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filmscanners: greatpixin,greatpixout

I want to throw this out for open comment and discussion...

I had the chance to speak with a real live lab tech (from Replicolor in
Salt Lake City, they are on the web at www.replicolor.com) this week...
I asked him about his perception of reality when it comes to
filmscanning and getting photographic prints back from digital files...
he made several interesting comments

1. He said his lab uses a Linotype-Hell Topaz flatbed to scan 35mm and
up negs.. he generally goes for a 60Meg fil, which allows him to output
a 9x13 (approx) at 300 dpi... he said that he will use that same size
file to interpolate to get a print up to 20x30 from a 35mm neg... that
it doesn't make any perceivable difference to use a 60 Meg file or a 130
Meg file...

2. He feels that the higher resolution scanners tend to accentuate the
grain... he said that a 2800 dpi scan is optimum for most 35mm work

3.That in his experience, color negative film tends to have a much wider
tonal range than photo color paper is capable of reproducing... We were
discussing my putting a white,gray and black card in the first shot of
each interior view I shoot.. he said the gray and black cards would
help, but to be careful with the white, because the neg film will have
tonal range up into the whites of light fixtures visible in the scene
and that I would be better off to take my white point from the brightest
light...which fits with my experience...

4. he said he prefers to start with the scan in Colormatch RGB space and
keep the image there all the way through final output to his
photographic printer... I am about to run tests with my local labs...
one has a new pro quality Fuji Frontier, another has the digital
Noritsu, and then Replicolor (I forget what type of printer he said they

Anyway, what is becoming obvious to me from my perspective as a pro
shooter of architecture and interiors is that filmscanning is here to
stay, that the best way to use it (for me) is to scan selected shots, do
whatever PShop stuff needs to be done, then have the files output as
photographic prints by the lab (at their machine print price)... with
the Epson output used as proofing and backup... with my client receiving
a CD with scans and a set of real photo prints... Looks like my next
challenge is the fine tune of the calibration (for lab output) and
developing a set of instructions for clients and labs...

Any comments or suggestions?

Mike M.


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