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Thread: Analog-digital workflow: which film suits best?

  1. #1
    Kamox's Avatar
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    Analog-digital workflow: which film suits best?

    As I stated on my presentation post, the intended workflow with my Crown Graphic is the following:

    1-Develop the film
    2-Scan it (with an Epson V750 owned by a photographer nearby who will scan my film, drum scanning is way too expensive for me)
    3-Retouch in PS as needed
    4-Send the file to the lab and print it on photo paper

    Now, chatting in a newsgroup with a pro LF user, he told me that the density of a Velvia 50 sheet (the emulsion I first thought to use as above) is too high even for an Epson V750 and its wild colours (esp. dark ones) couldn't be extracted. I've received similar opinions by MF users.
    This man suggested me to use a less contrasty film (such as Astia), then adjust curves and saturation in PS.
    Do you agree? Or should I use, for example, Kodak Portra VC, given its wider dynamic range and (supposed) more "space" for digital retouching?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Robert M Teague
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    Re: Analog-digital workflow: which film suits best?

    I'm quite happy with the scans I get off my Velvia transparencies. Yes, the scan doesn't match the transparency, but I see no reason to go to something like Astia.
    Robert M. Teague
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    Now on Twitter: roteague
    http://www.visionlandscapes.com

  3. #3

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    Re: Analog-digital workflow: which film suits best?

    Velvia, the original scans fine for me but i use a drum scanner. Veliva 100 seems to be the most difficult and harsh looking. It's contrast is different in the upper midtones and the highlights in the original don't scan as well, but that's for me.

  4. #4
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    Re: Analog-digital workflow: which film suits best?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamox View Post
    Now, chatting in a newsgroup with a pro LF user, he told me that the density of a Velvia 50 sheet (the emulsion I first thought to use as above) is too high even for an Epson V750 and its wild colours (esp. dark ones) couldn't be extracted. I've received similar opinions by MF users.
    This man suggested me to use a less contrasty film (such as Astia), then adjust curves and saturation in PS.
    Do you agree? Or should I use, for example, Kodak Portra VC, given its wider dynamic range and (supposed) more "space" for digital retouching?

    Thanks.
    I do agree. And I take it that little bit farther and shoot mostly 160PortraVC (readyloads) for my color landscape work. The only thing you'll miss is the instant gratification of seeing your tranny on a light table. What you'll gain is the ability to capture scenes with a higher scene brightness range (SBR) and a film with less density than a tranny.

    The negative film can be easier to scan -- the lower density is easier for a consumer flatbed like the V750 to handle meaning that you'll get better detail from the dense areas. But either through scan software or photo editor software, you have to remove the orange mask and reverse the negative to a positive image. This can add some steps.

    Some perspective -- I own a drum scanner and do my own drum scanning. I could easily read through trannies. Yet I shoot negative films. Because I like the results better. Clearly, YMMV.

    Bruce Watson

  5. #5
    jetcode
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    Re: Analog-digital workflow: which film suits best?

    Quote Originally Posted by roteague View Post
    I'm quite happy with the scans I get off my Velvia transparencies. Yes, the scan doesn't match the transparency, but I see no reason to go to something like Astia.
    What is the point of using Velvia (or any film for that matter) if it can't be reproduced faithfully?

  6. #6
    Robert M Teague
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    Re: Analog-digital workflow: which film suits best?

    Quote Originally Posted by jetcode View Post
    What is the point of using Velvia (or any film for that matter) if it can't be reproduced faithfully?
    It is still better than the alternative, IMO. I can get pretty close with a drum scan, and can do pretty good with my desktop (Minolta 5400 Elite II film scanner), but a transparency will hold much more detail than any scanner can pull out.
    Robert M. Teague
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    Now on Twitter: roteague
    http://www.visionlandscapes.com

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    Re: Analog-digital workflow: which film suits best?

    Quote Originally Posted by jetcode View Post
    What is the point of using Velvia (or any film for that matter) if it can't be reproduced faithfully?
    Films aren't meant to be reproduced faithfully (even if we could agree on what that might mean). Tranny film is meant to be the final product -- projection through the film onto a screen is the intended mode of viewing. Negative films are meant to be intermediaries -- prints are the mode of viewing.

    Current usage of all films is overwhelmingly toward using them as intermediaries to make prints. And reflective media like prints can't hope to compare to transmission media like trannies. The laws of physics are the laws of physics. Faithful reproduction isn't possible.

    Bruce Watson

  8. #8
    Kamox's Avatar
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    Re: Analog-digital workflow: which film suits best?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
    I do agree. [cut]
    I own a drum scanner and do my own drum scanning. I could easily read through trannies. Yet I shoot negative films. Because I like the results better. Clearly, YMMV.
    I see, thanks Bruce. I'll try Portra, then.
    A side benefit, which I forgot to mention, is that "conventional" printing (i.e.: bringing the exposed negative to the lab and having it developed and printed, without any digital intermediate steps) is cheaper than I thought: for a single sheet, developed and printed on 8x10" fuji cristal they ask me 10 euros ($15).

  9. #9

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    Re: Analog-digital workflow: which film suits best?

    If you're scanning with a V750, then you may not want to use a high contrast film such as Velvia. You are more prone to blocked shadows as the scanner can't dig deep enough into the shadows. A lower contrast film such as Astia is a better choice....along with some of the color neg films like Fuji Pro 160. And not that it matters much, but Astia has finer grain than Velvia.

  10. #10
    Michael E. Gordon
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    Re: Analog-digital workflow: which film suits best?

    Quote Originally Posted by roteague View Post
    It is still better than the alternative, IMO.
    Better how, Robert?

    If you're primary output is the fine print, there's no logical reason to use Velvia.

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