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Thread: What do you do with your LF transparencies???

  1. #1

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    What do you do with your LF transparencies???

    Looking ahead, I'm going for a week in August to the Outer Banks, Ocracoke, Cape Hatteras and while I have the time think I'd like to lug my 4x5 with me and some color transparency film (dont' have the camera YET it's at JKF customs). What do you folks do with your transparencies? Scan yourself (which I hear is difficult)? I have a v850 Pro and on the uphill learning curve still. Do you use a lab for enlargements, and if you do, can anyone recommend a lab, how your prepare the file (if you scanned it yourself) and what color space and bit depth? Sorry if this is very basic, but I just called Millers and she told me "use 8 bit, doesn't really matter, and whatever color space you use is fine, just upload it." Hmmm. I've ordered from them once before, the image was actually great, but it was their promotional offer where you upload a file and they color correct, edit and print it their way for free. I usually print on an Epson P800 but may want to do a few larger prints for my office if they come out. I would like to do a "dry run" locally first however, thinking of using Provia which I like the look of. Or should I bad transparencies and do color negative? I have ZERO experience scanning color and uploading to a lab.

  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: What do you do with your LF transparencies???

    I have not shot any since the disappearance of Cibachrome. I keep the old ones in storage sleeves and occasionally have considered printing them to panchromatic B&W film to make printable internegatives.

  3. #3

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    Re: What do you do with your LF transparencies???

    I'm interested in color seascapes and have to admit I never, even back in the day, used Cibachrome. All I know is I don't care much for Velvia. I've shot quite a bit in 35mm and it just isn't for me. I was having North Coast Photographic process and drum scan those for me.

  4. #4

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    Re: What do you do with your LF transparencies???

    Quote Originally Posted by Laminarman View Post
    I have ZERO experience scanning color and uploading to a lab.
    With remote printing problem is proofing, adjusting an image for a print or for monitors is different, even with calibrations and profiles.

    Just take an image and make a mosaic with say 16 small images with different contrast/exposure/saturation/etc and order an small print of the mosaic, then see the result with a magnifier to find how monitor's look transforms on paper.

    Learn how to expose slides, I don't think there is another medium like that on earth, even with a cheap slide viewer you have atonishing colors and dynamic range. A monitor cannot show that, so after scanning you won't see the same punch.

    Scanning+processing slides it's easier than with color negative, at least you have a reference from the slide itself, but extreme densities in slides may be difficult to recover with a flatbed. You can easily destroy slide highlights by overexposure, so just learn how to expose with some 35mm bracketings, combined with spot metering. Learn how sky/clouds/trees/people/etc look if spot meter said -2, 0 or +2 for them. You may require a Grad ND filter to not overexpose sky in contrasty scenes.

  5. #5
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: What do you do with your LF transparencies???

    Transparencies were difficult to enlarge (cibachrome / ilfochrome) when those printing product were available, and probably more difficult now to print optically. Commercially transparencies were wsiwyg for people making color separations for traditional printing. Scanning is the way to make them useful. Currently I think it is more practical to shoot negative film like portra160 since it captures a bigger brightness range (more forgiving at exposure) and can be scanned or optically printed. Other people may have varying opinions.

  6. #6

    Re: What do you do with your LF transparencies???

    I've been out of the 4x5 game for almost 2 years now, but this was my process. When I got my film back, I would go through and select all the "winners" and scan them myself. I was using an older Epson 3200 scanner (likely light years behind your v850). This was only to begin working on the images, and used for posting online, and to my website. It is very likely that your v850 scans could make some beautiful and sharp prints, so don't dismiss that completely. If a customer wanted a print, or I decided I wanted to make a print for myself, I would then send the transparency out for a professional scan. There are lots of services that do this. I use AGX imaging in Michigan. They use an Imacon (Hassleblad) scanner, which I think is technically a "virtual" drum scanner. While not quite up to par with the top of the line (lots of discussion there....) the scans are gorgeous, and will easily suffice for a 24x30" or even a 30x40" print with careful processing. You'll likely pay up to $50 and more for a true drum scan everywhere else, as opposed to $12.50 at AGX (and Mike has a wealth of knowledge in the film game). As far as printing, I was always and still am a fan of LightJet prints on Fuji Crystal Archive (particularly Pearl, which is as close to Cibachrome as I've found) The particular lab I use is PhotoCraft out of Boulder Colorado. Its not your typical "drag and drop", no interaction type lab. They will work with you every step of the way, and are extremely knowledgeable. Anyways, this was the process that worked well for me. I'm sure others will vary...

  7. #7

    Re: What do you do with your LF transparencies???

    I was also never a big fan of Velvia. Astia and Provia were my films of choice, both have a wider dynamic range than Velvia. Since you'll be scanning and working from a digital file, I wouldn't worry about the tonal differences between the two as that can changed in PS with one click of the mouse.

  8. #8

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    Re: What do you do with your LF transparencies???

    A lot of great info and stuff to think about. Adam thank you for specific recommendations. I agree, having seen many transparencies not my own (including 8x10's) that the colors are stunning. But aside from projecting (if it can even be done) what is one to do? Walk around with a light table and ask people to look at your photos? I guess I never considered the usefulness of transparencies for commercial separations as I have never worked in that realm. Maybe what I'll do before the trip is shoot ten sheets of Provia, Ektar and Portra and see how I like them each. I'd like to see what types of scans I can do with them. LAST thing I want to do is wake up at dawn and walk the beach and dunes, take a dozen images, come back and not have one good one. Now if the camera would just get here already.

  9. #9

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    Re: What do you do with your LF transparencies???

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Kavalunas View Post
    Astia and Provia were my films of choice, both have a wider dynamic range than Velvia.
    Near exactly the same dynamic range, perhaps 1/3 stop difference in the full dynamic range (that has some 5.75 stops, including toe/shoulder), see characteristic curves in the datasheets, a 1 Log H unit is 2.3 stops. Also toe shoulders are near equal.

    What's different is contrast, velvias are more contrasty by reaching higher densities in the same dynamic range, and also having a color shift to brown in the really extreme densities beyond 3.5D.

  10. #10

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    Re: What do you do with your LF transparencies???

    Fuji Velvia results in false color and contrast rendition. This is one of the prime reasons why Velvia became so popular.

    Fuji Astia is opposite of Velvia with very accurate color rendition and modest contrast. Astia was not a popular color transparency film. It does well as the basis for making nice Ciba-Ilford chrome prints back in the day.

    Provia is mostly between these two. Overall excellent color transparency film.


    Bernice

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