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Thread: Ideal film/developer-drum scanning B&W Landscapes

  1. #31
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Ideal film/developer-drum scanning B&W Landscapes

    "This is doubly perplexing, since Mr. Mutmanski and I are both using nearly identical drum scanners ..."

    Hmmm. Two people using nearly identical materials and equipment, but getting completely different results.

    Sounds a bit like photography ; )

  2. #32
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Ideal film/developer-drum scanning B&W Landscapes

    "Next on the list seems to be developer type (solvent vs. acutance). It's a trade off. To get smaller grain size, you give up some acutance. To get higher acutance, you get larger grain"

    This seems like as good a rule as any with traditional emulsion films like tri-x. However, my tests have challenged whether this is still the case with t-max (or whether the relationship is still as simple).

    I did find that rodinal produced the expected higher grain and edgier look on t-max. But when I experimented on variations of D-76, I found that accutance increased slightly as solvent levels were reduced, but grain size actually went down too. My current developer is a homebrew designed specifically for tmax 100. It has the lowest sulfite level possible for the working solution, and the results are for all practical purposes grainless. This would not be the case at all with Tri X or Agfa Pan or FP4.

    Another difference is response to activity. Traditional emulsions get grainier if you use a high-activity developer/short development time combination (vs. a longer time in weaker developer to get the same density). They also seem to develop tones better with more time and less activity. I find t-max to be the opposite. Kodak hints at this by suggesting warmer developer temps, but to really take advantage of what the film can do, really goosing the developer activity and keeping the time down to 5 minutes yields wonderful results. Whether you're scanning or printing onto traditional materials.

  3. #33

    Ideal film/developer-drum scanning B&W Landscapes

    Bruce,

    I don't think your results are inconsistant with mine, it's just that we have different input variables that make direct comparison difficult.

    I agree that developing less will reduce the grain size a bit, but much more significantly, using a slower, tabular grain film will improve it considerably.

    At that point, the grain will be small enough that it will not be resolved at normal scan sampling sizes, whereas with Tri-X, you will have much more considerable grain to contend with.

    I may not have been precise enough in my posts above, so I will clarify a bit. With a drum scanner, the CI of the negative will not be as important as with a flatbed, due to the inherent low noise levels. There will probably be a subtle benefit to using a lower CI in the negative for grain purposes when shooting a faster film. With slower, tight grain films, I don't believe the difference will be significant.

    However, with a flatbed scanner (and this is what I was responding to primarily) the increased manipulation in the file may raise the noise floor considerably, and this would be a larger detriment than the slight benefit that is gained by reducing the grain size. Also, consumer flatbeds can't resolve to grain level anyway, so grain ailasing effect is not going to rear it's head with these scanners.

    I believe the majority of problems with a flatbed scanner are related to noise, and not grain issues, and it makes sense to tackle that as the primary source of digital hash in an image.

    Also, it seems that it makes sense to be developing negatives so they are useable for other purposes, like traditional darkroom applications. My suggestion was not that the film be developed more than normal, but that normal development may be better due to the noise consideration.

    Since Jack is talking about using Acros (an excellent film, and my choice for 4x5 work, BTW), I don't belive that reducing the CI of the negative will make an impact on the grain unless he is doing considerable magnification and very high resolution scans, well above 4000ppi, if even then.

    I do agree with your conclusions for Tri-X film, and although I haven't tested it myself for this purpose, I expect you are right on the money for your needs, as Tri-X grain does easily become rendered when scanning at 4064 in the Optronics units.

    -----

    Folks, Bruce and I are talking about differences in scanning results that are well beyond the capabilities of flatbed scanners, and only really apply for very high magnification scanning and printing. These are likely irrelevant discussions for flatbed users. The results of the scans that Bruce did are probably extremely subtle, and while the differences are visible such that a direct A/B comparison is possible, they represent the absolute last percent or two of an image's quality.

    I expect that the differences he compared will become negligable when using Acros and a staining developer. I would like to hear if Jack does a comparison test. An extreme case would be a low-contrast (non ABC) stained negative or a sulfite-based developer negative compared to a high contrast Rodinal sheet, as these are probably the two ends of the spectrum as far as grain size goes.

    ---Michael
    Platinum/palladium, gum bichromate
    and photogravure printing

  4. #34
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    Ideal film/developer-drum scanning B&W Landscapes

    Michael,

    Jack's original question is about drum scanning, film / developer combinations, 30 x 40 inch maximum print size, and grain worries.

    I think the root of my contribution to this discussion is just this: I can and routinely do make grainless and razor sharp 40 x 50 inch inkjet prints from drum-scanned 4x5 Tri-X.

    If I can do that with Tri-X, any film and developer combination that Jack decides to use is likely to work well for him.

    One of the joys of LF photography is that it frees you from having to think of films in terms of graininess at all. You can choose a film / developer combination for how well it generates the tones you want in your prints, and how it responds to the controls you choose to use. This in my book is a much nicer way to photograph.

    Bruce Watson

  5. #35

    Ideal film/developer-drum scanning B&W Landscapes

    Bruce,

    Yes, that's a good way to sum it up for Jack, and a very appropriate general statement that answers the question that he originally posted.

    As the discussion evolved, a lot of other issues were introduced that may cloud the picture a bit, so this is a great statement to make a clean answer to the OP.

    --Michael
    Platinum/palladium, gum bichromate
    and photogravure printing

  6. #36

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    Ideal film/developer-drum scanning B&W Landscapes

    WOW - what a wealth of information!
    You folks are great!
    This has turned into a very informative exchange and has been handled by all in a very professional way.

    Bruce, you now have the answer as to why I posted my question here - if you compare the comments that I received at other forums with this thread, then you'll understand why I have now made this forum my default Home Page!

    There is much to absorb in this thread for me - I've read the thread a couple of times and will study in more detail tonight.

    To answer one questions about my printing resolution procedure - I scan 4x5 at 4K - take in to CS2 and do my "magic". I then, in CS2 drop the res to match the print size I'm going to using the Edit->Image Size tool. I then save the resized image in a separate folder that hold resized for priint image files. This way, I never touch the 4K original file and use it to "clone" my print resolution files. I will start printing at 720 and see how that looks - makes sense to me. I just went to the max of 999 as I learned that is the max that CS2 and pump out the the Epson 4800.

    I've just received some Acros 4x5 from Jim at Midwest - I should have my X-Rite 810 delivered by the end of the week. Thus, next week I'll start test with the Acros 4x5 sheets and both the WD2D+ and the PMK Pyro from PF.

    I'll be happy to post what I find as results.

  7. #37
    Eric Nelson
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    Re: Ideal film/developer-drum scanning B&W Landscapes

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Brady View Post
    I just took a break from CS2 working on an image that I scanned - 2 1/4 B&W scanned at 8K with 8 aperature. Had to get away from the image! Came over to my PC and started reading the replys.

    Working with it in CS2 and trying to get the sky right is introducing all kinds of digital noise!
    I think scanning flat has it's merits depending on the scanning software, scanner, etc., you're using and how wide a tonal range you're trying to cover.

    My drum scanner isn't as good as yours and I'm working in OS 8.6 to accommodate the software. I bring as much contrast into the preview as I dare to avoid clipping which usually ends up being fairly flat. My scanner's preview leaves a lot to be desired so I have to be very conservative w/contrast. Bringing lots of contrast in PS will increase grain or noise if one goes too far (and I've had that happen) but typically here it does not. Since I'm working in OS 8.6 I don't calibrate that monitor and in fact the monitor I use there isn't the greatest either, but is adequate for the job of previewing and one learns what it's capabilities are through use.

    Working w/a modern OS to do the scans and working on the monitor you'll be editing with gives some distinct advantages over my workflow. Your scanning software probably has much more control than mine with a much more accurate preview, so with your workflow, you shouldn't have to go too flat. With my workflow I do and it works out well.

    It's frequently mentioned that good drum scans depend on the scanner operator. By working with your machine and testing these different approaches and working with images of differing tonal ranges, it seems you're going through the proper steps to achieve that end.

    Eric

  8. #38

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    Re: Ideal film/developer-drum scanning B&W Landscapes

    Eman,
    You just restarted a thread from 5 years ago.

    Last time I talked to Jack he had just bought a Hasselblad 50 megapixel thing. He's gone digital.... a lost soul... ;-)

    Lenny
    EigerStudios
    Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing

  9. #39
    Eric Nelson
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    Re: Ideal film/developer-drum scanning B&W Landscapes

    A super big WHOOPS!
    A doggone Google Alert brought me here and I didn't even look at the posting dates. It's so seldom I have anything to offer on the subject. Wouldn't ya know it's from '05.
    Gomenasai

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny Eiger View Post
    Eman,
    You just restarted a thread from 5 years ago.

    Last time I talked to Jack he had just bought a Hasselblad 50 megapixel thing. He's gone digital.... a lost soul... ;-)

    Lenny

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