Need help...large format negative scanning

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by terrypittman, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. I have some black and white negatives from the 80's & 90's that I want to make digital. They are 35mm, 2 1/4, 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10. What is the best way to accomplish this. I have a few hundred and don't mind doing one by one.
  2. You can either take them/send them to a lab to be scanned, but quality scans can be expensive.
    Or you can scan them yourself. Best to use a film scanner for maximum sharpness and resolution, but film scanners for formats larger than 35mm can be very expensive.
  3. Something like the Epson V700 will scan negatives up to 8x10, but will cost you $650-$700.
    Commercial scanning of 8x10 will probably cost you something in the $2-$5 range depending on resolution if done on a flatbed like the V700.
    High quality drum scans could be anywhere from $25-$200 depending on resolution.
  4. Are you thinking about these as fine art finals or are these just for proofing? I ask because I have been recently converting my proofs to digital--mostly 4x5 but I also have some 8x10 and mf as well--and although I have a Hasselblad scanner for up to 4x5, I decided to try just shooting them with my dSLR on a light table. For proofing, this works very well and I can do a lot of negatives very quickly--you could probably also make prints from these as well, although a good scan would be a much better option. I shoot them in raw and I created an ACR preset that turns them positive and bumps the contrast to an acceptable level. When needed, I will fine tune them and crop them.
  5. The Canoscan 9000F and the earlier 9000-series scanners do a decent job on large format negatives for USD 200-300. They are also decent for smaller format, and great for plain flatbed scanning.
    They are clearly not up to drum scans and other fancy alternatives, but they do just fine for prints up to 13x19 inches (as large as my printer goes).
  6. Do not need fine art prints just want to be digital and add to sites like this, the Canoscan 9000F sounds like a nice option.
  7. the specs on the canoscan 9000f
    say it will do 35mm and 120
    how does it do 4 x 5 or 8 x 10
    ( most of us only have up to 4 x 5)
    or is there a work-around to do larger negatives?
    I just got a 6 x 6 camera and unkless my neighbor is willing , I will have to print and scan the prints.
  8. Just saw that the Canonoscan does 35mm & 120.
    Can it do the larger formats?
  9. Terry,
    Forget about V700/750 which deliver 2400 dpi scanning effectively only. And scanned image is not sharp until dpi is reduced to 1200 or 800. In fact, I gave up my v700 and put it aside. Now, I use my dslr camera to shoot my films with a macro lens.
    The following link shows the steps
    The images shot by this method are very sharp.
  10. If all you want to do is post to sites like this one, then the simplest method is to put your image on a lightbox and take a photo with a point-and-shoot. There is no reason too spend money on a scanner.
    There are only 2 reasons you would want to scan something at high resolution, the first is to make an exquisite print of it, at any size, with an inkjet or lightjet, and the second is to "archive" the image in the event that you might want to do so in the future. Color film does fade over time, estimates vary, and depend on storage conditions and many other factors.
    To answer the fellow who quoted prices - just because one has a drum scanner does not mean that they can provide a good scan. Many services just stick your film on the drum and scan it - however it is. Low cost scans are done like this because there is no time in the 'budget per scan' to do anything else. A good scan operator will look at your image and figure out what you are trying to do and then set up the parameters so that you can accomplish your aesthetic goals. There isn't a high quality scan at $25, they are around $100-$200 here and one place in NYC has the same thing I deliver for $135 for over $1200. (I think they are way overpriced.) There are lots of good scanner operators out there.... when and if you need one.
  11. "If all you want to do is post to sites like this one, then the simplest method is to put your image on a lightbox and take a photo with a point-and-shoot. There is no reason too spend money on a scanner."
    Can that be done with a black and white negative?
  12. Certainly. Then you bring it up in PhotoShop and invert it. Throw a little curve on it to adjust it to the way you want and Save for Web. I always bring images into PhotoShop to convert them to jpeg anyway - it compresses them down to a minimum (even screenshots). I'm certain there are other programs that do this as well, but I own PhotoShop so its my default choice.
  13. Hi Lenny,
    That may be the solution I am looking. Don't have Photoshop but use iPiccy, which I love and it does have the invert image option.
  14. Epson 2450. Scans negs up to 4x5, won't do much bigger however. Will scan 8x10 prints. Excellent quality, 35mm capability is limited but looks good if you work at it. Cost maybe $40 w/ shipping (what I've paid for my last two). No complaints.
  15. Looks good to me. I spent another minute in piccy... the equalize button helped... and it all came out very nice... It's a pretty amazing web app... thanks for passing that along.
  16. And a BIG THANK-YOU to Lenny.
  17. Sorry, it's the older Canoscan 9950 that does the 4x5. I was living in the past and still use my 9950 from time to time.
    The 9000 would do larger sizes if you could find a holder for it, I think.
  18. For this purpose, I would also do the lightbox and DSLR method.
  19. To expand on Peter's comments on using a DSLR to scan negatives see my post on using this method for 4x5 negatives or transparencies at, . For most negatives, I find that stitching together four separate images obtained with my Canon 5D II with a Canon 100mm macro lens is sufficient to resolve film grain.
  20. Lenny just scanned two medium format (6x6cm) photos for me at 8000dpi. I have had high end scansmade of these two
    photos scanned for me before. But Lenny's scans are something else: these are far and away the best scans I've ever
    seen: not just extremely high resolution but masterfully capturing the full amount of visual information in the film from
    deep, deep shadows all the way up to pure highlight with very clear seperation of tones and subtlely shifting shades of
    color . He does impeccable work. If you have need to have high end scanning done, Lenny Eiger is your man.
  21. Aside from 35mm, for the other formats, I still believe the best quality/price ratio is using the earlier generation of professional flatbed scanners with excellent optics. Most were SCSI, but in the latter days, Firewire models came out. Examples include UMax Powerlook, Linocolor Saphir (UMax), Microtek and Agfa (believe those where Microtek). I keep an old SCSI computer on hand for scanning. I simply believe these are better scanners than the newer Epson ones, albeit good values.
  22. Have you made prints from your negatives? You could use the "shoot it with a digital camera" method on the prints, although getting the lighting right (no reflections) will be tricky.
    Scanners have (or come with) software to effectively convert a negative to a positive image, but it might not match the results that you get in a darkroom (contrast, etc.). You'll probably need to do additional work in a program like Photoshop Elements to get the look that you want. For those purposes, some resolution and bit depth will be helpful.
    There are no easy answers with scanning, unfortunately.

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