Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
01-06-2011, 07:43 PM   #1
Veteran Member
Todd Adamson's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Iowa
Posts: 722
How do I turn this so-called "film" into images?

These are some serious n00b questions, but I just received my first medium format camera today, and it might as well be my first film camera, too. I don't know anything about film processing or scanning. Might look into trying some of that myself one day, but not any time soon.

Sooo.....I need to figure out what to do with the rolls I shoot. Here's what I would like a lab to do for me:

1. Process the 120 roll. It's 6x6, so 12 shots, I guess. Kodak Portra 400, which I gather means it uses C-41 process, though that doesn't mean much to me.

2. Deliver low or medium resolution scans to me of each shot. I don't need prints.

3. If I find a shot or two I love, I'd like the option to have high-resolution scans made of them. NOTE: I don't really even know what "high" resolution is for this format.

My local camera shop will do this for me. It costs $7 to process a roll, then $12 to put the low-res scans on CD (iirc, they said these scans would be 1800 pixels). So about $20 per roll. Then $5 a pop if I want high-res scans.

I'd like to know first if this pricing is reasonable, or if I could save significant cash by sending the rolls off. I also wonder if there is likely to be a difference in processing or scanning quality between a reputable national lab, my local camera shop, and, say, Walgreen's?

I think Dwayne's does the processing for $4 and a CD of the whole roll for another $5, if I am interpreting their pricing correctly. Of course, I have to add shipping, and if I find something I really want to print large, then I guess I'd have to ship the negative back to them for a good scan.

I also wonder if there are any labs that offer the service of ftp or downloadable low-res scans. Then based on those, I could have them do high-res scans of x, y, and z, and send me the negatives, or, more likely, just tell them to throw them all away and I'll try again. That type of service would be nice, but I have no idea if it exists or would be cost effective.

I realize these questions are broad, and probably näive, so feel free to call me a dumba**. But helpful information is also gratefully accepted.

Thanks.

01-06-2011, 08:56 PM   #2
Veteran Member




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Mount Joy, PA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 533
Not thinking about doing the scans yourself? You can get an Epson Perfection 4490 for less than $150 these days (new in box) and it used to be one of the top models available short of buying something that could do large format negatives. The V600, which is even better, can be had for maybe around $180, and I believe it's faster.

Granted, it's not drum scanning quality. But it's pretty darn good.

I never had the labs around my area do negative scanning for me when I was still shooting film regularly. I just couldn't count on them to do it right the first time. I ended up buying a Konica Dimage Elite 5400 film scanner specifically for doing 35mm scans. It was a real joy picking up a box of freshly processed slides and then scanning them at 5400dpi. Yes, it took a lot of time, but in the end I believe I actually saved money, frustration, and time.
01-06-2011, 09:23 PM   #3
Veteran Member
Todd Adamson's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Iowa
Posts: 722
Original Poster
Thanks for the reply. I've actually got a 4490. But I've never scanned before, and I am assuming it would be a huge time-sink for me, learning how to do it, trying different 3rd-party software, making color profiles, etc.

I don't know at this point how much shooting I will be able to do with film. It's just kind of for fun, on the side, not professional. So I don't want to spnd a bunch of time figuring out a workflow, only to find I don't have the time to get serious about medium format. My thought is, I don't have a ton of money to spend, but I still have more money than time. So I'd like the convenience of having someone else do it for me initially. Then if it turns into something I love, and I do a lot of shooting, I would consider learning the ropes of doing it myself.
01-06-2011, 10:48 PM - 1 Like   #4
Site Supporter
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 27,676
QuoteOriginally posted by Todd Adamson Quote
I've actually got a 4490. But I've never scanned before, and I am assuming it would be a huge time-sink for me...
If you already have the scanner, there is no harm in testing your assumption. Alternatively, you can have proof images scanned by the minilab and save your Epson for more serious work on the frames that look to be worth the time.


Steve

01-06-2011, 11:41 PM   #5
Senior Member
MetaD's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Colorado
Posts: 103
I use NCPS for good rez at $12/roll

I have NorthCoast Photo Services develop and scan. Developing cost for a roll of 120 velvia is $6.50 and scan is $12, which gives me 17mpix (3533x4824). That is fairly high resolution; enough to start seeing the grain in my velvia.

I'm sure I could save money (but not time) by having them give me a lower resolution scan and then choosing only the best shots for high-res scans, but I'm extremely happy to pay for the convenience. Also, I figure the slide is dust free at the moment of development. I could scan myself, but I would then have to find a scanner of equivalent quality to NCPS, and spend a bunch of time cleaning my slides and perfecting my scanning techniques.

Time is money, and I value my time at $X/hour. NCPS works out to $2 a shot, counting the film, developing and scanning. Hmmm, 5000 shots pays for a P645D, aside from the fact that I do love the vibrancy and the reds/oranges/yellows of Velvia.

I even love the grain in Velvia. Color noise in Digital cameras really sucks, but look an image of a red flower taken with film and notice the way film grain creates a gentle luminance noise. Here is a 100% image showing red lillypad (from a leica m6 and 90mm elmarit-m) at 100%. Notice the grain in the flower. It is difficult to get reds like that from a digital camera. The noise in the water could be smoothed very easily in photoshop, but I leave things because I like the reds.

Last edited by MetaD; 01-07-2011 at 11:39 AM.
01-07-2011, 12:56 AM - 1 Like   #6
Forum Member
chicagonature's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Downers Grove, IL
Posts: 89
Todd,

It's hard to find good vendors, but I can recommend a great film processor that also makes super hi-res scans at a reasonable price.

Call AGX Imaging in Michgan and ask for Mike. Yeah, I have a Nikon 9000 scanner, but it takes forever to scan glass mounted film given dust and positioning and then waiting 15 to 30 minutes to perform a "deep scan." So, I'm now getting letting AGX do it for me.

They offer 4000 dpi scans on 645 film with their Hasselblad/Imacon film scanner that reveals great shadow detail. The scans are almost drum scan quality, but at a fraction of the price. And, you can usually get a quantity discount. Tell him Mike MacDonald sent you.

Good luck!
01-07-2011, 09:04 AM   #7
Veteran Member
Todd Adamson's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Iowa
Posts: 722
Original Poster
Thanks for the recommendations, guys, I will look into those two places.

QuoteOriginally posted by MetaD Quote
Time is money, and I value my time at $X/hour.
This is definitely true, and an important consideration for me.
01-07-2011, 11:57 AM   #8
Forum Member
chicagonature's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Downers Grove, IL
Posts: 89
Now that I'm sending out my 645 transparencies to be scanned, the real cost of the work is becoming apparent. If I shoot 220 rolls of 32 shots/each and get an average of 2 shots per roll that I choose to scan, it costs about $45/roll. Woah! That's expensive!

(2 shots per roll accounts for bracketing, changing lighting, taking in-camera dupes (just in case of subject movement and rare light leakage and other things that could go wrong), making 1 or 2 rolls of just one composition as the light or situation changes, shooting similars of same subject, etc.).

01-07-2011, 12:16 PM   #9
Junior Member




Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: KC
Posts: 45
All the labs I once used for film have stopped processing film so I don't have any personal experience to offer. However I currently have a roll loaded in my 645n so I've been doing some digging. I've heard really good things about Richards Photo Lab in California. I've always had a fear of mailing off my film so I think if I had a local place I would try them first.
I've also heard good things about Millers in Kansas.
Have fun with your new gear!
01-07-2011, 01:39 PM   #10
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 7,145
Developing color film by a lab is fine. The procedure is temperature sensitive and in general you don't want to alter that process. BW, on the other hand, is a different story.

A lab needs to scan your shots at good resolution and give you 16-bit files that you can then subsequently edit if you want the best results from your shots; otherwise, the quality of your end results will at the mercy of someone else. And high quality scans will add up in cost over the long run and buy you a quality scanner.

These days you don't shoot film for the economics of it. I'd say you shoot it for the fun of using older manual cameras, the love of it, a different look or even shoot it while you can before it's gone.

Last edited by tuco; 01-07-2011 at 01:58 PM.
01-07-2011, 01:50 PM   #11
Forum Member
chicagonature's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Downers Grove, IL
Posts: 89
QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Developing color film by a lab is fine. The procedure is temperature sensitive and in general you don't want to alter that process. BW, on the other hand, is a different story.

A lab needs to scan your shots a good resolution and give you 16-bit files that you can then subsequently edit if you want for the best results from your shots; otherwise, the quality of your end results will at the mercy of someone else. And high quality scans will add up in cost over the long run and buy you a quality scanner.

These days you don't shoot film for the economics of it. I'd say you shoot it for the fun of using older manual cameras, the love of it, a different look or even shoot it while you can before it's gone.
Yeah, I recently gave up on using my Nikon 9000 scanner for regular scanning. I just use it here and there or when a customer needs a last minute need. When that happens, it could be worth $500. And, that's why it's good to have a scanner.

But, for regular scanning, I now find it better to have someone GOOD do it. With a glass holder that the Nikon 9000 uses, it takes me 10 minutes to clean off the 6 surfaces of film and glass and then to get it aligned squarely in the holder. Then, it takes 15 to 30 minutes for scanning because I scan with 8 to 16 passes to get all the shadow detail and to minimize noise. Then you may have to do some cloning, cropping, etc.

But, my lab (AGX Imaging) scans 16-bits at 4000dpi with virtual drum scan quality with very low noise. The images are cloned and cropped, too. Film is very expensive when you really get down to it because you have to get it into digital form at some point. It's nice to have a good scanner, but if you don't have one now, you'll have to spend a minimum of $2000 and that would pay for a lot of scans without having to lift a finger and the learning required to make a good scan.
01-07-2011, 02:16 PM   #12
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 7,145
QuoteOriginally posted by chicagonature Quote

..
But, for regular scanning, I now find it better to have someone GOOD do it. With a glass holder that the Nikon 9000 uses, it takes me 10 minutes to clean off the 6 surfaces of film and glass and then to get it aligned squarely in the holder. Then, it takes 15 to 30 minutes for scanning because I scan with 8 to 16 passes to get all the shadow detail and to minimize noise. Then you may have to do some cloning, cropping, etc.
...
10 minutes? You're lucky My BW takes a huge amount of time. That glass carrier sucks when it comes to dust because, as you know, you can't use ICE.

Yeah, like I said, the analog process is far from ideal when time is money. You do it as a labor of love and for other reasons. The modern camera and process is of course much better for making sure the kids don't go hungry.

Last edited by tuco; 01-07-2011 at 02:23 PM.
01-07-2011, 03:33 PM   #13
Forum Member
chicagonature's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Downers Grove, IL
Posts: 89
QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
10 minutes? You're lucky My BW takes a huge amount of time. That glass carrier sucks when it comes to dust because, as you know, you can't use ICE.

Yeah, like I said, the analog process is far from ideal when time is money. You do it as a labor of love and for other reasons. The modern camera and process is of course much better for making sure the kids don't go hungry.
I use Digital ICE and I don't see any difference, except that now my files are cleaner! I know people say that it makes the image softer, but ICE really shouldn't mess anything up because it uses hardware (on a Nikon 9000) to actually see the dust and then simply clones them out individually using adjacent pixels. It's not like it can't tell the difference between real information and dust, which occurs with software-only dust removal mehods.

In my last post, I talked about needing a last minute scan. Well, that just happened to me about 30 minutes ago. While my transparencies are at the lab being scanned, someone wanted to see one of them. Luckily, I shoot in-camera dupes and I had one to scan quickly for the customer. Otherwise, I would have lost a sale.

Last edited by chicagonature; 01-08-2011 at 02:04 PM.
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!
camera, cd, high-res, medium format, process, roll, scans, service, shop, wonder
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Imaging-resource.com put out 645D sample images: "Amazing Resolution" leping Pentax Medium Format 1 12-06-2010 06:11 AM
K10D owner moving to K-7: Early "Review"/thoughts on the K-7. (link to Images) pcarfan Pentax DSLR Discussion 6 08-02-2009 07:59 PM
Two Sunrise/Landscape images with some "retro" gear Marc Langille Post Your Photos! 25 08-21-2008 04:21 PM
"Hunger for a DA*50-135?" or "The DA*50-135 as a bird lens!" or "Iron age birds?" Douglas_of_Sweden Post Your Photos! 4 08-13-2008 06:09 AM
New K10D, starting to record "Black" images intermittently mhuterer1 Pentax DSLR Discussion 13 12-28-2007 12:16 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:32 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