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film noob- some questions
  
 
photominority
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p.1 #1 · film noob- some questions


so i've giving film a shot after many years away from it. really like my early results but it did raise a lot of questions, since i've been using my 1.6x crop t2i for several years now.

regarding dof- is there a difference between iso speeds at wide aperture settings? say, will 1.4 look the same on iso 50 film than it would at iso 400, for example?

neg vs slide- i don't really make prints, and will have my negatives scanned, so i figure that slide is the way to go. however, i would like to make fairly large prints at some point. can i still make great looking prints from slide film negatives?

b/w vs color- since i'll be scanning anyway, post processing is an option. am i better off shooting with color film and converting in post like i do with digital? i shot b/w film in the past because it wasn't an option then, but things have changed.

this will help steer me toward a few types of film so i don't have to purchase blindly.



Sep 23, 2013 at 11:07 AM
carstenw
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p.1 #2 · film noob- some questions


DoF: technically yes, there is no difference, as long as you don't change the aperture setting. Due to grain differences, there might be some perceptual differences, however.

Neg vs Slide: slide films are dying, unfortunately. The best slide films are quite high resolution and should look great printed. The dynamic range of slide film is typically lower, however.

B&W vs Colour: the option to convert colour to B&W is always attractive, but you do lose the option of having that real B&W look, i.e. the specific characteristic look of each film. The filters are getting very good, and many cannot really tell the difference, and even if you can, you may not prefer real film, but I would definitely try both, compare and only then decide. B&W film is a lot easier to develop consistently at home, btw. Note that each film has a different reaction (interaction between grain and quantisation) to being scanned, and your favorite real film may not scan well. For example, Tri-X scans with more grain than I personally like, especially with 135 format.



Sep 23, 2013 at 11:45 AM
molson
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p.1 #3 · film noob- some questions


photominority wrote:
neg vs slide- i don't really make prints, and will have my negatives scanned, so i figure that slide is the way to go. however, i would like to make fairly large prints at some point. can i still make great looking prints from slide film negatives?



I think some of the newer negative films may scan better (if you know what you're doing) but the the nice thing about slides is that you have an accurate original for colour reference when scanning.

I've had a client print a scanned 35mm slide 8 feet by 10 feet for a museum display, so yes, you can make fairly large prints from scanned slides.



Sep 23, 2013 at 03:39 PM
alwang
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p.1 #4 · film noob- some questions


If you're getting your film developed in a lab, also keep in mind that labs often charge more to develop slide film and true B&W film compared to color negative film.


Sep 23, 2013 at 03:50 PM
redisburning
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p.1 #5 · film noob- some questions


Who is going to do your scanning?

I find that labs often do a poor job with slides. I suspect this may be due to the density of shadows on slide films. Conversely, they seem to be able to handle good negative films like Ektar and Portra with considerably more ease.

if you want color, shoot color. if you want b&w, shoot real b&w. just been my experience.



Sep 23, 2013 at 04:02 PM
molson
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p.1 #6 · film noob- some questions


redisburning wrote:
I find that labs often do a poor job with slides. I suspect this may be due to the density of shadows on slide films. Conversely, they seem to be able to handle good negative films like Ektar and Portra with considerably more ease.


This is partly due to running enough volume to keep the chemistry fresh for slide processing, and partly due to customers not usually being able to tell if the lab did a good job or not with the neg film... it's very easy to tell if the colour or density is off with slides, but more more difficult with colour negs.

By the way, if you have a Nikon D800, then you already have one of the best slide/B&W film scanners money can buy...



Sep 23, 2013 at 04:05 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #7 · film noob- some questions


I have wanted to try "scanning" with my D800, but I don't see a clear way to do so, without resorting to a copy stand and light sources, etc. I bought a small light table for slides, but I still a way to put the camera+lens at the exactly right distance. How do you do it?


Sep 23, 2013 at 05:29 PM
michael49
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p.1 #8 · film noob- some questions


photominority wrote:
....

neg vs slide- i don't really make prints, and will have my negatives scanned.....


IMO who scans your prints makes a big difference. I've had the best luck with NCPS....

http://www.northcoastphoto.com/film_developing_scans.html

Which film? My personal favorites for color are Portra 160 and 400.



Sep 23, 2013 at 05:32 PM
molson
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p.1 #9 · film noob- some questions


carstenw wrote:
I have wanted to try "scanning" with my D800, but I don't see a clear way to do so, without resorting to a copy stand and light sources, etc. I bought a small light table for slides, but I still a way to put the camera+lens at the exactly right distance. How do you do it?


You need an ES-1 slide copier ($50-$75 on eBay), and then either a 60mm f2.8 macro or a 55mm plus PK-13 extension tube. I have the AF-S 60mm f2.8G which is supposed to be Nikon's best-ever macro lens, but I find my old 55mm f3.5 AI is just a fraction better at 1:1 (at least as far as copying slides goes...)

I've heard the Zeiss 50mm f2 Makro-Planar is even better.





  NIKON D800E    135.0 mm f/2.0 lens    135mm    f/4.0    1/160s    250 ISO    +1.0 EV  







D800E + AF-S 60mm f2.8G Micro-Nikkor + ES-1 Slide Copying Adapter




Sep 23, 2013 at 05:42 PM
 

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corposant
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p.1 #10 · film noob- some questions


carstenw wrote:
I have wanted to try "scanning" with my D800, but I don't see a clear way to do so, without resorting to a copy stand and light sources, etc. I bought a small light table for slides, but I still a way to put the camera+lens at the exactly right distance. How do you do it?


Get a short macro lens (you probably already have one) with a tube, a shoe box with a light colored interior, a flash (preferably plugged into a power source, and some diffusion material. Cut out a hole in the top of the box, and put the flash in facing down. At one end, cut out a window to feed your film through, and line it with something soft that will not scratch the film. Position the camera close to MFD and focus on the slide, and sync it to the flash. If you have diffused the light enough inside the box, you just made a great evenly-lit scan. You can do this with any format, though some panoramic shots (6x12) probably will need to be stitched. Lots of people have DIYs on this online.




Sep 23, 2013 at 06:23 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #11 · film noob- some questions


Is there some way to use an ES-1 with negative film? It looks like a neat solution. If not I would probably try the shoebox method.

I do have both the Nikkor 60mm Micro (which is a fantastic lens for such things, neutral and sharp, with very little character of its own), and the Zeiss ZF.2 50/2 MP, so one or the other should be able to do it.



Sep 23, 2013 at 07:17 PM
molson
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p.1 #12 · film noob- some questions


carstenw wrote:
Is there some way to use an ES-1 with negative film? It looks like a neat solution. If not I would probably try the shoebox method.

I do have both the Nikkor 60mm Micro (which is a fantastic lens for such things, neutral and sharp, with very little character of its own), and the Zeiss ZF.2 50/2 MP, so one or the other should be able to do it.



You could temporarily place the film in a slide mount, or just place a slide mount between the film and the metal clips to hold it in place against the translucent panel.



Sep 23, 2013 at 07:20 PM
carstenw
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p.1 #13 · film noob- some questions


That seems rather fiddly and prone to scratching... Although I might be able to improvise a bit with a folded bit of cardboard or plastic on each side, with a couple of pieces of felt or velvet. I should be able to get it to work nicely, I would think, with a little thinking and effort. I like the idea of having the sides automatically be aligned properly, which with the shoebox might be a bit of a struggle. I will watch for one at a good price on eBay.


Sep 23, 2013 at 07:25 PM
photominority
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p.1 #14 · film noob- some questions


well, that took a turn. as someone noted above, i will not be doing my own scanning- i've tried north coast and i think they did a pretty ok job. i'm opening to trying a couple of other places out of curiosity and an effort to save some money. for the time being, i won't be developing my film, either. maybe someday, if the costs get too far out of hand.

dof- good to know its all the same. i suppose i don't have to perversely insist on iso 50/100 film. 200/400 would give me a lot more leeway and if i could still get the same look, i may as well, right? at least for the more candid, quick, no tripod shots.

neg vs slide- i've read that "the internet" said slide film "was better" but i hadn't tried it yet. i suppose my final decision will be made by which film i actually prefer, slide or otherwise. i'm after the look and not the functionality (for now). i know it'll vary greatly depending on what i'm shooting, but its nice to know i can get great results from either once.

b/w vs color- i'm very much of the do it right the first time, color for color, b/w for b/w mindset, but i wanted to at least consider embracing change. one, because i've used nik silver efx pro 2 to good effect over the years, turning digital color shots to passable or better b/w. and two, i don't always know what'll look better when i shoot it. i don't decide on color vs b/w until post these days and really appreciate the flexibility. i haven't intentionally thought/shot b/w since, well... i used b/w film .

i guess i can start whittling down the list and seeking out a few different rolls to try out. is there a nice comparison somewhere, or some good starting points for general photos? i've considered buying a few digital emulations for lightroom to get some basic ideas, but i know that isn't as good as the real thing.



Sep 24, 2013 at 03:55 PM
old yorker
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p.1 #15 · film noob- some questions


My advice would be to start with a C41 b&w film (doesn't matter which one because the differences between them are small) for easy cheap lab developing and scanning.

If you like your results and fancy traditional b&w film try either Ilford HP5 or Kodak Tri-X. Those two are easy to shoot and easy to develop yet are great films of the highest quality.

If you do traditional films I'm going to be a bore and repeat what so many others say: develop your own. Cheap and easy and satisfying and you will get better results than most labs. The cost of sending 10 films to a lab will cover your start-up costs and after that it will cost you very little per film.

BTW scanning b&w is easy. Just don't clip the histogram at either end for a low-contrast scan that you can smarten up in Lightroom/PS/Aperture with a simple curves or levels adjustment.

Have fun!



Sep 24, 2013 at 07:02 PM
redisburning
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p.1 #16 · film noob- some questions


I mean if Nik software is good enough for you then you might as well just shoot Portra 400 all the time. oh btw, you can shoot that film at any ISO that's +/- 2 stops the box speed.

that just doesnt personally cover it for me.



Sep 24, 2013 at 09:05 PM
photominority
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p.1 #17 · film noob- some questions


if film takes off for me, then maybe i will reconsider digging out the old canister and doing the developing at home, though i hated it with all my heart. but when you consider it'll be about $20 to develop and scan a roll these days even before shipping, it looks a little more feasible. i probably don't have the space for a full on darkroom, though, and my still have to outsource the scanning, at least for now.

nik is great for digital photography, but i wouldn't expect it to be better than properly taken and exposed prints from 35mm b/w film. guess i'll find out. but it is an attractive option for, as you mention, converting something in color i decide i'd prefer in b/w after the fact, which is my current process.

i'll check the local place to see what if they have some of the rolls mentioned, if not, i'll just order a couple and give them a shot. still sitting a few rolls of kodak gold from who knows when and some recently expired velvia 50. i need the space in my mini fridge



Sep 26, 2013 at 12:34 AM





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