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[filmscanners] Re: Black and white scans on LS4000EDandotherissues
I have a lot of respect for the knowledge of Austin and Art but I recommend
you do read the references from Brian, which support my experience.
Cold light heads have gotten a lot of hype over time because people like
Ansel Adams spoke highly of them. The Howard bond articles explains nicely
how Ansel may have come upon his conclusions. My own experience (as a custom
printer) was that the two light sources do have a contrast difference, but
by matching the proper neg to the light source will give you the best print,
but no light source is capable of giving a better print than the other, in
and of, itself. That the two gave different contrast was useful in the old
days, before variable contrast papers were around, or any good, such that if
you were having a hard time getting a neg to fall right on either of two
grades of paper, switching light sources could sometimes split the
difference to good effect.
I had bought a cold light hoping to improve my condenser prints--It didn't
work. In the end I preferred to print the brunt of my stuff with the
condenser head for ease of use, which in my case meant ease of switching
variable contrast filters, and the ability to change between bulb wattages,
allowing me to more easily print at a prime lens apertures, at comfortable
exposure times, regardless of negative density. Others may have ease of use
issues which would favor the cold light. But ease of use is different than
What I saw in my travels was most fine art darkroom workers used coldlight
heads (Ansel wannabies?) while most commercial labs (including those
specializing in exhibition printing, like the one I worked at) used
condensers, even though we had coldlights on hand. Just keep in mind that a
reasonably large percentage of fine art work *is* printed by labs. All I can
say is go to galleries and museums, look at the great prints and ask
yourself if you can tell which were made by each light source. If you ever
have the opportunity to check your guess, like by speaking to the artist at
an opening, I'll bet you'd be wrong as often as right, because there just is
is no qualitative difference.
Quantitative yes, qualitative, no. It's like saying which hammer is better,
a 16oz or a 12oz? Well, it depends on the size of the nail you're trying to
drive, the size of your hand, your nailing experience, the type of wood
you're going into...
BTW, I'm also not getting into this to start a war, just trying to save you
a few bucks. Just get one light source, get good with it, and use it up.
Plus, since you're on this list, you'll probably be digitally printing
before long anyway.
> I'm sorry if my reference to "someone like Art" has upset you; it was not
> intended to do so - quite the opposite in fact, as it was really a
> compliment to your experience and knowledge. I said it to Brian to contrast
> my relative inexperience in serious photography with people like you and
> Brian who obviously have far more experience than I do. But one of the main
> things you learn in becoming a scientist is to question everything. That is
> not to say that I think that you are wrong in your statements about the
> relative merits of diffuse and collimated light sources in scanners - you
> may well be right (and Austin says you are), but I want to know why it works
> the way you both say it does. So I will read and re-read your comments, and
> those of Austin and Brian, and follow up Brian's references (and any that
> you may have that throws further light - collimated of course - on the
> Respectfully yours,
> Bob Frost.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Arthur Entlich" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Oh, so I've become the "someone like" reference now, eh?
> If you think my intent here is to mislead or just give uneducated
> opinions with no forethought or research, just ignore them. I have
> found that the vast majority of people who have followed my advice in
> regard to scanner decisions have been expressed to me that they were
> better off for it, but I can't provide you with scientific evidence of
> that, sorry.
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