Friday, January 29, 2016

Color Negative Film Processing Using Photoshop

Color Negative Film Processing Using Photoshop

This article describes my experiences with processing color negative film.  Techniques I've tried include:

  • Silverfast Software
  • Vuescan Software
  • Photoshop
  • Photoshop plus ColorPerfect software

Of the above options, I prefer Vuescan for processing output from my scanner and Photoshop for processing output from my DSLR.

Color Perfect

Many people also really like ColorPerfect, a $99 plug-in for Photoshop.  I personally found Color Perfect to quickly get me good results but I prefer the results I get without it a bit better.  Color Perfect also comes with an array of adjustment tools that I have not mastered, partly because many of these tools are duplicates of what Photoshop can do but in the constraints of a dialog box and without the ability to use layers or undo edits.

In any case, you can try ColorPerfect for free and I would recommend at least playing with it a bit - it's just the ticket for many people.


You'll need a color negative scan from your digital camera or a scan from a scanner.  If you are using a scanner, I'll assume that you'll be using Silverfast or Vuescan, but you are free to try the technique below too - it should work.

I describe capturing film with a digital camera here.  

Some additional things to note in terms of the capture:

  • I find that my dedicated scanner gives better color for less effort.  So why bother?  The main reasons are that my scanner is very slow compared to my digital camera.  My scanner is also limited to 35mm film sizes where a digital camera can capture film of any size.  If you can live with lower resolution, a quality flatbed scanner is also worth a look.
  • The quality of the light is more important than with Black and White.  For example, fluorescent lights and many LEDs output incomplete spectrum - this may create color tuning issues. It's also possible for it to be fine if the spectra covers the dyes of your film and filters in your sensor.  In my experience, for example, I can use my LED light table to get good color from Kodak Ektar film but find Portra more challenging
  • The original exposure (on the film) is also important.  A balanced exposure simplifies color work significantly.

If you would like to try this exercise, I'm providing a sample TIFF file: here.  

You can optionally use this file to practice along the way.


Step 1: Convert to a linear TIFF.

By converting your RAW file to a linear TIFF, you avoid the gamma correction curve that is intended for positive images (and is "upside-down" and thus degrading to negative ones).

The easy way to do this is to download and use the MakeTIFF program that is distributed as a free download by the ColorPerfect team.   Note that this program simply puts a drag and drop interface on the free program dcraw.  If you are comfortable with a command line interface,  you can optionally use dcraw instead.

After converting your RAW to a linear TIFF, it will look darker.  That's because it has no gamma curve applied - it's not something to worry about.

Step 2: Load into Photoshop, Flip Image (if needed)

If you photographed your image emulsion-side up, it will require a horizontal flip to have correct orientation.  You might want to create an action for this an bind it to a key - it can be a time saver.

Step 3: Add an Inversion Layer

You can also just the classic "invert image" (ctrl-I) to avoid the layer.  I recommend the layer, however, for reasons that will become clear later.

Chances are high that the image will have a strong color cast.  Don't worry about it, we have only started :)

Step 4: Add a Levels Layer to Remove Orange Mask

For this step, you first create a levels layer, then click the "grey balance" tool on the levels panel.  Finally click on the film leader on one of the edges.  I usually do this a few times while watching the image as the film leader might have a tiny amount of digital noise in it.  Settle on a good result.

Select Somewhere in the film leader

Step 5: Rough Color Balancing With Levels

Add another levels layer and click the little menu in the corner of the tool panel and choose "Auto Options".  Set the auto options as follows:

  • Algorithms: "Enhance Per Channel Contrast"
  • Snap Neutral Midtones: Checked
  • Target Colors & Clipping: Set both shadows and highlights to 0.01
  • Save as Defaults: Checked
and things should get better:

What the above settings do is find each histogram (red, green, and blue) and sets the clipping boundaries at the edge of each signal.  These pictures show what I mean:

Simple, yet effective in getting us closer.

Step 6: Exposure and Contrast

This is optional, but if the image brightness and contrast are off significantly, I like to add an additional levels layer to push them in the correct direction.

Step 7: Fine Tune

Back to the levels layer you created in step 5, you can now adjust each of the red, green and blue levels individually for fine color tuning.  

A simple method I use is to start with blue, and start dragging the middle grey control to the right while watching the image.  You want to remove blue casts without introducing hard green ones.

Then move between blue, green and red, playing with the middle controls.  

Note this takes some practice so don't get frustrated if things don't go perfectly immediately.  The color chart I provided as an example is a good practice image because it is designed to make color and tone problems more apparent.  A nice benefit to this practice is that it's a skill that extends beyond negative correction into general image editing.

Also, remember you can click the "Auto" button again to reset things.

That's it!  You are done with a single image.

At this point I usually delete the Contrast layers I created in step 6.

I prefer doing those steps in Lightroom so they are not "baked in" unnecessarily.  In other words, Light room has no problem dealing with a flat looking image of the wrong exposure, as long as it's color corrected :)

More Images?  Copy your layers over and save time!

If you have other similar images (same film, conditions), you can save much time by copying over your layers.  I like to group the layers to make it easy to select them all.  You can do this by control-clicking each one, then right clicking and choosing "Group From Layers..."

Now, to copy the layers over:
  • Load in your other image(s)
  • Under the "Window -> Arrange" menu, choose a layout that shows all images.  For example, if you only have two images, just pick "2 up vertical"
  • Now simply drag the layer group from your corrected image to your uncorrected one and the exact same settings are applied.  Convenient! 

One "Gotcha" here is if your images have different exposures then perfect settings for one image might create "clipping" in another.  If you note that your bright areas are too white or dark areas are too black, then this may be the cause.  Another easy way to tell is to look at the "RGB" histogram for the rough adjustment layer (created in step 5).  If you see the white and black clip points cutting away a big chunk of the curve, that is a good sign of a clipping issue.

To correct, you'll need to redo steps 5 and 7 above.  You can simply click auto on the existing layer to initiate this.

Some Quick Comparisons

Here is the same Linear TIFF file processed using some alternate methods:

This Process (again)

Just for reference,

Color Perfect (Single Click, No Tuning)

Seems to have a bit too much red with the yellow looking orange.  Grass is a strange color. 

 Like I said at the beginning, color perfect gives you many tuning options but I'm not motivated to learn them as they are specialized and don't offer undo capability.

VueScan (Generic, Auto Levels)

A little cyan-heavy but not a bad result.  I'll note that I tried the "Portra" film setting but it gave far worse results than simply choosing "Generic".

You can also right click for white balance, if you have a solid white target.  Here is the same image after some white balance adjustments:

Needs a bit more work, but definitely on the right path.  Like Color Perfect, the main issue with Vuescan is the lack of a good history mechanism to checkpoint and rollback experimental edits.

Between Vuescan and Photoshop, I sometimes get a really nice result from Vuescan right away.  The problem is that, when I don't, the limited editing capabilities make it harder to recover from this than Photoshop.

Lab Scan

Here is the same image, scanned at the lab

A really nice result, although the lab does bring the penalty of a low resolution (6 MP), and JPEG format with is not edit-friendly.

Dedicated Film Scanner

Finally, here is the result from my Pacific Image XE dedicated film scanner with Vue Scan and the "Generic" color profile.  This film scanner costs about $200.  I think this result is the best of all.  Note that this is an especially good result, even for the film scanner.  That said, for a given image, the film scanner tend to give better color with less effort.  The downside, of course, is the long scan times required and the limitation of film size (to 35mm).

Wrap up

I cover the trade-offs between different scanning methods in detail here.

A take-away from this specific article is that color with a Digital Camera negative capture is definitely possible but the color results come with with more difficulty than a dedicated film scanner.  Only you can decide how the trade-offs relate to the needs of the project(s) you are working on.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Black and White Film Processing Using Lightroom

Black And White Film Processing Using Lightroom

This article shows one way to process black and white film negatives into positive images using Lightrooom.  There are many variations on the techniques described here using similar tools.

How to Scan Film

There are many ways to get negatives that can be used in this process.  Here are two:

  • The most likely is that you used a DSLR to photograph the negatives.  If you are interested in doing this, I wrote a separate article on it here.
  • You can also use Vuescan to capture a negative from most scanners.  Vuescan also has tools for processing negatives directly, but if you are curious you can easily use a Vuescan negative for the steps below.

Why Lightroom?

  • It's a popular tool that many photographers own.
  • It allows you to efficiently store the original negative (RAW file) plus the processing edits made to it in a single efficient file.  This gives you much flexibility in redoing some of the steps or just starting over.
  • You can easily make "virtual copies" in Lightroom that let you experiment with processing in different ways, again without having to copy the original data.
If you just want a quick file to play with, feel free to download this one.

The download link above is a negative that I "scanned" with my DSLR, then exported as a TIF.  Just about any editor, including Lightroom, should be able to open it.

Other Tools

If you don't have Lightroom and want to go cheap (as in free), a program called Raw Therapee can be used.  I tried the process below using Raw Therapy equivalent features and found the  program will give you all of the quality that Lightroom does.  The downside is that Raw Therapee makes no attempt to maintain an image catalog so, for reasons completely unrelated to image processing, I go with Lightroom...

A free program I previously did not recommend for negative development was Gimp.  Gimp only supported 8-bit files which can lead to posterization during basic edits.  However, as of 2015-11-27, Gimp 2.9.2 was released.  Now Gimp has 16 and 32 bit support!  This is what the program really needed and now I'll have to experiment with it at some point...

Photoshop can also be used.  I used to use a Photoshop to Lightroom workflow until I convinced myself that Lightroom was delivering the quality with less hassle.  Still, Photoshop is ultimately the more powerful tool.

If this article is well received and enough people would like to see a different tool taken though the process, I'll be happy to write another article on one of these alternate methods...

Step by Step

Image Flip

If you photographed your negatives emulsion-side-up,  they will need a horizontal flip.  In the Library multi-image view, you can select all of them at the same time for a one-click flip of the entire set.


Here are the setting I start with.  Top to bottom (see the image below):

  • A: The histogram can be used to check for blown highlights or crushed shadows.  If you have either of these problems, the exposure (D) control should be used to try and balance the histogram
  • B: Choose "Black & White"
  • C: Choose a white balance setting that matches the light you used.  This is not critical but changing the setting will slightly alter the image.
  • D: This control will be reversed after negation.  It can be used to change image brightness.
  • E: I try to develop my film for lower contrast, then add a bump in post.  I'd start with +30 and see how it goes
  • F: A bit of additional clarity seems to add presence
  • G + H: This is how you negate the image.  Fist you need to make sure the graph is in the correct mode by clicking the "H" graph until it reads "Custom".  Next you drag the left hand point to the top and the right hand point to the bottom.  Now the negative is a positive.  I finally add one additional point 1/3 in on the left and pull it down, this gives the image a bit more contrast.
  • I: Adding a bit of sharpening at this point is usually beneficial.

Copy Settings

At this point, I copy these basic setting using Lightroom's "copy settings" tool (Ctrl-Shift-C).  Then, in the Library "grid view", I paste the settings to every image

Description Frame

I make an additional description frame using Photoshop.  Any tool that can output an image will do, including the free Microsoft Paint.  Here I used Photoshop:

"Contact" Sheet

With a description frame and basic inversion done to every image, I can now print a simple contact sheet.  I include this sheet with my negatives in storage.


Now that I have a contact sheet with all frames, I'll start deleting digital negatives that are not "keepers".  Since I keep the physical negative and have a contact sheet, I can always scan again in the very unlikely chance that I change my mind about the image.

Per-Image processing

Finally, its time to apply special per-image processing to make each image look it's best.  Note that some controls in Lightroom are reversed if you edit them directly.  This can be fixed if you export all images as TIFF, then reimport them.  I simply got used to the reversed controls.

Often my processing efforts lead to additional culling.  When the dust has settled, I usually export a processed JPEG for each "keeper" and also save the RAW file (with processing metadata).

Tomorrow, I cover how to process color negatives using Photoshop.  Stay tuned!  Also, feel free to ask any questions below.  Thanks!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Scanning Film With A Digital Camera

Scanning Film With A Digital Camera

This article gives step-by-step instructions for scanning film with an Digital Camera.  Note that there are other options when it comes to scanning film.  An overview, with trade-offs, is provided here.

In summary, capturing film with a digital camera is very fast, cost-effective and delivers high quality.  The negative trade-offs are that it's an advanced technique that requires more skill than other methods - but these are skills you can build, if you have the motivation!

Required Equipment

Macro Lens

In order to capture the entire film frame, you'll want a macro lens.  Some properties to consider are
  • In terms of sharpness, we will be using a small aperture and just about any functional macro lens will give an excellent image.  In other words, if you don't have a macro lens on-hand, you can probably find a used "1970s" lens for $100 that will work great.  Just make sure the magnification is enough (next point).
  • In terms of magnification.  The macro lens will have a reproduction ratio (such as 1:1 or 1:2) that specifies the smallest area that the lens can focus on.  1:1 means the lens can get close enough to focus an area that's the same size as the sensor is.  1:2 means that the closet focus area will be double the sensor's dimensions.  This chart breaks it down for common cases:

Camera's Sensor SizeFilm Size1:1 Ratio OK1:2 Ratio OK
Full Frame (35mm)35mmYesNo
APS-C (DX)35mmYesNo
Micro 4/3 (and smaller)35mmYesYes
Micro 4/3, APC-C or Full Frame 120YesYes

  • You also want low field curvature for even sharpness.  Macro lenses are designed for this.  Non macro lenses that are adapted with reverse mounting rings, extension tubes, and close up lenses might not be.
  • For focal length, I think that a prime lens between 50mm and 100mm (full frame equivalent) is a reasonable "sweet spot". The main trade-offs are
    • Short focal lengths may have more field curvature.  This can mean slightly softer corners than ideal (but stopping down a bit more can help).
    • Longer focal length have a larger working distance.  This both makes them more cumbersome (and error-prone) to setup and makes the capture process more sensitive to vibration

Digital Camera

The camera is less important than the lens.  There are some considerations, however:
  • In terms of sensor size, various sizes from Full Frame, APS-C, Micro 4/3rds and even 1" sensors are usable.  One trade-off of note is that smaller sensors will generally produce images with more inherit contrast and less precise color.  There is a good chance these limitations will not be a problem, especially for B&W negatives.  If they are a problem, the issue can be remedied by taking several shots of each frame and stacking them in a tool like photoshop.
  • A smooth shutter that does not cause vibrations can help avoid loss of detail.  Things that can help are "electronic first curtain", "quiet shutter" and (best of all) "electronic shutter".  If illuminating with flash, this become unimportant as flash will complete the exposure in 1/10,000 of a second.
  • Some films (especially lower-speed B&W) have a lot of inherit dynamic range.  A camera that can capture this range will be able to record all of this detail in a single capture.  If not, you have the option of HDR stacking to overcome the camera's limitations.  In any case, it not something to be too concerned with when starting out.

Film Holder and Camera Holder

These are described together because they need to be complimentary.  The two main approaches are Horizontal mount and Vertical Mount.  Lets look at them in turn.

For this solution, you use a device that:
  • Holds the film vertically
  • Links the camera and film together in a rigid way

This system has the following trade-offs
  • Advantages
    • Constrains all film movements except for horizontal.  In other words, distance, vertical, pitch, roll, and yaw are all controlled.
    • Allows easy use of flash
  • Disadvantages
    • Fixes the film size, usually to 35mm
    • Availability is mostly limited to vintage products or from smaller companies.
    • May be more difficult to correct for problems with distance, alignment, etc


In this system, the lens sits on a light table and is photographed from overhead.  There are a variety of (vintage) stands that can be used for this.  You can also use a copy stand with an LCD panel (such as this one).  Finally, may be able to use your tripod with the column inverted.

The trade-offs are
  • Advantages
    • Very flexible to changing cameras, lenses and film sizes.  Also flexible in terms of advanced techniques, such as image stitching and enhanced resolution stacking
    • It's easier to imagine how the components (tripod/copy stand, light table) might be re-purposed.
  • Disadvantages
    • More difficult to use flash
    • Additional alignment will be required: specifically the vertical and roll alignments.
In my situation, the additional flexibility of the vertical solution makes it more appealing.  I like how the vertical approach makes no assumptions about my film size, lens or camera and is thus is flexible to changes here - I like changing things :)

Note that my setup uses a Helicon light pad which cost me $40.   This pad works great for black and white but is not ideal for color.  The problem is that the most LED lighting is not broad-spectrum (with a low CRI).  It's missing deep reds, purples and some greens from it's "white" spectrum.  This limitation is no problem for black and white but can create color casting issues with color (which varies by camera and film combination).  For critical color work, you need to pay more attention to lighting.  I'm may write a separate article on that very subject.   In short, however, flash and daylight balanced incandescent work best for (artificially produced) accurate color.  If you are curious about a light source, you can get a spectrometer for $8 that will reveal big problems (but will not reveal the spectral "impulses" that fluorescent bulbs have).

In terms of holding the film, I use and recommend a Pacific Image 35mm film holder which can be bought for $13.  For my medium format film, I'm using a Lomography DigitalLIZA scanning mask.  The DigitalLIZA has a bit more film curl in the holder than I would like but the results I'm getting are still good.

I should also note that my first 120 scans were with a holder I built from Legos.  This worked fine too (although I had a bit of vignetting on the edges)

Also Consider

Scanning Mask

You might not need this, but if you are vertically scanning with a large light source, this might solve washed out images.  You place it over the light source to block out light pollution.  As you can see, nothing fancy is needed here.  I just use a piece of cardboard with a cutout.

Wireless Remote

Once you get your camera setup perfectly, it's beneficial to keep your hands off it as much as possible to avoid any slight changes that might degrade focus.   A wireless remote assists this effort.

A Soft Cloth Glove

If you touch your film with your fingers, it will likely leave a fingerprint.  Not touching the film at all can make it a hassle to position film in it's holder.  A cloth glove is a good solution.

80A Blue Filter (Color negative film only)

This is only useful when scanning color negative film.  It basically makes it possible to capture more signal in the blue channel, which is otherwise exposed less than ideal.  This allows the camera to capture more color total information in a single exposure.

Macro Rail (Tripod Use Only)

If scanning vertically using a tripod, a macro rail eases the alignment process.  You can get a cheap one that gets the job done for occasional work.  For more committed work, you might opt for a copy stand instead.

The Process


This will depend on the system you are using.  Here I describe how I do vertical alignment.

Using a macro rail (for convenience), I carefully lower the camera all the way to the surface.

Next, I carefully loosen my tripod's ball head and macro rail, letting the camera hood rest flat on the surface.

Next, I tighten up the ball head and pull back the macro rail just a bit.  You can also do this with just the tripod column, but it will be a bit less convenient and precise.

Now check all around to make sure the gap is perfectly even, like this:

Testing for Alignment

Finally, I continue to raise the lens until it's the correct distance to photograph the film. Again, a macro rail makes this easier but is not absolutely required.

Multiframe Calculations

Suggestion: If this is your first attempt, just capture one film frame per photo.

When you get more advanced, you can shoot larger film sizes (medium format and larger) as a grid of images, then use a panoramic stitching tool to make a very high resolution final result.  I have made 100+ megapixel images this way from 6x6 medium format frames this way (and there is detail still to be seen).  Typically, I'll stitch with a more pragmatic four shots for medium format, giving me about 36 MP for 6x6 and 56 MP for 6x9.  Lately, I've been going even faster by using a Pentax K3 ii with pixel shift enabled, giving a very clean 24MP result with little post effort.

If there is enough interest, I'll write a separate article on the details...

Camera Settings

Exposure Settings: Manual, 3 second remote, 1/6 shutter speed, f/8, ISO 100.  Your ideal exposure settings may be slightly different - especially if using flash.

  • Mode: Manual (e.g. "M").  We want the settings set a specific way and want them to stay there.  Note: if you have complete faith in your camera's metering, aperture-priority is also a reasonable choice as it can work with negatives of varying densities more efficiently.
  • Aperture: f/8 is a good starting point (maybe f/5.6 for micro 4/3).  Opening wider with a lower f-stop number (such as f/4) may improve sharpness due to less diffraction but will also increase the negative impact of slight alignment and focus imperfections.  Closing down with, say f/11, has the opposite trade-offs.
  • Low ISO: Pick the lowest "non extended" base ISO.  This is usually 100 or 200.  Make sure Auto-ISO is off.
  • Picture Mode: For positive slides, JPEG or RAW is ok.  For negatives, I recommend RAW.  JPEG introduces compression to the tone curve and color channels that are designed for positive images -- the opposite of what we want for negatives.
  • White Balance: When shooting RAW, it's not a critical setting.  I recommend fixing it anyway to something that is close to your light source (such as "flash")
  • Shutter: If you camera has it, set the shutter mode to "electronic" or "quiet" to reduce vibrations
  • Live View: We'll be using live view for both focusing and positioning
  • Remote: I recommend using a remote to trigger the shutter.  I use an IR remote and set the camera to "remote +3 seconds" to reduce vibrations.  If using flash, vibrations will be a non-issue.

Load the film

When loading the film, I shoot with emulsion side up to photograph the actual silver crystals.   If you shooting emulsion-down, the image will still probably be fine -  I tried it both ways as an experiment
and the practical difference I saw was somewhere between subtle and non-existent.

Rough Focus

Initial focus is simply for framing and exposure.  Don't bother with preciseness as you'll want to wait until you've finished locking exposure first.

Determine Exposure

A good way to do this is to take photos and check the histogram.  RGB histograms are preferred because you can see each color channel separately.  When looking at a histogram, the goal is for all graphs  to fill as much of the graph as possible, without overloading it.

Technically, overloading it slightly to the right can be even better (as the RAW may still have latitude to spare), but this is a more advanced technique that varies between cameras - something to look into after you master the basics.

A good exposure that is holding the entire spectrum for all three channels.

There is also the subject of the left side of the histogram.  If there is data against the left edge, your inverted images will have less highlight detail.  That said, if your histogram is touching both sides, you might have to choose between sacrificing something or going HDR.  If you are not sure, I would skip HDR, get as far to the right as you can -- you can always rescan later with more advanced methods if the first time does not deliver the results.

Another thing to note is the density of the frame you are scanning.  If you have some frames that are "Denser" due to more film exposure, then it may be good to tweak the digital exposure for those frames.

Final Focus

After exposure is set, we can fine focus, I recommend using live view with high magnification.  I also recommend manual focus.  

Note that some digital cameras stop down the lens to simulate "live exposure".  You do not want this on and instead want the lens to be "wide open" during focusing.

With some cameras (including many Nikons), you'll actually need to focus with the aperture wide open (e.g. f/2.8), then leave live view to stop down (to f/8).

I recommend focusing roughly 1/3 of the way from any corner.  The film might be slightly curved in the holder, making the 1/3 point a reasonable middle ground.

When focusing, look for actual the silver grain crystals as your target.  The sharpness of the original image (that was captured by the film camera) is irrelevant in terms of a proper scan.

Another thing I do is go a bit past the focus point each way a couple of times.  This routine helps me get a "feel" for the ideal point as a "center" between going a bit far in each direction.  If you not sure about your critical focus, give it a try.

Once focused, it's best if you avoid touching your camera until you've done your shots (or as little as you can practically manage)

Taking The Shots

Some tips:
  • Low light is helpful to prevent glare from the film's surface.  It also keeps light out of the viewfinder on DSLRs (which can degrade the image)
  • Touch the camera as little as possible, a wireless remote is helpful
  • If your camera has a remote + delay, you might want to use it.  When shooting in live view, some cameras have to close the shutter, reopen it, and close it again.  The delay can help reduce vibrations after the first close.  It really depends on your camera.  If you are really lucky, you'll have an all-electronic shutter to use.
  • If you happen to have a Pentax K3 ii or olympus E-M5 Mark II, the pixel shift capture modes these camera have make them superb tools for extracting very-highly detailed scans in one shot.
  • Consider doing each film strip 2 (or more) times.  This trades additional scanning time/effort for two things:
    • Insurance against a bad capture due to vibrations
    • The ability to "stack" frames for higher resolution and smoother tones.  This also can give better color on color scans.  When scanning for high resolution, you want the film slightly shifted between shots.  I do this by rotating through the strip multiple times.
  • In terms of stacking I have found via experience that:
    • I have not needed the "insurance", vibrations have not been a problem
    • When scanning B&W, one frame is usually enough with very subtle improvements notable after stacking.
    • Stacking color does seem to improve color fidelity moderately.
    • For medium format scans, stitching frames gives superior results to stacking.  I tried both under extensive testing.
  • When shooting color, consider putting an 80A blue filter on your lens.  This filter helps extract maximum signal on all three color channels (red, green, blue) which can lead to better color.  Without the filter, you can't get the blue histogram near the right edge without overexposing the red and green channels.
  • If you have a big light source, like the one pictured above, stray light can sometimes create problems.
    • To test, try holding your hand so that it blocks the light, right outside your image.  Images on the end will generally be impacted the most.
    • If the image changes, then you have a flare problem.
    • This is easily solved by cutting out a scanning mask and placing it over the light source (and under the film holder).  If you do this mid-shooting remember to refocus!

Example Results

The result below show a side-by-side comparison of my DSLR scans (left) verses a lab scan (right).

and here is a section of the same screen at 100%

In this case, my DSLR has both more resolution and more tonal range than the lab scan.

I also have a dedicated film scanner (PrimeFilm XE) which is rated at 10,000 dpi and lab measured at about 3,500 ppi.  This means that the film scanner can do pixel-perfect 35mm scans at about 13 megapixels.  I have found my 16 MP DSLR does indeed slightly beat this resolution.  I've also used a 24 MP full frame D750 (and a 24 MP K3ii in pixel shift mode), and these widened the gap further.

One area where the film scanner does come ahead is in color accuracy with less effort.  That's a topic all in it's own.  I'll summarize here by saying that processing color scans made with a Digital camera is much trickier than B&W but that it's possible to get good results with some knowledge and effort (and a touch of luck).  Here is an example 6x6 medium format color scan (Kodak Ektar 100 film):

Full Size Image is Here

In tomorrow's article, I plan to cover B&W image processing in Lightroom, followed by color image processing the day after that.  Stay tuned!