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03-23-2015, 08:52 PM   #1
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Black and white: Print vs scan?

Hey all,

I recently shot my first roll of film in forever (Ilford Delta 400) and had it developed by The Darkroom. I received the prints today and was a bit surprised to find them considerably darker (or maybe considerably higher contrast?) than the scans.

One example:


That's the scan. On the print, there's no detail visible in his jacket or the background. It's just a head, shirt, and tie floating in a sea of pure black.

Of course, I don't have the print in front of me as I type this, but I don't recall his shirt or face being considerably darker than they are in the scan.

Is that normal for BW prints? They say "If you order True Black & White Silver Gelatin prints, they are printed on ILFORD EXPRESS B/W Paper or ILFORD GALERIE RC DIGITAL SILVER." -- I opted for the pearl/matte surface rather than glossy.

Most of the prints I'm still happy with, but of the small number that had people in them, none were against a light background, and he's the only one whose hair was light enough to show up well.

03-23-2015, 09:07 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by narual Quote
Is that normal for BW prints?
In a single word...no.

Unless you specified otherwise, the print should retain available detail in both the high and low values of the negative. This is accomplished by choosing the appropriate contrast grade. I think you should be in conversation with them to have the prints redone. I have not seen the negatives, but from the scan, I don't see that the negative should have been hard to print.


Steve
03-23-2015, 10:32 PM   #3
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Thanks, Steve! I'll send a message asking what's up.

I assume to get it reprinted I'll have to send the negatives back to them?

I mean, I can and probably will make some nice prints on my printer from the scans... but since it was my first roll of film in forever, and a few of the shots were from my brother-in-law's wedding, I wanted "the real thing," too.
03-23-2015, 11:03 PM   #4
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Do they actually make a photo print from the negative? I'm pretty sure The Darkroom only does digital output from their scans.
I have only used them for C-41 and E-6 processing, but I have always been very happy with their work.

03-24-2015, 07:41 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by AquaDome Quote
Do they actually make a photo print from the negative? I'm pretty sure The Darkroom only does digital output from their scans.
I have only used them for C-41 and E-6 processing, but I have always been very happy with their work.
I don't know. They're using actual photo paper for it, from what they said.

Looking at the prints again -- almost all of them are fine except the ones with people, and one shot with a statue in front of evergreens.

Putting a light behind the negatives, I can definitely see the details that the scan shows that are missing in the prints.
03-24-2015, 11:34 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by AquaDome Quote
Do they actually make a photo print from the negative? I'm pretty sure The Darkroom only does digital output from their scans.
The papers they listed are silver-based traditional photo paper.


Steve
03-27-2015, 12:34 PM   #7
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OK! They did reprints based on the scans, and they came out much better.

They said it probably wouldn't happen again, but to ensure against it, I should indicate that I want the prints made to maximize detail and not add contrast.
03-27-2015, 01:28 PM - 1 Like   #8
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There's a lot of personal preference in really good B&W printing. Probably more so than your options in digital PP. If you have a print shop that'll listen to your desires you're in luck.

03-27-2015, 02:05 PM   #9
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I get the feeling that they typically add a little contrast, and someone added a little too much.
No harm done, and I'd definitely use them again. But for my next roll of BW I'll try my local camera store and see how they compare. I'm pretty sure they said they don't use silver based paper
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