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Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 09-03-2009, 01:37 PM  
Behind the Scenes BW to Digital
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 9
Views: 2,866
Here is a link to a pretty high quality lab with some solid experience with b+w. I am sure there are pleny of others.

Praus Productions Inc. []
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 09-03-2009, 01:32 PM  
What is it worth? ME Super and Lens
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 7
Views: 2,788
If you were going to buy a camera like this, would you want it to go through CLA before using it? That is kind of the challenge - an older camera almost always needs a tune up, no matter the opinion of the original owner.

I have two ME Supers that I picked up in the used market, with several lenses, for around 60 total, but probably the two + lenses were worth $ 100 total. One works, one has a stuck mirror that needs to be fixed. (still).

They are a great camera, and for the price, I can let me 11 YO walk around with one and not really worry about it.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-27-2009, 12:51 PM  
Slide scanners. Is there any real choice?
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 53
Views: 13,275
I think it is worthwhile to consider the canoscan 8800F, especially as it is now under $200. I am still figuring it out, but the scans are acceptable for my use.

I wrote a little about my learning curve experience in the medium format section. If you would like a "sample", I could scan a "few" for you - not rolls, but a couple.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 08-21-2009, 10:00 AM  
Photo scanning at Dwayne's and ScanCafe
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 9
Views: 3,762
Hi, Most of my film use is 35mm Kodak Ultra color 100, but I had a chance to play around with some medium format negs that member PBO loaned to me.
I am still figuring out how to post some of these, and of course, need PBO’s permission first before doing so. (large file sizes)

The film was Kodak Porta 160VC, with a variety of indoor and outdoor shots taken on a Bronica I believe. I think that PBO said that these were his first experience with medium format as well, so two beginners I guess. It was actually quite a learning experience spread over multiple days.

The images were sort of “walk around” shots – various pictures he had taken in the San Francisco area. Some were from the East Bay, looking West toward SF, others were cable cars, girls, etc – normal everyday “walking camera” pictures. There is one food plate picture taken indoors.

The scanner I have is a canoscan 8800F, which is rated at 48 bit color depth x some reasonably high resolution that I thought I understood, but now am not so sure. PBO sent along the file from the scan that Dwayne’s had performed so I had a reference to work against. Below are some observations / learning curve from the eyes of a beginner. I scanned these a couple of different ways, and decided for various reason to use the TIFF format, as it seemed to be more easily manipulated by the end user. Comments on this are welcome.

a) The Dwayne’s scan file size seems to indicate that the scan is approx 600 dpi. I was not expecting to be very impressed with it, but it is certainly good enough to see which negatives are worth extra effort and investment. Given the time needed to do an initial scan of the images at s similar resolution, it seems well worth the money.

I did notice the same thing that PBO noticed – there is something funny going on in some areas of the film, and the negatives were extremely dusty. It is hard to tell though if this is because it is a used camera that needs a tune up / cleaning, or something at the film processor. PBO did say this was the first roll ever through the camera since he purchased it, and the camera has clearly been well used. Since the film in 120 format is not nearly as protected as in 35mm, handling is also more sensitive, and we have had a very dusty summer.

b) For many consumers, the Dwayne’s scan seems to be sufficient, which I really didn’t expect. As it turns out, I had to work a bit with the image to get it to look like the commercial scan, especially in the area of contrast settings. It seemed like I had to turn up the scan contrast and adjust the cyan to match the Dwayne’s colors.

It was interesting just how much the pictures shifted in “feel” depending on the color adjustments. I am not really qualified to adjust the color settings of someone else’s shots, so I did it two ways – default settings and a few times with the color adjusted until it was close to the Dwayne’s scan “look”. No idea which is correct or desired.

c) At 600 dpi x 48 bit, the images are around 5 mb, and there was clearly a lot of information not captured, but it looks ok on a screen (no enlarging)

d) At 1200 dpi x 48 bit, the images are approx 60 mb, and clearly the ability to zoom in was improved.

e) At 2400 dpi x 48 bit, the images are approx 240mb, and again, the ability to zoon in was improved – actually quite dramatically over the original scan size. This turns out to be a good size to use (as will be explained in the next step) but the scan times are starting to get pretty long – realistically, 10 minutes per scan plus another 10 minutes of setup and goofing around - if everything goes correctly.

e) The next level up, which I think was 9600 dpi x 48bit, the image size is nearly 1 GB – each. This sounds ok until you try to open the file, which my laptop could not, even though it has 4 gig or RAM. I think the problem is that my laptop, like many computers today, uses “shared” memory for the processor and video, and the video is limited to 500 meg max. I might be wrong on this, but I think this means that it simply cannot view an image larger than this 500meg limit. At this kind of file size, moving the files around starts to become noticeable, even with a fairly recent vintage computer.

The scan time for these files, including setup and goofing around, starts to be in the 30 – 40 minutes per scan, but at least it is possible. I wish I had taken the time to attempt to open some of these files before I scanned a bunch of images at this size for PBO, and then later realized that they were probably bad for various reasons – day wasted – well in retrospect, learning.

Another important point that I learned is that the film holder position is out of focus. Considering how well the rest of the scanner is built, this seems kind of crazy, but in some ways it makes sense. As a flat bed, the most common use would be to put a picture, face down on the glass for scanning, so this would seem to be the correct focal point. When you scan the negatives, there is a second light source in the lid, which backlights the negatives, which are conveniently slid in / out of a film holder – slightly above the glass.

I am really not that picky / qualified to critique cameras, art, and pictures, but this out-of-focus aspect is pretty obvious once you figure it out. Originally, I thought it was just a problem with my own negatives - operator error, but it seems to be systematic. I read some reviews of this scanner on-line, and similar comments were made, even by people that really like the scanner, so perhaps they all do this. In any event, I am still pretty happy with the scanner.

I was able to improve things a lot by placing the film directly on the glass. This is kind of a PITA though, as it still needs to be pretty carefully positioned. I might make a different holder to align the film as the standard one is sort of in the way for this approach.

I am sure the experienced scanner users are either shaking their heads or laughing by now at my learning curve. I am happy to have had the learning experience, but I have to say I was caught off guard by just how much you need to know to make a decent scan, and how much time is involved, even if you are pretty good at it. My hat is off to the people that are good at this.

Forum: Pentax Medium Format 07-23-2009, 02:40 PM  
Found some old negatives, need to scan.
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 4
Views: 3,672
Dayne's will do scan your prints. Processing and printing of color negative film - develop and print - great prices from a trusted name for over 50 years - Dwayne's Photo Service

You will notice though that like most store bought scans, they are suggesting a scan that makes a 4.5 mb file per negative. My canoscan makes a 120mb file at full 48 bit color depth x something over 40 megapixels.

I sent a PM if you would like me to scan a few for you.

Forum: Pentax Medium Format 07-22-2009, 11:38 AM  
k100d upgrade path - K20 or Medium Format? Help~
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 18
Views: 4,489
Hi Derek, I have shot film my whole life, and still consider myself to be a beginner, and certainly not at the artist level, so take this FWIW.

I have really gone toward available light photography for a variety of reasons, and I find film to be more forgiving than digital in this regard, at least in the cameras I could afford. I frankly also really hate spending time on my computer doctoring up digital stuff. Nonetheless, prints are expensive, and most everyone wants digital images anymore.

The path I have taken, is to have the film professionally developed, then scan it in at home. I am not nearly as picky as many others, but I find the scans to be adequate without much touch up. Usually my errors are far larger than can be fixed with software - either it was a useful shot, or it wasn't. :o

Compare the specs of the scanner I just picked up for about $ 200 (canoscan 8800F) with the megapixel and color bit depth of any DSLR 10X that price. I don't claim expertise, but it seems to scan at 48 bit depth x 40+ megapixels. In spite of the claims by some, the 35mm kodak ultracolor 100 never ran out of resolution before I maxed out the scanner.

I will make the same offer to you as I have to others - send a 35mm or 120 format negative or transparency to me and I will scan it for you - as a test. I don't offer this because I am great at this, but because I am learning, and really want to understand how my setup compares and get feedback, positive or negative.

BTW, there are medium format cameras on craigslist from time to time, and sometimes you can pick them up from local pro camera rental shops.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 07-20-2009, 06:57 AM  
Organizing developed negatives? what's your strategy?
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 10
Views: 2,498
It is hard to be someone who is good at everything, and often in life, organization does not accompany other useful traits.

Eventually, I started hiring a college student through craigslist to help me stay organized with paperwork - helped a lot.

I recently purchased a cannoscan 8800F - it does reasonable neg scans for under $ 200. These are much better than drugstore scans, something like 40 + megapixel x 48 bit color depth if I understand things correctly. I think drugstore scans are more like 6 megapixel x 8 or 10 bit color depth.

If you are interested, I can scan a few negs for you just for fun so you can see if the results are good enough. The file size is approx 120 mb each, so send a flash drive with the negatives.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 07-12-2009, 08:25 AM  
Where to process film?
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 12
Views: 4,158
You really have to be careful about the scan quality with labs. Most of them say the scans are high quality, but in fact are often at most 6 megapixel scans at 10 bit color depth. That is how they end up with file sizes of 4.5 meg.

I recently bought a "decent" (not pro) canon scanner with 48 bit color depth. At full resolution, a 35mm negative scan is 120 mb, not 4.5. 120 film will be 4 x that file size, so about 1 image per CD.

I live fairly close to Berkeley. Just for fun, I could scan one of your negatives on my canon and you could compare it to what you are getting from the lab scan. It would be fun to see if there is a useful difference.

BTW - here is another lab, kind of "pro" oriented.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 07-12-2009, 07:57 AM  
Bizarre Noise On My K7 Images!!!!
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 64
Views: 7,841
While your testing at strong underexposure may not be the norm, it is a useful test, at least to me. There is a lot of range of lighting in many shots, and it is all too easy to be happy with properly exposed areas and miss those details in the shadows.

You can always do like I did after my experiences with DSLR - go back to shooting film on a manual SLR and scan it. Of course, no one here would ever accuse me of being a serious photographer either.

Keep posting your shots. My wife wants a K-7. I told her she could keep her pentax P+S digital or have one of my ME Supers. That went well. :rolleyes:
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 07-08-2009, 08:56 PM  
Question about film labs
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 5
Views: 1,892
Hi - I would not worry about 2-3 rolls / week being too little. I think the labs are excited to have any kind of steady customers.

Here is one I am just starting to work with - they are particularly strong in B/W.

edit - I guess a link or name would have helped. They do everything, I just happened to be playing with b/w now.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 07-02-2009, 10:36 PM  
Manual focus in low light - technique?
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 14
Views: 6,434
Is that Beemer a 325ix? I used to have one a lot like it. :D
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 06-29-2009, 05:52 PM  
Best film for color?
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 30
Views: 10,121
You might find it interesting that your perception of color and what you prefer is somewhat genetically driven. As a result, some people will prefer the color tones of Fuji, while I personally prefer the color tone more common in Kodak films.

I like Kodak Ultra Color for its great saturated colors, but it is not for everything.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 06-24-2009, 01:26 PM  
Ektar 100 VS Gold 100
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 78
Views: 24,022
Thank you to everyone for the pictures and results.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 06-14-2009, 04:46 PM  
Newbie SLR film and film develop qestion
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 11
Views: 5,475
Hi, I am starting to really like P3200. I know there are some disadvantages, but I can take shots with available light that are difficult any other way. (not only in my ME Super, but also in my Minox which does not allow asa stretching) I think there is also an Ilford eq.

It is pretty much for indoor / evening use, but for the right application, it can be great.

Here is a useful lab in NY. Praus Productions Inc. []

My strategy is to have the film developed at a lab and do my own scans, so I picked up a canoscan 8800F. It is not perfect, but it is way better than I had before. (I am a beginner, not a pro like the rest of these guys)
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 06-13-2009, 10:19 AM  
Heaviest Pentax Camera
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 23
Views: 4,032
Hi, have you considered putting some dampening material on it ? The great thing about adding your own dampening mass is that you can put it where you want it.

I shoot mostly available light, so that means the flash hot shoe and bottom are available. You could also put some on the lens if you are careful.

Materials like lead and cast iron are both damping and massive. Materials like steel are massive, but offer little damping by themselves. Aluminum is neither. Rubber can be highly damping and moderate mass.

The ideal setup for damping is to have layers of high mass (steel for instance) separated by layers of something springy, like rubber. If the layers are not equal size / thickness, it is even better, as each layer will dampen a different frequency range.

Just some crazy ideas to throw into the mix.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 06-13-2009, 10:08 AM  
Giving up medium format?
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 22
Views: 6,551
Hi, I am not entirely sure about the resolution of 35mm Ultra Color 100 - it is quite amazing stuff. Just for fun, I tried scanning a snapshot I took with my Minox P+S at different resolutions. Even with my rather non detail oriented eyes, I could clearly see more detail at every higher resolution setting, which is why the file is dang big.

What I actually would like an opinion on is the color bit rate aspect. These newer scanners have much higher color bit depth than the digital cameras, but they also have LED backlighting, which may or may not have the color capability of 42 bits. It very much depends on what LED they chose. :hmm:
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 06-11-2009, 09:58 AM  
Giving up medium format?
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 22
Views: 6,551
Hi, I am very much a novice, but I recently picked up a canoscan 8800F ($ 200 at pcconnection) and I have been very impressed with my 35mm neg scans. It is remarkably good and faster than my prior experiences with scanners.

Once again, I am just a beginner, but if you would like to get a feel for how your negs will scan on it, I can scan a few for you as a test. I am just getting started with it and don't have / use cropping s/w, just what comes with the canon. I will say that I was so impressed, I wish I had gone ahead and purchased their complete scan / print / copy setup for about $ 400, but that was over my budget as well.

The 35mm negs at max resolution and color bit create 120mb files, so the medium format scan would of course be larger - I guess 4X ? For me, I would be interested to get your opinion of how the scans look.

Anyway, if you are interested, send me a pm to work out the details. I prefer to put the files on a jump drive for you rather than a cd, unless you have an easy FTP method.

Take care,

Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 05-02-2009, 07:44 AM  
B&W Film vs Color Neg to B&W Conversion??
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 14
Views: 9,625
I am playing with black and white - just to try something different.

At my daughter's wedding, everyone else was shooting color digital - so I did the opposite just to get some different effects. It turned out to be a good decision, as I ended up switching to Kodak P3200 to deal with the low light levels. Not too many color films for ISO 3200 out there.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 04-29-2009, 04:42 PM  
Help me Sell pentax Cameras
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 29
Views: 4,352
Hi - I am a beginner, but have looked carefully at DSLRs several times over the past 4 years. (My wife wants one)

So - I guess I can say (from a beginner's viewpoint) what we found interesting about the Canon vs Nikon vs Pentax DSLRs.

a) Image Stabilization
- In body vs in lens
- My perception (right or wrong) is that putting the IS into the body makes the lenses cheaper and smaller for Pentax. (fewer parts)
- I know there are other aspects, but this made sense to me.

b) Body + Lens size
- Put a modern 30 ish and 200mm prime on each body type
- Which is more comfortable to hold and shoot ?
- What does it cost ?

c) Sensor size
- Frankly, I am still mixed on this aspect
- I have read and heard what seem to be perfectly valid points on each approach
- Sometimes, this difference seems really small unless it is a specialty situation.

d) Follow the crowd or follow your own path
- Honestly, sometimes I just do the opposite of most everyone else just to be different.
- If the crowd is buying Nikon and Canon, I buy something else.

e) I already had some Pentax lenses
- They are not expensive ones, but I had them. It seemed like a good idea to share lenses with my wife, as I plan to continue with film for a while.
- Not to cut into your new lens sales, but consider to carry some used 50mm glass - maybe some used M lenses.

f) Canon and white balance and menu
- I found the Canon white balance to be difficult and the menu did not make sense to me.
- Perhaps more importantly, the menus on most DSLRs are not that easy to use.
- Consider to have some cameras really "ready to use" to take some shots in the store. So many times it turns out that the camera has some strange setting that results in shutter activation delay or a lousy picture of basic, in-store objects.

g) Price point
- Nikon - As a practical matter - they just seemed way over priced.
- Canon - similar, but not as badly over priced
- Sony - I am boycotting Sony for personal reasons
- Samsung - No way am I going to drop $ 1 K for a camera from Samsung - I don't care how good it is.
- Pentax - Have owned a SP-F since 1973 - 4 - still works and the price is reasonably - What more can you ask ?
- Minox - Honestly - I love my Pentax SLR, but when I need a pocket camera - I use a minox. Look here:

Thanks for reading a novice viewpoint.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 04-28-2009, 08:53 PM  
uuuuuuuuugh....where do I start?
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 45
Views: 8,761
Hi - advice from a digital beginner, so it might be wrong, but here goes. (I mostly shoot film on older cameras available light - so even worse)

a) Try to not use too many settings on your DSLR - it is just confusing - at least for me.

b) Settle in on aperture priority and always stop down at least 1 -2 stops - more if you can. You will get 90% of the family shots you need this way. Set the aperature so that you are shooting at least 1/30 sec, 1/60th sec is better.

c) ISO settings - for now, just use 800 and don't goof around with it for 6 months.

d) Manually focus - auto focus is just a gimmick and there are too many times it will not work when you think it should. Trust yourself, not the machine. :D

e) Buy a fixed focal length lens - I like 50mm, but others like 35 or so. They are sharper and have higher F stops (more light can come in) I like the M lenses (cheap, good, but not auto focus)

f) When lighting conditions are uneven - over expose. My very limited experience is that digital cameras take really grainy pictures when under exposed, and usually it is the under exposed areas that I want. (faces)

The flash on the camera can be used to fill in some extra light into those shadows - but red eyes are a given. I know, the red - eye removal digital tricks - I don't buy it. Too old school I guess. It is just another gimick to fix a poor design. Flash lamps should be at least 12 inches from the lens - true 50 years ago - true today.

The window shot of your room is more challenging than you might imagine, but a useful example.

Notice how the light coming in the window tends to take over the picture ? This is the same problem if you take pictures with light from the back of the subject. Lots of people try to PS this into a decent shot, but it is just plain a bad setup. Available light means you need to use the light in a positive way in the composition.

This is also why your outdoor pics are fine - plenty of light and I am guessing you are not shooting into the sun either. :)

The meter is going to use all of that light coming in from the window for the exposure setting, so the rest of the picture will be under exposed. With modern film, this is actually less of a problem, as 100 years of improvement have made film pretty forgiving. With digitals, exposure forgiveness is not something I have found. :(

The pro's are already giving better advice, but this is what I have found.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 04-28-2009, 08:19 PM  
New Me super, no light meter
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 16
Views: 6,105
Hi - sometimes it helps to clean up the contacts as well. I use a pencil eraser followed by rubbing alcohol, but I am not sure if that is the correct method.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 04-10-2009, 06:27 PM  
First camera for cheap: ME Super vs Spotmatic
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 39
Views: 13,396
Well, I am not an expert at all, but I have both the spotmatic F (original owner) and recently picked up the ME Super. Of course I still love the SP-F, but the ME super is quite a bit more compact and flexible with modern lenses.

At the risk of taking wrath from the crowd, I have a different camera for carrying around in my pocket and tramping through the woods - A Minox GT-S 35mm. It has a 35mm F2.8 (fixed) lens and takes just fantastic pictures. It is shutter priority, and of course you loose the entire SLR aspect but it takes field use just incredibly well. They are not that common, but you do see them around sometimes.

Another alternative for field use would be to consider one of the Pentax water resistant cameras. (point and shoot).

I guess it depends on if you are going to take very close up pics of flowers, or just document your journey. An SLR can seem heavy and delicate real fast on a trip like that.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 04-09-2009, 07:13 AM  
Fast film
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 22
Views: 3,359
Thank you for the suggestions - that is a great idea.

I have read more reviews of the film and it most likely is in fact DX coded at 3200, but a test film run would be good insurance anyway.


Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 04-08-2009, 05:17 PM  
Fast film
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 22
Views: 3,359
Hi, I have managed to get myself in a bit of a fix and could use some advice. (beginner here)

My daughter's wedding was this past weekend out of town (San Diego). Since everyone else was shooting digital color, I decided to use BW film to capture a different sort of look. As the bride's father, I was "asked" to not use my SLR but instead carry the p/s Minox GT-S as it is much less intrusive. (and takes nice shots)

I started the first night with a roll of Tri-X pan 400 and found it was just too slow, so I went back and purchased some Tmax P3200. I had forgotten that the ASA dial on the Minox is just for fun and instead it sets the film speed setting from the DX on the film.

Now for the fun part - I cannot seem to download the Kodak technical paper on this film to see if the DX is really telling my camera to assume 3200 or not. There have been some comments that it is really an 800 film, so did my camera use 800 or 3200 ?

I am planning to send the film into a commercial lab anyway ( most likely Praus Productions Inc. [] ) but I would like to tell them what I did. :o

BTW - if you happen to be in San Diego looking for film, these guys have a heck of a selection.

Thank you,

Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 04-06-2009, 01:45 PM  
Kodak Ektar 100...First Roll
Posted By HarryN
Replies: 47
Views: 13,738
Hi - Thanks for the nice photos.

I have been starting to figure out kodak 100UC (ultra color) and was looking for 400UC, only to find out that this film is on the list to discontinue - replaced by the Ektar.

I really like the color intensity and contrast of the 100UC - any idea how the Ektar 100 compares for this to the 100UC ?


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