E6 development, mounting and scanning

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by prasoon, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. Fellow photographers,
    This question has been asked many times. I would like to ask a few more specific questions.
    I am an amateur/hobbyist in the Portland, OR metropolitan area. I have been shooting 35 mm slides for a few years with Canon EOS gear. I use Fuji pre-paid mailers and get the slides developed at Dwayne's. I also have an OpticPlus 7500 for scanning my slides.
    Recently, I bought a used Mamiya 645 pro and I have been in total awe of this bigger format. Fuji also lets you use their recent mailers for 120 E6 film development. However, those slides come back unmounted.
    My questions are:
    1. Is anyone aware of good labs that might develop E6 cheaper than Dwayne's? I am pretty happy with Dwayne's quality and overall response.
    2. What is a good way to scan 35mm and 120 slides? I am not very happy with the Optic Plus results. I feel that it kills the dynamic range that the slide is able to capture. I never am able to resolve the details in the highlights (say clouds in a landscape) which are visible in the slides. Moreover, Optic plus won't scan 120 film. I drool at the prospects of getting my slides drum scanned but the costs are prohibitive and I only do photography as a hobby.
    3. Is anyone aware of a projector that might be able to project both 35mm and 120 film? If I can get my hands on a decent scanner, I might be fine with just a light table and a loupe and not need the projector.
    4. What kind of a workflow do you practise when scanning your slides?

  2. My solution for 120 film (transparency and negative) is a Kodak 3570 film scanner. It scans film up to 70 mm wide. This was originally produced in the 1990s to scan images for Kodak's proprietary PhotoCD. The original cost was about $8000 but they can be purchased on eBay for under $200. Make sure you get film holders with the scanner. They are sometimes difficult to find.
    There are some limitations:
    • The scanner requires a SCSI port
    • The software driver can probably still be downloaded from Kodak.com, but there is no support for it. I know it works with Mac OS 9. I'm not sure which versions of Windows are compatible.
    • The maximum image size is 6 MP.
    I keep a 1990s vintage Mac GIII running to connect to this scanner as well as my Minolta scanner.
  3. I've been using AgX Imaging for my E6 processing for a few years, and been very pleased. I don't know how the prices compare with Dwaynes, but there is a price list posted on the website.
    I have a Coolscan that I use to get excellent scans of 35mm, and an old Epson 2450 that I use to get decent scans of 120. For the rare 120 shot worth a better scan, I use AgX for an Imacon scan ($12.50/frame, last I checked). These are quite nice, and a good value (I don't know how many MP equivalent, but the last 6x6 frames I had scanned produced tif files in the ~250MB range).
    If for some reason you need to scan an entire roll, try to find yourself a dedicated scanner. But more likely is that only a few shots here and there are really worth the high quality scan. The only reason I resort to such a scan over the Epson is if I'm going to be printing the shot in a size greater than ~8".
  4. IMOPO, there is nothing that will scan medium format film, and products high-quality scans (especially of transparency film), that is not (1) expensive, (2) ancient (in terms of hardware and software working with reasonably-modern computers), (3) quite large, and/or (4) substantially difficult to use. If you don't like 35mm slides scanned on a Plustek, then I doubt you'd be happy with an Epson V600.
    There's a long discussion over at this thread:
  5. I believe that there is at least one E6 lab still in Seattle. Price is about the same, but you save on shipping. Are there none in Portland?
    I once saw a 120 slide projector at an estate sale, but didn't think about buying it. You would want, at least, a different lens for 35mm and 120. Usually a whole different projector.
  6. Thanks for the responses everyone.
    There is ProPhotoSupply in Portland which is a decent store. I have not used their lab services. Shutterbug is slow for MF. I have not been happy with their service. I will explore around and then re-post once I decide on a solution. Likely, it will not be a cheap one as I was hoping it could be.
  7. 1.) Dwayne is a well known lab. They have been in business for a long time. If I am not mistaken, they developed the last Kodachrome roll. They likely have a sufficient volume of work that justifies frequent replacement of developing chemicals (which is what you would want). Going cheaper may result in bad results. You also do not indicate which price range you are looking for. Expect to pay around $8.00 for an unsleeved roll of 12 exposures to get you good results.
    2.) A good way is to scan your best frames, and only your best frames, by a professional. There is one stop in between the Pusteks, Nikons (lowest) and a drum scan (highest). That is the Hasselblad Flextight X5.
    3.) Projectors are not used that much anymore. Not sure if one exists that covers 35 as well as 120 slides.
    4.) I own a Hasselblad Flextight X5. I scan raw = LINEAR SCANS with no operator intervention or any adjustments before the scans, saved in the native Hasselblad 3F file format. That is my digital archive to go along my film archive. The scanner also produces TIF files during the scan, which I modify to suite my needs. A 6x6 frame produces 7000x7000 pixels.
    Dave Redmann - referring to what you indicated I can add the following (refers to a Hasselblad Flextight scanner):(1) "Expensive", yes, very if OP absolutely must own one. (2.) "Ancient", no, it is still being manufactured. (3.)"quite large", no, it has a vertical footprint (4.)"difficult to use", no, it is a breeze!
  8. Dwayne's is a good lab and one of the more reasonably priced, I think. I use Blue Moon Camera and Machine in Portland (on Lombard St) and I think their prices are reasonable - might be higher or lower or mixed, not sure.
    I rarely project slides anymore and mount them myself if I do, so my film comes back unmounted (by request).
    I use an Epson 4870 to scan and I've been happy with it. Most of what I use it for ends up on the web and that's it, but all prints I've done from scans have been fine.
  9. Danny, the "and/or" in my list of issues is for the 'pick your poison' nature of the problems; there's nothing really recent, good, and inexpensive. Also, my comment refers to a lot of older machines discussed in the other thread, including old drum scanners and a Flextight II on eBay (which sold for $2184 "as-is"). As you know, the new Flextights are $13,000 and $21,000. But if I win the Powerball, I'd definitely get a Flextight X5!
  10. Yes, Dave you are 100% correct. There are no scanners out there that comply with all three prerequisites you had mentioned "recent" "good" and "inexpensive".
    The older film dedicated scanners that are likely to be used at the consumer level, have their inherent problems including 1) being old and having hardware no longer supported by their manufacturers (i.e. Nikon, Minolta) 2) lack of software upgrades by the manufacturers of those machines supporting new computer operating systems 3) having a SCSI connectivity (no USB), no longer supported by new operating systems.
    The "newer" (hope) the 120 film scanner by Plustek, has had a long long long launching...not sure how they eventually resolved their issues.
    The "newer" flatbeds aren't going to produce any professional film scans (for sure not of 35mm film) as the film scanning function is really something the manufacturers are marketing to be able to generate more sales. We need to call them what they really are = Machines for scanning REFLECTIVE media, not film.
    The bottom line is, anybody who really wants to scan film on their own and obtain professional results, needs to compromise.
    I personally wanted to have something "recent" and "good", so I compromised on the "inexpensive".
  11. Yes, the Plustek 120 has had some issues but can produce excellent results if the operator goes through all the learning curve to figure out the Silverfast/Plustek system. It took me 8 months to figure out the best tools to use for each film type. No, it can't compete with the old Heidelberg Topaz scanner but most of film scanning is about the operator, not the machine. If one can put up with this machine's idiosyncrasies, it is an option for 35mm and 120 E-6 work.
  12. Thanks again for your responses.

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