How things have changed

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia 50

From time to time I try to make a dent in the tens of thousands of images shot on transparency film that I still haven't scanned. At the moment I'm working through some shots of the Pyrenees I took just over 20 years ago using a Pentax 645 medium-format camera and Fuji Velvia film. 

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia 50

Scanning, cleaning up and editing is a time consuming process and while film has a wonderful look and has advantages such as high dynamic range and great colour, it takes a while to get it to look as good as current digital images when viewed on a screen at 100%. The softness and grain have to be eliminated as much as possible without sacrificing sharpness and its a difficult process. Its easier with medium-format film and I'm finding I can get a pretty decent 60MB files from these images, that a picture library will accept.

The problem is that there are people out there editing my work who have no experience of film. As a general rule film reproduces better than it looks on a screen and digital worse. However when someone who has been brought up on digital, looks at images like these, all they see is the grain and the fact that the images look slightly soft.

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia 50

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia 50

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia 50

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia 50

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia 50

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia 50

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia 50

Pentax 645 Fuji Velvia 50

In complete contrast, I went out yesterday shooting with a Sony NEX-5 and the Zeiss 24mm f/1.8 lens. Mind boggling sharpness, clean files and 1/2 hour after I returned home I had stitched together a couple of 90MB panoramas.

Sony NEX-5n Zeiss 24mm f/1.8

Sony NEX-5n Zeiss 24mm f/1.8

Not quite the same scenic magnificence but somewhat easier to work with. Unfortunately I don't have a Pyrenean col within a 20 minute drive of where I live, unlike the more placid rural landscape in the pictures above, so I'll keep on with the scanning and editing!