UCLA Royce Hall and Lab Update

Nikon F6, Nikkor AF 24/2.8 D, Fujifilm Provia 400X

I mentioned a while back I have been using some new film development labs and figured I needed to update my sidebar link to include them.  I have done just that, so you can read more about them there.

The short story is that NCPS is my favorite lab for "serious" shots due to the quality of their enhanced scans.  I can still do a bit better job scanning myself if I spend some time with my trusty Nikon LS-5000 scanner, but for anything short of a large high quality print the NCPS scan is magnificent.

The above picture was taken at UCLA's Royce Hall and is an example of an NCPS scan.  Aside from a basic contrast adjustment it is untouched from their file.

I do like The Darkroom for toy camera photos, especially for their sprocket hole scaning service.  Their normal scans don't quite compare to NCPS's, but when opting for the sprocket option they seem to do a very high quality scan.

Lately I have sent most of my rolls to these two labs and seems to be quite comfortable using them.  I do still send our View-Master rolls to Photoworks SF as they are closest to us and the turn-around for a "do not cut" and no scan job is faster that way.

Nikkor AF 24/2.8 D

Lab-Scanned Alfa

Nikon F6, AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, Fuji Velvia 100F

I finished off that roll of slide film I started shooting in my F6 almost two months ago and had it developed at North Coast Photographic Services located in Carlsbad, CA.  This is my first time using that lab, I got the idea from Ken Rockwell‘s site where he gushes about their services.

In particular he likes their scannning at time of film processing. I am frankly still struggling to keep up with my own scanning backlog and so I decided to try out a few labs that offer film processing and scanning at the same time.

My initial impression of this roll scanned by NCPS is that the detail is good and the scan has nice contrast, but it is also a bit grainier than I would have expected from my own Nikon Coolscan 5000.

I plan on having some more rolls processed and scanned by my usual lab Photoworks SF as well as another new contender The Darkroom.

If one (or more) of these lab scans is enough to my liking for casual use (Flickr, small prints, etc.) then perhaps I can focus my own scanning efforts on more critical uses.

As much as I appreciate producing a good scan and final image, I would rather be out taking more photographs instead!

Black And White Reversal

Nikon FA, Zoom-Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.5, deep red filter, Ilford HP5 Plus via dr5 process

Wow, I am seriously impressed with dr5 lab!  I sent them a roll of Ilford HP5 Plus traditional black and white film to be processed into slides and love the results.

Normally black and white film is processed into negatives which can then be printed using traditional photo paper or scanned and turned into a positive image by your computer.  But the dr5 proprietary development process turns the black and white film into a positive image slide just like true (color) reversal film.

They claim that this is superior when your intention is to scan the film and post-process it digitally, and so far I can’t argue against them.  The scan results from their slides are far cleaner (fewer scratches/blemishes) than I am used to and seem to have excellent detail, contrast and dynamic range compared to working with a strip of negative film.

And I have to say the slides also look gorgeous in real life on my light box.  It makes me want to pull the projector and screen out for a good old fashioned slide show.

Maybe I will do just that next time my in-laws visit.  I will see if I can get my mother-in-law to fall asleep during the show just like the good old times…

Box of Shame

Canon S90

There are things I absolutely love about working with film.  I love the cameras, the different characteristics of the films, the look of slides or traditional prints from negatives… the list goes on and on.

But, I have to admit that digital has at least one major advantage which is convenience of post-capture processing and distribution.  I can live with the the delay to ship out my exposed film to my current favorite lab and then get the film and/or prints back.  But we live in a digital world now as far as “consumption” of photographs is concerned and getting the images into Flickr, SmugMug, my personal devices, and of course this blog are really the end game.

So that brings us to scanning, and my current predicament which I will detail for you now.  I call the subject of the above shot my “Box of Shame” as it presently contains the below developed and waiting-to-be-scanned rolls of 35mm film:

  1. Kodak T-Max P3200 B&W shot at a friend’s wedding back in 2006
  2. Ilford HP5 Plus B&W shot in Columbia State Park also in 2006
  3. Fuji Velvia 100 color slides pushed 1-stop (thought I would cross process, but didn’t) shot in my back yard of my boys playing this past winter
  4. Fuji Velvia 50 color slides pushed 1-stop, same time/subjects/reasons as above
  5. Fuji NPH 400 color negative by my wife using her Blackbird Fly around our neighborhood
  6. Fuji Superia 1600 color negative by me using my Sprocket Rocket inside the Exploratorium (horribly underexposed I might add)
  7. Fuji Provia 400P color slides at same time/place as above (though outside with good exposure)
  8. Kodak T-Max 400 shot of our 2nd to last family trip down to Orange County
  9. Kodak E100 VS cross processed at Happy Hollow from March (ok, partially online in this set)
  10. Fuji Provia 400P from same Happy Hollow visit but via my Sprocket Rocket
  11. Ilford HP5 Plus B&W of family shots around San Francisco
  12. Ilford XP2 Super B&W of some local kid park activity
  13. Ilford HP5 Plus B&W family shots from out last Orange County trip
  14. Two rolls of Kodak E100G cross procssed from the same trip
  15. Kodak E100GX cross processed from the same trip
  16. Fuji Provia 100F from a family park outing to Ed Levin Country Park
  17. That Sensia 200 test roll of color negs shot through my “new” Nikon FA

Depending on how you count them that is 17 to 18 rolls of film I need to scan!  Yikes, I need to get cracking!

By the way, you may notice some changes to the design of this blog as I play some more with Typepad’s canned layouts.  The gray hyperlink text of the “Simple White” layout is too hard to read…