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Thursday, 19 February 2009

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Holy Purple Cow!

Now if that isn't exciting, then I don't know what is.

I wonder what is Kodak thinking this year, as I seem to recall rather hefty anti-film attitudes in last couple of years...

Wow, neat. An announcement about film for a change.

Woooohoooo! Now make it in 8x10!

Now here's a silly quesion: would this be a good choice to use with my Holga? (After all, what's the point of being picky about sharpness and grain if you're running it through a Holga?

Outstanding. Here's hoping 4x5 is next.

Why aren't comments dancing in the street over this one? Medium format, film, jeez it's the return of the Jedi. We're saved lol.


More seriously, this has to be good news for film photographers, isn't it?

Photonet have been debating the merits of film scanning, and while hardly a cutting edge solution it does have its merits, especially in medium format. With medium format digital even more out of reach of the average photographer than film ever was, scanning 120 film is an excellent compromise. The cameras are cheaper than ever and the latest flatbed scanners will easily cope with all film formats. True the workflow is more convoluted than simply downloading a file, but you get full 16bit colour resolution and all the benefits of using a medium format camera. In 35mm scanning might not produce a dramatically better image, but again a very affordable way of getting a full frame “sensor” with an extended dynamic range.

Well, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named coughKenRockwellcough really likes these guys to develop and scan in one shot:

http://www.northcoastphoto.com/Ken_Rockwell_Scans.pdf

Note that they even have a "Ken Rockwell Faq"

The main problem with medium format scanning is the almost total lack of machines available to do the work. I shoot all of my personal work with 120 film and scan with a Microtek 120tf which is sadly no longer in production. It's a great machine with a soft light source and great optics that scans 16 bit at 4000 ppi and comes with Silverfast software bundled with it.

The Nikon 9000 is rarely available anywhere, and has its issues, namely the light source and the software. The Imacons are great in terms of dynamic range, but only scan up to 3200 ppi and are only affordable if you scan for money or are wealthy.

Scanning on a flat bed defeats the purpose of shooting medium format as you lose a tremendous amount of detail and sharpness, no matter what anyone says about their $400.00 wonder. There is a difference, and it's clear once you see it. Especially when it comes to scan times alone, at 16 bit 4000 ppi it takes me about 7 minutes for a scan, on my flat bed it takes about 30 or more minutes for a scan at 2400 ppi, with all of the acronyms turned off, and at 8 bits per channel.

No matter what, if you shoot for a living, you will need very patient clients who are willing to wait for film to be processed and scanned. All in all though, this is a good sign, film is not dead, yet.

I had been contemplating selling my texas leica (fuji gw690ii), but I think I'll put the sale on hold!

Woooooooohooooooooooooooo!

KeithB

FWIW, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named coughKenRockwellcough just recently discovered the existence of a small camera company named Leica and also likes to take his stuff to Costco. ;~)

Chris

Don't shoot color film normally, but with all the excitement I'll have to get a couple of rolls and try it out. The Yashica TLR will be fine, I think, but my ancient Voigtländer was made before color film and will probably have some interesting CA effects.

I'ma ordering some of this for my brother's wedding . . .

"...but my ancient Voigtländer was made before color film and will probably have some interesting CA effects."

Janne - This is totally off-topic (sorry Mike) but I'm curious. Wouldn't CA create fuzziness and luminance issues at edges on B&W film? So wouldn't lenses from the "only-B & W" days still be corrected for CA? Or was the correction there, but different, since different colors would have the same brightness on the B&W film?

Very interesting timing in light of the recent Fuji/Voightlander MF folder.

Does anyone here share my mixed feelings about Ektar 100's color palette? It seems like a bad post-digital era compromise by Kodak to me, a little too exaggerated and posterish for some colors but not at all for other colors. A long way from Portra, for sure, but my point is that the colors are pumped up, but in a wierdly uneven way over the spectrum. Maybe its just me...

"The main problem with medium format scanning is the almost total lack of machines available to do the work."

Yes, if Kodak is listening: build and market a better, cheaper scanner. Duh.

I don't quite like the colors of the new Ektar film either, it seems like Kodak just looked at what people seemed to like, and try and trumph that. (i.e. Velvia 50)

"Wouldn't CA create fuzziness and luminance issues at edges on B&W film?"

I wouldn't be surprised. The Voigtländer isn't exactly the apex of sharpness and detail in BW either. I've seen claims that these old folders generally struggle to reach 30 line pairs/mm even stopped down, and I have no trouble believing it.

On the other hand, with a 6x9cm negative even that old camera still gives me all the resolution and detail I'd ever want. I don't use MF for the high resolution anyhow so I don't really mind.

Mike, 30 minutes for an MF scan on a flatbed? That's one very slow flatbed scanner.

Well I'm very happy about this. I may never use this film as I prefer Fuji 160C and Ilford XP2, but anything that keeps film viable has got to be a good thing.

I am one of those people who has gone back to medium format film and then scanning. I'm getting 240Mb 16 Bit TIFFs and its far cheaper than buying a digital back (assuming that the bank would want to lend me the money). I've also decided against paying my Canon Mp tax by upgrading my DSLR this year on the basis of this. Most of the work I do at the moment is not time critical so my workflow can afford to be a little extended.

I'm looking forward to shooting Ektar 100 this spring with my Mamiya 7.

I have a Nikon Coolscan 9000 which I'm pretty happy with. I've seen good results with wet mounting on the Epson 750. I'm going to purchase a wet mount kit for the 9000 too as the examples I've seen get you into drum scan territory.

So there are options for scanning MF, but they are indeed limited.

The Nikon scanning software isn't bad once you learn its quirks but the color workflow is pretty bad and color correction is a bit of a pia. If only Silverfast were a little cheaper.

Anyhow, the sharpness of Ektar 100 on MF should be interesting.

Hey film is the only segment Kodak has profits last quarter, so it well should put more resources here.

I have shot a few rolls of this film in 35mm format, all picked up at Photokina last fall. Here are some 100% crops from a 4000ppi scan:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1018&message=31112475

Mike Peters,

The Polaroid scanner in no way holds up against a good Imacon or Tango Drum Scan.

Its not relevant to compare them or to dismiss those that choose to use EPSON scanners. Us Epson users realize they are a compromise. Of course for our most prized work most of us achieve levels of detail not possible with your Polaroid by having our film professionally scanned. Drum scans enable one to print much larger than any Polaroid/Nikon scanner would allow. They are expensive but if you exhibit your work they are worth it.

Considering a flatbed Espon v500 runs around 150 dollars its a good compromise for images that will be printed small or for web use. Why someone would dish out over 2 grand for the Nikon knowing their images will suffer from loss of detail in a 20x24 print is beyond me.

To realize the full potential of your medium format film your definitely compromising if your only going halfway with an outdated Polaroid film scanner that will not allow the print sizes attainable with a Drum Scan. Why would you shoot medium format in the first place? if only to compromise with a sub par Print from one of these less than stellar consumer film scanners?

Regarding North Coast Photo (referenced in an earlier comment), I have not been impressed with the two rolls I sent for development+scanning.

All scans had a smudge line across the center of the image (not present on the negatives). When I called to ask for a refund, the employee said that they'll just re-scan for free. But I'm not paying two-way postage again just to fix THEIR problem.

I recommend against.

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