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Thread: 4x5 Ilford Paper vs Ilford Film. Scanning differences?

  1. #1

    Lightbulb 4x5 Ilford Paper vs Ilford Film. Scanning differences?

    Hi guys,
    It's my first post on this forum and I'm quite new to large format.

    I was wondering, to keep it short, what would be the difference between using 4x5" negative paper compared to B&W film in a large format camera? In terms of scanning, would the paper scan well at, lets say 2400 dpi, or would it be too grainy?

    The examples to work with:
    Let's say I use Ilford RC 4x5" Glossy Paper, printed from HP5, or the paper exposed directly in camera and scanned as a negative.

    Most of what I found online is people saying the paper is too slow (ISO 1, 3 or 6) but I don't mind that.
    Also, I don't have a LF scanner, so I'm thinking of contact printing my 4x5 negatives on paper and scan the paper with the flatbed scanner I already have. Will I still get quality at 2400 dpi for example or would it just be a waste of time?

    I am really curious what your experience is and hope me asking this question helps others as well.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Greenwood Lake NY USA

    Re: 4x5 Ilford Paper vs Ilford Film. Scanning differences?

    Welcome to the forum.

    These are the ways that using paper as a negative has drawbacks:

    Unlike film paper is not panchromatic, in particular papers are blue sensitive, with some green sensitivity in addition with variable contrast (MG) papers. This means reds are not recorded correctly, they underexpose relative to the blues, possibly by a lot

    Film makes a negative image and is capable of recording a greater range of tones than can be printed on paper, this is why dodging and burning are needed. Used on its own paper is very contrasty, for example light parts of the scene will overexpose and become devoid of detail to a greater extent than with film. If the exposure is adjusted to preserve the highlights then the shadows become underexposed worse than they would using film. In other words paper is inferior to film as a negative.

    Unlike film the ISO speed cannot be set on normal exposure meters, and, speed may vary with the grade of paper being used, this makes precision exposure very tricky.

    The normal combination of film negative followed by paper contact print has worked for many people for a long time. Scanning a paper print is a good way to obtain a digital version of the image. You will be able to judge the dpi required by inspecting the onscreen image, it will depend a lot on how much the digital image is enlarged.

    PS it is probably worth doing a search of the forum for paper negative topics, also check out Photrio (used to be APUG) I am sure I saw some paper negative topics there recently.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Melbourne Australia

    Re: 4x5 Ilford Paper vs Ilford Film. Scanning differences?

    This thread,

    has some quite interesting information about what you are thinking of doing. This link goes to the start of the thread, some of the pictures are missing these days, I think some images start appearing either on page 2 or 3 of the thread.


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