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10-01-2010, 05:10 PM   #1
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Strange film scans

Hey guys. Just got some film processed that I shot from the past few months (I don't get to shoot film that often). Most are fairly disappointing, but I got a few keepers out of three rolls. I noticed that a few just look... off, as far as with the color and the noise. Is this caused by my underexposing and CVS attempting to recover shadows? I have no idea. A few of the photos also have a "cross processed" look, which ends up working kinda well. Still, I wonder if this is caused by the film, or the processing?



The background just looks weird.



The greens look too bright and oversaturated to my taste... again, is this the product of using cheap Fuji 200 film, or the lab, or my exposure...?


Some turned out rather good though.



See my flickr for a few more, if you'd like. Thanks!

10-01-2010, 06:42 PM   #2
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I would take a bet that the scanning pumped the contrast and saturation a bit too much, it's very common. You don't really know what the lab operator has done or how much they care about doing a decent scan...
Having said that, your photos look pretty good to me!
It is an expensive option, but I chose to buy my own scanner - got better results doing it myself and greatly reduced the variation in results.
10-01-2010, 07:06 PM   #3
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A quick word about the greens-
I've found that Fuji tends to accentuate the cool colors (purples, blues, greens, for those not familiar with the color wheel ), and that certain lenses, possibly due to their coatings? do the same thing. Sometimes this can create wash-outs and the like, but sometimes it lends the images a nice, impressionistic quality. It isn't always bad, and I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it. I think the image with the propane tank (?) is a very nice image. The greens are very vivid, but I think the image as a whole is a good one, and has a very nice, almost painting-like quality. However, it's your work, and I'm certainly not trying to tell you how to photograph. I'm just saying, I think that image is quite on par with the rest of your photos. Certainly I wouldn't want colors that vivid in every shot, but I find it quite pleasant in some situations. Your photo makes very good use of the vivid nature of fuji's cool colors and the color rendering of whatever lens you used.
By the way, what set-up did you have? It seems like you're making it work for you.
10-01-2010, 07:37 PM   #4
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Thanks for the comments guys. I guess I've just gotten used to digital and it's "realism." I hadn't considered the "painting" like quality to be positive... honestly, I sometimes get that look when I overdo my PP. I'll try to keep an open mind from now on.

10-01-2010, 08:58 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by PGillin Quote
A quick word about the greens-
I've found that Fuji tends to accentuate the cool colors (purples, blues, greens, for those not familiar with the color wheel ), and that certain lenses, possibly due to their coatings? do the same thing. Sometimes this can create wash-outs and the like, but sometimes it lends the images a nice, impressionistic quality. It isn't always bad, and I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it. I think the image with the propane tank (?) is a very nice image. The greens are very vivid, but I think the image as a whole is a good one, and has a very nice, almost painting-like quality. However, it's your work, and I'm certainly not trying to tell you how to photograph. I'm just saying, I think that image is quite on par with the rest of your photos. Certainly I wouldn't want colors that vivid in every shot, but I find it quite pleasant in some situations. Your photo makes very good use of the vivid nature of fuji's cool colors and the color rendering of whatever lens you used.
By the way, what set-up did you have? It seems like you're making it work for you.
They are quite simply lousy scans. They are fun in an odd sort of way, so I won't argue with PGillin's comments about liking them.


I would, however, be cautions about the comments about Fuji film. Yes, films do have a certain character. However, in the digital realm that character is not written in stone. There are many undocumented variables introduced by scanning hardware and software, and the operator's drug of choice. Any resemblance between the rendition of el cheapo scans and what was actually on film is purely concidental.

As well as undocumented variables, there are things over which we have control.
In reasonably skilled hands there can be large, very precise adjustments to rendition. For example, the oft-mentioned Fuji green bias can be made to disappear via a simple saturation adjustment. An image with dull greens can be tweaked to look like it was made by the Jolly Green Giant by the same means. That level of control makes film character in terms of colour rendition and contrast much less critical than it used to be.

In the old days film character was genuinely significant because the behaviour of printing materials was very inflexible, and the tools to modify colour and exposure were very limited.

The reason I'm making these comments is that I very often see statements that a given film has a certain character, accompanied by assumptions that any scans and digital prints produced from that type of film, no matter by what method, will have that exact character. This is highly inaccurate.

It wouldn't matter, except that less informed readers are misled into thinking that if they shoot a certain type of film they are stuck with images that look a certain way. As a result they are badly sidetracked in learning to use the power of digital imaging to produce the best possible results.

John
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