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07-08-2009, 09:57 AM   #1
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Best B&W film for scanning?

After years of inaction, I'm finally gearing up an old Mamiya 645 1000S system for use. I was given a pretty complete kit (body, prism finder, 80mm & 210mm lenses, winder and hard case) about seven years ago;took the body to Mamiya (not far from where I live) to see about a CLA and was told it was shot. I was never comfortable with that response as it was non-specific and included the offer of a discount on a new camera and have been procrastinating ever since about taking it somewhere else. The other day I found a body at KEH (ex rating) for less than I figure it would cost to have minimal work done on the first one;it should arrive today.

My intention is to use the camera primarily for landscape work (maybe as much for the process as the pictures) and was wondering if anybody that has had experience scanning MF black and white film can offer some info as to which films scan best. I'm not even sure what films (120) are available these days.

07-08-2009, 10:35 AM   #2
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I don't think there's a particularly good film for scanning. Rather, there are good scanners for film (V500, V700, 8800F, etc.). B&W, there are plenty of options out ther. I've personally shot Ilford's HP4+, HP5+, Tmax 100, all very nice. I should be getting the result back for the first Acros 100 I shot (had to send off to Dwayne's since I'm currently away from home w/o my tank & chems). People rave about the Neopan, both 100 and 400.
07-10-2009, 01:31 PM   #3
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One thing to consider when thinking about scanning B&W negatives. While many scanners have an IR channel and firmware to fix scratches/dust, this feature does not work with B&W negatives. With B&W, every little imperfection stands out terribly. It is even worse than using a condenser enlarger! This is not as big a problem with 120/220 as with 35mm, but is still a consideration.

The only effective solution that I am aware of is to fluid-mount the negative for critical scans. Some flatbed scanners come with fluid-mount adapters (Epson V750, for example) while others can be made to work using available kits. Kits are also available for some dedicated film scanners.

07-11-2009, 12:03 AM   #4
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Ilford XP2 or Kodak BC400n are both fairly good as far as scanning is concerned, as they are dye based not silver they have no issues with the IR dust and scratch removal (Digital ICE).

07-12-2009, 03:02 PM   #5
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I've never been too happy with scans of HP5+, but FP4+ and Pan F 50 have come out great. Provia are really good too, and the whole fuji pro series is designed to scan well.

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