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06-08-2008, 06:00 AM   #1
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wanting to convert film to digital

if i was to shop around localy for a place that converts my film negatives (or pictures?) into a digital file

what should i be on the look for so as to get the best quality of conversion.

can photo/negative scanning compete with 10 megabite RAW files in terms of amount of information? Will i still be able to play around with these images in photoshop as well as my digital RAW files?

06-08-2008, 06:20 AM   #2
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1) Few places do reeeeally good scanning. Most consumer places do maybe 1 meg JPEGs at a stretch, and this'll probably cost your five bucks or so to have them put it on a CD. If your negatives are already cut or slides already mounted, it may be a per-frame fee. Like two bucks a frame in some places. Pro place might be considerably more.

2) Drum scanners are considered the best. Most places'll only have something simpler. Some places use something like a normal flatbed scanner.

3) Oh, yeah. The going rate, some say, for a 35mm Velvia 50 scan is something like 22 megapixels. My scans at about...dunno, twelve or so MPs, rate at about 80 megs for a 3200 DPI TIFF. You can get pure scanner RAWS from Vuescan. They don't seem as sharp as digital, but that's because the film holder for the Epson 4490 scanner is crap.
06-08-2008, 06:33 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote

can photo/negative scanning compete with 10 megabite RAW files in terms of amount of information?
That's like asking how many pieces of string it takes to reach the moon; it all depends on the string.

QuoteQuote:
Will i still be able to play around with these images in photoshop as well as my digital RAW files?
Can you imagine some reason why you would not be able to post-process scanned images?
06-08-2008, 08:05 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
That's like asking how many pieces of string it takes to reach the moon; it all depends on the string.



Can you imagine some reason why you would not be able to post-process scanned images?
again, you seem to misunderstand how post processing works. like the previous poster said, if all i can get are 1meg jpegs, i wont have much to post process with.

06-08-2008, 08:42 AM   #5
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If you aren't doing the work yourself, the best thing to look for is an operator who knows what he is doing.
Yer basic minilab scans are not going to do you much good, they come out as ~1000x1600 pixel Jpeg files, which is too bad, as most minilabs can do much better than that. I run a Noritsu 3011 lab at the portrait studio I am partnered up with, it will do a 2000x3000 pixel scan, and I have it set to save as TIFF files rather than Jpegs. It's still only saving an 8 bit file, but that can be converted to 16 bit immediately in Photoshop for post processing.

I haven't a clue who is good in the Toronto area for scanning, but I am sure that a quick call to some of the better stores (Vistek?) should put you onto someone who is capable of giving good scans.

I don't think that a scanned 35mm neg or slide will ever be as good as a 10 Mb digital original. Once the scan depth reaches that pixel count, you are going to start seeing problems with grain aliasing, which gives a moire-like effect, and in all cases, you are going to get a rougher looking image than from a digital original, though I have seen some very good scans in the 12-18 Mp range (~3000-3400 pixels on the short side). Not all scanners are not created equal, and some films definitely scan better than others.
As far as post processing goes, you walk the walk that says you know more about post processing than God, so I'm wondering why you are asking that question.
06-08-2008, 08:56 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Yer basic minilab scans are not going to do you much good, they come out as ~1000x1600 pixel Jpeg files, which is too bad, as most minilabs can do much better than that. I run a Noritsu 3011 lab at the portrait studio I am partnered up with, it will do a 2000x3000 pixel scan

AGFA D-Lab 2/3 minilabs also yield approximately 6 megapixels/scan, which isn't too shabby.
06-08-2008, 08:59 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
If you aren't doing the work yourself, the best thing to look for is an operator who knows what he is doing.
Yer basic minilab scans are not going to do you much good, they come out as ~1000x1600 pixel Jpeg files, which is too bad, as most minilabs can do much better than that. I run a Noritsu 3011 lab at the portrait studio I am partnered up with, it will do a 2000x3000 pixel scan, and I have it set to save as TIFF files rather than Jpegs. It's still only saving an 8 bit file, but that can be converted to 16 bit immediately in Photoshop for post processing.

I haven't a clue who is good in the Toronto area for scanning, but I am sure that a quick call to some of the better stores (Vistek?) should put you onto someone who is capable of giving good scans.

I don't think that a scanned 35mm neg or slide will ever be as good as a 10 Mb digital original. Once the scan depth reaches that pixel count, you are going to start seeing problems with grain aliasing, which gives a moire-like effect, and in all cases, you are going to get a rougher looking image than from a digital original, though I have seen some very good scans in the 12-18 Mp range (~3000-3400 pixels on the short side). Not all scanners are not created equal, and some films definitely scan better than others.
As far as post processing goes, you walk the walk that says you know more about post processing than God, so I'm wondering why you are asking that question.
thank you for the explanations

and i'm not a post processing god, but i do know that information is what counts. Mike seems to be surprised how i cannot be content with a 1meg jpeg if i ever wanted to do some post processing.

altho i guess in the case of film i should focus more on getting the shot right the frist time around.
06-08-2008, 09:04 AM   #8
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In either case, done at home, or done professionally, the outcome may be disappointing based on a couple of things. The first is print size. If you are digitizing from 4x6 prints, don't expect to be able to make quality 8x10's out of them. The second is the condition of the negatives. If they are faded, you will be doing a lot of color correction, etc., to get the pictures to look decent/original. Slides seem to be a bit better than negatives. All of this is based on color film. I have had really good luck on black and white pictures, even stuff 80 years old.

Don't take this as gospel, as I am only citing from personal experience. You may have better luck. Lots of this can be corrected with photo software, but can be very time consuming especially if a large number of pictures is involved.

06-08-2008, 09:25 AM   #9
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I would say a high quality conversion is wasted on many types of negative film unless you're using the really really good stuff, or black and white.

I used a slide copier to copy negatives from a DSLR (a surprisingly high quality and fast conversion process) and the graininess of the film was apparent, at least for boring Kodak 200 film. And of course, unless it was from a good P&S or SLR, you never notice how blurry they were until you try to view them large.

For prints, I've found the best method is to take photos of the photos with a good DSLR/lens/lighting combo (read tripod, macro lens with a good setup). Scanners suck at it.
06-08-2008, 09:54 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jslifoaw Quote
I would say a high quality conversion is wasted on many types of negative film unless you're using the really really good stuff, or black and white.

I used a slide copier to copy negatives from a DSLR (a surprisingly high quality and fast conversion process) and the graininess of the film was apparent, at least for boring Kodak 200 film. And of course, unless it was from a good P&S or SLR, you never notice how blurry they were until you try to view them large.

For prints, I've found the best method is to take photos of the photos with a good DSLR/lens/lighting combo (read tripod, macro lens with a good setup). Scanners suck at it.
Pardon me, but where can one get negatives from a DSLR?
06-08-2008, 09:58 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ftpaddict Quote
Pardon me, but where can one get negatives from a DSLR?
copy film "using" a DSLR. typo.

What I was implying is that in the past, slide copiers were used to take a "photo" of a slide so that a duplicate could be made. Now, we can do the same thing but by taking a photo of a slide using a DSLR, we have transferred it to digital.

Some people have even tried taking bare photos of backlit slides, and they actually look quite decent, especially if they were larger than 35mm.
06-08-2008, 10:01 AM   #12
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Do you seriously get a better quality and resolution with a SLR slide/negative copy lens attachment than with a scanner with a slide scanner on it?

Pat
06-08-2008, 10:34 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ve2vfd Quote
Do you seriously get a better quality and resolution with a SLR slide/negative copy lens attachment than with a scanner with a slide scanner on it?

Pat
I wouldn't say that, but I would say that unless you've got impeccably shot slides, all other types of film woudln't really benefit from a good film scan. So for my 200 colour negatives, it surely would be a waste.

Also, scanners are much slower.
06-08-2008, 10:49 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ve2vfd Quote
Do you seriously get a better quality and resolution with a SLR slide/negative copy lens attachment than with a scanner with a slide scanner on it?

Pat
It really depends on the quality of the scanner, how well in focus it is, and what it's bit depth is when compared to how good the camera lens is, the bit depth of the sensor and how well in focus the slide is when copied.
Dedicated film scanners can be very good indeed, but a high end macro lens on a well adjusted slide duplicator will give all but the best film scanners a run for the money, and will certainly be better than any flatbed scanner with a film attachment.
06-08-2008, 11:42 AM   #15
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Something to pixel peep...

Here are some examples for what its worth. No they were not done in laboritory conditions.

Iford 400, HQ Scan (6305 x 4181) 100% crop:



Ilford 400, LQ Scan (3088 x 2048) 100% crop



K10D ISO 400 B/W conversion 100% crop



At 400 ISO, the K10D kicks butt on the film. At the low quality scan, the film grain, and the digital resolution are very close. The high quality scan, the film grain is far greater then the digital resolution.

I get my scans done at the same place that develops my film. I am not yet developing and scanning my own, but it is in the plans to do so. The big problem I have with the guys that do the scanning is dust. Some scans have ALLOT of specks.

Last edited by KungPOW; 06-08-2008 at 11:49 AM.
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