Scanning 35mm negatives?? FRUSTRATION
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Old 11-28-2014   #1
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Default Scanning 35mm negatives?? FRUSTRATION

I first started shooting in 1979. Had a sweet little Fujica 35mm

Fast forward to now and I have been shooting great digital gear for a long long time. I have grown to enjoy the latitude of Camera Raw files.

I just picked up a new to me Pentax LX and shot a roll of film. I took it to a local shop for developing and to make a DVD of the images.

The Gave me 500k sized 72 DPI images. WTF? Useless. no latitude in post processing at all. Is that seriously the best commercial scanners can do?

What sort of images size/resolution is reasonable to expect?

Thanks

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Old 11-28-2014   #2
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Default Re: Scanning 35mm negatives?? FRUSTRATION

What you got was unusual for the processing industry. You should expect no less than 2400 x 3600 pixels from any commercial service that offers 35 mm neg or slide film processing. Most have the option to output jpg and tiff. You can go to a professional lab and even get drum scanning which produces super hi res scans. However drum scans can cost up to $25 per frame.
If you are going to be shooting lots of film and / or have old film you want to digitize, it might be worth it for you to purchase a dedicated film & neg scanner and scan your own.
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Old 11-28-2014   #3
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Default Re: Scanning 35mm negatives?? FRUSTRATION

I have seen lo-res CDs offered for a very modest price - if you want proper scanned images, you need to pay more. Maybe that's what happened here.
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Old 11-29-2014   #4
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Default Re: Scanning 35mm negatives?? FRUSTRATION

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Originally Posted by zemlin View Post
I have seen lo-res CDs offered for a very modest price - if you want proper scanned images, you need to pay more. Maybe that's what happened here.
Yes when I went back and complained they told me if I paid more they would give me useful files instead of useless crap.

Its just a out put setting. Two maybe three mouse clicks to change. Screw them. I found a place on line that does it WAY cheaper and provides huge useful resolution files.

For that matter 300 dollars will buy you a scanner that will scan at 10,000 x 10,000 pixels. Allowing huge poster style prints at 300 DPI.

Bottom line is I paid top dollar for crappy web size files at 72 DPI.
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Old 12-03-2014   #5
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Default Re: Scanning 35mm negatives?? FRUSTRATION

Don't get misled by the DPI resolution claims of cheap film scanners, or you are in for a surprise. Even advanced amateur film scanners like the Epson V700/V750 rarely give you more than 2000 real DPI. Only with expensive, professional scanners you will exploit the full resolution modern film can give you.

I recommend the following:
  • Treat the CD this lab gave you as index prints, ready for directly posting to social media sites or for determining frames that warrant more attention. If you are inexperienced with film and/or like to experiment, your keeper rate will be low and this may still be the cheapest option.
  • Scanning labs charge you for resolution, but also for bit depth. A 6000x4000 pixel sized JPEG image is worthless if you want to change tonality or color balance. In such a case you may be better served with a 1500x1000 16 bit TIFF image. Modern color negative film has huge latitude and dynamic range, and 16 bit depth can be well worth it.
  • Unlike most analog equipment, decent old film scanners have gone up in price compared to their original prices. Yes, this sounds crazy, but don't expect bargains here, and offers that sound too good to believe most likely are.
  • Scanning film yourself (including the necessary post processing) is a lot of hassle, and not considered great fun by most who do it. If you only shoot the occasional roll for fun, you may be better off leaving that kind of work to a lab. Be careful which lab you choose, I once handed three rolls to some bozo lab which then gave all three rolls a massive scratch over the whole roll, and when I alerted them to this all I got were shrugs and dumb grins.
For my own work (I'm amateur/hobbyist and purely analog) I use a decent flat bed scanner which gives me barely acceptable results with 35mm film, and quite decent results with medium format film. For the few shots that I needed to enlarge beyond screen size, I went to a professional scan lab which gave me very nice results.
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Old 12-03-2014   #6
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Default Re: Scanning 35mm negatives?? FRUSTRATION

I used this service and really liked their work:

https://www.digmypics.com

Great quality, reasonable price -and NO hassle
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Old 12-03-2014   #7
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Default Re: Scanning 35mm negatives?? FRUSTRATION

Most folks who take their rolls of film to Walmart or Walgreens, CVS, etc. want to pay a small amount and get a CD of pics for Facebook. If you didn't ask what to expect, for what you were going to pay, I would assume that such a CD with 500K files would be expected. Speak up and ask and there will be no surprises.
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Old 12-03-2014   #8
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Default Re: Scanning 35mm negatives?? FRUSTRATION

All good advice and suggestions had some helpful PMs as well.

Yes the issues is the local store front. They gave me that sorry lo-rez CD at first, my bad for not checking.

Went back and asked for Hi-rez Tiffs. The tech did not understand what a tiff was. Paid TWICE as much and got 3000 x 2000 72 DPI 8 bit JPEGS Utterly useless.

So I looked at that Digimypic site recommended here and gave them a call what a difference!

I still think my experiment with film is probably over, The cost of film, development, mailing costs, and scanning costs or the cost of buying a good scanner 300-400 dollars is just two much to end up with images not one single bit better than Digital. In fact to my eye the film grain of even 200 ASA film is worse than digital noise on cheap crop body Digital. Add to that the digital noise introduced by scanning and what do you get for it?

I do not know what to think. I am going to sit on this for a while and mull it over

I feel awful about it. I recently got a hold of two Pentax LX cameras with genuine Pentax M42 adapters that are a PURE joy to use.
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Old 12-03-2014   #9
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Default Re: Scanning 35mm negatives?? FRUSTRATION

At one of my jobs, one of my responsibilities included pulling negatives out of an archive and scanning them for the athletics department. We mostly used an Epson flatbed for convenience, and we had a dedicated Minolta film scanner that required an "ancient" computer to run.

Unfortunately, most of the school sports had been pretty bad since before they switched to shooting slides.

In general, scanning 135 format negatives stinks. Slides are somewhat better.

You can eek out somewhat better results with a drum scan, but I don't think its worth the money unless that frame is special.

Honestly, I don't think scanning anything smaller than 645 is worthwhile. I loved scanning 6x6cm and 4x5" though; it looks good even coming out of a cheap flatbed using the included film holder.

That reminds me, I've still got many rolls of 120 film in the freezer, and an old Kodak Medallist II 6x9 just begging for a CLA and a 120 conversion....
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Old 12-03-2014   #10
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Default Re: Scanning 35mm negatives?? FRUSTRATION

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lens Pirate View Post
......
I do not know what to think. I am going to sit on this for a while and mull it over......
I certainly understand your concerns. I've been doing much pondering, myself.
35mm digital and interpolation seem to do most things but for higher demand work/quality, I believe low ISO, 6x7 Drum scanned, MF film will be the way to go. For me, anyway.


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