View Full Version : Newbie needs advice

28-Oct-2014, 14:33
Hi folks I've been reading the threads. I am excited about scanning and printing my 4X5 film. Hopefully simple questions: Should I shoot slides or negatives? What yields best final output on large prints? (24x30) Which is easiest to work with from scanning to Photoshop editing? I guess I could try for myself but trust in all of your vast experience. Thanks so much in advance!

28-Oct-2014, 15:24
Welcome to the LF Forums!

Should I shoot slides or negatives?

I use both. The type I use depends upon many factors: Dynamic range of the scene, the contrast I want in the print, color reproduction, etc. My advice is to try both types and see which suits your style.

What yields best final output on large prints? (24x30)

"Best" is a nebulous attribute. The final output in print depends upon the quality of the original exposure, the care taken for the scan (and the quality of the scan) along with the quality of the Photo Shop work. I think the best answer is to experiment and see for yourself because there are so many variables.

Which is easiest to work with from scanning to Photoshop editing?

Personally, I find scanning and editing of transparencies to be much easier than color negative. The nice thing about transparencies is that you can readily see your starting point before scanning. With color neg you have to scan and convert to a positive image before you can see how things look.

The bottom line is, in my humble opinion at least, is to do your research and then experiment to see which material will give you the look you want.

Have fun while you do your explorations!


Jim Andrada
28-Oct-2014, 18:27
It's getting harder and harder to find labs to run the E-6 process for transparencies. My local lab still does it but only one day a week. They run C-41 for negatives every day. Of course if you want to do it yourself the chemicals for both are readily available.

I've had good luck standardizing on Ektar 100 for color. It scans well. In my experience you do have to be a bit careful not to overexpose if you want the best results.

28-Oct-2014, 19:16
It will depend your scanner for the most part.
If you scan on an imacon - shoot negatives, thats what the machine was designed to scan, and if you go with reversal film, you will find that even the best metered and processed shots, loose a lot of detail in both sides of the range, whereas negatives have more and more and more.

If you scan on a real drum scanner, slides are OK, but negatives are easier to use (for the same reasons above).

If you scan on a flatbed, it does not really matter.

Alan Gales
29-Oct-2014, 11:16
A lot of us use a flatbed scanner like the Epson 750 for posting to the internet or small enlargements and then send our negatives out for a better scan for the occasional big enlargement. Of course some on here do own better scanners and even drum scanners.

A drum scan is the absolute best but can vary in quality due to the skill of the operator.

Lenny Eiger
30-Oct-2014, 10:27
I think it has more to do with what you are shooting. The 100-160 speed films have tight grain are are excellent in both categories. Color negative is a little better for images that have a lot of color in them, where the image is about the color. There is a bit more range. Transparency is good for all-purpose shooting where the subject is something you are looking at. And then there's b&w....

A 30 inch print is expensive... if you are new to things I might try something a bit smaller and get my printmaking skills up a bit...


john borrelli
30-Oct-2014, 17:00
I would try color slide film.

Unfortunately, the reason I got into 4X5 was Fuji Velvia 50 which is now not really available. Put the 100 speed slide of your choice on your light box and then try to come as close to it as you can in your scan and print. Sorry, but your print, using entry level equipment, will not look as nice as your original.

If you are using the typical Epson flatbed go for 8X10 or 11X14 inch prints. The real advantage to slides is the ability to see the original and then trying to match it in the print. In my opinion, most stock entry level scanners and digital darkroom equipment (like entry level 13X19 inch Epson or Canon ink jet printers) were made to work best with color slide originals and glossy papers, so this is a natural place to start. In my opinion, I would leave the 24X30 stuff for larger formats.

30-Oct-2014, 19:27
Which is easiest to work with from scanning to Photoshop editing?

Color negative is cheaper, has a larger latitude, is easier to handle, easier to expose, cheaper to process, easier to scan due to more detail and better exposure, and this easier to print.

30-Oct-2014, 19:53
Thanks to everybody for your great help! It looks like working with slides is initially easier but negatives will yield better(more options) results. I'm gonna try negatives first.