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!

First Fully Scanned Sprocket Rocket Roll


Sprocket Rocket, Fuji Provia 400F

Nice vertical, eh?  This post looks absolutely tiny in comparison.

I managed to scan an entire roll of Sprocket Rocket photos that I took way back in March.  It took me that long to get a flatbed scanner, experiment with full-width scanning techniques, and then settle on one that seems to work well.

Knit Night just occurred in our household here, and with my Dear Sweet Wife and her friends knitting (and crocheting and quilting) away that gave me the opportunity to scan about one-and-a-half rolls full of sprockets.

On top of my Sprocket Rocket roll I also scanned about half a roll that my DSW took with her Blackbird Fly.  We should both feel freer to shoot with these cameras since we can now use their output.

Next up for my blog I hope to make a little section covering my cameras, and eventually other favorite gear of mine.  I have some cool vintage flash units on loan from my father that I will have to photograph before I return them to him.  (I will return them, honest Dad!)

Fortunately for me I have a new addition to my camera collection, one that should see a lot of film passing through it.  See if you can find the clue in this post about what it is.

Six hours left until I need to wake up… ugh, better wrap it up for this night.

How To Scan Sprocket Rocket & Blackbird Fly

Sprocket Rocket, Fuji Provia 400F (in case you couldn’t tell from the code)

I own a Sprocket Rocket, but have had a tough time getting good scans of 35mm strips all the way to the outer edges.

My Nikon LS-5000 film scanner cannot capture into the sprocket holes at all.  I tried using Lomography’s own DigitaLIZA scanning masks with my Epson V700 flatbed scanner, but it turns out they crop some of the outer edges too.  They also were not quite the right height for the V700 to focus properly.

What is the point of exposing over the sprocket holes if you can’t see it all?  I want images taken with this camera to scream “I was taken on film!” at the top of their lungs.

I worked on a new two-step solution this weekend.  I took an extra V700 35mm film strip holder and used my modeling tools (clippers, files, etc.) to remove a middle section of the support.  Then I used Better Scanning’s glass insert to hold the strip flat and in place while allowing for exposure to the edges.

This worked out almost perfectly.  I say almost as the glass insert is ever-so-slightly not wide enough.  If you look closely you can see a bit of its edge making a dark strip in the middle of the film imprinting on top and bottom of the film.

But I am much better off than I was before the weekend.  Now I feel free to fully enjoy my Sprocket Rocket as well as encourage my Dear Sweet Wife to use her Blackbird Fly (which also exposes over the holes) more often.

If you had today off work or school I hope your Labor Day exploits were as fruitful as mine!


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…