Best method to convert film to digital (and

Joeywhat

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I'm getting into film and would like to have some pics made digital to share online and such. I'm just wondering what the viable methods are for getting this done. As I understand, most cheap scanners don't produce high quality scans, and quality film scanners cost a ton of money. I'm not convinced my digital camera (Canon S3 IS) would be suitable, either. I'm taking these with an Olympus XA2, so it ain't exactly an SLR...but I would like to squeeze as much quality as possible out of the developing/printing process.

How about sending the negatives out to have them scanned professionally? What's the average cost to have this done? Will I even notice a difference between all this?

And I guess while we're on the topic of sending negatives out, how much difference will there be between prints done at say the local drug store, versus the proper camera shop a few towns over (they have a great reputation)? I'll be doing a lot of black and white, and it seems no one locally can develop or print B&W film...so I'd have to send that out anyways. What do I look for when picking a shop to send my pictures to?

Am I crazy for considering developing the B&W stuff my self? I'd still have to have them printed somewhere....

Thanks for helping out a newb.
 

The_Traveler

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Since we don't know your local store or anything about you, I can't imagine that anyone could guess about quality and cost from your locale and be correct.
I suggest you actually call them for prices and try the same negatives at both places to check for quality.
As for the 'average' costs, that could be more easily found by doing a web search for film scanning.
 

gsgary

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Epson scanners do a good job

Here's a scan with the V500

img250-XL.jpg


and a crop

img250crop-XL.jpg
 

terri

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And I guess while we're on the topic of sending negatives out, how much difference will there be between prints done at say the local drug store, versus the proper camera shop a few towns over (they have a great reputation)? I'll be doing a lot of black and white, and it seems no one locally can develop or print B&W film...so I'd have to send that out anyways. What do I look for when picking a shop to send my pictures to?

To respond to the last question, I think you already answered it yourself: if you're aware of a "proper camera shop" with a great reputation that's not far from you, start there! :) Shoot a few rolls and then take it over and chat it up with the people there. You may be really happy with your results from them, and choose to stick with them for developing while you're learning and deciding how far you want to take it with film.

Am I crazy for considering developing the B&W stuff my self? I'd still have to have them printed somewhere....

Not at all! :) Anyone can learn how to do it - and that means, you can too! The folks at this camera store might even have all the supplies you'd need. The caveat is that they might be salespeople who are ultimately trying to sell you some high-dollar digithing, in which case it's not the right store for your needs - BUT they may actually be able to help, too. Just keep an open mind when you walk in there.

Ultimately, after developing your own negatives and wanting prints made, either that same store could help, or you might invest in a good negative scanner (like the example above, from Epson), and have a hybrid type of workflow where you scan your negatives and either print from home or send those files to an online service. If you really get geeked out and are bitten by the bug, you'll be asking us where to get a good enlarger because you want your own darkroom! (It happens to a lot of us.) :razz:

But take your time. Be patient and allow yourself a long learning curve. The journey is part of the fun!
 

Derrel

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One option would be to use a C-41 process B&W film, commonly called a "chromogenic" type of B&W film. Unlike conventional B&W film, chromogenic films are developed and printed in standard C-41 "color print film" chemistry, and printed onto "color print paper". It's been years since I shot chromogenic B&W, so I do not know what's currently available.

Some of the bigger, better labs have AFFORDABLE film developing and scanning services, where the film is developed, and then scanned by a very expensive, very good, high-grade machine with a trained operator, and the price is fair, and the scans good. That is however, the exception, rather than the norm, and many labs offer only fair- to middling-quality scans, OR they offer very expensive scans.

I'm thinking if you want the good lab, with the good, affordable scans at fair not outrageous prices, you're going to need to ship your film to a very large metro area film lab that still has lots of volume, in a place like Los Angeles or Dallas or New York.

Like terri wrote, the learning curve is long, and part of the fun! I have recently dug out my old Minolta film scanner, and am going back thru old,old film. It's kinda cool. It's a lifetime game!
 
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Joeywhat

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That Epson V500 isn't too expensive...and that scan does look quite nice.

The local shop will do color developing and prints, but not B&W. Not sure why that is...but oh well. Having done a little research on B&W developing it doesn't seem too difficult, and shouldn't cost a ton of money. I would love to have an enlarger and make my own prints...but that would be way down the road, if at all. I do have a friend at a print/marketing shop, maybe they have an enlarger, or even a high end film scanner I can use.

I guess step one is learning the camera a little better. Going to take a bunch of pictures and get used to using it. Where is a good place to purchase B&W film online?
 

vintagesnaps

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I think many places now will scan when they develop your film, that's what I usually have done. You'd probably have to check around on prices for scans of negatives.

In my area the owners of local camera stores retired and went of business but there's an in-state chain still around; they send out to their lab in another city and I don't work close to their locations anymore so I started sending out. I've been using The Darkroom (San Clemente), they do dip 'n dunk and offer a variety of options from just getting film developed, to basic scans or higher res scans, prints, whatever you need done. Dwayne's in Kansas and Blue Moon in Portland are supposed to be good, but as Terri says if there's a local lab in your area you could try them.

Whether I scan my own photos or have negs scanned I find anything B&W tends to be bluish and I often have to remove color to get it back to grayscale. I've done darkroom work but was using one at a local university where the building's being renovated so I've been sending that out as well; I started getting some of my own equipment to be able to do that at home.

You could look at Film Photography Project | An Internet Radio Show & On-Line Resource for Film Shooters Worldwide - there's a forum but their Flickr discussion group seems more active; they have videos on everything including how to load film for beginners, they do a podcast (on 'vacation' which is giving me time to catch up!) - you could ask any questions you have on their Flickr page.
 

vintagesnaps

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They have to change out the machine to do B&W so maybe they don't have enough people bringing in B&W film to make it worthwhile. If you start using them enough maybe you could ask if you bring in a bunch at once if they could do it, although with newer machines I don't know if they can change it out like places used to do. One place I would go usually would wait til he had a bunch to do - so I'd wait til I had a bunch of rolls to take in!

I buy from Freestyle, and FPP sells some film; so does Lomography; also Adorama and B&H in NYC. Can't think off hand where else but I have a fridge full... OK that's an exaggeration but it's taking up its share of space in there!

edit - Looked up your camera on a site I use as a reference Matt's Classic Cameras: Olympus XA2 , the picture of it looks familiar and I was thinking it was supposed to be a pretty good camera. If you like film and eventually want to upgrade I've bought quite a bit from Buy & Sell New & Used Cameras ? Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad, Leica & More - KEH.com .
 
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Light Guru

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Like Derrel staid there are a couple types of B&W films that can be processed in the same chemistry as color negative film. Any drug store processing lab can develop it without changing a thing.

However if you really want to get into shooting film I would highly recommend learning to develop your own film. It's easy and fun.

As for digitizing the film there are several options. Most people scan the negatives but a lot of people a starting to use digital cameras to photograph the negatives. You can do a google search and find all sorts of DIY set ups for photographing negatives.
 

limr

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If you use the C-41 B&W film (Kodak BW400 CN is one of them), just make sure it is scanned (whoever ends up scanning it) as B&W, not color, or it will take on a weird green tint.
 
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Joeywhat

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OK, here's a question that's probably hard to answer...how do I figure out which film I want and need? I understand film speed, and I'm going to experiment with different speeds and lighting environments...but are any specific brands better or worse then others? I've seen some color pictures a while back with SUPER vibrant colors that was supposedly just how the film was. Do I just try everything and see which I like, or is there at least a "tried and true" to get me started?
 

Light Guru

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OK, here's a question that's probably hard to answer...how do I figure out which film I want and need? I understand film speed, and I'm going to experiment with different speeds and lighting environments...but are any specific brands better or worse then others? I've seen some color pictures a while back with SUPER vibrant colors that was supposedly just how the film was. Do I just try everything and see which I like, or is there at least a "tried and true" to get me started?

Film type is a personal preference. One of the nice things about shooting film in a the digital age is you can view lots of examples of each type of film online.

My guess is that the color film with the vibrant colors was probably slide film. Slide film is great but you have to really be spot on with your exposure.
 

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