The old Slide vs Negative question

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by liversb, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. liversb

    liversb TPF Noob!

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    My question as which is better, has a slight slant to it. I scan ALL pictures I take, directly from the film, either slide or negative – so the usual point about Slide being better, because of the ‘single process’ is not really applicable to my question.
    I prefer 50/100/160 ISO film, because I do sometimes enlarge to A2 size. Because film is so very expensive in South Africa, I buy 100 foot rolls from B&H in New York (equals about $3 a cassette instead of $14 for Fuji NPS!), and it takes me about 6 months to use 200 feet, so I want to buy the most useful that gives the best results. I am looking for technical advice as to which type of film gives the best tonal range and contrast – I use Photoshop CS, but believe the negative must be good to start with. My main subjects are candid people shots. Slide film is about twice the price of negative, but if I can get a wider tonal range and contrast range from slide, I am quite happy to pay. My experience so far is that the difference is marginal and so long as I expose correctly, there is no significant difference. Does anyone have much experience in this matter??
    (I have ordered an Opticfilm 7200 filmscanner as an upgrade from my existing Epson 3170 as my scanning results -with Vuescan, does not have the dynamic range I want).
    Thank you kindly - Liversb - Durban South Africa
     
  2. Unimaxium

    Unimaxium TPF Noob!

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    My guess is slide film is your best bet for scanning. Slide film is known to have better color, contrast, and film grain in comparison to negative film. Also, from what I've heard most film scanners are 'optimized' for the tonal range, etc. of slide film, so your scanner will be best suited to scan positives rather than negatives. To its disadvantage, though, slide film has a narrower exposure latitude, which means that it's much easier to overexpose or underexpose than if you're shooting negatives. Also, it will be more expensive both to buy and to process slide film. For example, at a local lab here, they charge $4.00 to process 35mm negative film, while they charge $8.99 to process slide film. So generally, you'll probably come away with better images by using slide film, but you'll have to make sure you expose it more accurately and you'll also have to pay more for processing.
     
  3. Menard

    Menard TPF Noob!

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    Negative film, due to its exposure latitude, has more levels of exposure that it can capture than slide film. In a controlled environment, such as a studio, this becomes a moot point. If, however, for someone, say, shooting landscapes, the negative film has an advantage as areas of the image which may be out of the narrow exposure range of slide film can be captured with negative film. This can equate to greater color depth and tonal range, but again, this depends on the type of photography you are doing as to whether this is an advantage to you or not.

    Unimaxium makes a good point though about slide film and scanning.
     
  4. Meysha

    Meysha still being picky Vicky

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    I'm assuming you've got or will get an excellent scanner. If you're getting that choosy about slide/negatives I'd say there would be more chance for error/discrepencies with the scanner itself. But you sound like you know what you're talking about so you've prolly already thought of this,,, so please ignore me. he he.
     
  5. liversb

    liversb TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the input guys.
    I think I found what I was looking for (I suffer from a disease called CRAFT) in that the dynamic range of print film is in the range of 5-7 stops, whereas the dynamic range of slide film is about 3-5 stops. Although I like slide, the objective specs seem to indicate negative film. Point also taken about scanning being geared towards slide, but Vuescan is really great for tweaking things - Have set it now to, in a 3 minute scan, to get the same results at 15 minutes in Photoshop tweaking levels etc.
    Thanks again for your input

    CRAFT - acronym for "Can't Remember A Flipping Thing"
     

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