Getting back into film: where to develop, scanning options

Discussion in 'photography, graphics & art' started by George & Bill, Aug 22, 2018.

  1. George & Bill

    George & Bill semiotically superfluous

    Three years ago I went from mainly taking pictures for other people, to mainly taking them for myself.

    Before, with the huge amount I shot, it would have been vastly expensive for me use film – but since I earned money from photography, it was reasonable to own a good full-frame camera.

    Now, I shoot much less, and don't earn money from it more than a few times a year – so it's not worth maintaining a full-frame kit – and besides, I don't want to lug one around.

    OTOH, because I shoot just a little amount compared to before, but care a lot more about each frame, film once again seems like a good option.

    I've just bought a job lot of recently expired rolls on eBay, and am wondering where the best places are these days to send it for dev and scan, and whether it's more economical to invest in a film scanner than to pay for quality scanning each time...

    All and any tips received with thanks :)
     
  2. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    I use ag-photolab.co.uk for dev though I’ve never got scans from them. They have pretty quick turnaround, basically return of post, and they send you a freepost bag for the next time which is convenient.

    I scan my own film but that’s mainly because I shoot a lot of b&w which I develop myself, and also do stuff like shoot half frame which labs charge more to scan. I don’t know how much it’s worth it just for the odd roll of standard colour negative - it’s a bit of a pain to get right though you get a lot of control, and the scanner isn’t free (mine comes in at a bit under £200 new, Canoscan 9000F).
     
  3. George & Bill

    George & Bill semiotically superfluous

    So, at a guess, I suppose I might get through a couple of films a month, which at, say, £15 a film for scanning, would seem to make a scanner a good investment. Though I've then got another thing to move around. How much of a pain is it to scan a roll – how long does it take you?
     
  4. FridgeMagnet

    FridgeMagnet Administrator

    It’s not a huge pain unless I really can’t get the white balance right or it’s really dusty, but it takes a while. I load two strips of 6 into the holder, preview them, adjust each frame for brightness and white balance and sometimes contrast, then set it going - it chugs away and I go do something else. It takes a few minutes per frame for colour as it does dust removal which means it needs to scan each one twice. If I start when I come in from work I’ll generally get at least one roll done, two if I’m prepared to forget the dust removal.

    I get TIFFs which are around 7MP (less for B&W), and I then convert them to PNGs and import into Photos, where I do final colour adjustments and sharpening.

    If you’re planning to shoot film regularly then yeah it’s best to get a scanner as early as possible, but there is a bit of a learning curve scanning colour negs. (Slides and B&W are a lot easier.)
     

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