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New to film - question about scanned image quality


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Posted (edited)

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Hi all. 

I just started with film photography after shooting with digital for many years.
Since I have little idea what to expect from scanned film, I need some opinion from those of you who scan film regularly.

I have a TIF file (~400mb) in dropbox, I appreciate if anyone can take a look and assess whether the quality (mainly in terms of sharpness) is acceptable for this kind of process.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/gl6iqvejdoqjqsu/20220731-image-positive.tif?dl=0

Shot with a Leica MP + Summilux 50mm ASPH, at around f/4, focused on the furthest building (infinity).
Film is Kodak Ektar 100, scanned with Plustek 8200i AI at 7200ppi without any sharpening applied.

Also adding a full size JPEG, sharpened for screen via Lightroom export.

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Edited by neonvoid
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The Plustek is a fine scanner but it does have limits when it comes to sharpness. The lens is fixed focus, the holders are good but are not the best for keeping the film flat. Also, as the scanner heats up it will effect the flatness of the film. For both it’s price and size and the quality of the scanned output it reasonably good. There is plenty of information to be found on scanning, most of all, have fun and enjoy using film.

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45 minutes ago, madNbad said:

The Plustek is a fine scanner but it does have limits when it comes to sharpness.

Good to know, thanks.  This is the brand of scanner I’m planning to purchase in the near future. The 8300 is soon to be available in the UK so I was waiting for that to do the rounds amongst the reviewers. 

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9 minutes ago, OThomas said:

Good to know, thanks.  This is the brand of scanner I’m planning to purchase in the near future. The 8300 is soon to be available in the UK so I was waiting for that to do the rounds amongst the reviewers. 

I just took a quick look at the reviews on Amazon for the 8300i and they we’re almost all positive except for the occasional naysayers. Apparently, it’s much faster to scan compared to previous models along with a few other tweaks. At one time I owned a 7600i and was pleased with the results but found it would take the better part of an afternoon to scan a roll. Hopefully, the 8300 will be much faster.

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I use the 8200ai for all my B&W film, love it.  I use the VueScan software and have been pretty pleased with the results, having printed them to A3+ size with good quality. In a darkroom I never printed 35mm beyond 8x10 (with a border) so I'm very happy to be able to have decent quality large prints from my MP.

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40 minutes ago, Sailronin said:

I use the 8200ai for all my B&W film, love it.  I use the VueScan software and have been pretty pleased with the results, having printed them to A3+ size with good quality. In a darkroom I never printed 35mm beyond 8x10 (with a border) so I'm very happy to be able to have decent quality large prints from my MP.

What dpi do you scan?

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Posted (edited)

I set it to highest resolution (forget off the top of my head) and also scan b&w negatives at 64 bit RGB instead of 16 bit Grayscale. The image below was scanned at those settings and then imported to LR for a bit of clarity bump.  Just  quick examples with nice grey scale.  Small files were sitting on the desktop but all of my posts in the film section this year were scanned the same way.

Good luck,

Dave

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Edited by Sailronin
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Posted (edited)

@neonvoidI've had a look at the Dropbox file and it looks fine to me. Using infinity to judge sharpness and overall IQ on a hot Summers day is not really optimal because of possible atmospheric haze, but with sharpening the middle distance is crisp. 

If you are coming from digital what digital camera do you have? I ask because I've spent twenty years using a variety of professional multi format scanners, flatbed scanners, and Plustek 35mm and 120 scanners, and the best quality of all is what I get now by using my Nikon Z7 with a macro lens. Plustek 35mm scanners are very good, but you mostly pay for the bundled software which is rubbish imo, Vuescan is much better and simpler after the initial learning phase, and improvements in image quality from model to model are almost non-existent and it's peripheral refinements that differentiate newer models. So given older models are often much cheaper they may be worth looking at. If it's speed that is the concern a Plustek doesn't take very long to do a digital contact sheet (and nobody scans a whole roll at full resolution), then pick a few to re-scan at full res. Personally if it's 35mm I use an Epson V700 for my digital contact sheets and then the full res scan with my Z7. 

So there are many variations possible for scanning your negatives, from digital cameras (some now even have pixel shift technology for even higher scan resolution), to traditional scanners of various makes and models. Full resolution scans with scanners do take a long time, many, many minutes, unlike 1/8th second with a camera, but time shouldn't put you off going for the best quality over speed, you only really want to scan your best pictures once and then copy and resize your master TIFF file according to use. 

Edited by 250swb
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2 hours ago, 250swb said:

@neonvoidI've had a look at the Dropbox file and it looks fine to me. Using infinity to judge sharpness and overall IQ on a hot Summers day is not really optimal because of possible atmospheric haze, but with sharpening the middle distance is crisp. 

If you are coming from digital what digital camera do you have? I ask because I've spent twenty years using a variety of professional multi format scanners, flatbed scanners, and Plustek 35mm and 120 scanners, and the best quality of all is what I get now by using my Nikon Z7 with a macro lens. Plustek 35mm scanners are very good, but you mostly pay for the bundled software which is rubbish imo, Vuescan is much better and simpler after the initial learning phase, and improvements in image quality from model to model are almost non-existent and it's peripheral refinements that differentiate newer models. So given older models are often much cheaper they may be worth looking at. If it's speed that is the concern a Plustek doesn't take very long to do a digital contact sheet (and nobody scans a whole roll at full resolution), then pick a few to re-scan at full res. Personally if it's 35mm I use an Epson V700 for my digital contact sheets and then the full res scan with my Z7. 

So there are many variations possible for scanning your negatives, from digital cameras (some now even have pixel shift technology for even higher scan resolution), to traditional scanners of various makes and models. Full resolution scans with scanners do take a long time, many, many minutes, unlike 1/8th second with a camera, but time shouldn't put you off going for the best quality over speed, you only really want to scan your best pictures once and then copy and resize your master TIFF file according to use. 

Thanks for checking the file out. I use a Sony a7R III (42.4mp), but I currently don't have a macro lens, though it's certainly a direction I'm considering.
I was using the 50mm Summilux on my Sony via an adapter for some time and it was tack sharp, so I was a bit underwhelmed by it's performance on film. I guess it's something I need to get used to.

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Posted (edited)

The Plustek (I have an 8100) doesn’t have an optical resolution of 7200 dpi. Using this setting gives you way larger files and longer scan time but no more image detail than scanning at 3600 dpi. I think the Plustek is a good scanner (especially given the price), but that 7200 dpi setting is only a marketing gimmick. 
 

I first run my film rolls through a Pakon f135. It takes around 10 minutes to have a full roll scanned (6 megapixel files, decent color out of the box). When I want more resolution/dynamic range/control I rescan a single image with the Nikon Coolscan 5000 at 4000 dpi. This scanner is a lot faster than the Plustek, has more (real) resolution and better dynamic range. Unfortunately they are also getting very expensive. 

Edited by roelandinho
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4 hours ago, neonvoid said:

Thanks for checking the file out. I use a Sony a7R III (42.4mp), but I currently don't have a macro lens, though it's certainly a direction I'm considering.
I was using the 50mm Summilux on my Sony via an adapter for some time and it was tack sharp, so I was a bit underwhelmed by it's performance on film. I guess it's something I need to get used to.

I use a Sony A7II with the FE90 2.8 Macro for scanning. I also use a Negative Supply Carrier Mk1 as a film holder. The Sony is always on the copy stand, with a M4 being my main camera. After several years with the Plustek 7600i, I wanted to try scanning with a digital camera. First was a bargain grade Sony 5400 with a Micro-Nikkor 55 2.8 Ai-S, which did a good job until I made the move to full frame. The Micro-Nikkor moved from body to body when finally I decided to give autofocus a try. A good choice for a macro lens for scanning is the Sigma 70 Macro. It was high on my list but I found a deal on the Sony lens. Not having a darkroom, the hybrid approach allows me to continue using film. I believe using film is worth the effort no matter how you arrive at the final image.

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1 minute ago, madNbad said:

I use a Sony A7II with the FE90 2.8 Macro for scanning. I also use a Negative Supply Carrier Mk1 as a film holder. The Sony is always on the copy stand, with a M4 being my main camera. After several years with the Plustek 7600i, I wanted to try scanning with a digital camera. First was a bargain grade Sony 5400 with a Micro-Nikkor 55 2.8 Ai-S, which did a good job until I made the move to full frame. The Micro-Nikkor moved from body to body when finally I decided to give autofocus a try. A good choice for a macro lens for scanning is the Sigma 70 Macro. It was high on my list but I found a deal on the Sony lens. Not having a darkroom, the hybrid approach allows me to continue using film. I believe using film is worth the effort no matter how you arrive at the final image.

How would you compare the camera vs scanner in terms of quality (sharpness, dynamic range, etc)?

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5 hours ago, neonvoid said:

Thanks for checking the file out. I use a Sony a7R III (42.4mp), but I currently don't have a macro lens, though it's certainly a direction I'm considering.
I was using the 50mm Summilux on my Sony via an adapter for some time and it was tack sharp, so I was a bit underwhelmed by it's performance on film. I guess it's something I need to get used to.

Two things to consider, never use any sharpening tools in scanner software, they simply aren't up to it, Lightroom or Photoshop is far, far better. Secondly you need to sharpen a scanned image far more than you would a digital file. As I say I sharpened your file and thought it looked good, there is nothing wrong with your Summilux related to film. There is a whole other area to consider about the aesthetics of using film and expectations shouldn't be based around comparing it directly with digital, find strong subjects to photograph and follow the 'I like film..' thread to see how other people on the forum use it

https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/205842-i-like-filmopen-thread/

 

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Scanning is the rabbit warren of photography. Many paths, some are straightforward while others are dead ends. The FE90 2.8 Macro is one of Sonys’ best lenses so comparing to a full featured scanner that cost less than just the lens itself is a bit unfair. I’m happy with myA7II because 24 mp gives me plenty of resolution for my negatives. Any more, I’m only using Tri-X and develop at home. My goal for moving to camera scanning was to speed up the process. I can capture a roll of 36 exposures in a little less than five minutes and convert the entire roll in a little over a half hour, sometimes faster. If I was to compare images scanned with the Plustek to those scanned with the Sony, to me, I might have to really look to see the difference. 

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33 minutes ago, 250swb said:

Two things to consider, never use any sharpening tools in scanner software, they simply aren't up to it, Lightroom or Photoshop is far, far better. Secondly you need to sharpen a scanned image far more than you would a digital file. As I say I sharpened your file and thought it looked good, there is nothing wrong with your Summilux related to film. There is a whole other area to consider about the aesthetics of using film and expectations shouldn't be based around comparing it directly with digital, find strong subjects to photograph and follow the 'I like film..' thread to see how other people on the forum use it

https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/205842-i-like-filmopen-thread/

 

Thanks for the info and the reassurance.
And that's a very nice thread.

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23 minutes ago, madNbad said:

Scanning is the rabbit warren of photography. Many paths, some are straightforward while others are dead ends. The FE90 2.8 Macro is one of Sonys’ best lenses so comparing to a full featured scanner that cost less than just the lens itself is a bit unfair. I’m happy with myA7II because 24 mp gives me plenty of resolution for my negatives. Any more, I’m only using Tri-X and develop at home. My goal for moving to camera scanning was to speed up the process. I can capture a roll of 36 exposures in a little less than five minutes and convert the entire roll in a little over a half hour, sometimes faster. If I was to compare images scanned with the Plustek to those scanned with the Sony, to me, I might have to really look to see the difference. 

Thanks, I'll give my Sony a chance if I get a hold of a macro lens.

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5 minutes ago, neonvoid said:

Thanks, I'll give my Sony a chance if I get a hold of a macro lens.

Get a good light source and the film holders from your Plustek will help get you started. Scan with both and see which you prefer.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, roelandinho said:

7200 dpi setting is only a marketing gimmick.

@roelandinho yep I agree, I just said it was Plustek rated  @ 7200 dpi. I’ve seen reviews that mention there is no difference in quality between a lower dpi and the 7200 dpi. Out  of interest what dpi do you use for the Plustek?

Edited by OThomas
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