Digitising Film - A contradiction in terms?

Digitising Film - A contradiction in terms?
'But of course all of this is b******s. As ever it's the final image that is the important thing here. If you are the kind of person that likes to sit around with a small circle of enthusiasts and bang on aboutsome arcane printing processes, to the exclusion of everything else, then you are welcome to it.'
Read More

Landscape on film - more scans















All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That 
N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) at the bottom of this post.

 

LINKS AND SOCIAL MEDIA 

For commenting, discussion, posting your pictures, links and articles - join the Soundimageplus Blog Readers Group on Google+ 
 
about soundimageplus 
follow by email 
follow on twitter
follow on facebook 
follow on 500px
follow on pinterest 
follow on tumblr   
soundimageplus blog readers pictures group on flickr
soundimageplus on YouTube  

Landscape Scans


I've been doing some scanning again recently. Including some 35mm Kodachrome material from the mid-eighties. This does make me realise how much easier it is to get great results with digital cameras these days and just how far digital photography has come. It was always said that a 35mm transparency was the equivalent to 10MP in digital terms and that's the size that I'm ending up with after working on these images. As you can see I've got some nice pictures but they do take a lot of work and the quality is a long way from what current 10MP digital cameras will produce.

However my scanned images do have a nice look and for me certainly sell very well, but the thought of ever going back to film sends a shiver down my spine!!













 
All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That 

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) at the bottom of this post.

 

LINKS AND SOCIAL MEDIA 

For commenting, discussion, posting your pictures, links and articles - join the Soundimageplus Blog Readers Group on Google+ 
 
about soundimageplus 
follow by email 
follow on twitter
follow on facebook 
follow on 500px
follow on pinterest 
follow on tumblr   
soundimageplus blog readers pictures group on flickr
soundimageplus on YouTube  

Photoshop CC and scans


Scanning 35mm and 645 transparencies also benefits from the new upsizing function in Photoshop CC.  By scanning 35mm at 8MP and 645 at 12MP and then upsizing to 18MP and 26MP respectively I get sharper, cleaner images than by scanning at larger sizes in the first place. This finally does justice to these film images and shows what size reproduction they are capable of with only a desktop scanner. 









Professional, high-end reproduction drum scanning is VERY expensive and up to now thats the only way that I would have been able to produce files like this. Photoshop CC has turned my Nikon LS 9000 scanner into something better and produce these colour rich images you see above. Almost makes me want to shoot film again. Almost!
 


The scanning continues


As well as trying to edit all the images I've shot this year, I am also still trying to make a dent in my film archive. The only advantage of winter is I will be out less, so I can keep going to try and scan as much as I can. Here are a few I've recently been working on.







These are from the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Loire Valley.

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.
All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus

For comment and discussion - join me over at Google+
about soundimageplus - soundimageplus website
soundimageplus on flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/45203414@N06/
soundimageplus blog readers pictures group - http://www.flickr.com/groups/1705334@N24/
soundimageplus on YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/user/soundimageplus
shutterstock portfolio - http://shutterstock.com/gallery-74596.html 

Stock photography by ImagesEurope at Alamy 
Stock photography by david martyn hughes at Alamy 
Stock photography by david hughes at Alamy




I just want to be a photographer

35mm film Nikon LS9000 scanner
All images taken on 35mm film with Nikon cameras and lenses.
Scanned with a Nikon LS9000.

The thing I really like about digital photography is the fact that I'm totally in control of every step of the process.

The thing I hate about digital photography is the fact that I have to do everything myself, all I really want to do is take the pictures.

Contradictory? Well yes, but both are true for me.

35mm film Nikon LS9000 scanner

When I scan images it reminds me of a simpler time. After I had selected my lens, chosen the aperture, composed, focused and pressed the shutter, that was pretty much it. Apart from getting the film to the lab, and picking up the processed transparencies, I had created my image.

Things were certainly different in my film days. (By the way for those who don't know what it is, film was a kind of chemical sensor.) Everything moved at a much slower pace. Films got upgraded very slowly and I kept cameras for years not months.

35mm film Nikon LS9000 scanner 

Testing new equipment consisted of shooting a roll of film. If I looked OK I kept what I had bought, if it didn't I took it back to the shop. There was less choice. The "Big Five" - Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus and Minolta, were the main choices. There were others like Leica, Fuji, Hassleblad etc. but these were what most of us used. Panasonic and Samsung made toasters.

35mm film Nikon LS9000 scanner


I also shot sparingly. Apart from the fact that I had to buy the cameras and the lenses, film and processing it was an ongoing cost. Everytime I pressed the shutter there was a "ching" from a cash register somewhere.

35mm film Nikon LS9000 scanner

In terms of making a living, I sent the transparencies somewhere and they sold them. If a client wanted some pictures, I posted them, or if needed quickly they sent a man on a motorbike to pick them up. Captioning was rudimentary, and searches were undertaken by people called picture researchers, who lived in a land far far away. (Central London)

35mm film Nikon LS9000 scanner

There were things called prints, and you held them in your hand, or if you made a really nice one, put it on the wall.

35mm film Nikon LS9000 scanner

Things I DIDN'T do.

Calibrate my monitor.
Compare noise levels.
Process raw files.
Write a short essay about each image and think of 50 relevant keywords.
Look at my picture the moment after taking it.
Scour the internet for samples.
Get disatisfied with my equipment very quickly.
Know what CMOS meant.
Know what CCD meant.
Shoot at anything higher than ISO 400.
Argue with people I didn't know about meaningless trivial differences between pieces of equipment.
Believe that Panasonic and Samsung would ever make a camera I wanted to buy.

35mm film Nikon LS9000 scanner

I just want to be a photographer.

I DON'T want to be:-

A Beta tester for companies who can't get their cameras and software right in the first place.
An I.T. technician.
A processing lab.
A sucker for every new thing that comes along, promising much, but ultimately little different from what came before.
In debt.
Someone who needed to have an entire floor built just to house the computers, monitors, hard drives, scanners, cameras, lenses and accessories that it takes to be a professional photographer these days.
Stuck in front of this screen most of the day.

35mm film Nikon LS9000 scanner

35mm film Nikon LS9000 scanner

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.
All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus
For comment and discussion - join me over at Google+
about soundimageplus - soundimageplus website
soundimageplus on flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/45203414@N06/
soundimageplus blog readers pictures group - http://www.flickr.com/groups/1705334@N24/
soundimageplus on YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/user/soundimageplus
soundimageplus on Vimeo - http://vimeo.com/user1050904/video




Scanning 35mm Kodachrome

35mm film camera kodachrome Nikon LS9000 film scanner
All images - 35mm film camera kodachrome Nikon LS9000 film scanner

In addition to the medium format film transparencies we have, there is also a huge collection of 35mm images, including many on Kodachrome. This can be difficult to scan, but fortunately the LS9000 has a Kodachrome setting. This produces a decent scanned image. Unfortunately since these were taken in the 1980's, they are very heavily filtered, and not in a good way!! However with work I've managed to get rid rid of the offending pink skies and strange colours. Nice to see these again in their new more "natural" form.

35mm film camera kodachrome Nikon LS9000 film scanner

35mm film camera kodachrome Nikon LS9000 film scanner

35mm film camera kodachrome Nikon LS9000 film scanner

35mm film camera kodachrome Nikon LS9000 film scanner

35mm film camera kodachrome Nikon LS9000 film scanner

35mm film camera kodachrome Nikon LS9000 film scanner

35mm film camera kodachrome Nikon LS9000 film scanner

35mm film camera kodachrome Nikon LS9000 film scanner

Process - Part 2




From time to time I try to make a dent in the tens of thousands of medium-format and 35mm transparencies that are stored here. Because of changes in fashions, cars etc. many have now become examples of recent history, but the images without people will probably be current for many years to come. The landscape images, barring an apocolypse, will probably be current for centuries.





Film had a quite different process. Picture libraries who accepted film always required transparencies, both for the quality of reproduction and for ease of use. Since I never processed my own films, the work involved was somewhat less than it is now. After getting the processed slides back from a lab, I would cut them from the strips, put them in a card mount and write a short caption on the mount. They were then sent off to the library, who then did all the sorting, filing and collating. 


These days very few libraries, or indeed clients, want transparencies. They require all film material, either transparency or negative, to be scanned. So from being a fairly painless way to take and distribute pictures, film is now much more difficult to deal with.





I approach scanning in much the same way as I approach raw files, keep it simple! I scan as closely to the original as possible. Fortunately these days film scanners come with software that "removes" dust spots and scratches. If they didn't, removing these manually would make the task so time consuming, that nobody would do it. 





Unlike digital, colour transparency film has great contrast and colour saturation. Often I have to tone this down as opposed to often increasing it with the somewhat "flatter" rendition of reality that digital cameras record.





Its still a slow time consuming process, but in many cases well worth it. While scans never look as "clean" as digital images on a computer screen, they do reproduce in print very well. 
I may never get everything that I want scanned, but I will continue to do this on an occasional basis and hopefully have the best in digital form at some point in the future.














Words - David
Images - David and Ann

The "Digital Revival of film"



In the latest edition of Digital Photographer Magazine there is a article entitled "The Digital revival of film" 


"A rise in vintage and retro trends across all industries, particularly within fashion, has seen a new emerging demand from photographic generations both young and old. What used to be avoided by camera designers is now being embraced, as 'old-fashioned' just got fashionable. The retro cameras and film style photos from the past are back, aesthetically at least." 


They cite as an example the Chanel No.5 ad at the top of the page with the cameo appearance of a Leica M8.


The article goes on to talk about, retro designs in cameras such as the Olympus Pens and Fuji X100, the resurgence of Leica and the increasingly popular editions of vintage/retro and nostalgic processing now available in cameras. 


Thus proving that those of us who go weak at the knees at the sight of some chrome and leather are not alone!!


None of this implies that those who use digital cameras are about to go back to using film, but there is some evidence that images that look like they might have shot on film are becoming more popular.


As an early adopter of digital, when I started putting those images onto picture library websites they were very much in the minority. They did look different, cleaner, less contrast etc. and proved very popular. After a few years virtually everything looked like that and I suddenly found that my film scans became my best sellers. By then I'd worked out how to make my digital shots look like they might have been taken on film. I've lost count of the number of times I've been asked "Do you still shoot film?" and I get comments all the time saying, "Thats a film look." 


So is there a difference between a "film look" and a "digital look" ?


pyrenees


Pentax *ist D 77mm f1.8 limited lens. Multi Image Panoramic Stitch


lake district


dover


Here are three versions of a recent picture I took.




Far left is the raw file "developed" in Rawker. This is the closest to what the original file would be with no processing whatsoever. The middle version is with auto processing in Photoshop ACR and with auto contrast applied in Photoshop. Its also very similar to the out of camera jpg. The version on the right is after I've done some work in Photoshop and is closest to what it looked like in reality.


I know which one I prefer.


Words - David
Images - David and Ann



The story of the picture 1 - Two Boats Windermere.


It had been a long day and the thought of a hot meal and a protracted spell on a sofa seemed very attractive. However sunny days in April in the English Lake District have to be taken full advantage of. As early evening approached the light was getting better and better and I decided to visit Gummers How, which is a viewpoint over Windermere, the districts longest lake. It involved a short walk from the car park, but after the exertions of the day it felt like the Eiger.


A few shots from the summit of Windermere and the fells with the sun getting lower in the sky was a good reward and I was on my way back to the car park. After a chance look back I realised that two boats that had been coming from opposite ends of the lake were going to pass very close to each other. I also realised that this was going to happen very soon!


I ran back to the viewpoint fitting the longest lens that I had, a Zeiss 135mm f2.8 to my Contax 139. This was back in my film days and the camera was loaded with Fuji 50 Transparency film. I realised I had 3 shots left, with no time to change film. I duly took the 3 shots of which this was the middle one. I still remember the exposure. 1/125th. sec at f2.8. On the way back I realised that I had the camera set to +1 stop from a previous shot. I had been too concerned about getting the picture to notice. I wondered whether I had over exposed the shot. In those pre-computer days, the only way to rectify a poor exposure was to make a slide duplicate, with the resulting drop in quality. I also wondered whether 1/125th. sec. had been fast enough to "freeze" the boats and keep the image sharp. I always tried to use a minimum of 1/250th.sec with the 135mm lens and regretted my not noticing the + 1 stop as that would have given me a "safer" shutter speed.


Fuji 50 was a process paid film and had to be sent off in an envelope to their lab for processing. I duly did so and it arrived about a week later in a batch I had sent off. I opened all the packets looking for the boats shot, and eventually found it. To my delight it was pin sharp and perfectly exposed. 


Since then its been published extensively and is my personal favourite of all the pictures I have taken.