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

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  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
    Kaneohe, Hawaii

    Now on Twitter: roteague
    http://www.visionlandscapes.com

  3. #3
    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?

  4. #4
    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
    Kaneohe, Hawaii

    Now on Twitter: roteague
    http://www.visionlandscapes.com

  5. #5
    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.

  6. #6

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

    Another vote for Portra 160 or Fuji Pro 160; current neg films scan very well.

  7. #7

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

    I favor Provia 100 pushed two stops. The film is much lower contrast than Velvia and handles highlights much better.

    There is a drawback, however, if you submit your images for publication, since going head to head on a light table with a more saturated film like Velvia, the Provia will seem flat.

    But, there is no need for a proof print.

    I admit, that I have been able to take advantage of free push service at the lab I use here in the states (Calypso), but there are other reasons I prefer Provia over the Velvia. In pushing the Provia two stops, I gain an effective ISO of 400 which is handy to have when working with smaller apertures and slower lenses, yet there is no noticeable degradation of the film.

    Now that Photoshop has the "align layers" feature, it is a bit easier to do multiple scans for images with higher dynamic range, one for highlights and one for shadows, and then combine the two. Takes a bit of time, but works.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Gordon View Post
    If you're primary output is the fine print, there's no logical reason to use Velvia.
    Which brings a question I always wondered about: why use Velvia in LF if it's not suitable for scanning and 4x5 projectors are hard to find, big and heavy?
    What does an LF user do with a big slide? Just watches it on a lightened plan?

  9. #9

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

    So Michael, what film would you use if the end result is to be a nice (in my case not fine art!) print. I ask this question seriously, as a beginner.

  10. #10

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

    For 4x5, it is easier to justify using Velvia because one is only using a sheet at a time. In low contrast, non-windy situations, it excels. If the wind kicks up and the dynamic range is more challenging, one can immediately switch to another film (in my case Provia 100). So, I carry both Provia 100 and Velvia 4x5 Quikloads in my kit.

    While not impossible to do, the same strategy doesn't work as well with a medium format camera with a non-swappable film magazine. In that case, the roll of film needs to be exhausted before moving from one film type to the other, which is neither cost effective nor convenient.

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