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Author Topic: Using a drum scanning service for B&W negatives  (Read 1394 times)
ymc226
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« on: February 16, 2013, 06:15:15 AM »
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Don't know anything about scanning except it is hard to get great results and the equipment is not cheap.  Rather than going down that path, I've resolved myself to paying fairly to have the work done.

I have about 30 family photos that I originally printed via an enlarger onto fiber paper but would like to have them scanned at the highest quality since I'd like to print them digitally using an Epson 3880 and ImagePrint 9 which has worked well for my B&W digital files.

My negatives would be 35mm and 120 format and B&W only. 

If anyone can recommend a scanning service near central New Jersey, I would prefer that as dropping off the negatives personally would make me feel more secure.

1) Is a drum scanner necessary for B&W to get the best quality or is this reserved for color negatives?

2) What resolution should I ask for or expect?  Is 16 bit sampling standard?

3) What format does the scanned file come back in?  TIFF? and how malleable are the files?  (Using LR4 and Silver Efex Pro 2)

4) I have a few negatives that were originally over or underexposed but which I printed to my satisfaction by the "wet" darkroom method.  Would these be worthwhile in having drum scanned and is there anything I need to tell them in scanning these particular negatives?

5) I understand that drum scanning involves putting the negatives in oil or spraying them with a liquid.  Is this removed by the scanning company completely or is there residual material left.  I may want to wet print them again in the future so may not want the negatives altered in any way.
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pfigen
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2013, 04:49:05 AM »
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As someone who has drum scanned thousands of negs over the years, I'd have to say that if you're looking for the ultimate in quality, you do want drum scans, but you want to find someone who really knows how to get the most out of his/her scanner and has samples to back it up with. Not every drum scanner is equal to another and most certainly, not every scanner operator is either. If you're going to be sending your film away to scan, it doesn't make much difference if it's across the state or across the country.

When I drum scan black and white negs, I typically scan at 4000 ppi unless there's a special request for more or less resolution. The drum scanner I use scans at 8000, 4000, 2667, 2000 and on down, but those are the most relevant and most used resolutions. I always make 16 bit per channel RGB tiffs that are neutral and in Adobe RGB, unless requested otherwise.

I've been able to make fantastic drum scans and subsequent prints from negs that I could never make a satisfactory print from - from all sorts of negs. Slight under or overexposure is no problem whatsoever. Gross overexposure - negs that would be impossible to print in the darkroom generally scan exceptionally well with maybe a bit more grain than you would expect. Underexposed negs really depend on the neg, but a good working drum scanner is capable of recording all the detail on the neg and separating in a way that would be completely lost in the wet darkroom.

16 bit drum scanned tiffs from film are much tougher than any digital camera file you've ever seen. Both the grain of the film and the nature of the drum scan see to that. Even an 8 bit drum scan generally has no problem being twisted around in post, but since the scan time is identical for both, there's no reason not to - and beware of anyone who charges you double for a 16 bit scan just because it's a bigger file. As I said, at least on the Howteks, the scan time is the same.

Negs are taped to the drum in a sandwich made of a layer of mylar overlay material with scanning fluid filling the space between the drum and the film and the film and the mylar. The mylar is then taped down around all four edges, sealing the fluid in so it doesn't get all over the scanner. The fluid prevents Newton's Rings, but also makes sharper scans and fills in micro voids in the emulsion. It's a good thing. In the old days of prepress, they actually used Johnson's Baby Oil - where the term "oil mounting" came from, and then they used to soak your film in film cleaner and leave it between the pages of an old telephone book to absorb the Johnson's (I've seen it with my own eyes!) Today, most scanner operators use Kami fluid, which is a naptha based concoction. A lot of people will tell you that Kami simply evaporates with no trace, but you do need to do a basic wipe with PEC-12 after. You'll have no problem in the darkroom after that, if you ever need to.
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Idololab
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 03:25:10 AM »
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 I think that all you need , is to find somebody with an Imacon-Hasselblad Virtual Drum scanner like 848,949 or X1 .
 I own an 949 Imacon and i can tell you that his quality for B/W is just perfect . Ask for 300 or 360 dpi ,16 bit , color TIFF s
 and you will be O.k. !
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George Marinos
http://www.idololab.gr/
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Roxanne
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 06:07:09 PM »
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I am also new to drum scanning. I had my negatives scanned as 8 bit Adobe RGB profile. I will be printing them with Piezography inks which requires the grayscale 2.2 profile. Can I change them in Photoshop to 16 bit grayscale gamma 2.2 without it being a problem?

Thanks
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pfigen
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 10:42:51 PM »
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I think that all you need , is to find somebody with an Imacon-Hasselblad Virtual Drum scanner like 848,949 or X1 .
 I own an 949 Imacon and i can tell you that his quality for B/W is just perfect . Ask for 300 or 360 dpi ,16 bit , color TIFF s
 and you will be O.k. !

With all due respect, there's a world of difference between a "virtual drum" and a real one. Film flatness, resolution, focus across the frame, dynamic range, ability to scan the entire frame and then some, and last but not least, the real advantage of scanning with Kami fluid. It's generally my preference to scan once at a resolution that records everything on the film rather than scan to a specific print size. It's the difference between a good scan, which certainly Imacon's can be, and a great scan.
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pfigen
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2013, 11:04:18 PM »
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I am also new to drum scanning. I had my negatives scanned as 8 bit Adobe RGB profile. I will be printing them with Piezography inks which requires the grayscale 2.2 profile. Can I change them in Photoshop to 16 bit grayscale gamma 2.2 without it being a problem?



Roxanne, you can easily convert your Adobe RGB files to Grayscale Gamma 2.2 for printing. If you got them as 8 bit files, there's really not much point in converting them to 16 bit, but it makes some people feel better. The whole 16 bit thing is not nearly as necessary with good drum scans, but it won't hurt - if you get them that way out of the scanner.
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