A scanner idea

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by al_derickson, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. Reading a link to some tests on film resolution it appears that film can actually capture at least as much data as the best FX digital cameras and potentially much more but we can't realize this unless we go back to optical enlargements in a wet darkroom. Since scanner technology development essentially stopped ten years ago we film shooters are stuck with an inferior digital conversion process.

    I had a thought, probably borne out of ignorance, but here it goes: Scanners are inherently complicated machines with all sorts of bits and pieces requiring precision tolerances-lenses, mirrors, focusing mechanisms, etc. We now have the availability of full frame sensors. Why not go back to the concept of contact printing and do away with all the lenses and focusing issues? In other words, slap the film frame right against the sensor and shoot some collimated light through it and be done with it. Would this work? If not, why not? It seems some clever fellow could test the concept with a full frame DSLR if he could figure out a way to sandwich the film frame up against the sensor.

    Okay, all those filling their buckets with cold water can now let go.

    Al
     
  2. The printer is the limitation and not so much the scanner.
     
  3. The fact is, there are 'perfect' scanners already. They would be drum scanners and compete with the best optical images.
    But.... I use a cheaper varity, an Epson v700 with a fluid mount tray. Fluid mounts are about as close as your going to get without going to a dum (which are also fluid mounted).
    Al, lenses are used to focus the image onto a sensor. It's not a defect to have one, more like an enhancement. Without one, any scan would be a waste of time. The unmentioned aspect is scanning is a huge skill. Much more complected than the hardware and takes time to learn.
    ICE is a marketing hack that (in my opinion) just covers for poor work flow....keeping things clean. Good for only the 'quick-and-dirty' scans. If I need to spot, it's minimal. Another nice side effect for fluid mounts.
     
  4. Your first sentence fails to take into account what type of film: black and white or color, and if color, whether negative or
    transparency and if transparency, which type -Kodachrome K-14 (or older) , or E-6 compatible (or older) ; also what
    sensitivity or ISO range; or how it was processed; or what size the format was.

    In other words with no parameters given, saying "film can actually capture at least as much data as the best FX digital
    cameras" is totally meaningless.

    Also during the printing process a lot of the potential range of "film" was absolutely lost even by the most meticulous of
    darkroom craftsmen working at the limits of tools and technique. Underneath which the very nature of the various printing
    process materials put a very real cap on the dynamic range and color palette that could be reproduced.
     
  5. I believe contact printing is lossy too? And where is the average sensor? - I read some are behind 4mm of filters & stuff? - How easily damageable would a bare sensor surface be?
     
  6. Ellis, I was referring to the posts by one Henning Serger in this thread: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/131396-rollei-rpx-25-grain-resolution-5.html which was linked in a recent post on this site concerning high resolution 400 speed film.
    I have no idea as to the veracity of his data.
    Al
     
  7. Hi Al
    For the films mentioned in your link, those can be covered by the best flatbed scanners already at 6000 dpi. For films that have a higher lp/mm then just realize that unless you are doing extreme cropping the prints would need to be humongous to to take advantage of that level of resolution.
    Yes, present day sensors e.g. Nikon D810 are pretty high resolution yet are still 5207 dpi for the type of application to which you refer.

    So yes it would be technically feasible to do what you are talking about yet what would be the advantage over today's scanners or just using a macro lens with a film adapter and take it right with the camera. In addition, today's scanners can cover negatives larger than 35mm at the 6000 dpi resolution as well as scanning prints.
    Though an interesting academic question, it does not seem like there is any significant buyer market for the product above what is already available. And in the case of the macro lens and slide/negative adapter, you get to keep the macro lens for other uses.

    Just my two cents.
     
  8. it appears that film can actually capture at least as much data as the best FX digital cameras and potentially much more​
    As said, it depends on film and format; but for 35mm film, you're living in the past. Your source(s) is full of beans and his 'results' and 'methods' are literally incredible.
    Even with midrange scanners, you can resolve the 'grain' even on Kodachrome or Ektar and they sure beat Provia 400, IMHO.
     
  9. Well, for one thing, I would not project images to judge resolution. The source cited uses invalid methodology, just to start with, never mind the conclusions.
    As for my "credible results," you can see some very informal testing with scans of Kodachrome at
    http://www.photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/00b9l6
    where even fairly lo-res (ca. 4000 ppi) scans reveal film structure that you would not find in a 20+MP digital image. The problem is not the scanner, but the film itself. You can't get orange juice out of a turnip.
    00d0yn-553309984.jpg
     
  10. Additional note:
    The dust and other specks on the slide are crisp and 'grainless' in the 4000 ppi scans. If you examine the slides under a high power magnification, the image is as in the scans.
    The above image was taken with a Nikkormat EL, probably with my PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8, perhaps with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 most likely at f/8 or 11 at 1/125.
     
  11. Here is a 100% of a scan of Ektar 100 at 4000 ppi - Contax IIa with Helios 53mm f/2 lens.
    This wouldn't be any sharper no matter how many ppi it was scanned at.
    Now let me see your high-res film scans that show vastly improved sharpness above 4000 ppi. (no PS, NIK, or other sharpening allowed - my scans have sharpening turned off)
    00d0zA-553310484.jpg
     
  12. Not fair...... :)
     
  13. I have replied, Les.
    But the OP DID give, as his motivation, the supposed superiority of film.
    Else, why do you need a better scanner?
     
  14. Just to be clear, I myself have no developed opinion on whether film is superior or inferior to current digital technology. I know better than to get in that fight ;)
    I do firmly believe however, that film scanner technology could be improved and that it's a shame that development of it has essentially ceased.
    Al
     
  15. What is best, should only reflect the situation and the photographers preferences. I choose film because I want to, and I have a crap load of it. I don't expect anyone to shoot film, just because I do. The same otherwise should be said for the digital folk.
    Les, I scan mostly BW. ICE does not do the deed. In doing so, I had to learn to 'spot' myself. And most of all avoid to by keeping everything as clean as possible. When dealing with colour, I found my talents better than any of the software (lasersoft,epson scan, vuescan) available to me.
    Les if you are who I think you are, there was an evil woman in my life that is not there anymore. Fill in the blanks.
     
  16. Concept seems OK, but the main issue is that there might be diffraction effects such as Newton's rings, or, if not right up against the pixel elements, lack of critical focus. That is why a lens is such a good idea: you can focus it critically. In addition, there will indeed be dust and dirt issues. Why not just us a high res DSLR and repro lens to copy the neg/slide? You minimize all these issues.
     
  17. it appears that film can actually capture at least as much data as the best FX digital cameras and potentially much more but we can't realize this unless we go back to optical enlargements in a wet darkroom.​
    First of all, this statement is patently false. Digital printing is excellent, usually far exceeds what is possible in a darkroom print. At least in terms of range.
    Second, the issue isn't resolution. At least not with a good scanner, and good scanning technique. Certainly not a drum scanner. The issue is range of tonality, or bit depth. It gets quite complicated, but it has to do with the smoothness of the print moving thru from one tone to the next. It is quite visible in b&w, which has always been more sensitive than color.
     
  18. Can you back up that "patently false" with some evidence, Lenny?<br>And what is the issue with 'range of tonality'?
     
  19. Second, the issue isn't resolution. At least not with a good scanner, and good scanning technique. Certainly not a drum scanner. The issue is range of tonality, or bit depth. It gets quite complicated, but it has to do with the smoothness of the print moving thru from one tone to the next. It is quite visible in b&w, which has always been more sensitive than color.​
    I'm sorry, but bit depth doesn't play into it at all. When I project my slides I'm getting all the color my(very good) eyes can see. We are not talking about prints here or the scanned digital file; we are talking about the potential of film to hold information.
    Al
     
  20. I’m surprised we’re still debating this. Here’s a little film vs. digital test I did way, way back in 1999 for PEI magazine. Keep in mind this is a drum scan versus a digital camera (actually three different ones) of that era. http://digitaldog.net/files/FilmVsDigital.jpg. Here’s a PDF of the article: http://digitaldog.net/files/Filmvsdigital.pdf
    [​IMG]
     
  21. I'm surprised we're debating film vs digital when my question was about improving film scans. There is no question when I compared my scanned film images to my projected film images that a lot of data is being lost in scanning.
    Al
     
  22. Oops, was writing too fast. I'm actually in agreement with most of you. What I was saying was false, and I apologize for my lack of clarity, was that one had to go to the darkroom to realize the wonder of film. I think film is more wonderful than digital.
    As to the "tonality" issue, it is my experience that black and white film is more sensitive than digital capture. There appear to be more steps between zone 5 and zone 6, for example. I have looked all over but don't see any real comparisons of this. I tend to print like a platinum printer, I want all the delicacy, the atmosphere, etc.
    Andrew, I am underwhelmed by your scan in your image set. It doesn't seem very sharp to me. My scanner is much sharper than that... There must have been something out of whack...
    Hope that clears some things up...
     
  23. There must have been something out of whack...​
    I don’t think so but I honestly don’t recall what I did way back in 1999 in terms of the settings of which you’re seeing a low rez JPEG or PDF from a mag. There’s far more to the image quality of the very old digital capture than just it being ‘sharper’ and man, would the grain you see be even more visible (and yes, I’m pretty sure it was oil mounted but don’t put a gun to my head, it was nearly 16 years ago).
     
  24. Lenny, IF I can find the original 2x2, you want to scan it at 120MB? I know I still have the very old digital captures archived somewhere....
     
  25. Andrew, I'd be happy to....
    I assume you know where to find me.... if not, just let me know...
     
  26. The problem with contact printing -- at least in the old days -- was keeping the film absolutely flat and in contact with the print surface. There were no perfect solutions. I had an acquaintance who shot 11x14 image and made contact prints in the back of his VW micro van using directed sunlight. His prints were stunning, but not perfect. He had a grant from the Canadian Film Board to do his work. Even at 11x14, the content of the negative is not perfect in any sense.
     
  27. Thanks Lenny, I do know how to find you. Finding the transparency is going to be another story but I’ll see if I can dig it up. Be cool to compare now your scan, the original scan and the two old Leaf captures and post them here.
     

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