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07-18-2016, 08:02 AM   #1
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First roll of MF film

I just got back my first ever roll of MF film, and honestly, I didn't know what to expect. There was a lot of stuff that was new to me - 645, new lens (CZJ 2.8/80), new film (Fuji Neopan Acros), new lab, and a new scanner. Most of the photos I got from that roll are very contrasty, to my taste at least. Some photos are literally black and white - no grays at all. This seems to be particularly true in bright sunny conditions. Because of that, quite a bit of detail is lost. I am trying to figure out what's the culprit here, or maybe it's not a problem at all. I can reduce contrast in PP and get that detail back, but if I can change something to avoid having to do that, that would be perfect. I made a mistake in setting ISO level in the beginning. I thought it was 120, and set it at that level for the first 3 shots, and then changed it back to 100. Not sure if that could have caused all the problems. Attached is an example. Any advice is appreciated!


Last edited by IgorZ; 09-15-2016 at 08:45 PM.
07-18-2016, 08:36 AM   #2
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Did you use a coloured filter? Yellow, orange, red & green filters help with the contrast.

Phil.

PS the picture looks good!
07-18-2016, 09:52 AM   #3
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How were they scanned?
I know Epson Scan in auto mode can have a tendency to make it seem like there is too much contrast.
Fuji Acros (in my experience) is a very contrasty film.
07-18-2016, 11:00 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
Did you use a coloured filter? Yellow, orange, red & green filters help with the contrast.

Phil.

PS the picture looks good!
Hi Phil, thank you! I reduced the contrast in this one a bit. I didn't use any filters. I have a couple of photos at home taken in a similar circumstances - bright sunny day. There is one of my daughter sitting on a big boulder in a middle of a clearing in a forest. The foreground is grass, with trees forming the background. The contrast is so high that the grass and the rock look almost completely white (kind of like the table in this photo), with very little detail.

---------- Post added 07-18-16 at 11:02 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Swift1 Quote
How were they scanned?
I know Epson Scan in auto mode can have a tendency to make it seem like there is too much contrast.
Fuji Acros (in my experience) is a very contrasty film.
I scanned them using Canoscan 8800f using the software that came with it. I tried ScanVue, and I think it did better, but it was a trial version that left watermarks, so I didn't investigate much. I briefly looked online at some discussion of different scanners, and there was a suggestion to set the white balance of the scanner. Not sure how to do that...

07-18-2016, 11:10 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by IgorZ Quote

I scanned them using Canoscan 8800f using the software that came with it. I tried ScanVue, and I think it did better, but it was a trial version that left watermarks, so I didn't investigate much. I briefly looked online at some discussion of different scanners, and there was a suggestion to set the white balance of the scanner. Not sure how to do that...
I'm not familiar with Canon's scan software, but you should be able to set it to a fully manual mode and then manually set levels.
Also try scanning as a positive and then invert in PS. That will give you a truer idea if the contrast is in the negative or from the scan settings.
07-18-2016, 12:58 PM   #6
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Welcome to the club! I love 645!!! There are many factors creating the high contrast image but I'd suspect the main ones is the Neopan Acros and the developer used by the lab. Better to start with a lower contrast negative and then increase it in PP rather than the other way around.

Ilford XP-2 Super 400 is one of the best in terms of lower contrast and high dynamic range. But if you want something a bit sharper and less buttery, then I'd suggest Ilford FP4+ or Kodak Plus-X if you can still find it.
07-18-2016, 04:00 PM   #7
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Acros is not a contrasty film. But shooting in very bright sunlight can give it that effect. Try it again in overcast light, especially with clouds. This light, diffuse, will provide a very smooth and even transition of tones. Filters do help (I only ever use a polariser). Also try Ilford Pan F+50 in similar conditions.

Scanning can be said to be an art form that takes a while to master. Leaving the scanner to everything on auto is not the best course of action. Nor is giving more or all control to an unskilled operator. Use and experiment with the scanner's native software before jumping around on third-party software. I am not a fan of VueScan, Canon or any other 3P software. Native software does the job just fine, even for high-end gallery-quality scan-print jobbing. You just have to know exactly what you are doing and how — like a lot of things in life!
07-18-2016, 10:02 PM   #8
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Most consumer grade scanners can introduce a fair bit of contrast. I shoot and scan a fair amount of film from 120 through 8x10 and while I was getting good results I stumbled across an article by Sandy King in the View Camera magazine. He was advocating a divided developer regime to get low contrast, full range negatives for scanning.


One of the developers, based on D23 as the first bath and a 10% solution of Kodalk as the second bath. I experimented with a number of films, FP4+, Tri-X, Acros and TMAX 100 and got excellent results and full box speed. Developing times turned out to be 4 minutes in each bath (no presoak or rinse between the two baths). The negatives are low grain (due to short developing times) and very sharp and somewhat low contrast with no blocking in the shadows or highlights. The resulting scans were great. The other trick is to ensure the output levels of the scanning software are adjusted so there is no clipping at both ends of the range


I use an Epson 700 with the native scanning software and have never been happier.


While the negatives scan well, they also print well on conventional printing papers, around grade 3 or 3 1/2 with my VC enlarger head. So best of both worlds


Cheers


MK

07-19-2016, 01:41 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Swift1 Quote
I'm not familiar with Canon's scan software, but you should be able to set it to a fully manual mode and then manually set levels.
Also try scanning as a positive and then invert in PS. That will give you a truer idea if the contrast is in the negative or from the scan settings.
Thanks for the suggestion - I would never have thought of it!

---------- Post added 07-19-16 at 01:43 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
Welcome to the club! I love 645!!! There are many factors creating the high contrast image but I'd suspect the main ones is the Neopan Acros and the developer used by the lab. Better to start with a lower contrast negative and then increase it in PP rather than the other way around.

Ilford XP-2 Super 400 is one of the best in terms of lower contrast and high dynamic range. But if you want something a bit sharper and less buttery, then I'd suggest Ilford FP4+ or Kodak Plus-X if you can still find it.
Thank you! I really enjoy the 645, but man is it heavy. I can't imagine the 67...

Thanks for the suggestions, I have never tried Ilford. I saw a David Hancock video on the Neopan and thought I would try it. He seemed to really like it.

---------- Post added 07-19-16 at 01:47 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
Acros is not a contrasty film. But shooting in very bright sunlight can give it that effect. Try it again in overcast light, especially with clouds. This light, diffuse, will provide a very smooth and even transition of tones. Filters do help (I only ever use a polariser). Also try Ilford Pan F+50 in similar conditions.

Scanning can be said to be an art form that takes a while to master. Leaving the scanner to everything on auto is not the best course of action. Nor is giving more or all control to an unskilled operator. Use and experiment with the scanner's native software before jumping around on third-party software. I am not a fan of VueScan, Canon or any other 3P software. Native software does the job just fine, even for high-end gallery-quality scan-print jobbing. You just have to know exactly what you are doing and how like a lot of things in life!
You are right, I have a lot to learn when it comes to scanning. Just tried scanning a roll of Portra and it looks outright weird. Read something about having to tweak the colours later, now I can see why...

I guess the first few images I saw from that first roll of film were taken in bright conditions, hence my reaction. Yesterday I looked at some other photos from that roll. Those that were taken in conditions that were not as bright look really nice. So Ilford is better for bright conditions?

---------- Post added 07-19-16 at 01:49 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by MikeKPhoto Quote
Most consumer grade scanners can introduce a fair bit of contrast. I shoot and scan a fair amount of film from 120 through 8x10 and while I was getting good results I stumbled across an article by Sandy King in the View Camera magazine. He was advocating a divided developer regime to get low contrast, full range negatives for scanning.


One of the developers, based on D23 as the first bath and a 10% solution of Kodalk as the second bath. I experimented with a number of films, FP4+, Tri-X, Acros and TMAX 100 and got excellent results and full box speed. Developing times turned out to be 4 minutes in each bath (no presoak or rinse between the two baths). The negatives are low grain (due to short developing times) and very sharp and somewhat low contrast with no blocking in the shadows or highlights. The resulting scans were great. The other trick is to ensure the output levels of the scanning software are adjusted so there is no clipping at both ends of the range


I use an Epson 700 with the native scanning software and have never been happier.


While the negatives scan well, they also print well on conventional printing papers, around grade 3 or 3 1/2 with my VC enlarger head. So best of both worlds


Cheers


MK
Developing is something I would like to look at in the future - haven't done it since early teens... It's amazing how many people develop their own film. Wasn't film supposed to be dead?
07-19-2016, 02:23 PM   #10
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Note: Ilford XP-2 Super 400 is a C-41 process monochromatic chromogenic film. In other words, it has to be processed at a lab that develops color negs. When I need a hybrid type of film that needs to scan well, the tonal range is exceptional.
07-19-2016, 11:02 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by IgorZ Quote
You are right, I have a lot to learn when it comes to scanning. Just tried scanning a roll of Portra and it looks outright weird. Read something about having to tweak the colours later, now I can see why...
I was surprised how horrible dark areas looked (various shades of green) when I shot a roll of 120 Portra 400. Scanner is Canoscan 8400F. A second try with manual settings and adjusting one setting from auto or 100% to 60-80% made a vast difference. Not at home so I can't show examples.
07-19-2016, 11:55 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by IgorZ Quote
[...]Wasn't film supposed to be dead?

Not at all. In fact a resurgence is evident. There are photographers leaving digital to return to film. That is because digital has made photography too complicated and with too much automation. You can still roll your own film and process it in your darkroom!

But if you still think film is dead, evidence please.
07-21-2016, 10:17 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
Note: Ilford XP-2 Super 400 is a C-41 process monochromatic chromogenic film. In other words, it has to be processed at a lab that develops color negs. When I need a hybrid type of film that needs to scan well, the tonal range is exceptional.
Just got back to film after a decade of shooting digital, so will have to look up "monochromatic chromogenic" Thanks for the suggestion. Is it grainy? I was using Soviet film when I started shooting as a kid, and a 400 speed film was very grainy. I think I am biased for life...

---------- Post added 07-21-16 at 10:18 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by beachboy2 Quote
I was surprised how horrible dark areas looked (various shades of green) when I shot a roll of 120 Portra 400. Scanner is Canoscan 8400F. A second try with manual settings and adjusting one setting from auto or 100% to 60-80% made a vast difference. Not at home so I can't show examples.
I've got the same problem - my Portra scans, especially in shady conditions are 50 shades of green. I am very new to scanning, so if you could suggest how to change those manual settings, I would be very grateful.

---------- Post added 07-21-16 at 10:23 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
Not at all. In fact a resurgence is evident. There are photographers leaving digital to return to film. That is because digital has made photography too complicated and with too much automation. You can still roll your own film and process it in your darkroom!

But if you still think film is dead, evidence please.
If Walmart doesn't have it, it doesn't exist

I would agree in part that digital made photography too complicated. I definitely spend way more time in PP with digital than with film... As long as I can get this scanning business down pat...

I am not that old, but I have seen several cycles of fashion - my 12 year old nephew has a hair style like my aunt did in the 70s, and wears sneakers like I used to have when I was in high school. The problem with film though, it is a lot more difficult to bring back once it is out of production, than a pair of high top sneakers...

I do shoot film probably 50% of the time now...

Last edited by IgorZ; 07-21-2016 at 10:24 AM.
07-21-2016, 11:06 AM   #14
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Sorry for the lingo....monochromatic (one color) chromogenic (color origin)....simply means that it is essentially a C-41 color negative without the color. It should be processed like a color neg print film, but has no orange stain so it's ideal for darkroom work with B&W paper. It uses dye couplers instead of the usual silver grain, so it is extremely smooth in terms of tonality and grain is not an issue. It scans really well too. However, the slight single color to this neg usually requires a bit longer exposure time and higher contrast filter as it is a lower contrast neg.
07-21-2016, 11:00 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by IgorZ Quote
I've got the same problem - my Portra scans, especially in shady conditions are 50 shades of green. I am very new to scanning, so if you could suggest how to change those manual settings, I would be very grateful.
Sorry can't access my scanner at this time. But try:
https://mt.music.mcgill.ca/~wwwmpcl/docs/CanoScan%208400F/CanoScan/141000frm.htm
Change "Auto" under Image Tone - I think it gives you a percentage??? As I said I can't check myself. Try 80 %, 60% etc scanning the image each time. One setting gave me good dark tones without the Yukky greens. Save settings when you hit the jackpot. Good luck
bb2
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