Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
07-10-2009, 08:52 AM   #1
Junior Member




Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: US
Posts: 30
Best 120/220 film for scanning

I was wondering if any of you could share what (in your personal opinion) is the best 120/220 film(s) for scanning?

The use I have in mind is to be able to use them for stock photography. Most agencies suggest using a low ISO, low grain and low contrast film. The plan is to have them scanned at the time of development.

I lean towards negative color film (higher dynamic range, better highlights control, more exposure latitude). For reference, I use a Pentax 645N with both 120 and 220 backs.

I have been using Fujifilm Superia Reala 100 on 35mm and that seems OK. How about Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 160S?

Any opinions highly appreciated.

07-10-2009, 12:52 PM   #2
Veteran Member




Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Toronto
Posts: 3,915
Ektar is said to scan super easy
07-10-2009, 02:21 PM   #3
New Member
eddie6x7's Avatar

Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 2
I know you are leaning towards negative but consider positive film. Of all the films i tried, superia, reala, astia, provia, etc.. the only one that gives me absolute sharpness with no grain and scans beautifully is Velvia 50asa, shot with the P67. I have decided to use only Velvia for color and im still trying different B&W films for home developing and scanning.
I simply gave up on color negative and other positive besides Velvia...but then again it can just be poor scanning abilities...
07-10-2009, 02:54 PM   #4
Veteran Member




Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Toronto
Posts: 3,915
technically Astia is Fuji's finest grain film
and theoretically Slide is easier to scan than Negative because it is a positive image. and it's easier to see if the colours are accurate.

07-10-2009, 04:17 PM   #5
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: MT
Posts: 1,077
I've had no problems scanning Velvia (50 and 100), Provia 100 and Kodak E100VS all positive transparency (slide) films. Note that Astia is pretty much grain free, but it's also pretty much color free as well requiring more post play to get much pop. Great film for weddings and such with lots of neutral colors and skin tones, not so good for landscape, macro or outdoor activity photography.

Note that many processors aren't expecting to do high quality scans suitable for stock agencies. Really high quality drum scans at $3 each frame on up to as much as $10 per frame are too expensive to do for every frame. Most medium format shooters who sell their work get the processing done and edit severely from that and only scan the ultra finest images. Note also that unless you have an inside track or are looking at online stock agencies selling smallish files, you will need to get busy. Most of the larger more successful stock agencies are looking for a minimum of 100,000 publication quality images before they'll even consider looking at your portfolio. This is changing rapidly with internet stock sales beginning to boom, but don't expect to shoot a few hundred rolls and get much interest in that small of a portfolio from bigger agencies.

Now if what you are shooting is unique or newsworthy--like recent Michael Jackson shots for instance--then volumes of work are not necessary. Fresh shots of named hurricanes or disaster shots from a recent tornado or flood...that kind of stuff can sell immediately without having a big backlog of stock images...Not trying to scare you off, but you need to know that most photogs represented by high sales stock agencies are submitting a decade of work in order to get the stock agency to be involved.

Good luck and be sure to have fun!
07-10-2009, 06:11 PM   #6
Junior Member




Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: US
Posts: 30
Original Poster
Thanks to all for the tips so far.

I have one Velvia 100 120 roll plus a Velvia 50 for my 35mm bodies yet to try.
Not sure if Velvia is the right film aside from nature/landscapes which I do not shoot much (see below).

When ordering more film I will also try some Astia and compare it with Provia. Ektar seems to get mixed reviews but I will try that one as well.

About the scanning: I realize that a very good drum scan is not cheap and the selection for stock worthy is brutal. Some agencies would most likely take the Nikon 9000 4000dpi scans after some cleaning up in Photoshop.

I shot stock for the last 4 years with digital SLRs and only recently I decided to try some film for images which some buyers expressed heavy interest in terms of that "film look". I am already established with a number of good macro agencies and my interest is to provide a different look to existing imagery that I know it sells.

I intend (although once I figure out what works and not it might change) to shoot film for lifestyle, food, still life in the field and at times travel and landscapes. That is why I am a not so sure about Velvia: aside from landscapes, can it be used for anything else?
07-11-2009, 08:45 PM   #7
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: MT
Posts: 1,077
Sounds like you have the best kind of stock agency contact...the kind where they are asking you for specifics--that makes the learning curve for film much more exciting.

Velvia is a bit much for many subjects, but it can add pop to still life's and travel type shots. You will likely use other choices for the types of subjects you mentioned. With flash as part of the lighting scheme, you will almost certainly trend away from Velvia...

Editing from slides is easier because you can visualize quickly on a light table. Receiving prescanned images with your processed film would simplify the editing process--especially with negatives--but costs and culls could be a problem.

Sounds like you are doing some individualized testing...I think that's a really good approach. I'd like to hear your impressions of different emulsions in various styles of shooting.
07-12-2009, 10:57 AM   #8
Senior Member




Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Honolulu
Posts: 150
I think it's safe to say that most modern films are capable of producing a quality scan. The choice then depends on the look you like. Velvia is very popular, and has great contrast and saturation. I know Ron really likes Velvia, and for some things so do I. However, I have to respectfully disagree with him regarding Astia 100F. It has plenty of color, it's just very neutral and relatively low contrast. It has the most dynamic range, and holds details in highlights better than any other slide film. I use Velvia in low contrast lighting, and Astia when shooting waves, as it holds the whites. I know a fine art photographer who shoots all his landscapes on Astia 100F. You couldn't pay him to shoot Velvia. It's all very subjective.
You might want to give Kodak Ektar 100 a try. All the Kodak negative films are optimized for scanning, and it is reputed to be very fine grained, with good saturation. I haven't shot color negatives in years, but plan to try it, as C-41 is cheap and easy to develop, and E-6 labs are getting scarce.
I'd try a few different films with subjects you plan to shoot and see which one appeals to you

07-12-2009, 11:11 AM   #9
Junior Member




Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: US
Posts: 30
Original Poster
Ron, I think you got it right: I am willing to experiment with film having specific shoots in mind. The idea is to develop and get at least a 3000dpi scan at the same time so I can judge the results. Should any frames come out any good than I will send them out for a drum scan.

I read up quite a bit about different films and now it is time that I actually try them and see what works. Initially I will probably also shoot lots of various 35mm rolls for cost reasons. So far I bought 3 35mm Pentax bodies (Pentax ME Super and ZX-L) that I loaded with different kind of films already so I can speed up the process. For personal work, I bought a load of B&W silvers just for the fun of it.

Based on what I read so far, I am pretty intimidated by transparencies due to risk of blowing highlights, a big no-no in stock. Nonetheless, I will give them a try.

Film is really fun stuff.
07-12-2009, 02:25 PM   #10
Senior Member




Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Honolulu
Posts: 150
No need to be intimidated by transparencies, there's an easy way to avoid blown highlights.

I'll use Astia 100F as an example: Take a spot meter reading of the brightest area that you want to retain detail and open up 2 stops. That's it.

Other films will probably be different in the amount you need to open up. My guess is Velvia is more like 1&1/2 stops. Testing will determine this.
07-12-2009, 03:09 PM   #11
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: MT
Posts: 1,077
2nd the opinion on transparencies...highlights are only a problem if you don't have a good metering scheme to match the conditions you are shooting. Note that surfotog meters differently than I due to the different subject matter and conditions we tend to shoot in. The opposite of his brightly lit wave example would be my common scenarios--most of the frame filled with coniferous forest -.7 (2/3 stop)exp. comp below the standard matrix meter reading. Primarily green vegetation in the frame -.3 from the matrix reading. Primarily yellowed field grasses or similar "wheat colored" area in the frame...+.3. Shots that include sky could vary wildly depending on how bright the clouds are lit and how much of the frame they fill. No clouds, just a blue sky? I usually won't bother taking the shot with a plain blue sky.

Me and Surfy have very different "favorite" shooting scenarios. I hardly ever shoot in sunlit conditions, so Velvia's overly contrasty nature isn't so obvious--I'm the guy shooting under the tree canopy in shaded light, or in high haze conditions (love that white sky), or predawn and post dusk, plus rainy and cruddy light days where Velvia buys me back the "lost" colors (my custom printer once chided me, "don't you ever shoot when there's a shadow? Are you a vampire hiding from sunlight!") Surfotog likes to work with surf and waves which could very well be the most contrasty conditions possible between the sunlight and the reflected light from the water. Astia is possibly the only slide emulsion that can handle such conditions (Astia pushes really well too--even multiple stops). So I'm not anti Astia, it's just not the best for my personal kinks...plus I don't print from digital files, only direct chrome (slide) to chrome print (Ilfochrome/Cibachrome) old-school analog stuff, so I don't get the opportunity to add saturation in post processing or during the scan.

If you shoot widely varying situations, you'll almost certainly opt for various films to suit the situation.
07-12-2009, 03:34 PM   #12
Senior Member




Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Honolulu
Posts: 150
Hi Ron, good to hear from you again. You have it exactly right, different shooting scenarios require different tools (films). Just as you're not anti-Astia, I'm not anti-Velvia. When I shoot plant and flower studies in my living room with natural light, it's almost always on Velvia. It's perfect in low key lighting. Shooting waves in bright Hawaiian sun is completely different. Astia is the only slide film that will work. The metering scenario I mentioned earlier was for shooting waves. Spot meter the brightest part, and open 2 stops. Works great for this subject matter.
07-12-2009, 04:17 PM   #13
Junior Member




Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: US
Posts: 30
Original Poster
Great advice, folks. I knew with transparency I need to expose for highlights (vs. shade with negative). I suppose it will take some experience and see which metering technique works best when. The good thing for a newbie to film as myself is that some bodies such as 645N write the exposure on film which should help.

Landscape wise I will try the Velvia films I have (a 50 on 35mm and an 100 on 120) for some lake long exposure shots sometime next month. I plan for using on tripod, ND, graduated ND and plenty of exposure bracketing:-) I hope by then to get some Astia, Provia and Ektar.

Oh, today I just finished my first B&W ever on 35mm, a Kodak Pro 125 Plus-X. Hope to send it for processing next week with a 2 other rolls I shot last week. Exciting stuff.

How do you guys deal with sunsets on daylight balanced color films? Keep in mind that my idea is to scan everything, post-process and eventually print as needed.

Thanks a bunch.
07-13-2009, 05:50 AM   #14
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: MT
Posts: 1,077
Good news, film handles sunsets WAY better than digital. Use a good colorful film and sunsets should come out great. Velvia and Kodak E100VS (the VS is for very saturated) tend to be great for sunset stuff. But just about any emulsion will return a pleasing result.

Your neutral density grads will probably be helpful during the early portion of a sunset event. Late in the event, grads won't be as necessary (commonly the foreground will have gone to silhouette black by then, so you won't need to try to "save" it with grads.) Don't be afraid to include the sun in some sunset work. I usually plan on losing the foreground to silhouette when including the sun due to the amount of underexposure necessary to keep the sun from blowing out.
07-13-2009, 06:25 AM   #15
Veteran Member




Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Westchester Co., NY
Posts: 538
This is very helpful info. I am trying to bring an old Mamiya 645 back into use and put a question up the other day (in the Post processing, etc. section) asking about B&W medium format film(s) for scanning.

Perhaps these two threads should be combined somewhere and kept running.
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, film, fujifilm, medium format
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Pentax 645N - 120 film in 220 magazine ? Matus Pentax Medium Format 24 06-06-2011 08:51 PM
Does Two 120 = 220? icywarm Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 13 11-18-2010 03:27 PM
Tri-x (320) being discontinued in 120/220 Clicker Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 2 02-27-2010 09:33 PM
Recommendation for scanner for 35mm and MF with 120/220 hinman Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 26 02-12-2010 12:24 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:14 AM. | 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