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05-11-2013, 06:30 PM   #1
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Beginner to medium format w/ processing questions

I happened to run into a CLA'ed Yashica 12 in a small town camera shop for $99. Everything works except the light meter and I'm happy enough to use my K-30's light meter (or an iPhone light meter app) to substitute so I don't really care about that. Anyway, I couldn't resist

I know how to operate it, what I'm still fuzzy on is what to do with the pictures AFTER they've been taken. Obviously I want to see my pictures somewhere - do most people get scans, make prints, both? What sizes? How many?

A lot of places seem to offer 1024x1024 scans but that seems awfully low. I mean, isn't the point of MF that it can capture a lot of detail? So why throw so much of it away with a 1 megapixel image? However, high resolution scans seem expensive and many place's idea of "high resolution" is still not that high (2048x2048).

Or, you can just get prints. 4x4 inches seems to be the standard size but some places do 5x5 for a reasonable rate. Anything bigger gets pretty costly. I think I'd lean towards the 5x5 just to get a little more impressive final product out of it unless there's a reason not to. If you're habitually making prints you can view the low-res scans as more of a convenient image catalog I suppose, then the low res doesn't really matter.

And then the really interesting question... Say you get your prints in the mail and there are a couple of shots that are really head and shoulders above the rest. You'd like to get either bigger prints or high-res scans of just those images. Do you need to mail your negatives back again (raising the cost) or do the labs keep a copy for a limited time to handle these sort of situations? I mean, I can't really know which shots came out the best until I see them, so what's the best way to handle this sort of thing?

Sorry if these are sort of dumb questions, but I haven't used a film camera since the 80's and back then it was pretty easy with convenient local options everywhere and the only choices being "matte or glossy" and "single or double prints".

05-11-2013, 07:24 PM   #2
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Hi, i did a bit of medium format shooting with an Mamiya 645afd, what did was taking the roll to develop and ordered a contact sheet, that is a normal papersized photo where all the negatives are exposed all at the time, this means that not all pictures will be properly exposed but givs you an idea of which photos came out good and which didn't. I do not live in the USA so i do not know how the labs work there but you could develop the film, order a contact sheet, and then send then back the negatives you want to work with digitally or order prints. I ended up buying a Epson 600 scanner which scans medium format film.
05-11-2013, 08:18 PM   #3
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I only start to see good detail at around 4000x4000 for a 2.25"x2.25 inch negs and that is from a 2400dpi scan.
My scanner claims native 4800dpi however it tested out to 2140dpi estimated real resolution and this delivers a very much nicer scan than a 1024x1024.
At an average of 90 lines per millimeter it comes to it is about 5120 line across the on a 2.25" width... conservatively... I think?
If you have a good film and kick'n-A lens then you may find 50% more potential details?
05-11-2013, 09:07 PM   #4
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Hmm, the Epson scanners seem like a great way to go if I end up doing enough volume to justify it. I think I'll keep that option in my back pocket for now and see how things go.

In the meantime, maybe the best course would be to call a couple of labs and see what they recommend.

05-12-2013, 10:33 PM   #5
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There is a terrible amount of misinformation and heresay on the web about scanning and printing from transparencies. Generally amateurs getting their wind up with untrue, unfounded and totally inaccurate commentary and blind observations. Seek out and speak to professional people.

Scanning from transparencies requires a great deal of skill, experience and judgement; it's not all about the scanning machinery, but how the scan is brought to life in the end — as a print. Desktop scanners are not the way to go; take slides to a pro level lab and discuss what you want done; they will recommend an appropriate media for the best result (e.g. photo album prints would require a different media to those prints destined for framing and exhibition).

A high resolution scan from a 6x7 tranny is about 60-76Mb in size and nothing, absolutely nothing is missed or foresaken in a colourimetrically correct and professionally prepared print. But you do pay a price for these (e.g. 81x61cm $200, depending on media). I am doing this every day.
05-14-2013, 03:05 PM   #6
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Frankly until you get to prints bigger than 10x8 and with colour neg as opposed to B&W film probably bigger than that you will be very hard pressed to see any difference between 35mm and MF 120 film in quality

By all means shoot MF if that is what grabs you but don't expect to see any real difference in prints up to at least 10x 8 and probably 11x14

Try and find a decent mini-lab which does digital printing but processes on RA4 colour paper. A good lab will be able to print reasonable B&W prints on the same RA4 colour paper. Small prints are quite reasonably priced in the U.K. and my understanding is that the same applies in the U.S. but expect to pay quite a lot more for prints bigger than 5x7.

05-14-2013, 10:20 PM   #7

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QuoteOriginally posted by asahijock Quote
Frankly until you get to prints bigger than 10x8 and with colour neg as opposed to B&W film probably bigger than that you will be very hard pressed to see any difference between 35mm and MF 120 film in quality
You can see the difference at 72dpi on a computer monitor. Why wouldn't you see the difference at 300 dpi in a print?
05-15-2013, 10:26 AM   #8
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I must admit that in part this is just for the fun of it to shoot with an old twin-lens camera. It's cool, and I personally don't usually need much more reason than that to do things. A comparison between my 35mm film camera (my father's old Maymia/Sekor 1000) and the Yashica TLR shouldn't be hard to do. I don't really feel like I need to do anything rigorous, but taking a couple of pics w/ the 35mm to duplicate TLR shots isn't a big deal and then I can see whether I notice a difference or which prints I prefer. And I probably will occasionally do a large print of a picture I particularly like. I have a concept of doing some sort of "rotating picture frame" where I can do a large square print, hang it up in our hallway and every once in a while change out the picture for something else. But this will be reserved only for my favorite & best shots and not just anything.


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