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Author Topic: Pocket Camera Recommendations  (Read 41922 times)
DarkPenguin
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« Reply #80 on: April 21, 2006, 02:18:36 PM »
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Daniel, thanks, that was a useful initiative.

By the way, what on the map of the US is "The Granola Bar State"?
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Has to be CA.
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61Dynamic
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« Reply #81 on: April 21, 2006, 04:30:35 PM »
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Has to be CA.
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A cigar for the winner!

Yes, good ol' California. It's full of Fruits, Flakes and Nuts.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #82 on: April 21, 2006, 04:43:34 PM »
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That's what makes it such a fun place to visit!
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #83 on: April 26, 2006, 08:11:45 AM »
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Now if only Contax had stayed alive and made a G3, keep everything the same function wise as the G2, just a 1.6X 8-10 megapixel chip, a 2" screen with histogram/highlights preview and an ability to shoot RAW onto CF cards.

I wish!

I was almost on the point today of buying a G2 for street B&W work but I didn't realise that I would be paying the same again on a decent scanner (no point in using contax lenses but scanning sub par, especially as I would want 16X20" prints). I really liked everything about it from the functions to the noise level and the very suprisingly good AF speed, it fits well in my hand and the ability to dial in hyperfocal distance in manual focus which can't be knocked off, while changing to AF and back with the flick of a switch for shooting with wider apertures really impressed me.  

I was in the 2nd hand store looking at a table full of rangefinders looking for something that suited me. I really didn't like the Leicas (M3,M4,M6) for feel as well as the rather limiting shutter speeds (I'm looking for shooting in the Mid East, from experience 1/1000 is often not enough even at f4 during the day time). The Voiglander R2a had the best viewfinder and the IMO the best rangefinder 'square' but the rest of it wasn't so great, the shutter noise was almost the equal to a 20D that I tried next to it for tone and that is not good! The rangefinder I liked the best by a long stretch was the Konica Kexar RF, fit well to hand, super quiet even with the advance and a nice viewfinder. The G2 was on offer for 500 including the 35mm and 90mm in pristine condition for the price of the Konica body alone and given the great contax lenses, the nice AF (I'm not the worlds fastest manual focuser) and everything else it looked to be a sure winner despite being larger.

I was on my way to buy it today when I popped in to look at the prices of higher end film scanners. I've never done any scanning so I had assumed around 250, not twice that amount as it seemed from the Nikon and Minolta models. Once you are paying that amount for the camera, then the scanner, then the film over the next few years, damn it I could buy another 5D.

Film may be dying but possibly due to the heavy marketing at regular consumers and the death of so many companies dealing in this kind of market, the rangefinder niche seems to be passing by with very little if anything to replace it other than consumer P&S cameras with tiny sensors (have you seen the facial tones from those things?) unacceptable shutter lag and AF speed and a host of other annoyances. Yes there is the RD-1 and maybe the digital M may appear but the prices are high, the options far far too few and who knows whether this will just be the dying gasp of the type of compact camera which could be taken anywhere and do most anything. Now it's either DSLR or P&S.

Another point that I've been wondering is if in 5 years from now film will be a viable option economically either even if I were to invest in a decent scanner. Things are moving so fast, huge and groundbreaking changes are rocking the photographic world so often, will it be affordable to shoot B&W or even any film in the future? Will the economic realities make film disappear faster than we imagine whatever the cost to the pros? It's not them funding the film market so it might not be them who can hold it up. Ilford amost died maybe because it wasn't the regular consumer film, even Kodak is closing more factories by the year and they are the consumer film (gold). Would buying a G2 and scanner be silly in light of this? Hmmmm.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2006, 08:12:51 AM by pom » Logged

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« Reply #84 on: April 26, 2006, 08:46:06 AM »
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Pom, I think I am reasonably well-positioned to respond to this, because I am straddling both worlds with legacy colour negatives that I am scanning in a Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400 with Silverfast and doing digital from my Canon 1Ds. Luminous-Landscape has published two articles I wrote recently for this website on scanning colour negative film. You can find them on the website. Each frame takes a good 45 minutes to process from starting the scan to preparing for print, assuming no major complications needing innovative Photoshop technique.

As far as I'm concerned there is no contest period. I won't shoot another frame of film under any normal circumstances I can think of. There is simply NO mileage in it, unles you are one of those types who likes working with larger than 4*5 sheet film and making huge enlargements. The convenience, time saving, image quality control at time of capture and final image quality of digital taken all-together are much better compared with any 35mm camera it is a by-gones discussion. I am using the LUMIX LX-1 with its raw files for my "point and shoot" work. Its Leica lens is superb and the option set it provides remarkable for a camera of this size and price. The whole camera costs less than a decent film scanner and professional software.  Despite all the stuff written about its sensor noise, I'll take it over film grain ANY DAY OF THE WEEK all year long (it's comparatively easy to deal with).
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« Reply #85 on: April 26, 2006, 08:52:52 AM »
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I read both of those articles again last night.

I'm looking to shoot B&W film only, I haven't seen any digital solution which produces B&W which looks as good on paper as B&W printed on real B&W paper however well post processed.

I'm always willing to learn though....

There is also the issue of how I want to use it, I'm looking for a camera with razor sharp lens at f2.8, I want prime lenses that can be set for hyperfocal distances so I can literally put it to my eye and shoot, one that I can set manual shutter/aperture values ranging from fast to slow apertures and a good range of shutter speeds. Maybe more importantly I want it as a non flash/tripod camera which means being able to shoot iso 400/800 with good results. I also very much do not want the DOF of a P&S digital, not by a long stretch.

In other words a camera for street shooting. The choices are a DSLR with a prime lens or two or a film rangefinder. I was thinking of a 10D (it's very quiet) but the WA primes are very limited and the size is not 'unobtrusive' with a 20mm lens on it by any means, an SLR is also less obtrusive by nature, it says 'pro camera' which a rangefinder with it's smaller fotprint and tiny lenses does not.

If there are any digital P&S's with the speed of rangefinder/SLR shooting (there arn't I don't think by a long stretch) offering the option of shallow DOF and good iso 400 with the tonality of at least a 1.6X chip then I'm interested. Otherwise I'm afraid that digital P&S's as they stand at present are not a solution for me.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2006, 09:22:23 AM by pom » Logged

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« Reply #86 on: April 26, 2006, 09:56:09 AM »
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Pom, ah - you didn't say at first it was for B&W only. But still and well, with an Epson 4800 and Crane Silver Rag Museo or some such other of new breeds of papers hitting the market, you can get the old-time paper feel with digital quality processing and control IN BLACK AND WHITE. So from the processing end as far as I've seen and know, it is still no contest. Digital wins.

Your camera requirements are another set of issues though. Two things - one on the processing and one on the camera itself. On processing, at the request of my son-in-law I tried an experiment running a B&W neg through my film scanner just a couple of days ago. I don't know if this is an issue for all scanners - perhaps it is - but the scanning software includes de-masking for colour negatives and there is no setting for B&W negatives - even in Silverfast which is the grand-daddy of all scanning programs in terms of features and tweaks (and price). So if you scan a B&W negative you get a colour cast. It can be removed, but just an extra step in processing. However, apart from that the scanner does scan B&W negatives very well. I was thinking of another experiment - scanning them as positives and then inverting them in Photoshop. That would probably eliminate the masking issue. Haven't taken the time to try it yet. If you're interested, I'll give it a whirl and let you know what happens.

On the camera choice - have you considered a Canon Digital Rebel or 350XT (same thing). Very small camera, quite unobstrusive for a DSLR, can use Canon wide-angles. Gives raw files, can shoot in many modes of your choosing, etc. etc. I've seen very good results out of that model.
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« Reply #87 on: April 26, 2006, 10:06:32 AM »
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Nobody will argue about the convenience of digital. But film is not completely dead yet.

The Zeiss Camera Lens News 24 show what you can achieve with a good lens and the right film (up to 400 lp/mm).

If you look at fotoimpex.us you will see that ultra high resolution films are being reintroduced together with new developers. Put a Planar 45/2.0 or a Biogon 21/2.8 on a G2,  load it with an Imagelink, Gigabit or SPUR Orthopan UR film and - in bright light and with the right developer  - you will have a system that is resolutionwise miles ahead of anything pocketable in the digital world. And ideal for the street and a lot of fun to use.

To me that sounds like the solution Pom was looking for.
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« Reply #88 on: April 26, 2006, 11:01:27 AM »
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After attending the Epson Print Academy last weekend, I took a trip to DisneyLand. Figured it would be a great opportunity to get some solid use out of the LX1.

Naturally, I forgot to bring extra batteries.

It worked out though. I just adapted and kept the camera off only turning it on when an image opportunity presented itself. In most situations, this worked, but pretty much nixed every chance I had for a candid since the focus point resets itself every time the camera comes back on. f/8 at the wide end the DOF can be 2ft to infinity but the camera resets to 15ft to infinity. Although easy to operate, the MF control is not quick.

This camera is gosh-danged determined to use shutter speeds that aren't hand-holdable. I was hoping to use it in full auto mode for quick snaps but it would constantly go to 1/4 or less instead of opening up the aperture more of upping the ISO slightly. I'd constantly run into situations where the exposure end up being things like ISO80, f/4.5 1/2. Obnoxious to say the least. Every image where I tried to use this camera as a P&S, it failed miserably giving me fuzzy shots (from shake mostly but occasionally it would grossly mis-focus). I had IS on all the time so it may just be a case of Panasonic being too confident in their stabilization tech. I'll have to test this out with IS off.

Despite the issues, I'm keeping the camera. I just can't get over how much detail is captured by this little thing and the raw files stand up to a good amount of adjustment.
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« Reply #89 on: April 26, 2006, 11:42:46 AM »
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My experience has been quite different, but I am using the camera differently. firstly for flash, I use it in Program mode. In this mode, the camera opens the aperture as wide as possible and cranks the shutter speed down to what it needs for correct exposure, so depending on your distance, the shutter speeds will be lower or higher the further or closer the camera is to the subject respectively. For non-flash work I use aperture priority. I keep the aperture about two stops in from widest, as the recommended rule-of-thumb for optimal lens performance. Doing that, the shutter speed reacts correctly to obtain proper exposure. In reasonably bright conditions it is shooting at 400th or 500th (using ISO 80). In very bright conditions I would need to stop-down.

I agree on the results - the raw files are good to work with and the detail is impressive.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #90 on: April 26, 2006, 12:50:11 PM »
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I have a friend who has the latest minolta scanner, I think it's time I went down there with a strip of iso 400 B&W and saw for myself the limitations, could well decide the issue for me.
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« Reply #91 on: April 26, 2006, 01:26:10 PM »
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I have a friend who has the latest minolta scanner, I think it's time I went down there with a strip of iso 400 B&W and saw for myself the limitations, could well decide the issue for me.
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Pom, maybe yes maybe no. Knowing the Minolta scanner as I do, what you will see from a 400 ASA negative, apart from all the image detail, is lots of grain. The Minolta 5400 scrapes every bit of detail off your negatives including the grain. Then you need to use a grain reduction program (I think Neat Image is the best for this) very judiciously to mitigate the grain without destroying essential detail. This is where alot of time gets consumed fine tuning the grain reduction, but is critical to successful results.

However, several posts back "diuser" mentioned a combination of film and developer that he says will produce very fine resolution (I assume by that he also means extremely fine grain). With that kind of material to start with, at least the grain aspect of the scanning issue would be mitigated from the get-go. But you are still left with the rest of the process.

So by all means, good to get a feel for the scanning process with your 400 ASA strip - but it may not be determinative if you can use much finer grain film material. I guess a qualification, however, is what the ASA would be of those very high resolution materials - "disuser" didn't say, but the info may be somewhere on the net. If you are doing street photography, you may want at least 100 ASA.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #92 on: April 26, 2006, 02:56:00 PM »
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I would want iso 400 if only for shooting indoors or under shade, the contrast range between the shadows and highlights in the mid east on a regular street are another reason why neg film would be preferrable, it's bad enough on your eyes which take a while to adjust, nevermind on film. If I'm exposing for those shadows I want the medium to hold the highlights as well, or at least better than the current digital cameras can do short of using fill flash which isn't really condusive to street work. Having shot for a while with the 1Ds and 5D I know what they can hold in the highlights when exposing for the shadows and it just isn't enough not to be a royal pain in the behind during post processing given the contrast range.

I know the problem of scanning neg film vis a vis grain. It is an issue and was even with the Delta 100 scanned from my 645 negs on an Imacon 868 for 10X12" prints. The question is whether it is controllable and maybe more importantly, is it so objectionable on a B&W print as opposed to colour.

My plan is when I move back there in a year and a half (I came back to the UK for 5 years) to start a project documenting the streets of Jerusalem in B&W trying to merge modern Jerusalem within the ancient feel of that incredible city. The idea is to shoot for a couple of major exhibitions of 'Jerusalem in the new Century' and hopefully a book as well. There is a lot of 'touristy' type shots of Jerusalem, a lot of cliched work, but very little serious work that I have seen documenting the city in this way and concentrating on the timeless aspect of it.

For the exhibitions I would have no problem having hand prints made under my direction but for the rest of it I would like to scan and work the files myself.

I won't be able to dedicate any full time work to it, not when trying to earn a living as a wedding photographer, but I hope to have enough material after 2 years of just walking the streets which I know like the back of my hand with a camera round my neck to fulfill my ideal.

Israelis are extremely camera conscious in a 'let me pose for you' way and shooting with anything like an SLR even a small one, is bound to encite comments and 'make way for the professional' etc. An old looking rangefinder that doesn't even look like a digital camera would probably be the easiest way to go though you would still need to be very fast to be unobtrusive, especially in the ultra religious areas. The best thing in fact is to look like a tourist, there are no shortage of them and unless they are shooting digital (can I see?!) you are more likely to be ignored.

Tell me something, how are negs being scanned for books, postcards, posters, etc. Is it just a lot of post processing work? Are they scanning prints? How are they controlling the grain or are they just not? What is the industry using for scanning negs both colour and B&W or are they doing the same as you as detailed in your article? For every book published showcasing B&W work from film are drum scanners being used?
« Last Edit: April 26, 2006, 03:15:16 PM by pom » Logged

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« Reply #93 on: April 26, 2006, 03:25:23 PM »
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pom, sounds like a fabulous project, and all the more reason to focus heavily on what will be the best technical fix for the conditions - it isn't an opportunity that comes easy or often. I think with judicious use of a program like Neat Image you can manage the grain. You should test it when you take your negs to your friend's place for a trial. If he/she has Neat Image that would be ideal for you. I'm going to play around with a couple of B&W negs I have from the old days and see what happens. I'll let you know.
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« Reply #94 on: April 26, 2006, 05:59:49 PM »
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much appreciated.

I've never developed B&W myself, I used to manage a lab but we sent out the B&W stuff, there is no doubt certain chemicals and processes which de-emphasise grain even in an iso 400 film though I don't know what the disadvantages are, I remember reading about it somewhere.  It would be nice to start off with the easier neg. Maybe it's time I bought some books or got some out of the library. I've never really concentrated on B&W at all having shot pro neg film for my weddings (the B&W vogue is relatively new in the wedding markets) and Velvia for my landscape work with a smattering of Ilford 100 which I didn't handle just instructed them how I wanted it to look. Then came digital and all I did know about B&W I forgot. I wouldn't even know what film to look for anymore as an iso 400 street film.

It may sound strange that I want to shoot this project on a camera that I don't know (never shot rangefinder) and a film/process which I'm utterly unfamiliar with. However the way I've always worked was to think backwards from the print. After all the print is what I'm aiming for, it is the reason for all this work. I know what I want from the print, now I have to work backwards to find how to achieve that print. That includes choosing the tool which is most suitible for the job at hand and that I'm most comfortable with, and finding the best route from that tool to the print. For me the Konica Hexar was a really beautiful camera, really nice. But I can focus and work faster with the G2 so that it the solution for me, nevermind any asthetic points of view. Digital would be very nice, but unless I can shoot in under a second from seeing a moment to pulling the trigger, it's too slow.

I've always felt that way about cameras to the point of going over to EF from my beloved canon A1, the only camera I ever really bonded with, because my MF wasn't good enough. It is always the final print that is the most important for me.
That isn't to say that I want an auto everything with a mega zoom lens, the choice of B&W and prime lenses will I feel contribute to the asthetics of the final print, it will change the way I shoot to create a certain 'feel' to the photos similar to the way using a Mamiya 645 and primes did for my landscape work. I've just never been one for venerating the equipment as part of my photography. I venerate the photo on the wall and find the most suitable and comfortable way, for me, to get there be it in ergonomics, quality or whatever.

Scanning negs from the little research I've done seems to be pretty damn hard, why don't the companies make scanners for neg film? B&W especially seems to be difficult. Apparently the new Imacon 989 is supposed to be better for neg film due to its diffused light source which doesn't emphasise grain and scratches so much, but the tech at the pro lab I use said the trialed it compared to the previous one which they were using and it was still crap at neg film. That's why I'm interested as to what the industry is using in general to digitalise neg film and especially B&W.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2006, 06:21:39 PM by pom » Logged

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« Reply #95 on: April 26, 2006, 06:43:21 PM »
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I've been lurking on this thread for a while, I have several 35mm cameras loaded with Delta 3200 or Tri X because much as it frustrates me, there is nothing digital that I've found at any price that can do the job of these.  Please Leica, Panasonic, Voightlander, SOMEONE release a fixed lens digital rangefinder with a big sensor and really usable high ISO - 6400 would be ideal.  I don't care if it's only 2 MP if they are good ones. </rant>

I bought a Ricoh GR1 on Ebay and whilst when it works, it is fantastic.  Sadly, whilst the body is beautifully made, the electronics are well flaky and I need to get it repaired again.  I might replace this with an Olympus XA though I will miss the 28mm lens - it's *my* std focal length.   The AF system is erratic (hateful) but the lens is so sharp and contrasty.  I also use a Canonet 17 GIII which I'm totally in love with - the RF is so fast to use in daylight but difficult in low light.  I wish is had a wider lens though, 40mm is a bit nowhere IMO.

If money were no object, I'd take a very good look at the Zeiss Ikon RF.

I've got this PrimeFilm neg scanner but it's horrific.  Instead I use the Epson 4990 Photo (flatbed) scanners at uni along with the canned driver in advanced mode.  I've had some "focus" issues when the film hasn't been perfectly flat in the plasticky frame things but if you are careful, the results are very good.  The V700 reviewed at photo-i.co.uk sounds very tempting when the university remembers I left 2 years ago.  

I do agree with Mark though, scanning is a real labour of love, those things are hooked up to dual processor G5s with quite a lot of RAM.  I dev my film in a 5 spool tank and will then spend 10 hours mainly twiddling my thumbs whilst I scan it all using 4 computers.  No matter how careful you are, there are still dust spots and I don't even want to talk about water marks caused by my poor darkroom technique!  I use Noise Ninja at the moment but am going to start playing more seriously with NeatImage because I've not been so impressed with it's results on film.  I think that with 3200 you run into some serious resolution issues - though again this could be my technique.

When I'm rich, I take the film to a little man in Cardiff who runs a minilab like it's a prolab.  His machine develops better than I do and then he scans as fairly high res jpegs.  I keep asking him to do higher res tiffs but he says he can't.  Nonetheless, they print to 8x10 without any issue.  They do look slightly grainy but it's controlled and to my eyes, quite acceptable.  

I'll post some examples tomorrow.
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« Reply #96 on: April 26, 2006, 10:19:34 PM »
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pom, I went through my "archives" of stuff, and came up with some B&W negatives that date back to the late 1950s. It is Ilford FP3 fine grain panchromatic, which I would have developed in a fine grain developer - forget now which one - it was about 50 years ago. I think FP3 was ASA 80 or some such - the memory fades. It turns out that pumped up to 100% on the monitor the grain is not so fine, but in those days pumping a digitized version to 100% on a monitor was a package of unknown concepts.

Now, the scanning: I discovered that with the Minolta scanner, unless one cuts each negative individually, a royal pain in the ...., one must use the negative carrier for negatives. But when one does this, the software (Silverfast in my case, but perhaps this is generic) cannot be fooled. It recognizes that the negative carrier is being used and changes the film setting back to negative, which means that de-masking will kick in. So be it. One scans, and the result is a tinted image. No problem though. (Silverfast does have options for doing a completely raw scan with demasking turned off, but I forget how to set it that way. I have old-emails from Lasersoft explaining it. I would have to search.) One gets rid of the tint more easily with a couple of clicks of the "mid-pip" correction tool in Silverfast. This is a grey balancer. Finished with that, the image looks good and grey, so one scans in RGB 16 bit mode.

Then open it in Photoshop. I treated this image to Neat Image for grain reduction. Then I treated it to PK Sharpener Pro for capture sharpening. Then I added an HSB adjustment layer and racked the saturation to zero, so any hint of a low-level residual tint in a clump of pixels some place or other (which would be really hard to see anyhow) is truly GONE. Then I added a curves adjustment layer to tweak  overall contrast. Then I added a grey overlay mask and did some dodging and burning like one would have done in the darkroom, but much easier. Then - for fun - I added a Color Balance adjustment layer, and started playing with sliders to produce various tints, such as sepia and other variants.

The end result of all this is YES. You can successfully scan B&W negatives in a Minolta scanner, clean them up, sharpen them and tweak them to heart's content until you get the result you want. It works, and from what I can see soft-proofing it works well. BUT you need the scanner and the software and the TIME.
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« Reply #97 on: April 27, 2006, 08:08:25 AM »
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I was on my way to buy it today when I popped in to look at the prices of higher end film scanners. I've never done any scanning so I had assumed around 250, not twice that amount as it seemed from the Nikon and Minolta models. Once you are paying that amount for the camera, then the scanner, then the film over the next few years, damn it I could buy another 5D.
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Here are my experiences with film scanners, which for many reasons are not covered in the scanner books and tutorials.

Prints from scans are one more generation away from the original captures. As a result, an additional level of problems are introduced in the scans and must be dealed with after scanning. They include noise, dynamic range compression, tonal and color inaccuracies, and loss of sharpness.

Ways to correct these problems can cost you much more than the scanner cost, such as scanning sw, calibration hw and sw, noise removal sw, digital editing sw, etc.

After you empty your wallet, there is a steep learning curve to use these tools well. Compared to publications or forums on digital cameras, there is very limited (good) resources on scanners. One such example is how to capture raw scans.

Some film scanners are notorious in producing flares in scans, which are nearly impossible to fix. Links to this problem upon request.

Having said that, I'm still scanning film from decades ago and making 13" x 19" prints far better than I can print in a traditional darkroom. I have also learned a great deal about digital editing in the process. Now if only this Panasonic LX-1 is not so noisy, I'm ready for my first digital camera.
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« Reply #98 on: April 27, 2006, 08:50:53 AM »
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Chirs_T: in general you are making relevant observations, but my specific experience is considerably more optimistic than yours. To start with your last point first, yes you are right the Lumix is noisier than would have preferred, but with good digital exposure technique, working in the lower end of the ISO range and judicious use of Noise Ninja on raw files, noise is very well mitigated. Another really neat feature of the Lumix is the real-time pre-capture histogram one can activate on the LCD screen. I could use this camera as a digital light meter for my Canon 1Ds, which doesn't have such a feature!

As for scanners - the time one invests doing this work makes it only sensible to buy absolutely the possible best scanner and software for the purpose that one can afford. I invested in a Minolta Scan Elite 5400 and eventually bought Silverfast Studio Ai to drive it, because I found this combination gave me the best results I could wish to obtain workin with colour negatives. It wasn't cheap, but with the throughput one accumulates, the cost is amortized over alot of work. I find this combination delivers very sharp output and very good colour, once properly configured - and that is the key. Into Photoshop, one needs noise reduction and sharpening programs that work well for film grain. After testing, I found the combination of Neat Image and PK Sharpener Pro do the best job I could achieve, and I can vouch for the resulting print quality at least to A3 - I don't print larger than that so I can't vouch beyond A3. But some of my images are considerably cropped, so I know full frames would do well larger than A3.

My main complaint with all this isn't the cost of the investment which can be high, isn't the image quality potential which can be excellent, but simply the sheer amount of time it consumes. As I write this, I have Photoshop open working with images from my digital cameras and from the scanner. It just keeps striking me over and over and over again what kind of quantum leap in processing efficiency and time saving one gets with digital. It's in a different ball park.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #99 on: April 29, 2006, 09:11:49 PM »
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I wonder as I research the subject, what about chromogenic film such as the Ilford XP-2 Super which is supposed to scan excellently, have negligeable grain, no orange mask to confuse things and an incredible latitude in the highlights? It also has the added plus of being eeasier (for me with little experience in hand developing) to have processed, especially in Jerusalem where my experience of managing a lab there for 2 years makes me very leery of the quality of the B&W processing available. The film apparently prints well on conventional B&W paper as well.

Of course as with this whole discussion, making an investment into shooting film, especially comitting to a company that has already gone bust once due to digital, is a rather interestingly risky business. The problem of course being that the ever moving digital steam roller is moving relentlessly on crushing all who arn't quick enough to jump on, but unfortunately killing certain aspects of film cameras/photography that have yet to be replaced in the digital realm.
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