Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Jeff S

Scanned bw negs vs digitally generated (M8)

Recommended Posts

Advertisement (gone after registration)

I should stop reading so many posts...gives me more questions:)

 

My thought has been to sell my 2 M7s and move to an M8.2. And, since I already sold all of my darkroom equipment, to just go fully digital. However, on another recent thread, some suggested this would be unwise...that I'd regret the sale and that I should at least keep a foot in the film world.

 

Ok, so here's my question. For those who shoot bw in both film M's and digital M's, is there any significant improvement/difference in the final print (assuming 8x10 or 11x14 equivalent) if the film is scanned and printed digitally vs a print that comes from an M8 file? Or, are folks who retain their film cameras so inclined because they ultimately print on traditional silver papers? (Or, maybe just because they like the feel of their old Ms?)

 

If the former is the case, I might be inclined to keep shooting film along with digital. If the latter, I might not go there since I'd have to trust a lab to generate my prints (no room for another darkroom). I wouldn't mind scanning my own negs, but trusting a lab for interpreting prints seems problematic.

 

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeff- I fall into this category shooting M8 and M7. For b&w, my preference is to shoot XP2 and scan with my cool-scan 5000. The film itself has a nice very low/tight grain with good tone. I often process for other looks, even using Exposure 2, just as I would on a digital from beginning file. Maybe I'm seeing things, but I see a more "film like" quality in scanned film than all digital. This is not to say that one can't get outstanding b&w from the M8, many, many examples in this forum and elsewhere prove that point. For color of course, the M8 rules. Best....Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I should stop reading so many posts...gives me more questions:)

 

My thought has been to sell my 2 M7s and move to an M8.2. And, since I already sold all of my darkroom equipment, to just go fully digital. However, on another recent thread, some suggested this would be unwise...that I'd regret the sale and that I should at least keep a foot in the film world.

 

Ok, so here's my question. For those who shoot bw in both film M's and digital M's, is there any significant improvement/difference in the final print (assuming 8x10 or 11x14 equivalent) if the film is scanned and printed digitally vs a print that comes from an M8 file? Or, are folks who retain their film cameras so inclined because they ultimately print on traditional silver papers? (Or, maybe just because they like the feel of their old Ms?)

 

If the former is the case, I might be inclined to keep shooting film along with digital. If the latter, I might not go there since I'd have to trust a lab to generate my prints (no room for another darkroom). I wouldn't mind scanning my own negs, but trusting a lab for interpreting prints seems problematic.

 

Jeff

 

Jeff

 

I have M8.2 (had an M8) an M2, an MP, 5 Rolleiflexes; 2 mamiya C330's, a HASSELBLAD a Toyo 5 x 4 etc etc. I like photography so whatever gets me the pictures that I want is fine by me. I choose digital or film according to the circumstances. I enjoy both. There is no choice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scanning B&W silver halide negs is not satisfactory. Dust and scratch removal hardware implementations such as Nikon ICE do not work on halide films. You end up with a significant amount of manual corrections in software.

But if you use films like ADOX CMS 20, your resolution can be +20MP.

However with Nik's software you can achieve B&W look from M8 indistinguishable to many from that of a scanned negative. The darkroom prints will look different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel quite strongly about this. There are, imo, two distinct processes. There is the chemical process, which has its own unique artistic value. that means film, wet darkroom, print, or film and projected slide. Nothing can copy the effect of that. And then there is the digital process, sensor, digital darkroom, print. Again, an unique process that renders prints that are unique.There have been fights all over the internet about which process is " superior" Neither, imo. Digital may give cleaner prints, with more resolution, but film renders differently and equally pleasing.

And then there is the hybrid process. Film, scan, and treat like digital file. I do not care very much for that, as it introduces the disadvantages of film into the disadvantages of digital capture. It is convenient, yes, as it cuts out the chemical darkroom and it enables film images to be shown on the Internet, and as such it has its place. But I do not see it as a viable artistic medium. So imo you have two choices: either go chemical all the way and produce great fine-art prints or go digital all the way and make great digital prints.

Edited by jaapv

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have thought the same thing until, for me, the film cameras sit for months and months without any use.

I am now thinking of selling all my film M's once again (did that early last year then bought others later in the year).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have thought the same thing until, for me, the film cameras sit for months and months without any use.

I am now thinking of selling all my film M's once again (did that early last year then bought others later in the year).

 

Because of the sheer effort involved in scanning every 36 shots with my KM 5400II from my very last film Leica (an MP), I found I was not really using the Leica any more. At that time there was no M8.

 

I then spent a few years shooting with Nikon products, up to and including the magnificent D3, during which time the M8 and M8.2 began to impinge on my thoughts.

 

I missed Leica M photography badly.

 

So now I have 2 M8s and a handful of lenses, and to my eye at least, I think I have most of the essence of the MP film results without the hassle of scanning. I am very happy.

 

Just my view, of course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I feel quite strongly about this. There are, imo, two distinct processes. There is the chemical process, which has its own unique artistic value. that means film, wet darkroom, print, or film and projected slide. Nothing can copy the effect of that. And then there is the digital process, sensor, digital darkroom, print. Again, an unique process that renders prints that are unique.There have been fights all over the internet about which process is " superior" Neither, imo. Digital may give cleaner prints, with more resolution, but film renders differently and equally pleasing.

And the there is the hybrid process. Film, scan, and treat like digital file. I do not care very much for that, as it introduces the disadvantages of film into the disadvantages of digital capture. It is convenient, yes, as it cuts out the chemical darkroom and it enables film images to be shown on the Internet, and as such it has its place. But I do not see it as a viable artistic medium. So imo you have two choices: either go chemical all the way and produce great fine-art prints or go digital all the way and make great digital prints.

 

This was exactly my initial reasoning. If I could have kept my darkroom (not an option now), I would have gladly used both processes. If I make the full switch to digital, I know better than to try and compare the end products.

 

I guess I'm happy that you've eliminated the "hybrid" approach, although I'm sure others might have a different view.

 

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I started shooting with films lately (M6s with Tri-X and XP2) and am enjoying both these days.

 

To my eyes, files and prints from the M8 are "clean and sharp", and those from films are "creamy". I really like how the highlight in the bokeh areas comes out in the film based files and prints. "Creamy" is the word I use to explain it.

 

Of course, the same effect can be achieved in PS but I am not that good at it.

 

I am re-discovering the joy of film photography these days and I am glad that I never sold my film M (in fact, I bought a M6 BP recently).

 

My 2 cents - keep one film M and enjoy "full frame" once in awhile (and no focus shift!!!)..

 

cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I posted two images to the Film vs Digital forum you might be interested in:

 

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/digital-post-processing-forum/80382-film-digital-comparison.html#post856440

 

The particulars are in the posting. For what it's worth.

 

Thanks. Did you ever print the two and determine if any difference?...that would more directly respond to my inquiry...at least based on one situation (although looking at the same image through both processes would eliminate a major variable). As others indicate, the computer generated image doesn't get at the real end product for me.

 

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I started shooting with films lately (M6s with Tri-X and XP2) and am enjoying both these days.

 

To my eyes, files and prints from the M8 are "clean and sharp", and those from films are "creamy". I really like how the highlight in the bokeh areas comes out in the film based files and prints. "Creamy" is the word I use to explain it.

 

Of course, the same effect can be achieved in PS but I am not that good at it.

 

I am re-discovering the joy of film photography these days and I am glad that I never sold my film M (in fact, I bought a M6 BP recently).

 

My 2 cents - keep one film M and enjoy "full frame" once in awhile (and no focus shift!!!)..

 

cheers

 

You're just trying to add to my dilemma:D

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking at images at 100% magnification the M8 trounces any scanned film I ever used in a film M. With reasonably sized prints I doubt that you'd notice much difference. More imortant IMHO is the time it takes to scan the film.

 

Scanning b&w films isn't as difficult as some make out. Yes, there's a dust issue, but it tends to be overplayed in my experience, and the spot healing brush in Photoshop is your friend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i'm after a m7 to use my wide angle lenses to their full potential when working festivals and such.

 

cheers

 

jesse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went from (Nikon) digital to film. I shoot B&W and develop, scan and print at home. I got sick of stuff ups and delays from my local lab. Now the stuff ups and delays are all my own

 

For me it is about the process and the look rather than the resolution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Scanning B&W silver halide negs is not satisfactory. Dust and scratch removal hardware implementations such as Nikon ICE do not work on halide films. You end up with a significant amount of manual corrections in software.

But if you use films like ADOX CMS 20, your resolution can be +20MP.

However with Nik's software you can achieve B&W look from M8 indistinguishable to many from that of a scanned negative. The darkroom prints will look different.

 

Amen brother. I have found scanning B&W negs a nightmare. That was one reason I finally jumped to digital. Even if I liked prints and printing (and I did) the market now requires digital images to some degree. I had decent luck with MY coolscan 5000 when scanning color but B&W was a nightmare.

 

If you are "keeping" the M7 in the hope of getting better DIGITAL results in B&W I say forget about it. If what you want is a digital B&W file use the M8.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never had any problem scanning traditional b&w film. If you don't allow your negs to get scratched or dusty, you don't need to do much spotting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find it helpful to keep in mind that scanning is digital photography. With the M8 one photographs the subject and with scanning one makes a macro photograph of a piece of film. As Jaap mentions, an all optical/chemical workflow is a horse of a different color.

 

My own experience was that once I realized that I wanted to work in Photoshop rather than the darkroom (after decades doing the latter) I found that I wanted to digitally photograph the subject and not the film. YMMV of course.

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest malland
...So imo you have two choices: either go chemical all the way and produce great fine-art prints or go digital all the way and make great digital prints.
Jaap:

 

"Great fine-art prints" vs "great digital prints" — now how's that for stacking the deck? Presumably this means that you create art with darkroom prints but not with digital prints. You'd better makes sure all the great photographers who are producing digital prints — say, Nachtwey and Moriyama for example — know that they'd better go back to darkroom prints if they want to create art.

 

—Mitch/Potomac, MD

Northern Thailand - a set on Flickr

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...