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12-05-2011, 03:04 PM   #1
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Questions from a film rookie

Hi all. So I recently purchased a Pentax Spotmatic SP II. It's my first film camera since high school (about 20 years ago). I recently completed taking my first roll of film. (B&W, Ilford HP5 - Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SP II - a set on Flickr) and I had a few questions:


1. The provided jpgs (I didn't get prints) are quite low res (1000x1500). Is it normal for the files to be of that size? I certainly expected images closer in size to what my digital camera picks up.

2. Many of the images had damage (IE white dots in large swaths of black. I edited them out from the photos in the set) Labs fault? My fault? Fact of life if shooting film? The film was new (from B&H).

12-05-2011, 03:23 PM   #2
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#1: The processing labs provide low resolution images when getting the disc option - best thing to do is purchase a nice scanner that has a negative insert, get your film processed and scan in the negatives.

#2: I would guess that is from the processing (lets see what others chime in with).

BTW, some of those snaps turned out great!!!
12-05-2011, 03:54 PM   #3
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Good to know. I'm going to assume that I can find scanner recommendations within this forum (and start looking as soon as I submit this reply). Thanks for the info and glad you liked the photos!
12-05-2011, 04:05 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by crrumford Quote
Good to know. I'm going to assume that I can find scanner recommendations within this forum (and start looking as soon as I submit this reply). Thanks for the info and glad you liked the photos!
Yes, absolutely (on the scanner recommendations). There are already some threads floating around about scanners - you can however start a new thread as I haven't seen no scanner threads recently...

12-05-2011, 06:22 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by crrumford Quote
Hi all. So I recently purchased a Pentax Spotmatic SP II. It's my first film camera since high school (about 20 years ago). I recently completed taking my first roll of film. (B&W, Ilford HP5 - Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SP II - a set on Flickr) and I had a few questions:


1. The provided jpgs (I didn't get prints) are quite low res (1000x1500). Is it normal for the files to be of that size? I certainly expected images closer in size to what my digital camera picks up.

2. Many of the images had damage (IE white dots in large swaths of black. I edited them out from the photos in the set) Labs fault? My fault? Fact of life if shooting film? The film was new (from B&H).

Welcome to the Pentax forum and film section!

1) Depending on the lab you can get scans in any resolution, the higher the resolution the higher cost per roll. Typically you will get low res by default.
2) Check the negatives with a photo lupe and see if the white dots exist. The lab where you got them processed should have a light table and lupe to check your images. I’d show them the scans and see if they can redo them if the negatives look ok.

Phil.
12-05-2011, 09:29 PM   #6
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That's a great set of photos. I love Ilford grain, and I am eager to have a roll of my own processed. fyi, (sorry if I am repeating something you already know), if you would like more grain to appear in the images, overexposing by a stop would reduce the grain.
12-05-2011, 10:16 PM   #7
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I'm a film newbie too! After a lot (!) of research I ordered a Plustek 7600 for neg scanning. Best option for 35mm unless you want to spend $2k on a nikon scanner.

If you will also do medium format then the Epson V700 is meant to be a great option.
12-06-2011, 12:07 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
1) Depending on the lab you can get scans in any resolution, the higher the resolution the higher cost per roll. Typically you will get low res by default.
...And high resolution is still no guarantee of of quality. The scans I used to get from Costco were very high resolution (high pixel count), but were very poor reproductions. The problem was not solved until I started scanning my own.


Steve

12-06-2011, 07:11 AM   #9
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The white dots were likely dirt/dust from a poor scanning job. Scanner software can automatically recognize that in color film and remove it, but it doesn't work with B&W film. Nice to see your camera appears to be working well.
12-06-2011, 07:32 AM   #10
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Welcome aboard and you've made a fine start with film.

I agree with the previous poster - with 'real' b&w I spend quality zen time in photoshop removing dust marks from my scans.

With commercial scanning you'll pay up for larger scans and greater quality. Pretty soon you might be looking to get your own scanner just because of that. OTH if you find a good drugstore for your color print film, the standard scans can be good - and should you want a larger / better scan, you just do that frame yourself.
12-06-2011, 10:14 AM   #11
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Twitch- I'll be interested in hearing your opinion of the PlusTek. A quick perusal of the reviews says the scanner is quite good but the software sucks. I guess thats the trade off you make if you're not paying lots of money.

Interesting that the dots might be from a poor scanning job. I got them scanned at a place I thought would do a good job. hmm. At any rate, I'll examine them with a lupe next time I head in.
12-06-2011, 04:27 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by crrumford Quote
Twitch- I'll be interested in hearing your opinion of the PlusTek. A quick perusal of the reviews says the scanner is quite good but the software sucks. I guess thats the trade off you make if you're not paying lots of money.
I've read mixed reviews of SilverFast (comes with it) and with Vuescan (which is well <$100), both of which work with the Plusteks. Some users swear by Silverfast, others are equally passionate about Vuescan being better than Silverfast. I plan on giving both a go and make up my own mind
12-07-2011, 05:17 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hatchetman Quote
Scanner software can automatically recognize that in color film and remove it, but it doesn't work with B&W film. Nice to see your camera appears to be working well.
It is important to note that with chromogenic films such as Ilford XP400 and Kodak BW400CN can be used with digital ICE/scratch removal without any ill effect - this is because B&W chromogenic films are dye based, not silver based.

So if you are feeling particularly lazy with spotting your film scans, using a chromogenic film can give you the freedom to go out and take more pictures as opposed to sitting in front of your PC.
12-07-2011, 11:01 AM   #14
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My version of Vuescan keeps crashing and the developer shows no interest in working out what the problem is. Bit peeved really as I could have kept on using the Minolta Software which came with the scanner for nothing...

Personally, the lab I use returns perfectly good dust-spot free scans and I'd rather pay them 5 for those than spend an age with my film scanner for lots of images. I, therefore, get the lo-res ones done by the lab (perfectly good enough for posting on fora, Flickr and to the PPG) and only do the high-res scans myself when I have an image I want to submit for a competition or print large (although in the latter case I prefer to get someone to do me a old-fashioned silver gelatin print).

I second the use of Kodak BW400CN. Excellent all round film that means I can use old cameras like my FED2 without worrying too much about dodgy shutter speeds etc. I only wish they still made it in 120 size.

K.
12-07-2011, 11:30 AM   #15
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looks like dust to me

All I see are some tiny white spots, resulting from dust on the negs. If you had printed with an enlarger you'd see more of these and you would be retouching the prints. The most normal thing to happen. I do nothing else all the time. If anything I find the scans quite contrasty, they seem to lack a softer touch that Takumars do give. If I were you, I would find a darkroom and make some prints.
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