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Author Topic: scanning b&w and colour film for b&w output  (Read 1904 times)
maxmelvin19
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« on: October 25, 2011, 05:07:28 AM »
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Hi there,

I won't get anyone in a colour vs. film debate but the bottom line is that I can't afford the initial outlay on a digital medium format setup and I'm more than happy with the 'look' of medium format film. So I'm thinking of getting a bronica or hasselblad 500 in the next few years and scanning the negatives to work on and print in a manner that I'm used to/comfortable with (I'm too young to remember the film only days...).

My question - is there any benefit to scanning black and white film over scanning colour film of the same ISO and doing a colour to b&w workflow on the computer? As far as I know the benefit to compromise relationship is as follows:

1) scan only colour: carry around fewer options of film and let silver efex pro provide much more control over tonality (once scanned) than a single coloured filter in front of the lens ever could.

2) scan b&w film: the film has a finer grain at respective ISOs than colour because the light sensitive chemicals only respond to light levels and are not separated into colours (this is a complete guess - please correct me). Also certain b&w films have a objectively/subjectively unique and 'better' look when scanned and printed than step '1)'.

Is that characterisation accurate? What should I be aware of?

Thank you in advance,
Max

p.s. I am thinking of having a two camera setup for the forceable future - one that is convenient and of high quality (with respect to the enthusiast rather than jobbing pro) - a nex 7 and primes for travel and everyday photography (light, portable and high quality) and a medium format film camera for more considered and planned work, from portraits to landscapes (I tend to think of Michael's iq80 as high def audio playing through a Linn sound system [perfection] and medium format film as flawed but beautiful vinyl).
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cats_five
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2011, 12:43:56 AM »
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One problem with scanning B&W is that you can't usually get decent results with Digital ICE.  The other is that the film has determined the way the coloured scene is rendered in B&W.  With a colour scan you have a multitude of ways you can convert, and with some - though by no means all - images that can make a huge difference to the final result.
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lenny_eiger
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2011, 01:01:35 PM »
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Hi there,
My question - is there any benefit to scanning black and white film over scanning colour film of the same ISO and doing a colour to b&w workflow on the computer? As far as I know the benefit to compromise relationship is as follows:

1) scan only colour: carry around fewer options of film and let silver efex pro provide much more control over tonality (once scanned) than a single coloured filter in front of the lens ever could.

B&W film has a far greater dynamic range than color film. If you want a b&w print, b&w film is far superior. Further, you don't need silver efex, or any other plugin, you need to learn how to use curves...

2) scan b&w film: the film has a finer grain at respective ISOs than colour because the light sensitive chemicals only respond to light levels and are not separated into colours (this is a complete guess - please correct me).

Color is dye-based and not grain based. Therefore less grain, generally speaking, of course. However, hard to beat Ilford Delta in Xtol... especially with all that extra sensitivity.

Lenny eiger
EigerStudios
Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing
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EigerStudios
Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing
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