to be used. Not enough time for the enlarger, so I will be scanning. Also: shooting some of the off-format film cameras, DIY developing saves a lot of problems at the machines.
 

soundimageplus

Top Veteran
Jul 6, 2010
103
Thanks for all the advice so far all. And a big thanks for sharing those images David. It makes me keen to try film even more now!...oh the latitude!!!
I know its not what you want to do, but I thought I'd show you some of the dramatic results you can get from converting colour film scans to B/W in Photoshop.









 

silverbullet

Regular
Oct 20, 2010
43
Germany
Digital photographs is like the voice of Frank Sinatra while film photographs look like Janis Joplin sings - if we want so and choose TriX........;-)
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
hmm well my 7600i arrived today (rather unexpectedly, as I didn't pay for overnight delivery :)) ... so that took most of the afternoon to get set up and get the drivers properly updated and then get Silverfast installed and properly updated ... good heavens it's 2012, software should NOT be a faff like this any more ... humbuggery ... anyway, I know many people say "Vuescan is best" but I am buggered if I'm going to shell out any more.
And I've had to go tot the doctor and get some antibiotics.
I hate getting older
hate hate hate it
 

pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
oh Lord, I forgot it's Friday ... I suppose you've just got back from the pub full of chips and cider ... :biggrin:

anyway, tried a few scanz, even d/l a copy of Vusescan to look at, but all I got thus far are grainy murky things ... care to step me through the settings you use on Vuescan Barrie, before I get all disheartened?
 

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
He he, the guys who give me a lift home were late getting there today, so I did have a little more cider than normal as I waited for them to finish their meal:)

Lets see if we can get you started.

Under Input I select scan to file, mode 35mm slide, media B/W negative, 8 bit grey, Preview resolution 1200 dpi, Scan resolution 3600 dpi, 4 passes.

Under colour select film type from drop down menu

Under Output, I just output as a tiff file.

Do a preview. using image from the task bar at the very top, or just press ctrl 3, and you'll get a curve up in the box in the bottom lh corner.
You can then manipulate the two triangles along the bottom axis to adjust the curve and control the contrast, etc of the preview.

I find that the preview in VueScan gives a much more accurate view of the final scan than does the preview in Silverfast.

See how you get on with that, and any further questions try me tomorrow, hope this gets you started and maybe Antonio will also chip in with his experiences.

Barrie
 
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pdh

Legend
Jan 2, 2011
123
A gentleman as always ... thank you!
Saw a splendid pied (leucistic) blackbird today but he wouldn't stand still for a snap
Hmm perhaps we ought to get this bit sliced off and as a new thread or added to Marks "Scanning 101" thread?
If An Mod doesn't happen by, I'll PM one tomorrow
 

grebeman

Old Codgers Group
Silverfast v Vuescan

Interestingly, apropos the above, I realised earlier this evening that my post of the evacuee children was done using the Silverfast software. I've just done another version using VueScan and setting the final output using the curves facility, with much better control of the tonal range and shadow detail than the original.

Here they both are.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

Using Silverfast

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Using VueScan

The curves facility in VueScan is so much easier to use than the one in Silverfast, also I find that the preview in VueScan is much much closer to the final scan that you obtain. In Silverfast I seem to have to make it much less contrasty than I would want in order that the final scan produces a satisfactory result, in other words Silverfast is rather more hit and miss if you like.

Barrie
 
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