new brain drain question


TPF Noob!
Feb 1, 2006
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in the middle of north carolina
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
You know I work with paper negatives,,, and now and then a real one. I am thinking of going all 3x4 which is no big deal. It will allow me to do one thing I don't do now. That is to make contact prints which I think might do better on the scanner. I'm not sure. Can someone who has scanned flat bed prints and negatives tell me which looks the best.

I can build a 2nd light tight box like I use now. I can install a contact print frame with a simple light inside it. Then load the exposed paper into a daylight tank that I use now for paper negs. I won't have to make a complete darkroom. I'm wondering if it will be worthwhile.
My current Epson scanner does both negative and flats, but my old one was flats only I would only scanned my MF or B&W proof prints, had the 35mm done at the mini-lab, they came out good IMO, but everyone will have there own opinion, will post some links later
Well not sure, but you need even light for negative scanning, I’ve seem photos of your back lights setup, do you fell comfortable that it will evenly backlight the negatives, if it cannot do that then the answer is no
The light is even i'm pretty sure... The problem i think is that the detail in either negative is lost in the scanner. I'm not sure how much difference if any it would make. Probably not worth the effort to print them first I was just curious to see if anyone had done it both ways. I hate to build all that then have to knock it down again.
Well if you fell OK about the backlight then maybe yes. On my current Epson scanner (low end) negatives or sharper that prints. Biggest problem I’ve scanning is with color negative and getting the colors right. I have tried using prints and that’s when it seem apparent to me that negative are better on this machine. Also I have little if any problem with B&W negative and color positives

Now to throw a wrench into this with my old Microtek flats only scanner (medium grade) scans for prints seem a lot nicer. In the end it going have a lot to do with the quality of your scanner and quality you want
Good info... then i am not going to bother contact printing the negs first. As to the color problem, I went nuts with it. Could not get the colors even close. Then I found two small programs that seemed to help. I don't really do enough color work to even bother with them.. I just got the test programs with the address to buy the full if I want to later.

I almost never found them. They read the blank negative area first, to setup the color base killer program. You have probably tried them. I spent about fifteen minutes total with them so im not sure how good they really are. but they did give me a good starting place.

And thanks i'm not going to bother making contact prints. I had a feeling it would be like that, since the paper loses a lot of detail used as a negative. I couldn't imagine that it wouldn't be the same as a contact print.
My pinhole 4X5s are all contact prints. I've found that I prefer the scan of the print to an inverted scan of the negative. Also, much more detail is recorded in a negative than my flatbed scanner (an hp scanjet 3970) will pick up--for that matter, more is recorded in the contact positive than my scanner will pick up. Mainly, I lose detail in the very low density and very high density areas--expecially the very high density areas (in positives, because I don't usually scan negatives), since I try to print for non-blown highlights.

I've been planning to try various printing techniques for getting maximum detail out of a print when scanned. When I get around to doing those experiments, I'll post my results.
You know if we all work together we might come up with a decent way to use all this stuff on a flatbed... I would love a dedicated 4x5 scanner but I think that is very unliked to happen unless I win the super lotto.

Today I shot a paper neg and a film neg of the same thing. i can already tell the film is much more detailed. Not sure exactly what that means. after the scan. I'll just have to wait and see.
Yes, we might. Most of my photo-taking and developing takes place on the weekends because of my day job, but I'm planning on trying some of this stuff out myself.

It's been great collaborating on this stuff... since I've gotten into "serious" photography, I've more or less been on my own... nobody around who really shares my interest. Doesn't help that I was never exactly sure what I was interested in. Now, I've got some focus, and at least a couple of people who have a similar focus. No pun intended.

Makes it a bunch more fun, yanno? And it also speeds progress!
yes you know something funny about paper negatives is that there is a lot more detail in the negatives that are shot in sunlight. I mean you can see the branches on the trees in some of them, Indoors you lose a lot more of detail. You lose a lot anyway from film but the paper varies widely from indoor to outdoor shots at least for me it does.

The flat bed scanner is adaquate but not great. Still it is cheap enough that I can stay at it the way I like to do it. Working with film and chemicals but not in the dark. Its a pretty good compromise.
I think that might have something to do with contrast issues. Paper (at least to me) seems to be fairly low-contrast, and while there's sharp contrast in direct sunlight, if it's more diffuse, reflecting off the walls and the like, it's lower. The image I posted of the boot test-shot is a good example: the boot, in direct sun, is high contrast, but the shaded brick wall in the background is much softer.

One more thing I've thought about trying is using variable contrast filters to try to help based on lighting. In sunlight, a 00 filter (I use Ilford VC filters) might bring the contrast down a bit, so I could see both boot and ground, maybe. Or, indoors, a 3, 4, or 5, might add some contrast, and therefore some detail. Unfiltered white light is supposedly the same as a #2, normal contrast filter.

Of course, a scene will have lots of variations in color, so some parts of the scene might be higher contrast than others. Something to try, anyway... Alternatively, use higher contrast lighting indoors, or try to pick lower contrast outdoors.

Since open shade has a lot of blue in it (which is why shaded snow looks bluish), I wonder whether open shade would be contrastier? Or is it the other way around? Or is it neither nor? More things to try LOL.

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