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Thread: Is it worth shooting in B+W?

  1. #51
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    Re: Is it worth shooting in B+W?

    Lovely shots! I particularly like the first one. Great tones...that is what I find most difficult to replicate on digital, it is more than just the characteristic curve..it really resists convincing replication.
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    Re: Is it worth shooting in B+W?

    Quote Originally Posted by pfigen View Post
    "That is my problem. I "properly" underexposed the K-14 slides and they look great to the eye, but the scanner can't seem to punch through them. I'll work on it some more."

    K14 Kodachromes can have a real d-max of up to 3.8 and your scanner only can capture about 2.8 d-max, so it's no wonder you're losing the bottom three or four stops of detail on your scans. The ONLY way to scan Kodachrome is with a sensor that can record all the way down to a 3.8 or higher d-max and that, of course, means a photomultiplier tube and a drum scanner. There simply is no CCD scanner, no matter what the claims, that can scan anything above about a 3.0 d-max, even the much applauded Imacon.

    I tried Dwaye's K-14 scanning...useless at under 2mp.

    I ended up shooting them with my 12mp APS DSLR using a slide duplicator with decent results. I tried shooting them on my digital back, but couldn't get the image sharp for some reason.

    I'm going to try sending some to Scancafe to see how they do as well.

    Greg

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    Re: Is it worth shooting in B+W?

    I can't remember what scanner scancafe uses (I did call them once) but it's not a drum scanner, so you're going to run into the limitations of every ccd device - not being able to see into the shadow - about two f/stops worth compared to a vacuum tube sensor.

  4. #54
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    Re: Is it worth shooting in B+W?

    If you mean as opposed to color and covert in pp..Yes, Yes, Yes. imho opinion of course

    Regards.
    Last edited by rayyan; 6th April 2010 at 00:24. Reason: oops!

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    Re: Is it worth shooting in B+W?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    Thanks ReeRay. Well, I tend to try to get exposure spot on and then control things in processing. A lot of people try to overexpose and then underdevelop, as the less time film is in the developer, the finer the grain. But overall I think you have the nicest negatives if you expose properly and give a full development using the right chemical. If you are worried about contrast, I find using a semi-compensating or compensating developer to be a good choice. If you are not careful, they can compress the tonal range, but in scanning this can actually be useful in getting a full dynamic range that the scanner can use.

    Examples of compensating developers would be highly diluted rodinal (1:50 or greater, but seeing more of an effect at 1:100), diafine, diluted FX-39 or Xtol and so on. Basically you just want fairly low quantities of developer and fairly low agitation -- this allows the developer to exhaust at the highlights...highlights develop more quickly than the shadows, so a compensating developer evens things out by making the highlights slow down (they run out of "juice") while the shadows keep developing. This gives you good shadow detail without blowing your highlights.
    Just picking this up again.

    I'm limited with developer over here and shipping in chemicals these days is nigh on impossible. However, there are a few sources.

    I intend to use Acros 120 mainly and subsequently scan it on my Minolta Multi Pro. On this basis I wonder which developer you would recommend from this listing http://www.procolorlab.com/chaemical_1.html

    Thanks in advance

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    Re: Is it worth shooting in B+W?

    Of those chemicals, DD-X is probably the best choice. I can't read the site, but I am guessing it is also the most expensive as well...it is a very good developer though. If you don't want that, Ilfotec HC is probably your next best choice. Most of those other ones are paper developers though, not film developers. But anyway, Acros is quite a flexible film, so either should develop it rather well.
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
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    Re: Is it worth shooting in B+W?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    Of those chemicals, DD-X is probably the best choice. I can't read the site, but I am guessing it is also the most expensive as well...it is a very good developer though. If you don't want that, Ilfotec HC is probably your next best choice. Most of those other ones are paper developers though, not film developers. But anyway, Acros is quite a flexible film, so either should develop it rather well.
    Thank you so much for that - really appreciate your advices.

    The DD-X is actually half the price of the Ilfotec HC i.e. $20 which I guess is OK.

    Once again many thanks

  8. #58
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    Re: Is it worth shooting in B+W?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    Thanks Scott, glad you liked them!

    Greg -- Well, this is good news in a way. Your film should not look like this, so if things are fixed, you should be able to get good results. I am not sure exactly what is wrong here, but part of it may be sharpening in the scanner. When scanning, you want to make sure that all the sharpening in the scanner program is turned off. Scanners do not sharpen well, certainly not as well as photoshop. So it is best to turn off all processing tools that the scanner software may have.

    Try to scan as flat as possible, while still setting the black and white points at the edge of usable information. (i.e. don't set the black and white points at 0 and 255 if the information only starts at 25 and stops at 215, but don't clip black and whites yet...you can do that in photoshop). Make sure that all dust and scratches programs and ICE are off with black and white film -- the silver clumps can interfere with the IR beam, and lead to weird effects.

    Another possibility here is that your films have been reticulated. This can occur when there are large temperature changes during processing. It has the effect of exaggerated grain in subtle cases and an actual cracked appearance in extreme cases. What happens is the emulsion of the film swells and becomes very delicate when it is wet. If the temperature changes a lot (say 10 degrees or more) rapidly, it can rapidly shrink the film base, thereby cracking the emulsion. An easy way to do this would be to process your film at a normal temperature (or even a warmer than normal temperature) and then wash it straight from the cold water tap. Depending on where you live, this can be much colder. For example, I process at 68 degrees, but the cold water from my tap is around 50 degrees. If I were to wash my film in the cold water, direct from processing, it would result in reticulation.

    http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/p...ingerrors.html
    This page is a good reference of black and white processing problems.

    I have a feeling it is probably more the scanning technique than the negative though. If you have a microscope or strong loupe, you might be able to verify if the negative is finely grained. A better thing to do would be to find a friend or lab that you know does good black and white scans, and see if when they scan your neg, that the results are good.

    Finally, the easiest thing to do is probably just to go to your lab and say and tell them you are concerned that the negs might be processed improperly, and would like them to tell you how they process (what chemicals etc) and if they have a scanner or system where they can verify that they are done correctly. If you are using a professional lab, they should have no problem doing this. Just don't make it accusatory and they shouldn't have a problem with it.
    I also feel that the problem here is reticulation. Try adjusting the temperature of the developer, fixer and wash water to fairly close limits. Also scanners can give peculiar effects with grain and lose much resolution. I would recommend going all analogue. The effect is a revelation - similar to the effect on me when a tutor at College prepared some prints using a 15" x 12" plate camera - mind blowing, you look at the most expensive 35 mm camera with a jaundiced eye!

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    Take a look here and then tell me

    http://www.younggalleryphoto.com/pho...dt/brandt.html

    Some really nice stuff amongst it shot on Pentax 6x7 55, 105 and 200 mm lenses

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    Re: Take a look here and then tell me

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidL View Post
    http://www.younggalleryphoto.com/pho...dt/brandt.html

    Some really nice stuff amongst it shot on Pentax 6x7 55, 105 and 200 mm lenses
    "really nice stuff" is an understatement. absolutely phenomenal work!

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    Re: Is it worth shooting in B+W?

    Quote Originally Posted by Francois_A View Post
    ...With the use of RGB filters, colour photography is possible from exposing three B&W negatives, scanning the contact prints and importing the resulting images as RGB layers in Photoshop.

    The point I am trying to make is that not only to ULF produces beautiful images when contact printed (especially on chloride paper like Azo), but they can be used also in a digital workflow.
    Two very good points, the first I am investigating as part of my practicum in one of the coming semesters, should be "interesting" to say the least. Ideally, I'll be printing tricolor gum from in camera separations. That should be out of the mainstream enough to satisfy my advisor.

    The second point is one that is most interesting, my initial experiments with a 16x20 dupe I made from a 4x5 negative and scanned on my Lino Opal Ultra (12"x17") lead to to conclude that when done well, it's impossible to see anything but a single image, but there's so many "oh crap" possibilities, even using photomerge, that it's not as easy or simple as some would make it out to be. Granted, my expectations are higher than most, and attention to detail in the scanning phase eliminate most of the potential issues, but there's the potential for lots of errors to creep in if you're less than exacting.

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    Re: Is it worth shooting in B+W?

    Quote Originally Posted by pfigen View Post
    "That is my problem. I "properly" underexposed the K-14 slides and they look great to the eye, but the scanner can't seem to punch through them. I'll work on it some more."

    K14 Kodachromes can have a real d-max of up to 3.8 and your scanner only can capture about 2.8 d-max, so it's no wonder you're losing the bottom three or four stops of detail on your scans. The ONLY way to scan Kodachrome is with a sensor that can record all the way down to a 3.8 or higher d-max and that, of course, means a photomultiplier tube and a drum scanner. There simply is no CCD scanner, no matter what the claims, that can scan anything above about a 3.0 d-max, even the much applauded Imacon.

    "But maybe I'm more picky now."

    Undoubtedly. That's a good thing.
    In my experience, outside of contemporary scanners, the mainstay "pro" scanners of several years ago were pretty good, My Umax Powerlook III can reliably scan a dmax of around 3.0 (specced at around 3.8) and the Opal Ultra can do just a tad better. It's important to remember that they were designed to scan comps of E6 product work, typically lit rather flatly (due to repro dynamic range limitations) and detail in the deepest, darkest areas really didn't matter for an FPO comp.

    Those limitations not withstanding, I've tried newer, consumer grade scanners and quite frankly, idiosycrasies aside (SCSI interface, size, less than intuitive software), I still get a better image from my older flatbeds than anything newer (at least in my price range). You have to work harder to get it, but the latent capabilities are there if you're willing to optimize your workflow. The transparency adapters need some modifications (such as a fastidious cleaning of the optical chain, matte scotch tape diffusor added to the light source, critical mechanical adjustment of the focal plane, sealing the cal strip so oil can't infiltrate it when wet scanning, etc.) but can get you 95+% of the way there.

    for B&W scans, I find Vuescan's multipass and the ability to lock exposure settings invaluable, especially when scanning numerous negatives all shot at the same time and processed similarly. with some scotch tape stops, I can scan lots of 4x5 negatives fairly quickly dry mounted, and then if I find an image that warrants the "full treatment", I can take it and wet mount, multipass scan and get as good an image had I sent it out for a drum scan. Granted, I shoot about 75% B&W, about 20% C41 and only occaisionally venture into E6 land, and primarily Xprocessed at that.

    For smaller formats, I find that unless I need something very critically done, I can use my Beseler Dual Mode Slide Duplicator and a Kodak SLR/N and get very good quality scans ( up to 10x15) very quickly. If need be, I have the Frontier at the studio, though this time of year a few blocks walk seems like torture.

  13. #63
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    Re: Is it worth shooting in B+W?

    I think it's worth it. It looks different, in many cases very different and in other cases quite similar. You can usually linearize, crank up the contrast and clip the shoulders and toes to make B&W film look like a digital conversion, but doing so discards its inherent charms. The other part, equally important IMO, is that there's something inherently pleasant and meditative about developing and working with a tangible piece of film.

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    Re: Is it worth shooting in B+W?

    Quote Originally Posted by pfigen View Post
    I scanned a couple of old RZ Plus-X frames of Utah Phillips this afternoon and was thinking just how sad it would be if we couldn't get film anymore.
    Really nice tonality and contrast. Did you do any post-processing to these images (PS or any other software)?

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