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[filmscanners] Re: Best 35mm slide film?

On 5/15/04 11:21 AM, "Bill Fernandez" <bill_sub@billfernandez.com> wrote:

> Long ago, I used to shoot a lot of landscape and scenic photos on
> 35mm Kodachrome 64.  I'm going to start shooting again, and was
> wondering what people would currently recommend for 35mm slide film,
> and where they recommend getting it processed.  I'll be scanning it
> with a Nikon SC4000ED.

Like you, for years, K64 was my preferred film for landscapes.  Today's
films are less grainy and more vivid in color rendition.  But, to my eyes at
least, those Kodachromes did a better job at capturing a realistic rendition
of the colors in a scene.  I use Velvia 50 a lot now, and it can produce
gorgeous vibrant scenics.  But the results are not the same as what I saw
with my eyes at the site.

I also use a Nikon 4000ED.  When scanning Velvia (50 and 100F), I sometimes
have a problem with very saturated reds.  The reds are apparently clipping
(running out of gamut) somewhere in the scan process, and I get areas of
featureless flat color.  I profiled my scanner (with VueScan and Wolf
Faust's IT8 targets), and that reduced the amount of post-scan color
adjustments that I need to do in Photoshop.  But it did not eliminate the
problem with clipped reds.

The Velvia films are rather high in contrast.  They can give terrific
results with cloudy skies, mornings, afternoons, or in other low-constrast
situations.  Velvia shots in mid-day direct sunlight can be hellishly
contrasty and hard to scan.  In those situations you might be better off
with Astia, or another lower contrast emulsion.  If you start with a lower
contrast film, you may be able to add some "pop" by dialing up the contrast
and/or saturation in an image editor.  But if the image on film, or your
scan of it, starts out clipped or oversaturated, then information is lost,
and you can't get it back.

Bottom line: there is no one "best" slide film for scanning.  It depends on
what you are shooting and what kind of result you are aiming for.  And some
people prefer to scan from negative films, which have their own advantages
and disadvantages.

Julian Vrieslander <julianv@mindspring.com>

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