Film photography + Digital retouching

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Mithlondor, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. Mithlondor

    Mithlondor TPF Noob!

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    So, this question might be a bit silly, but I hope someone can give me some input here.

    I shoot film almost exclusively, and lately have switched to 90% slides (Fuji Velvia and Sensia are great!).

    Up until last week, I did not really do any postprocessing on my pictures, but I finally broke down and used a gift certificate I got for christmas to buy Photoshop.

    Now the question I have is this: How can I get pictures out of my computer after retouching that are comparable in quality to what I put in? I dont think I can (for a reasonable amount of money anyways) print transparencies, can I? Also, would you recommend spending the money on a high-dollar photoprinter or would you burn your files on CD to get prints? Could you go to a photolab to get your digital files made into transparencies?

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Most full service labs can put digital files onto 35mm and 120 E6 using a film recorder.

    Transparencies used to be expensive to print, but with all the digital printing technology today it shouldn't cost you any more to get prints from slides than prints from negs.

    Most labs are using printing machines that usually aren't practical for home use because of size and expense. There are wonderful ink jet printers for home printing that do an amazing job. One method isn't necessarily better than the other overall. They each have their pros and cons. I don't have my own printer (for photos), but sometimes I have a photographer buddy of mine make ink jet prints for me, and sometimes I take my files to the lab. It just depends on what I need or want.
     
  3. ladyphotog

    ladyphotog TPF Noob!

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    Burn them to CD or DVD yourself, that way you can use whatever resolution and whatever size file you want. Most labs can print large files in TIFF with no problem onto silver paper or transparency material, however, in my opinion you will never have the same as that beautiful transparency that you started with.
     
  4. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I use an Epson photo scanner to digitize my transparencies. It does a reasonably good job. They aren't expensive but they are very slow. But it is possible for you to do the job yourself if you want to.
     
  5. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    I use a cheap scanner from plustek and it seems to work nice on 120 and up. 35mm is pretty bad, if the negs werent perfect. I mean really perfect.

    I scanned some old weddings I shot that were just fine printed from the film. After scanning them, I scrapped the scans. Really awful, but some were very good as well.

    For some reason they were sharper and it had nothing to do with the scan. I must have been using a different lens. The difference went unnoticed at the time I guess. Or maybe it's why I bought the solid 35mm lens. Honestly I don't remember now it was a lot of years ago.

    I think i agree with everyone the higher the resolution you take to the printer the better your print. Tiff files are better than jpg files. I have just started scanning my old negs and teaching myself a little more about quick touch ups.

    Some touch ups are worth the effort I think and some not. I don't want to wind up like my son in law with 3 hours post processing for every hour shooting.
     
  6. selmerdave

    selmerdave TPF Noob!

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    Just some comments on this as I recently had an experience.

    R prints (optical hand prints from transparencies) are no longer possible, the chemistry is no longer manufactured.

    I believe Cibachrome is still done, but few and very far between and at great expense.

    I just had a high-quality 8x10 digital "custom print" made from a slide ($40 after the cost of the scan) on the state-of-the-art machine at Duggal in NYC. The quality is okay, suitable for most uses, but not great and not as good as an optical print. There are visible digital artifacts, most noticeable in out-of-focus areas, albeit only upon close inspection. This was done from a 22 MB scan that they did, which they assured me was all the resolution required for that print (I had suggested a larger scan).

    Now, in the interim between taking the slide in and getting the print, I bought a used, 5-year old Minolta Dual Scan II with a maximum resolution of 2800 dpi or somewhere around there - maximum scans of about 26 MB from 35mm at 8-bits. When I got the print back, I had a look at the scan and then scanned the slide on my Dual Scan. My scan was *much* better, theirs looked very harsh and rough by comparison. I was a little astounded at the difference given very similar file sizes, and I would hope they are using a better machine than my out-of-date Minolta. Anyway, I don't have any paper today to try, but when I get some later this week I will be interested to compare the quality of a printout from my printer from my scan to supposedly the best available short of a Cibachrome.

    So the short of it from my perspective is, don't pay for hi-res scans unless they are drum scans (if you have a scanner), as what you can get from an average film scanner will be better. Secondly, any print from a transparency is going to be a digital print and I have yet to see quality much better than what you can get with a half-decent home printer. And this wasn't my only experience, just a recent one with what I understand is the best possible print from a slide short of a Cibachrome.

    Dave
     
  7. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    operating a high-end desktop scanner like the Nikon 5000 or 9000 ED requires a lot of adjusting for each different roll of film or set of slides. also the amount of post processing required is considerable.
    then however you can get great scans.

    if you pay a shop to do that, they will not put this effort into this, hence the poor outcome.
     
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    One of my best photog buddies shot 4x5 E6 for years (still does). His career is fine art landscape photographer, meaning he makes his entire family's income from selling his personal photography. He either did his own Ilfochrome (the newer name for Cibachrome) printing in his darkroom, or sent it to a custom printing lab in Cali. Supposedly one of the best Ilfochrome labs in the nation.

    Now he's scanning everything, and ink jet printing, and it looks stunning. When he first started figuring it out (digital printing that is), and he still had a mix of Ilforchrome prints and ink jet prints, he dared me to go through and pick out the best prints. Hands down his inkjets aced the Ilfochrome prints both from his own darkroom, and the pro lab. He is the very best digital printer I know, and has been working on it for years, but there is no doubt in my mind that with the right skills and equipment it's possible to make digital prints that are as good, better to my eyes, than Ilfochromes.
     

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