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Re: filmscanners: Filmscanning vs. Flatbedding

Lynn Allen wrote:

> For the last several days I've been "going back to my roots" vis a vis
> archiving; scanning old prints again, instead of old negs or slides.
> Although I've read Tony's and others' comments on the differences in dynamic
> range etc., I'd never really noticed it so much before. Like, with flat
> scanning, grain-aliasing isn't much of an issue, dust is removeable with a
> Kleenex :-), and it's pretty easy to see if the scanner is seeing what
> *you're* seeing and reporting it fairly.
> But after a few flatscans, I found myself comparing them in my mind to what
> I've been getting on filmscans, thinking things like, "Good Lord, these
> photos are faded!", "Why on earth did they print it *that* way?" and "Where
> the h*ll did all the *colors* go?"
> That's about when it struck me that there's a very good reason why some of
> us used to or now have darkrooms--our better chance to control the outcome.
> Years ago it was OK with me to the let the local shop dictate how "good" my
> pictures were. Now, when I see the difference between prints they made 30-40
> years ago and the ones I made last week, I'm starting to think, "Hey, this
> filmscanning stuff might just catch on!"  :-)
> Best regards--LRA

Some good comments, especially in the apparent lull in postings here.  I 
guess everyone is either licking their wounds from taxes, stock market 
losses, or Baby Bush's latest pronouncements ;-)  Or maybe they are all 
out enjoying the period of relatively universal (multi hemispherically 
speaking) nice weather, and burning lots of film or memory sticks or 

I've often thought of how many potential serious amateur photographers 
gave up their pursuit due to "encounters of the third bad lab kinds". 
My brother was convinced, for instance, that it was impossible to get an 
in focus, properly color balanced image indoors with his camera, until I 
went with him to several labs and "made" them redo the prints until they 
were both in focus and color balanced (these were from negs).  Of 
course, that was also the last time he got results like that, 
unfortunately, but now he knows it isn't the film, the camera or the 
lighting that's at fault.

I've saved a number of "serious amateurs" from tossing their cameras and 
their hobby down the toilet by intervening.  Today, I usually just scan 
the neg or slide and print via inkjet for them to show them what a 
little color balancing can do.

Locally, we are lucky that one of the "drug store" chains here has 
always taken photography as an income generator they do not want to 
lose.  They get it pretty close most of the time, and offer redos with a 
smile.  They have labs in each store, and in fact, last year invested in 
Fuji digital one hour labs which really do allow for the lab to "fix" 
some photo errors, all for the basic 35 or so cents (CAN) per print... 
these new Fuji labs analyze and correct for things like backlighting, 
can sharpen, etc.  The stuff is still printed on Fuji archival 
photopaper, too.

Of course, the human element is still there.  Last week, my wife had all 
her prints from slides printed backwards, and we still have to make sure 
to explain that slides have mounts which allow them to not need to be 
held by the film part, and that as nicely as the digital lab is about 
diminishing the visibility of scratches, I'd prefer not to have them on 
our film. ;-)

Anyway, the right lab (even a mass, consumer one) today can make pretty 
good prints, with the correct attitude on the part of the company that 
runs it.

PS: Even a non-digital lab can make good prints with the right 
personnel.  The lab I ran back in 1980 had a one hour machine that with 
proper use produced very nice results.



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