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[filmscanners] Re: Scanning negs vs. slides

On Wed, 17 Apr 2002 10:59:55 +1000  Julian Robinson (jrobinso@pcug.org.au)

> because you scan it as you see it i.e. the final image contrast is
> roughly
> what is on the slide.

Yes, I agree, and if that suits your way of working, then slide is the
better material for you. Because I mostly shoot in uncontrolled lighting,
often with appalling contrast range and mixed lighting colour, I prefer to
make those decisions later, from neg.

> With a neg, the final image contrast is much
> greater
> than the limited density range you have on the neg, so you have to expand
> that limited range of density to get your contrast, and in the process
> you
> also expand the visibility of  the grain.

No disagreement from me about this either. If you shoot colour neg in flat,
dull light and want to adjust the scan to mimic the punch and contrast of
slide, this could be a problem. It's just a problem I almost never run
into, mostly there is far more scene contrast than is going to fit on
tranny and whatever I throw away will look wrong.

This problem got worse for me when Fuji removed the original, very
adaptable RDP emulsion, and introduced RDP2 which was much less tolerant.
Then they did it again with Provia, another notch higher contrast, and
quite awful in the wrong light. I found I was carrying at least 4 tranny
films to cope with different conditions, and never had the right one in the
camera. The mfrs seem to have deliberately diversified their ranges into
umpteen specialised films, none of which is much use as general purpose -
except our wonderful old friend Kodachrome.

This could so easily become a religious issue, that one is better than the
other, but I think it just comes down to practicalities. For me, mostly,
neg is the only sane choice. If I was shooting landscapes, could wait
around for the right light, had time to bracket, then I'd likely choose
tranny, because there is something qualitatively rather wonderful about it.

But... English weather, people who won't stay still, take-what-you're-given
lighting that can be midday sunshine, winter overcast, fluorescents, window
light or candles... neg is a miracle of flexibility when combined with


Tony Sleep
http://www.halftone.co.uk - Online portfolio & exhibit; + film scanner info
& comparisons
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