Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 31 of 31

Thread: Is film practical for higher volume work?

  1. #1
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Is film practical for higher volume work?

    As I move around I had encountered a number of Leica M photographers that have gone back to film. The story typically goes like this.....just liked the look for black and white so much better. Found a good lab that would develop ,create proofs or contact sheets and scanned images on a CD.

    On the other side I see beautiful MP s for sale every other week .

    The biggest issue for me would be the quality of the scans. It would take a lot to get me into doing my own scans . Then again I rarely want to work with more than 20-30 images out of a shoot of 1000.

  2. #2
    Super Duper
    Senior Member
    jonoslack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    East Anglia & Cornwall (UK)
    Posts
    11,778
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    As I move around I had encountered a number of Leica M photographers that have gone back to film. The story typically goes like this.....just liked the look for black and white so much better. Found a good lab that would develop ,create proofs or contact sheets and scanned images on a CD.

    On the other side I see beautiful MP s for sale every other week .

    The biggest issue for me would be the quality of the scans. It would take a lot to get me into doing my own scans . Then again I rarely want to work with more than 20-30 images out of a shoot of 1000.
    Hi Glen
    I thought not. Processing is doable, but high quality scans . . . not really, you can use an Imacon, but that's a whole other realm of expense. I found that the Nikon scanners were fine - but they're still digitising, it's immensely time consuming, and if you really want your digital images to look like film . . . . you can do it (at least to convince 90% of your viewers).

    As an exercise I spent a month shooting only film, scanned on a Nikon 5000 scanner. It was interesting/exhilarating/boring/irritating/frustrating. I think I'm better of spending a little more time in post processing M8 images.

    Of course, that's only me!

    Just this guy you know

  3. #3
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Los Altos, CA
    Posts
    10,486
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1031

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Roger:

    I'd say a higher end dedicated 35mm film scanner like a Nikon 5000 or Minolta 5400ii ($800 ~ $1000) makes the experience pretty easy and the results can be excellent. I think with a perfect capture on fine grained film using the best glass, you can get more fine detail than say an M8 delivers, but the grain will show -- I call those two a mitigating trade-off.

    However, there is just something special to the look of B&W film that is tough to replicate with digital. Plus there are a few color emulsions that give an interesting color palette -- almost pastel compared to digital -- and so I enjoy experimenting with the artistic rendering from those too.

    The biggest PITA is not getting instant feedback...

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  4. #4
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    As I move around I had encountered a number of Leica M photographers that have gone back to film. The story typically goes like this.....just liked the look for black and white so much better. Found a good lab that would develop ,create proofs or contact sheets and scanned images on a CD.

    On the other side I see beautiful MP s for sale every other week .

    The biggest issue for me would be the quality of the scans. It would take a lot to get me into doing my own scans . Then again I rarely want to work with more than 20-30 images out of a shoot of 1000.
    Film, either you're dedicated to it ... or not.

    Scanning ... either ya love it ... or hate it.

    I love to scan images ... there's a craft to it, and the results are so rewarding.

    But of course, I'm scanning with an Imacon 949 ... I didn't like scanning so much before it came along

    35mm @ up to 8000 ppi with 4.9 true D-Max using a Rodenstock lens and the virtual drum to hold the film flat ... all in about 1.5 minutes. Batch capability ... get all the frames in the cue and go have a beer while the scanner does it's thing.

    What's not to love?

    Most lab scans are crap, unless they're high res drum scans done by someone who actually cares.

    Silverprints rule. Scanning silverprints on a flatbed really rules. Try it.

  5. #5
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Los Altos, CA
    Posts
    10,486
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1031

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post

    What's not to love?
    The fact that particular scanner runs into 5 figures

    I'll add a minor addition: scanning silver prints on a flatbed while they're still *WET* rules -- squeegee them down and go! (IMO nothing ever looks better than a silver print before it dries down.)
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  6. #6
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    I think by the above answers ..you are telling me that scans produced by film processor will only be good enough for proofs. This was my understanding..but I have been hearing more about getting development,contact sheet and scanned images on a CD as a package ..and that the quality is good enough for most applications. (not suggesting that you can make exhibition sized prints ).

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    534
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Well, when everybody else was buying their 1ds MkIIs I got myself a refurb Imacon 646 instead. Best buy of my career (a 949 would have been better).

    I have a Konica Hexar AF coming and am excited to start shooting some film again. Scanning can be weary but it's also an art.

    All depends on what you mean by high volume. I have one friend who only shoots film weddings (and is in demand). He has the lab process and scan everything and then tweaks them later. It's the same thing one would have to do to hi-res digital capture files - and maybe even less. It's just a matter of passing the buck on to the client. Or not. I have a child coming (hence the fast focus Hexar) and I want his memories recorded onto film. That I'm willing to pay for.

  8. #8
    nei1
    Guest

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    A few months ago I bought a mk1 minolta 5400 scanner in all honesty to entertain me while all the new digital models from photokina etc sorted themselves out into something buyable.However the scanner has been a revelation,the control and look of the final image way beyond what Ive acheived before,the best money Ive ever spent on photography.
    My original intention was to scan through a lot of images,store them on there own hard drive and resell the scanner.However my experiences with it and the results it produces have increased its value to me to far more than its worth,it will not be sold.

  9. #9
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Maybe I should have worded my original post differently. IMHO scanning doesnt cut it for "volume" anything. But I have heard this may not be the case with certain processing services.

    What I stumbled on were a few posts on other forums and a discussion or two with photographers ....that indicated they were getting the film processed ,proof sheets or small prints and an original scan of every negative.

    This would solve many of the problems with editing larger volumes of images. Typically I might shoot 1000 captures in a week as I enjoy street shooting . My goal is to get down to 15-20 for a collection on my website and sometimes a small portfolio of prints . No more than 5 will ever get printed large.

    Obviously if I work backword I can scan or have scanned the top 5-10 ...expensive and difficult under any alternative. However the idea of scanning 30 rolls of tri X for a week seems too difficult and time consuming.

    Its the cataloging and editing aspect that would kill me with scanning my own. So my interest is in the service offerings that do the initial develop, proof and scan on each roll.

  10. #10
    nei1
    Guest

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Im not 100% sure but Id have thought that most cheap flatbed scanners would give you an enlargeable contact sheet.as for service providers Ive no idea Im afraid_______Neil.

  11. #11
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Los Altos, CA
    Posts
    10,486
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1031

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Roger,

    I look at film as an "artistic choice" alternative to direct digital, not a replacement. There is no argument that digital provides a superior workflow when managing lots of images. That said, I think the initial cheap CD film scans from the labs would be more than adequate for cataloging or even basic web purposes. However, if you want the best file for your portfolio, then a dedicated scan will be required. Since doing a few dozen scans for yourself on higher-end equipment or paying a good lab to do it is a relatively trivial exercise, I think the overall workflow could suit you for *some* of your imagery...

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  12. #12
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Maybe I should have worded my original post differently. IMHO scanning doesnt cut it for "volume" anything. But I have heard this may not be the case with certain processing services.

    What I stumbled on were a few posts on other forums and a discussion or two with photographers ....that indicated they were getting the film processed ,proof sheets or small prints and an original scan of every negative.

    This would solve many of the problems with editing larger volumes of images. Typically I might shoot 1000 captures in a week as I enjoy street shooting . My goal is to get down to 15-20 for a collection on my website and sometimes a small portfolio of prints . No more than 5 will ever get printed large.

    Obviously if I work backword I can scan or have scanned the top 5-10 ...expensive and difficult under any alternative. However the idea of scanning 30 rolls of tri X for a week seems too difficult and time consuming.

    Its the cataloging and editing aspect that would kill me with scanning my own. So my interest is in the service offerings that do the initial develop, proof and scan on each roll.
    I use AI lab in CA. I do a shoot of maybe 10 rolls, plop them in prepaid mailers for developing and proof sheets ... then just like when I did darkroom printing, scan only the select few. If I'm in a hurry (which is almost never when shooting film), I process the negs myself and make proof scans on an Epson flatbed.

    It's just a more deliberate method of making images. The results are worth it IMO.

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    193
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Glen:

    It was very nice seeing you again the other night at Dale's. Per our conversation, I am one of those that has gone back to film and, as you know, I am a wedding photographer and I shoot anywhere from 15-25 rolls per event (depending on the wedding).

    I am very happy with the quality of the scans I receive from my lab. I think the best option for you is to find a lab to try out. I sent all my film to Richard Photo Lab (http://www.richardphotolab.com) in L.A. and I highly recommend them.

    Hope this helps and let me know if you have additional questions.

    Cheers,

  14. #14
    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter FL/Atlanta GA
    Posts
    2,279
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Riccis It was our conversion that got me going down this path. I also saw something on Ken Rockwell blog that indicated he was using film and the processor scans as a starting point.

    Jack

    No way i am going all film . When I find a situation that is really worth the effort ...I dig in and shoot,review,return until I get it . In fact I am trying to force myself to go as slow as I can (not easy for me) ..and to take breaks where I review the images . Often I find a great opportunity missed and I can go back.

    Maybe I just want some black and white proof sheets laying around my desk . LOL Roger

  15. #15
    Senior Subscriber Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,306
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    I think by the above answers ..you are telling me that scans produced by film processor will only be good enough for proofs
    Think of it as a stack of 4x6 prints cranked out by a minilab.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    309
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Quote Originally Posted by charlesphoto View Post
    I have a Konica Hexar AF coming and am excited to start shooting some film again. .
    What a great camera. I've been burning through the 50 rolls I ordered earlier this month.


  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    534
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    I'm currently going through thousands of rolls of film taken over a 30 year period for a new book project of mine. But I'm only picking out very few, and a lot of the work isn't even proofed. Get a good light table and learn to read negs and then scan and actually print those half dozen that actually mean anything.

    Actually very few of mine will even get printed because once they are scanned on the Imacon with a bit of clean up in CS they'll go straight into Indesign (where I also design my portfolios). Once that reaches a workable stage then I'll start printing thru Indesign and then start sequencing (I find that easier by hand), probably just thumbnail size to start and then full size.

    Once the final edit is made then I'll go back and carefully work the chosen images. And at that point maybe do some fine art prints.

    Of course not everyone is doing a book, but it's good to get into the habit of doing projects. After return from a trip I'll do a few days of scanning (or more often now tweaking M8 files) and then make a 10-20 fine art prints (17X22).

    I do find editing proofs to be a much easier and more humane practice.

  18. #18
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    534
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    What a great camera. I've been burning through the 50 rolls I ordered earlier this month.

    I can't wait. This is the camera I should have had years ago in my party days. Will be great for kids I hope. I may pick up two of them - would still be a lot less than a 35 summicron by itself.

  19. #19
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    santa barbara, ca
    Posts
    117
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    But of course, I'm scanning with an Imacon 949 ... I didn't like scanning so much before it came along
    For 35mm, does the Imacon produce results that are noticeably better than a good consumer scanner like the Minolta 5400 or Nikon Coolscan 5000, or is it just that it's faster?

  20. #20
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevin View Post
    For 35mm, does the Imacon produce results that are noticeably better than a good consumer scanner like the Minolta 5400 or Nikon Coolscan 5000, or is it just that it's faster?
    Noticeably better IMHO. I had a Minolta 5400 prior to the 949. I also had a Minolta MF Multiscan Pro which was very good ... until my dealer loaned me a demo Imacon 848 ... smart dealer

    I sure wasn't in a hurry to spend the money, so I scanned the same negs on both Minolta scanners and then on the 848. Better shadow and highlight response. Crisper. No film flatness issues especially with MF. The 949 is even better than the 848 ... not only is it way faster, it provides a diffusion light source that provides the look similar to my old Leica darkroom enlarger.

    Very expensive gear ... but it's either that or the same amount for a digital back ... and (for me) the B&W Prints won't look the same as with film no matter how many programs you run on the digital files.

    (I'm scanning right now, got my packet of negs and contacts from AI today... 10 days door-to-door. )

  21. #21
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    santa barbara, ca
    Posts
    117
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    ...and (for me) the B&W Prints won't look the same as with film no matter how many programs you run on the digital files.
    I'm finding that's true as well. Since I'm shooting only 35mm right now, I'll stick with the Nikon 5000, but the Imacon would be an easy choice if I start shooting larger film formats.

  22. #22
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Riccis View Post
    Glen:

    It was very nice seeing you again the other night at Dale's. Per our conversation, I am one of those that has gone back to film and, as you know, I am a wedding photographer and I shoot anywhere from 15-25 rolls per event (depending on the wedding).

    I am very happy with the quality of the scans I receive from my lab. I think the best option for you is to find a lab to try out. I sent all my film to Richard Photo Lab (http://www.richardphotolab.com) in L.A. and I highly recommend them.

    Hope this helps and let me know if you have additional questions.

    Cheers,
    If I may ask, what's the turn-around time. I'm so sick of digital processing I could scream. It'd be great to at least offer a premium wedding approach using film again ...

  23. #23
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    193
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    If I may ask, what's the turn-around time. I'm so sick of digital processing I could scream. It'd be great to at least offer a premium wedding approach using film again ...
    Fotografz:

    I overnight my film on Monday morning and it's usually back the following Friday, so their turnaround is approx 2 weeks, maybe 3 at the height of the season.

    You should definitely give them a call. If you do, ask to speak with the owner (Brian Greenberg) and tell them you come recommended from me. He will take great care of you.

    Please let me know if you have additional questions.

    Best,

  24. #24
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    santa barbara, ca
    Posts
    117
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Riccis, do they provide traditional B&W in that turnaround time as well? Do they provide scans, or do you do that yourself?

  25. #25
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    193
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Kevin:

    I shoot Fuji Neopan for all my B&W work and Fuji Pro (C-41) for the color. They do all the work (develop, print proofs and scan the rolls) and it's all done within 2 weeks in average. Again, I highly recommend Richard Photo Lab and wouldn't trust anyone else to handle my wedding work.

    Cheers,

  26. #26
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Reykjavik, Iceland
    Posts
    2,310
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    9

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    I took the same route as Charles -- several years ago I bought a demo 646 instead of a full frame digital camera. Very expensive, but it is still just as useful today as it was then. The great thing about good scanners is they allow you a great deal of flexibility -- you can shoot any camera from 35mm to 4x5.

    I will say that I used to use the Minolta Scan Multi Pro, and while I think the 646 is better, it is a tie in sheer resolution. The Imacon is much faster, has better color out of the box, better software, and better edge to edge sharpness. It does not scan mounted slides, which can be annoying if you have a lot of them (or want to keep shooting them).

    As for it being practical for high volume work -- well, it was for the entire history of photography before digital. The key now is finding a good lab. There are still some out there. I think Charles is right here -- it is about discretion and reading your negatives -- you don't need to print all of them. Just the ones that are really worth it.

    One good way to proof if you don't have a flatbed is to just use a digital camera to photograph the negatives on a lightbox. Just put them in a print-file sheet etc. Once you photograph them, invert them in photoshop, convert to black and white, and voila, digital contact sheet.
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
    My lab is here: http://www.customphotolab.is and on facebook

  27. #27
    edwinb
    Guest

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    I was tasked with scanning 1,000s of xray films a few years ago. the solution was a sinar xcatch which was a 60mm lens with a sinar cameraback in an overhead stand and backlighting. The crital quality control was to recover the range of detail from the darkest shadow to the edges of the burntout areas. The results were eventual ok after some tweeking of the profile and using a lens white reference. The resulting system was quicker, simpler and more portable than a scanner. From that experiance I would have thought that a cameraback would be viable in place of a scanner?
    Edwin

  28. #28
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Reykjavik, Iceland
    Posts
    2,310
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    9

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    I have tried a 22mp back and the DMR -- both give very good results, more than enough for the web or small prints, but when you start talking about the real detail in a negative and the real dynamic range, all the scanners I have used have been way way ahead.
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
    My lab is here: http://www.customphotolab.is and on facebook

  29. #29
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    I took the same route as Charles -- several years ago I bought a demo 646 instead of a full frame digital camera. Very expensive, but it is still just as useful today as it was then. The great thing about good scanners is they allow you a great deal of flexibility -- you can shoot any camera from 35mm to 4x5.

    I will say that I used to use the Minolta Scan Multi Pro, and while I think the 646 is better, it is a tie in sheer resolution. The Imacon is much faster, has better color out of the box, better software, and better edge to edge sharpness. It does not scan mounted slides, which can be annoying if you have a lot of them (or want to keep shooting them).

    As for it being practical for high volume work -- well, it was for the entire history of photography before digital. The key now is finding a good lab. There are still some out there. I think Charles is right here -- it is about discretion and reading your negatives -- you don't need to print all of them. Just the ones that are really worth it.

    One good way to proof if you don't have a flatbed is to just use a digital camera to photograph the negatives on a lightbox. Just put them in a print-file sheet etc. Once you photograph them, invert them in photoshop, convert to black and white, and voila, digital contact sheet.
    Stuart, if you're talking about 35mm, there's a Flextight holder for mounted slides. I have one. You set the receiving tray up to the 90 angle to use it. Very easy to pop in a slide, scan, pop it out and put in another.

    -Marc

  30. #30
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Reykjavik, Iceland
    Posts
    2,310
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    9

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Thanks Marc, but I am pretty certain that only works for the 848 and 949.
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
    My lab is here: http://www.customphotolab.is and on facebook

  31. #31
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Royal Oak, MI and Palm Harbor, FL
    Posts
    8,498
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    44

    Re: Is film practical for higher volume work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    Thanks Marc, but I am pretty certain that only works for the 848 and 949.
    Yes, you are correct.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •