Film

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#1
My film camera is due back soon from repair. Getting a 36 exposure roll of Ilford printed to 7 x 5 costs about a tenner. Is it plausible/possible to just get the film developed rather than printed and then scan it? My Canon scanner is very old but Epson do a range with an incorporated film scanner. Would this work? And is it costly/more fun to develop a film myself? I imagine that a lot of the skill is in the printing, or am I wrong about that?


All help greatly appreciated! :)
 

CT

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#2
milou said:
My film camera is due back soon from repair. Getting a 36 exposure roll of Ilford printed to 7 x 5 costs about a tenner. Is it plausible/possible to just get the film developed rather than printed and then scan it?
You'd have to ask your processor about this. The problem is that many processors these days use totally automatic processing machines, but there's no reason why they shouldn't oblige you, it's just a question of whether they'd want to. Your other option of course is to use reversal (slide) film, which you can still scan.
My Canon scanner is very old but Epson do a range with an incorporated film scanner. Would this work?
Certainly - I use a similar Epson set up myself.
And is it costly/more fun to develop a film myself? I imagine that a lot of the skill is in the printing, or am I wrong about that?
There will be an initial outlay in chemicals and equipment, but after that it may be cheaper, depending on how efficiently you store and re-use the chemicals. The skill is most certainly in the printing, you're quite right, but if you intend to scan your results then it's down purely to PSP to produce your prints. If you intend to tackle conventional printing, then don't forget you'd need a photographic enlarger, and also be able to set up a temporary darkroom, which is usually feasible in the kitchen or bathroom but a lot more hassle.

On the other hand once your reversal film is loaded in the developing tank then you can complete the development under normal room lighting, so it's far less hassle and you'd need much less kit..

35mm developing tank
Photographic thermometer
Two or three measuring beakers

Any good photographic shop should be able to sell you all the chemicals you need for E6 processing in a boxed kit. ( E6 processing is suitable for home developing)

Is it fun? I'd say so, and you'll get a definite sense of achievement from it. :)

Whether you go for negative or reversal film, your average commercial processor will do a good job with the film development. There's such a slight temperature variation permissable during the development that they have to get that bit right or get nada results. It's the printing stage where many of them are suspect and they can get away with partly exhausted and contaminated chemicals, huge fluctuations in temperature, all of which affect print quality and colour balance.... and still get a result - of sorts! :whistling
 
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milou
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#3
Thanks for this :)

The Iford film had to be processed separately (the Kodak one I used was run through the colour processing unit). I've seen set ups for home printing and no doubt it's quite an acheivement. I do like the idea of processing the film and then scanning for web use. I'll drop by my local independent shop.

Have you developed your own film and then printed?
 

CT

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#4
milou said:
Have you developed your own film and then printed?
I did do for years. When I was in my teens I had a permanent darkroom set up in the cellar at home with an enlarger I built myself with instructions from a library book. The only bits I had to buy were the lens, two optical condensors and the lamphouse bulb. Later, I had a much posher colour enlarger, but colour printing is a whole different game. Assuming everything was set up properly and went smoothly, it took me about ten minutes to produce each print. Multiply that by 36 exposures and you can see the time involved! In the end it proved far more economical in time and money to output my stuff to a pro lab.

I might add that I don't miss any of it these days being a total digital convert. Like you though, I'm going to be putting some film through my A1 and will probably scan the results too. :)
 
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#5
Used to develop and print my own b&w and cibachrome (prints from slides) when I was about 14! Gave up when I left home at 18 and lost access to the darkroom. (well, the bathroom, used to drive my mum mad!) and haven't really got back into it since then. It is both brilliant and magical when you watch your prints start to appear as the float in the trays of developer. However, I wouldn't go back now as the digital process is so much easier, instant and doesn't pollute the enviroment quite so badly.

When I was semi-digital I was getting my local lab to develop my films and print them at 6x4 as they charged the same for just developing the negs(?!?) I then used those as a kind of contact sheet and then scanned the decent ones into the pc using a dedicated neg scanner. It does produce good results and most of the photos in my gallery were done this way. It may be worth you trying to pick up a second hand or older generation dedicated neg scanner. The one I blagged was a nikon coolscan IVED. Only 2900dpi scans but still produced a 30Mb TIFF file at 8bit and double that at 16bit.
 

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#6
gandhi - your 'My Gallery' link is broken or your gallery is missing :)
 
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ah yeah sorry about that. I've had some problems with it so it's down at the mo. If you look at my TPF gallery here Then you'll find pretty much the same images anyway. All the ones with my name on the bottom were neg scans, except for the ones in the 'street' sub gallery. The ones with my mates names on are processing work that I've done for them in photoshop, but all digital.
 

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#8
I have an obsessive aversion to black and white pictures but there are two of yours I like a lot :)
Standing stones and cloud reflections I think they were called. Some others there that were very good too. Very nice gallery.
 

RobertP

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#10
It just seems to me that so many monochrome pictures are made from colour shots just because they can be ... a fashion. To my eye it seems very few of them actually gain something by the conversion.
 
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#11
All my monochrome stuff is shot that way so I'm safe!!!! As far as I'm concerned I tend to shoot b&w if I want to create a certain mood or ambience or if the light's naff and uninteresting. But how do you tell if a photo was shot in B&W or converted? It's not always so easy to tell.

A good photo is a good photo, whatever format. So if I understand what you're getting at, then a crap photo in colour will still be crap in mono?
 

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#12
gandhi said:
A good photo is a good photo, whatever format. So if I understand what you're getting at, then a crap photo in colour will still be crap in mono?
Kind of. It just seems to be that a very ordinary picture taken with a digital camera is converted to monochrome and a bunch of people come along and say how good it is... when all I see is an average picture that is in monochrome instead of the colour that came from the digital camera.

Makes it harder to appreciate good use of b/w when it comes along. I freely admit to having aquired a bias against b/w because of it.

I read through a huge tutorial on b/w conversion on POTN and saw many pictures there where it really worked so it can be done.
I probably pass over many b/w's too quickly.
 
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RobertP. I know what you're getting at but it's a sliding scale. Quite often shots benefit a little from being converted to B&W. It's not always a massive improvement but often it is still an improvement nonetheless.

The basic rule I've started working to is that if the action (or 'moment') is the main interest in the photo then it usually looks good in black and white. Whereas if you're shooting a scene as a whole (landscapes, buildings, an interesting wall/door/sign/etc) then you should be able to find time to frame it so that none of the colour is distracting.

In all honesty, when it comes to action shots, colour can be very distracting indeed. If you've got a crap shot then you've got a crap shot. But if you captured a nice moment, but didn't have time to get anything interesting in the background and want the viewer to concentrate on what's happening, rather than the surroundings... That's when B&W can work a little magic.
 
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