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Thread: Seeking scanning solution for 8x10 negatives

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
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    66

    Seeking scanning solution for 8x10 negatives

    No method is easier or better for everyone. You can do great on either if you put the effort. We should stop with these dichotomy type questions. Personally I like both and use both. Because I’ve probably put more time into the digital route I tend to get better results there. I find it easier because I grew up with computers and have been used Photoshop for a really long time. My investment in the analog approach was slower and less guided but I’m happy with the results I get.
    There’s no wrong way, just pick one. If you truly want to learn, pick both.

  2. #22

    Re: Seeking scanning solution for 8x10 negatives

    "While your statements about flexibility of curves and reversible changes are all true, I find that with inkjet, I also have to think about things such as bleed, ink viscosity, paper absorbance, metamerism, dithering algorithms, individual ink curve crossovers and a whole host of other things that I don't have to deal with when working with silver gelatin. The focus of your argument for a digital/hybrid workflow entirely revolves around the ease of use that 'curves' give, but you leave out the context in which this happens. It is the context and its vast number of parameters that need to be controlled (partly with curves, partly with other measures) that make the issue complex, and that also make the difference between a mediocre print and an actually good print."

    Whatever are you talking about? Bleed? Ink viscosity? Paper absorbance? Really? No, you don't have to worry about ANY of that, maybe in 1995 but not today. A good custom profile takes all of that into consideration and gives you a choice of rendering intents as a bonus. I started making inkjet prints in the late 1990's after over forty years of wet darkroom prints. Both require a certain attention to detail and technique but neither is that hard if you have the patience. Twenty years ago you had to make your own profiles or the results really did suck and maybe your arguments would have been valid, but today it's a far different landscape, pun intended.

    I had an exhibit of music portraits a couple of years ago, all printed on an Epson 9900, mostly from drum scanned black and white negs and color transparencies. Set a gallery record for print sales and no one knew they weren't darkroom prints unless they read the print info sheets. Even had people ask me how I managed to make such great looking prints with no dust spots and the dude could not believe it when I told him they were all digital prints. I was a really good darkroom printer but today, my Epson prints are far better, both black and white and color but especially black and white and negs that were once difficult to impossible (and we've all had those) are now better than ever with the ability to render new interpretations that were simply never possible before.

    "It's not so difficult in the digital domain to get a nice rendering for a computer screen. Getting it onto paper is a whole different story, and that's a story you don't tell and barely reference. But let's not forget it's a story that is at least as important as the convenience of mouse-clicks when it comes to making quality prints."

    Again, and I'll repeat: That might have been true twenty years ago but it is simply not the case today. Get a good monitor calibrator or better yet and Eizo and have some custom profiles made of your favorite paper, control your ambient edit room lighting and have proper print viewing light, which you need for any type of print anyway, and the screen to print matches are really uncanny. Hell, even the screen to offset printing press matches are that good too, even to the point where often I don't even make a proof. But when I do make an Epson proof for offset, the color match to the printed piece is better today than it ever was in the mid 90's using Match Print or Agfa proofs from film. And that's all done with custom profiles. It ain't rocket science. It's all doable with a little effort, and like anything worthwhile, it's worth putting in the effort.

    If they still made Forté Poly Warm Tone Semi-Matte paper, I might still be making darkroom prints but now with inkjet, the choice of papers is almost too extensive and I just don't miss being in a wet dark room at all anymore. Not even the romanticized version of it. Do whatever makes you happy and whatever give you what you consider the best prints are but don't lay your own problems with digital on the rest of the world.

  3. #23

    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    4,239

    Re: Seeking scanning solution for 8x10 negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatchian View Post
    Get a good monitor calibrator or better yet and Eizo and have some custom profiles made of your favorite paper, control your ambient edit room lighting and have proper print viewing light, which you need for any type of print anyway, and the screen to print matches are really uncanny. Hell, even the screen to offset printing press matches are that good too, even to the point where often I don't even make a proof.... ...It ain't rocket science. It's all doable with a little effort...

    +1

  4. #24

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Guelph, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    292

    Re: Seeking scanning solution for 8x10 negatives

    I'm not saying you're wrong... But I could write a paragraph like the one you wrote here for lots of things! Making a world class French pastry crust just involves combining certain ingredients a specific way under the right conditions. Simple! Of course, it’s not simple. If it really was simple, anyone could do it. Most people are challenged to combine the ingredients in the cake mix box properly.

    I’m not making an argument for “digital printing is hard”. It’s just a technical activity that requires access to specific equipment and supplies, technical knowledge, and experience. Making outstanding digital prints requires a lot more knowledge – both the kind that you find written down in books like Jeff Schewe’s “The Digital Print”, and the tacit kind that real experts like Jeff possess, but which you won’t find written down conveniently. For people who have the capacity to figure this kind of thing out, and the money to buy the equipment and set up the space, it's not black magic -- but it's also not "simple". Ditto optical printing by the way.

    If I have a point here it's that making outstanding anything involves an investment of money, time, etc., and not everyone can do it. Yes, anyone can make a mundane digital print -- or French pastry -- but that's not what we're talking about here, right?

    As to whether optical printing or digital printing is “harder” (something that always seems to come up in these threads -- but not in your comment Sasquatchian), I could care less. Not only is it a pointless waste of time to argue about that, but also the whole question of “harder” is a distraction from what actually matters. Either a photography is excellent, or it isn’t. I’m not going to appreciate a picture more just because someone made it the hard way. I print digitally and mix my own inks from scratch. Should I expect bonus points when someone look at my prints? Of course not. It's either an outstanding print of an excellent photograph, or it's not.



    Quote Originally Posted by Sasquatchian View Post
    "While your statements about flexibility of curves and reversible changes are all true, I find that with inkjet, I also have to think about things such as bleed, ink viscosity, paper absorbance, metamerism, dithering algorithms, individual ink curve crossovers and a whole host of other things that I don't have to deal with when working with silver gelatin. The focus of your argument for a digital/hybrid workflow entirely revolves around the ease of use that 'curves' give, but you leave out the context in which this happens. It is the context and its vast number of parameters that need to be controlled (partly with curves, partly with other measures) that make the issue complex, and that also make the difference between a mediocre print and an actually good print."

    Whatever are you talking about? Bleed? Ink viscosity? Paper absorbance? Really? No, you don't have to worry about ANY of that, maybe in 1995 but not today. A good custom profile takes all of that into consideration and gives you a choice of rendering intents as a bonus. I started making inkjet prints in the late 1990's after over forty years of wet darkroom prints. Both require a certain attention to detail and technique but neither is that hard if you have the patience. Twenty years ago you had to make your own profiles or the results really did suck and maybe your arguments would have been valid, but today it's a far different landscape, pun intended.

    I had an exhibit of music portraits a couple of years ago, all printed on an Epson 9900, mostly from drum scanned black and white negs and color transparencies. Set a gallery record for print sales and no one knew they weren't darkroom prints unless they read the print info sheets. Even had people ask me how I managed to make such great looking prints with no dust spots and the dude could not believe it when I told him they were all digital prints. I was a really good darkroom printer but today, my Epson prints are far better, both black and white and color but especially black and white and negs that were once difficult to impossible (and we've all had those) are now better than ever with the ability to render new interpretations that were simply never possible before.

    "It's not so difficult in the digital domain to get a nice rendering for a computer screen. Getting it onto paper is a whole different story, and that's a story you don't tell and barely reference. But let's not forget it's a story that is at least as important as the convenience of mouse-clicks when it comes to making quality prints."

    Again, and I'll repeat: That might have been true twenty years ago but it is simply not the case today. Get a good monitor calibrator or better yet and Eizo and have some custom profiles made of your favorite paper, control your ambient edit room lighting and have proper print viewing light, which you need for any type of print anyway, and the screen to print matches are really uncanny. Hell, even the screen to offset printing press matches are that good too, even to the point where often I don't even make a proof. But when I do make an Epson proof for offset, the color match to the printed piece is better today than it ever was in the mid 90's using Match Print or Agfa proofs from film. And that's all done with custom profiles. It ain't rocket science. It's all doable with a little effort, and like anything worthwhile, it's worth putting in the effort.

    If they still made Forté Poly Warm Tone Semi-Matte paper, I might still be making darkroom prints but now with inkjet, the choice of papers is almost too extensive and I just don't miss being in a wet dark room at all anymore. Not even the romanticized version of it. Do whatever makes you happy and whatever give you what you consider the best prints are but don't lay your own problems with digital on the rest of the world.

  5. #25

    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Posts
    4,239

    Re: Seeking scanning solution for 8x10 negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by rdeloe View Post
    Making outstanding digital prints requires a lot more knowledge
    In my experience, in the digital/hybrid workflow a challenege is having a refined aesthetic criterion to edit the print, if one knows what he wants then the remaining job is straight because Photoshop it's a very flexible and powerful tool, and with a good software proofing we nail the result on paper.

    ...but still we need an artist on command to balance each aesthetic trade in the image.



    Quote Originally Posted by rdeloe View Post
    As to whether optical printing or digital printing is “harder” (something that always seems to come up in these threads -- but not in your comment Sasquatchian), I could care less.
    In the darkroom if a negative can deliver straight (with basic maipulation) the print you want then all it's easy.

    ...if you want certain king of modifications then it can be a nightmare, a master printer may spend weeks until he has the print he wants.




    Quote Originally Posted by rdeloe View Post
    Not only is it a pointless waste of time to argue about that, but also the whole question of “harder” is a distraction from what actually matters.
    What maters? this is the question. Commercial services or pro photographers have well known priorities, this is perfect...

    Some artists (I'm not one) have other priorities:

    "An artist is a complete master of his tools. When creating art an artist transcends common existence as his spirit flies up to meet that which he is capturing. He may practice and learn his tools while he is not creating, however when creating the camera becomes an extension of his mind. No conscious thought is expended on the technical issues with which he is a virtuoso while creating photographs." (Ken Rockwell)

    Let me place an example: Sally Mann. Departing from glass sheets and raw chem and ending in the most impressive silver prints many people have ever seen. No mouse clicks, no printer. If a taking lens had a crack in the middle this was exploited for the aesthetics or for the message. Authenticity.


    _______

    Disclaimer: I'm not saying that a pure optic process is better or worse than hybrid or fully digital, at all. Just saying that what matters is relative.

  6. #26

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    Forest Grove, Ore.
    Posts
    3,646

    Re: Seeking scanning solution for 8x10 negatives

    As I read this thread, I'm leaning towards the argument that it's difficult in either the digital or the analog disciplines to achieve fine results.

    While it's easier I think to achieve acceptable (vs. exceptional) results with digital, the digital learning curve for digital can indeed become steep, if one gets into using a decent RIP, making their own CMYK profiles, etc., to attain results.

    The same is true for analog, what with Zone system testing, proper contrast control of the negative, etc.

    And amidst all of this, in "comparing" the two media, what is being compared with what?

    Best I think to just pursue what one likes and that with which they obtain the most satisfying results. (Or, both?) Like with any sophisticated art form, it becomes a journey, and not just a destination.

  7. #27

    Join Date
    Jul 2016
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    4,239

    Re: Seeking scanning solution for 8x10 negatives

    Quote Originally Posted by neil poulsen View Post
    As I read this thread, I'm leaning towards the argument that it's difficult in either the digital or the analog disciplines to achieve fine results.
    Neil, IMHO making a very good artistic photograph it's always very difficult, with a view camera or with a dslr, with a printer or in the darkroom. Even it's difficult to make an art image for what someone would pay a single cent today...

    But... to me there is no doubt that crafting a digital print is a kid's game compared to making a sound print in the darkroom (Provided that we know what we want to craft). Personally, with Photoshop I get what I want in a short time, and also I get soon the digital Lightjet (or ink) print with no mess. The same print can be a nightmare to manipulate in the darkroom, in one particular case I spent 6 weekends with a single negative, I wasted several paper boxes, I've learned new tecniques for it ...and still I've to solve the complicated part of it, while I adjusted the digital version perfectly in 15mm... of course I've a lot to learn to be skilled in the darkroom, but I've realized yet the masterliness level required in both cases.

  8. #28

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Reykjavík, Iceland
    Posts
    71

    Re: Seeking scanning solution for 8x10 negatives

    It seems to me that printing is about 70% seeing, and 30% knowing advanced techniques. It is a different kind of seeing than photographing, though they often go hand in hand. I started to learn this when I was studying with Brian Young at ICP. He was a printer for Bruce Davidson, Joseph Rodriguez, Magnum etc. I remember showing him a print I was pretty happy with. He had a look and suggested a few small tweaks in contrast and exposure time. Sure enough, the print came even more alive. That was not so much about him knowing any secret settings, he knew how to SEE. That is what I have been working on for the last fifteen years.

  9. #29

    Re: Seeking scanning solution for 8x10 negatives

    Whatever method you want to print with, if you like the prints you make, you're done. If you don't like them or don't know how to get them to the point where you do, then either study and learn how to do it on your own, buy the necessary hardware, software, chemicals, lenses, etc. to realize your dream and experiment methodically until you're happy - or - find someone who already knows what you are wanting to know and ask them. Chances are they'll be flattered you asked and might even help you just to help you. We all have to start somewhere. Shit, twenty years ago, in order to teach myself how to make the best dial prints I could, I spent about twelve grand in hardware and software just to be able to make all the custom profiles I needed to do what I wanted. A custom profile won't magically solve all your problems but it will be a great start and may keep you from going around in circles til you get dizzy and fall down.

    Read books. Talk to people who are better than you. Go VISIT them in person even if it means flying across the country to do it. That cost and dedication WILL make you pay extra attention. Make and document your mistakes and try to make them only once. Learn how fucked up your printer drivers really are and develop workarounds and document those. Put in your 10,000 hours and then you'll finally get to a point where you have the confidence to help others in a meaningful way.

    Like I said before, none of this is rocket science, but there is SOME science you have to get you head around. I mean, photography in general has always been part art and part science, right? Anyone who puts their mind to this can learn it and what I described above is exactly what I did over twenty years ago and keep doing today. Once you get a picture in your mind of how it all works, it just falls into place and becomes second nature. You look at a scene and start thinking in terms of pixel values and what will or will not print, or god forbid, you start thinking in terms of CMYK ink values and have those on the brain. Been there. Actually I used to look at Type 59 Polaroids and convert them in my head to press cmyk. Never told anyone about that but I'm sure I'm not alone.

    But whatever you do, you have to put the effort in to learn it and some of will considerable time. No free rides. No free lunch.

  10. #30

    Re: Seeking scanning solution for 8x10 negatives

    Mix some Dektol and have fun. This thread has become a useless argument

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