Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
04-16-2010, 11:21 PM   #1
Inactive Account




Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Nanaimo, BC
Posts: 261
Negative Scanning: Labs vs. Home

Hey everyone. It's been awhile since I've been on here.

In recent months I've found it's becoming more difficult to get decent scans of my 35mm negatives. I typically use a local lab which I cannot name for they're also my employer, which has consistently provided jaw-dropping scans of my negatives using a system based around a Noritsu wet lab and control desk. That is up until recently. Our equipment was replaced by a system based around a Noritsu D703, and at the same time the control desk and software was swapped out too.

I'm not sure what the problem is, but I can not get consistent scans back from the lab now. Despite advertising 6Mp as our regular res scans, if I don't check the disks before I leave I usually have 1.8Mp files. They look great, they're just really low res. If I get them corrected, typically I get 24Mp files back (or, occasionally, the correct size) but there is a terrible amount of noise. See attached photo. This was the fourth time it was scanned, finally got a 6Mp image but still heavy grain and, also worthy to note, it doesn't appear the Digital ICE system is being used either. There are dust and hair marks on these scans that I was not seeing before the equipment changeover.



If you look at the solid coloured areas, you'll noticeable dithering and pixelation. I am very frustrated because I've just purchased a whack of Ektar 100 and Portra films, the second for model work, and I simply cannot give people these pictures. The quality is simply not what it was.

So my question is twofold. How do I find a lab that does a good job of 35mm scans? There's nobody else locally that I'd trust with the expensive films. Also, would you recommend scanning my own negatives, and if so, what should I use, or moreover, what do you guys use? I have no intention of going back to digital, so I have to find a solution to this.

04-16-2010, 11:54 PM   #2
Veteran Member
Steinback's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: GTA, ON, Canada
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,673
I've had much better luck with labs using Noritsu equipment than with those using Fuji. All of the labs close to me have changed to Fuji, so I've been hanging on to my exposed film in the refrigerator until I accumulate enough rolls to make it worth driving to the next town over. You could ask the guy you're working with now to check the calibration and settings on his gear.

I have had reasonable success using an Epson V500 to rescan negatives the lab scanned poorly. Unfortunately the scan times are slow, the negative holders are fussy and the resulting files are massive, but with post processing the finished product is at least as good as the better lab scans I was receiving.

Others here have had good results using other Canon and Epson flatbed scanners, and another benefit of a good flatbed scanner is that you can also use it for medium format film. The results I've seen from dedicated 35mm scanners (Nikon, Minolta) have been even more impressive but I'm not willing to drop that kind of money at the moment. See if you can find some of Gooshin's scans for an example.

This file started out at roughly 4700x3200 and was reduced in size after some colour correction and mild sharpening. The negative was some cheap Fuji Superia 400.

04-17-2010, 12:38 AM   #3
Veteran Member




Join Date: Sep 2006
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 5,713
Is that a massive crop Drew
I've never seen such poor scans. I'd be embarrassed if we pumped things like that out in the lab I work in.

There's always Custom Color Pro Lab, in Vancouver, who does a nice job however in my opinion they're prices are insane.

Personally, I'm saving all my rolls of slide film, the only thing we don't develop.... and sending it to Dwaynes for the processing and scanning.
Although our machines do a nice job with negatives, I'm not that happy with the results when I scan Velvia.
04-17-2010, 08:49 AM   #4
Site Supporter
gofour3's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 5,345
I get slides (colour and b&w) scanned all the time at a lab (ABC Photocolour) that is close to where I live. They have three resolutions sizes low, med and high. I usually get medium resolution scans (3-5mb) and I believe they use a Noritsu 3101 or a Kodak HR500. Most of the time the scans are pretty good, I think it’s the person doing the scans more than the equipment. I’ve been told by the manager when I picked them up that they had to redo the scans to get better results.

They also have a Howtek drum scanner if you want super high resolution scans, I got a 158mb scan of a Kodak slide and the detail is amazing, even though some blue in the picture is still slightly different from the original slide.

Phil.

04-17-2010, 09:20 AM   #5
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 7,103
If you're committed to film now and in the future, get a good film scanner. It will be more work on your part to convert them from analog to digital and you'll be spending more time in a graphics editor to make them their best but you'll have full control and only yourself to blame for poor results.


Last edited by tuco; 04-17-2010 at 09:29 AM.
04-17-2010, 09:25 AM   #6
Inactive Account




Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Nanaimo, BC
Posts: 261
Original Poster
@ little laker: No, no cropping there. That is the full image, shot on Kodak UltraMax 400. I've been told various things by the lab staff, from "The grain is in the negatives" to "maybe it was caused by development process", which is absurd, because we do tests and check rolls on our film processor twice daily to confirm chemistry balance and QC. If a mosquito sat on top of the film processor, they'd know about it. Development does not cause cubic grain; likewise, Kodak 400, despite the speed, does not have cubic grain. If you take my picture and zoom in to about 200%, you will clearly see grid pattern noise. I'm sure you noticed.

I'm contemplating either sending them to a better lab (which I know is gonna cost me) or getting a scanner. I did the math on Custom Color vs a scanner, and it would take me only about 40 rolls to have spent enough money to buy a Nikon CoolScan 5000ED. I've been looking at flatbeds and other scanning options that won't cause the wife to kick me out of the house, but nothing else seems to be able to deliver the detail of the Nikon unit. It's just so much money. I can still get my negs developed and given back to me through work if that looks to be the case, as I know there is nothing wrong with our development process.

Maybe it is the operator. I wanted to have more faith than that. Perhaps theres a compression control on the Noritsu scanning software? The noise and color issues look to be caused by poor JPEG compression. Anyone work with this more closely than I have? I've not been trained on the new software yet and thus have not used the machine (and we're forbidden on doing our own work).

@ Steinback: We used to have the best scans in town by a wide margin. Black's uses Fuji, and those scans were okay for learning with but not very good otherwise. Our machine was the Noritsu QSS3304, a honkin' mother of a machine, and the machine had been used in all of our various locations until this recent switch. Ironically, Wal-Mart still uses the machine that we have since gotten rid of, but I shudder to think of taking $10 rolls of film in there.

For reference, I also have a Kodak UltraMax 400 shot, this time scanned on the QSS3304 system. This was taken last year in the summer.


Last edited by drewdlephone; 04-17-2010 at 09:39 AM.
04-17-2010, 09:37 AM   #7
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 27,502
I quit using the minilabs near my home because of scan quality and because development was sketchy as well. I went to having the negatives done at a local pro lab (same price as the minilabs) and doing the scanning myself. Like Gooshin, I have a Nikon 5000 ED. It is a wonderful machine and runs circles around the ccd scanners used by the minilabs. Next down on the price scale would be a used Nikon, high-end Minolta (very nice scanners) or a new model from Plustek or Pacific Imaging (Reflecta).

A small caution regarding film scanner resolution figures. With the exception of Nikon and Minolta, most consumer-grade film scanners grossly overstate their resolution. For sure they make huge files, but the actual quality is much lower. A good example would be the Plustek 7600 at 7200 dpi. The actual measured resolution is about 3200 dpi from a 210 Mb file at 24 bit color depth. (see comprehensive review at Plustek OpticFilm 7600i Review.) This exaggeration of resolution is also true of flatbed scanners using film adapters. While the sensors are capable of recording a high resolution, the optical systems are not up to the task.

Steve

P.S. I am not dis'ing the less expensive film and flatbed scanners. They work well for what they do. It should be noted that flatbed performance may be enhanced by using adjustable (focusable) carriers such as those from betterscanning.com. Flatbeds may also be the best value for scanning larger format negatives at low to moderate resolution. I personally just ordered an Epson V700 specifically for 120 and 4x5.

Last edited by stevebrot; 04-17-2010 at 09:49 AM.
04-17-2010, 09:45 AM   #8
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 27,502
QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
If you're committed to film now and in the future, get a good film scanner. It will be more work on your part to convert them from analog to digital and you'll be spending more time in a graphics editor to make them their best but you'll have full control and only yourself to blame for poor results.

And what scanner does tuco use for his 120 and 4x5 stuff? (You very cleverly edited the exif for the above image to read Pentax 67 )


Steve

04-17-2010, 09:55 AM   #9
Inactive Account




Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Nanaimo, BC
Posts: 261
Original Poster
@ Tuco: That is a gorgeous image. What equipment are you using?

@Stevebrot: I've only had one experience with scanning, and that was with an Epson 4490 flatbed. The results were okay, but I noticed what you mentioned about resolution. While the scanner claimed something like 4800dpi, I knew it couldn't be anywhere near that. Detail was very soft. I broke the 35mm carrier soon afterwards, and that was the end of that. I was considering going more upmarket with the flatbeds, but I've read the V700 is great for medium format, but slow and not the greatest at 35mm.

I guess it's time to start saving for that Nikon.
04-17-2010, 09:56 AM   #10
Veteran Member




Join Date: Sep 2006
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 5,713
QuoteOriginally posted by drewdlephone Quote
@ little laker: No, no cropping there. That is the full image, shot on Kodak UltraMax 400. I've been told various things by the lab staff, from "The grain is in the negatives" to "maybe it was caused by development process", which is absurd, because we do tests and check rolls on our film processor twice daily to confirm chemistry balance and QC. If a mosquito sat on top of the film processor, they'd know about it. Development does not cause cubic grain; likewise, Kodak 400, despite the speed, does not have cubic grain. If you take my picture and zoom in to about 200%, you will clearly see grid pattern noise. I'm sure you noticed.
That sucks, if you develop much film it won't take long before you start to loose clientele with a machine like that

QuoteQuote:
Maybe it is the operator. I wanted to have more faith than that. Perhaps theres a compression control on the Noritsu scanning software? The noise and color issues look to be caused by poor JPEG compression. Anyone work with this more closely than I have? I've not been trained on the new software yet and thus have not used the machine (and we're forbidden on doing our own work).
I suppose it could be operator. I would hope that no one's that bad.

QuoteQuote:
@ Steinback: We used to have the best scans in town by a wide margin. Black's uses Fuji, and those scans were okay for learning with but not very good otherwise. Our machine was the Noritsu QSS3304, a honkin' mother of a machine, and the machine had been used in all of our various locations until this recent switch. Ironically, Wal-Mart still uses the machine that we have since gotten rid of, but I shudder to think of taking $10 rolls of film in there.
I wonder if you could talk to the manager at wallyworld, and make arrangements to scan your film there.
04-17-2010, 10:15 AM   #11
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 7,103
I use a 9000ED for 120 and an old Epson 4990 for 4x5. The 4990 does a decent job with VueScan software at 2400dpi with multiple scan sampling for 4x5. Here are a couple of examples of the 4990:



04-17-2010, 10:23 AM   #12
Inactive Account




Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Michigan, USA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 7,484
I've never had any film Pro-Scanned so I cannot help you with an XvsY compare but I'm pretty happy with the results I'm getting from my V700.

35mm Ilford PanF+ 50 (click to pixel peep)





35mm Slide (ektachrome, I think) taken with an Olympus OM1 (didn't do a big scan of this one)..




Another 35mm film scan (Agfa APX25)




4x5 transparancy (Kodak E100vs)





You get the idea... Some of these I've spent a little more time with than others removing dust and stuff but I think it works pretty well..

04-17-2010, 10:42 AM   #13
Site Supporter
stevebrot's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 27,502
QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
I use a 9000ED for 120 and an old Epson 4990 for 4x5. The 4990 does a decent job with VueScan software at 2400dpi with multiple scan sampling for 4x5. Here are a couple of examples of the 4990:
Beautiful images as always! As mentioned above, I just ordered a Epson V700 for 120 and 4x5 with the intent that I will seldom be scanning above 1200 dpi for MF and LF. A wet/dry holder from betterscanning.com will likely be a future purchase for more critical work.

This whole film business is getting expensive since I left the 35mm world for bigger negs. I won't tally it up, but it is becoming apparent that maybe I should start trying to sell some of my work to amortize a bit of the expense.


Steve


(Needs to find a rich widow with tastes that run to flower pictures...)
04-17-2010, 10:52 AM   #14
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 7,103
QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Beautiful images as always! As mentioned above, I just ordered a Epson V700 for 120 and 4x5 with the intent that I will seldom be scanning above 1200 dpi for MF and LF. A wet/dry holder from betterscanning.com will likely be a future purchase for more critical work.

This whole film business is getting expensive since I left the 35mm world for bigger negs. I won't tally it up, but it is becoming apparent that maybe I should start trying to sell some of my work to amortize a bit of the expense.


Steve
Thanks. I would scan at a minimum of 2400dpi for your 120. I use that on my 4x5 too. When I got VueScan software with its multi-sampling scan capability, I saw an improvement in the results. Its interface sucks but I've learned to live with it.
04-17-2010, 10:52 AM   #15
Veteran Member
lbenac's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Burnaby, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,313
Well I have now a few scanners that I use with VueScan and multipass/multiexposure

For 35mm
Minolta Dimage DualScan IV - 3200 dpi (these are real optical dpi)
Minolta Dimage Elite 5400 - 5400 dpi

For 645
Epson V600 with Betterscan glass carrier - 1900 dpi (no where close to the advertised 4800)
Nikon LS-8000 ED on its way - 4000 dpi

I used before that a Plustek 7500i and sold it as soon as the DualScan came in.

The Minolta scanners are great but of course you have to find one used as they are not produced anymore. I cannot comment on the Nikon yet but if it performs as advertised, I will be selling the Epson V600 and the DualScan to keep only the Nikon and the 5400 as a 35mm backup.

Here in Vancouver 4000 dpi scans are about $44 so the Nikon will have paid itself after 40 scans.

Good luck with sourcing a scanner or a scanning service.

Luc
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!
control, files, films, lab, negatives, res, scans, system, time
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Bulk 35mm negative/slide scanning services? heatherslightbox Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 9 05-28-2011 05:35 AM
Negative scanning services? ismaelg Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 0 11-29-2009 08:34 AM
Pro Labs walro Photographic Industry and Professionals 2 05-07-2009 10:32 PM
Canon CanoScan 4400f good enough for film negative scanning? deadwolfbones Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 5 03-18-2009 09:37 AM
Home scanning: Slides of Film? germar Pentax Film SLR Discussion 22 07-21-2008 04:00 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:31 PM. | 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