Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
12-27-2017, 11:30 AM   #1
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
murrelet's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Portland, OR, USA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 306
Scan a print or scan a negative?

Looking for comments either way on scanning an 8 x 10 print versus scanning a negative. Both are BW.

Here's the background. I recently took a darkroom class and made a couple prints I'm happy with and would like to digitize them. But I did some fiddling with the enlarger that I could probably replicate in Lightroom with the scanned negative. But why digitally replicate something I already did in analog? I don't want to invest in a scanner so would outsource the scanning to a lab or rent time in a community darkroom. If using a lab, the cost of scanning the print is the same as scanning a negative. So the difference comes down to workflow and quality. I'm hoping to do more of this so would like a long term solution.

Interested in hearing thoughts.

12-27-2017, 12:32 PM - 3 Likes   #2
Pentaxian
Alex645's Avatar

Join Date: May 2015
Location: Kaneohe, HI
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,165
Excellent question. I've done it both ways, and it really comes down to personal preference in terms of workflow and aesthetics. My best advice is that you do it both ways with the same negative. You'll see the results won't look the same and you will prefer one over the other.

Making the analog print in the darkroom is either seen as a passion or a pain. But there is something more 'authentic' to the photographer because the tools are your hands and not an icon in a toolbar. However, when I've scanned my prints, I can't explain it but it looks like a scan of a print, and not just a print. There is a flat 2D look to the scanned image.

What I appreciate about scanning the negs is it allows me to shoot, for example, a beautiful color neg like Ektar 100, and then I can opt to keep it in color, or manipulate RGB for control in B&W. However, an inkjet print will never look the same as a gelatin silver print. In part it may be silver vs. ink, but I think it has more to do with ink jet prints are ultimately rows and columns of dots, whereas the grain on any given sheet of photographic paper is randomly spread. No matter how much I've been able to match my contrast, neutral tones, densities, etc, I can see a difference and I've done blind tests with students and they can see the difference.

But again, my advice is that you try it both ways. Both have pros and cons, so it comes down to what process and results you prefer.
12-27-2017, 12:41 PM   #3
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 246
In general I prefer to work with original information i.e. the negative. if something went wrong with a print (incorrect exposure, etc.), there's no way to revert it unless you have a negative. On the other hand, scanning of prints is easier because virtually every scanner can handle a plain sheet of paper of this size (8 x 10) - and this is not true in case of film. However, there is one more method you may consider - taking a series of photos of a single frame of a film, and stitching them as a panorama. I have just started to explore the topic, so I can't tell much more, but there's plenty of information available online.
12-27-2017, 01:56 PM - 1 Like   #4
Pentaxian
photoptimist's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2016
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,381
If you like the print, then scan the print to capture the combined effect of negative + enlarger fiddling + print development effects.

But if you want to have the most flexibility for high quality digital work, then scan the negative to capture the full dynamic range of the original exposure.

12-27-2017, 02:59 PM - 1 Like   #5
Pentaxian




Join Date: May 2014
Location: Pugetopolis, WA
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 355
I'd agree with the idea of scanning both to get a feel for what your results can be.
One point to remember,
With the print you are looking at a reflective surface and image,
From the computer monitor it is a projected, backlit image.
Different elements of the image are emphasized on each.
A properly printed print will have richer blacks, contrast is different between projected and reflective images.

The print will look different in different ambient light, the computer image will look different depending on how dark the back ground is on your monitor, and how you have it calibrated.

You will likely digitally "print" the negative differently than you manually printed it in a dark room, and still like both versions. Though I've not tried to do it, I would venture to say it will be nearly impossible to recreate the darkroom print on a digitally processed and printed scan of a negative. There is no right or wrong, with this, just different.
Have fun exploring
12-27-2017, 05:02 PM - 1 Like   #6
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 7,546
A scan from a negative it is a 2nd generation image and from a print it is a 3rd generation image.
12-28-2017, 09:43 AM   #7
Pentaxian




Join Date: May 2011
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,257
QuoteOriginally posted by murrelet Quote
I don't want to invest in a scanner so would outsource the scanning to a lab or rent time in a community darkroom. If using a lab, the cost of scanning the print is the same as scanning a negative. So the difference comes down to workflow and quality. I'm hoping to do more of this so would like a long term solution.
Scanning an 8X10 print is far easier and cheaper then scanning film. Practically any (cheap) desktop paper scanner can fully replicate all the qualities of a print. Depending on paper type, scanning more than 300dpi will show the paper texture that you may not want included - or maybe you do.
A paper scan will be far faster then you can print too.
If you are toning your prints, it makes sense to scan the print rather than manipulating the film scan.
Spotting the scan of a print is far easier then spotting a print.
12-28-2017, 06:22 PM   #8
Pentaxian
Alex645's Avatar

Join Date: May 2015
Location: Kaneohe, HI
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,165
QuoteOriginally posted by LesDMess Quote
Spotting the scan of a print is far easier then spotting a print.
With Photoshop's Spot Heal Brush tool, that is certainly true. I don't know what I was thinking, but I once took some valued film to be processed at a new lab that I thought would be better than another. So much for wisdom To impress on me how bad they were, they returned my 645 negs scratched and filthy.

I spent hours clone stamping and spot heal brushing my scan, but the sky was still littered with UFOs, so I ended up selecting the background sky and gaussian blurring the whole thing. Theoretically I could have done the same in the darkroom, but it was easier to find a digital solution. Here's a shot of the end result on a wall.

Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
NIKON D7100  Photo 
12-28-2017, 07:45 PM   #9
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
Rnovo's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 307
I assume you are keen on darkroom work and looking for the best final result. I do digital copying of art work with a K5IIs and polarizers and artists say that the result is better than scanning, and there is good scanning hardware out there. Using cheaper scanners will give you inferior results - nothing is free. I'm know you can retain rendition results of your best printed image that you are happy with so my advice is to consider a digital copy in your initial workflow.

To do so you need control on, the lighting set-up to avoid reflections, WB, and all the usual P.P. workflow on the RAW image... Within the last few years there seems to be a growing consensus in favour for the use of a camera (good sensor) instead of a scanner for quality work... and you can copy prints up to 32" wide with a K5, which you can't scan cheaply!

As for slides and/or film you can use use a Pentax copier, there's lots of info on them and their use on the forum.

Last edited by Rnovo; 12-28-2017 at 08:12 PM.
12-28-2017, 09:13 PM - 1 Like   #10
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
murrelet's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Portland, OR, USA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 306
Original Poster
Thanks for all your input. I did something I said I wouldn't do and bought an Epson V550 for a little over $100. It might be a "good enough" solution for 80% of my work.
12-30-2017, 11:07 AM   #11
Senior Member
Cipher's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 217
I've got the V550 and it works for me, although I would recommend not sharpening (using the unsharp mask function) in the initial scan, saving the sharpening for the final step before printing. Make sure that your initial scan is a TIFF (16 bit) and that you move the density sliders a little past the ends of the histogram before scanning to avoid blowing out highlights or losing detail to shadows. The scan will appear to be flat; scan first, then correct the tonal curve.
01-02-2018, 03:54 AM   #12
New Member
LSI_Horn's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 20
You may find that you get more details from the negative if you want a blow-up of the picture to hang it on the wall etc.
The resolution of the print is rather limited...
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
darkroom, film, lab, photography, print, print or scan, scan, scan a print
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Artifacts seen on film, scan and print Kevin B123 Pentax Film SLR Discussion 17 05-20-2017 04:34 AM
People Critique scan from old negative image Beryllium Photo Critique 4 02-01-2016 07:57 PM
How to scan flim negative? LFLee Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 20 04-09-2012 07:38 PM
Traditional print vs scan & print rodneysan Pentax Medium Format 8 05-06-2010 03:33 PM
I couldn't resist, scan vs scan. little laker Pentax Film SLR Discussion 4 03-22-2010 04:01 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:50 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top