Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Scanning Negatives

Scanning Negatives by S Migol
Scanning Negatives, a photo by S Migol on Flickr.
Via Flickr:
This is how I'm scanning negatives. The lightsource is an LED panel that has diffusing paper on it as well as a layer of white plastic from TAP. Then I mount the camera on the tripod with a macro stage on it to allow vertical movement. The aluminum tube is dryer vent that has been lined with flocking paper to reduce stray light. This tube also serves to hold the negative flat.

The lens used is the 35mm macro. The short focal length allows 1:2 rendering easily and can be seen here for the height needed for 120 film.

For taking pictures of black and white or slides, this works very well. For color negatives, I have to correct for the orange mask.

So far, I've used a Cokin 80A filter for good general success to correct for the film color. Recently, I was trying to scan some Fujifilm NPZ800. This substrate has a chocolate color, very difficult for me to correct with just the 80A. After several runs, I finally settled on using the 80A plus the Honl Steel Green gel. It's not a perfect inverse, but it works well enoguh.

As can be seen, the system is open to the air, so dust is an issue. Also, the flocking paper is constantly shedding fibers. This is an issue. I might eventually make another tube without paper and put a turned edge on it with a soft material to not mar the negatives.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Old film scanning

Recently, I've been playing with film as can be seen on flickr and on earlier posts.  Mostly, I've been working with black and white film on medium format.  This has yielding pretty nice results and I've been happy enough with the method of scanning by taking a picture with the DSLR and inverting it.

I wanted to do more with color beyond slide film and get back to my old negatives as well.  The scans provided by the developing process at K&S yields 2000 x 3000 pixel images, not the greatest of resolutions, with a strong grid at the 2 pixel level.  I know that I can get better resolution with my digital camera.

After doing a lot of reading and research, I found a great post online that goes through the various steps needed to correct color when scanning via a digital camera.  As a nice bonus, it provided instructions via Lightroom, which is what I use.

The biggest challenge with color correcting for the orange cast of the negatives is that there's not enough headroom for the proper blue exposure.  Film scanners compensate for this by doing a deeper scan on the cyan and magenta colors, getting better data through the orange cast.  For the one shot color approach, it's easier to apply a color correcting filter and then expose with a white balance based on the unexposed substrate. 

I started the effort with a simple Cokin type A Blue 80A color correcting filter attached to the front of the lens.  What an amazing difference this has made!  Now it's relatively easy to invert the curve and play with the tone levels to get good shots.  I'm very pleased with how this has turned out.

My current setup limits the ability of the camera to get close enough to the 135 film to show it fully filling the APSC sensor, so it's still a trial at this point.  Even so, I'm excited at how it's rendering the first roll of color negative film I've run through the Pentax 67 camera.

Further experiments show that I'll need to overexpose the negatives a bit more -- possibly a full stop more than automatically measured.  This should help make the process of inverting a little easier.



A photo session on April 7 2013 for the Yamawaki family
Click for slideshow

On April 7, I met with Jamie and Maki to take some photos before they had their second child.  It was the first time in a while where I was able to do a full session and exercise my skills.  I was also able to use some film in addition to the digital that I normally shoot.

I brought two Pentax K10D bodies and the smc P-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED/AL (IF) SDM and smc P-DA* 50-135mm F2.8 ED (IF) SDM lenses.  I also brought the Pentax LX loaded with an old roll of Konica 100 ISO reversal film with the Super-Takumar 85mm F1.9 M42.  Lastly, I brought a Pentax 67 loaded with Fujichrome Provia RDF and the SMC Pentax 67 105mm f2.4 lens.  I packed the 30 inch and 45 inch umbrellas with stands and my four AF 540 FGZ flashes with gels.

I brought nearly everything, essentially.

The photoshoot went well with only a few major issues.  The standard focus issues of not paying attention to getting everyone in the proper zone or loose framing were acceptable to a point.  There was some problems with a sidelit shot where I wanted more light than I had and in realized too late that I needed more fill.