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Old 06-05-2018, 11:56 AM
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Default Old negatives

I have obtained some old negatives, probably from my Dad's ancient view camera. These are single negatives, approximately 2" x 3".

What's the best way to deal with these?

Old school darkroom methods?

Modern digital scanning?

Old school darkroom will be cheaper...would have to fashion a negative carrier...I think I have a medium-format carrier. Also will have to clean the dust out of the enlarger I haven't used in 30 years.

Or I could do simple contact sheets and scan those.
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Old 06-05-2018, 12:53 PM
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Default Re: Old negatives

I don't know what's going to be the best but I am fascinated by the process.

What kind of subjects? and how many negatives?
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Old 06-06-2018, 01:14 AM
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Default Re: Old negatives

I haven't counted them but I think there are 20 or 30. A few I have looked at appear to be group shots of people, and one is a woman reclining on a lawn. Might be photos Dad took of Mom, won't know until I can scan then and/or make positives. Probably date from the 1950s.

Found a guy on YouTube who explains how to scan negatives using a smart phone, an iPad, a FedEx box, two pieces of glass from $1.00 picture frames, and two cans of tuna.
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Old 06-06-2018, 01:51 AM
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Default Re: Old negatives

I have tested this method only without the cans of tuna, by making a black box to place over my small Dell tablet, using my Moto E2 phone. I need to get a small piece of glass to keep the negatives flat but I think this will serve the purpose without costing me $$$.
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Old 06-06-2018, 03:51 AM
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Default Re: Old negatives

That's no way to talk about Lisarea...

Any flatbed scanner will probably do a better job than your phone camera, even cheap ones. However you won't get any stories about cutting yourself on cans of tuna so there's that. If you go for the stories, a piece of glass to keep them flat against is a must. If you wanted to go for the expensive method it would be taking them to a place to get them drum scanned. They are vacuumed up against a drum to keep them smooth. So a piece of glass, is a good no money second alternative. In the same way putting the lid down on a flatbed scanner is important to flatten them out.
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Old 06-08-2018, 07:33 PM
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Default Re: Old negatives

We sent ours in to a company that digitized them for us. But we had billions of them, since half of our lives were in the pre digital era.

What you'll find is the phone will take something that could be blown up wall sized and convert it to something that can only be viewed on a phone screen. I get that all the time when people look at the photos I take and then ask why they can't get the same type of framed on the wall stuff with the photos on their phone. And I don't even have as good a camera as I should so I'm limited.

I converted my parents black and white wedding photos to digital and the files were large 20 to 50 meg files. I could have made them smaller by tossing out the fine details, but that sort of defeated the purpose of them taking medium format photos in the first place. I did reduce them in size for a 50th wedding anniversary slide show, but I still have the originals and was able to zoom in considerably and crop them rather then simply shrink them to size. It's better to start with the best and store that somewhere then work off copies of it.

In your case the best is actually the negative.
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Old 06-09-2018, 02:51 AM
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Default Re: Old negatives

If you want to get technical, your phone camera auto applies both compression and noise reduction, both you don't really want. The noise reduction cleans up images from the super tiny sensor but also smooths over fine details, especially film grain and the compression drops colors for black and white contrast. This is why when you zoom into your phone camera photos they are kinda mottled but look nice when zoomed out, the post processing is designed to make the whole image look good by dumping fine detail. When makers talk about better cameras, about half the time they are talking about better algorithms to reduce noise but still keep a sharp photo.

All of this is why camera nerds go crazy over shooting RAW, it allows you to apply post processing later instead of having it burned in.
(extra nerding, noise reduction is just really complex applications of the Fourier transform, because of this aggressive noise reduction can remove wanted periodic elements like film grain or skin texture or other patterns.)
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Old 06-09-2018, 01:59 PM
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Default Re: Old negatives

There are about 100 negatives. The film must have been roll film because the short edges of the negatives have obviously been hand cut.

I've "scanned" about 20 using the crappy cell phone method. Compression, even using the Open Camera app with image quality set at 100%, results in a pointillist effect. There are a few images that appear to be copies of printed photos. Negative quality varies because the processing appears to have been a bit amateur. Long edges are a bit fogged.

Here's one to show you what I mean.
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Old 06-09-2018, 02:07 PM
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Default Re: Old negatives

So yes, a proper film scanner or proper darkroom methods are the way to go if I care about quality.
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Old 06-10-2018, 04:55 PM
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Default Re: Old negatives

After due consideration of time, effort, relative costs of darkroom chemicals and paper and trays, the alternative of a membership in a local photo org that lets members use the darkroom (bring your own paper), upper back pain from leaning over while trying to "smartphone scan", I've opted to buy a flatbed scanner that can scan film of this size. It was on sale at Amazon. Arrives Wednesday, so we will see how it goes. I have a box full of old photos that I can scan with it. I'll post that photo afterwards for comparison.

Darkroom equipment would have cost me half the price of the scanner. Yes, I am taking the easy way out.
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  #11  
Old 06-10-2018, 10:52 PM
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Default Re: Old negatives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyrrho View Post
After due consideration of time, effort, relative costs of darkroom chemicals and paper and trays, the alternative of a membership in a local photo org that lets members use the darkroom (bring your own paper), upper back pain from leaning over while trying to "smartphone scan", I've opted to buy a flatbed scanner that can scan film of this size. It was on sale at Amazon. Arrives Wednesday, so we will see how it goes. I have a box full of old photos that I can scan with it. I'll post that photo afterwards for comparison.

Darkroom equipment would have cost me half the price of the scanner. Yes, I am taking the easy way out.
If it's a halfway decent scanner, you should get good to acceptable results from it. I did some scanning of slides and negatives a few years back and was mostly pleased.
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Old 06-11-2018, 01:22 AM
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Default Re: Old negatives

Epson Perfection V600, seemed adequate and in my price range.
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Old 06-14-2018, 02:38 AM
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Default Re: Old negatives

Scanner has been delivered but I just got home from work and it will have to wait, probably until Saturday. Bummer.
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Old 06-15-2018, 01:58 AM
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Default Re: Old negatives

Here's that same negative scanned in 8-bit grayscale @ 1200ppi

Might have been a copy of a photo, who knows...feast yer eyes on the scratches and stuff. So yeah this is a way better option than a smartphone.

I tried scanning first in 24 bit color and 9600ppi and the software was all like "Dude. Got an hour?"

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Old 06-15-2018, 09:01 AM
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Default Re: Old negatives

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Originally Posted by Pyrrho View Post
Might have been a copy of a photo, who knows...feast yer eyes on the scratches and stuff. So yeah this is a way better option than a smartphone.
With the smartphone method you couldn't see the scratches so maybe that was better hey? :P
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Old 06-15-2018, 01:50 PM
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Default Re: Old negatives

You also couldn't see the ladies face, so maybe not better at all :P
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Old 06-15-2018, 03:13 PM
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Default Re: Old negatives

Do you mean the lady hanging out the washing, or the one behind the upstairs window?
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Old 06-15-2018, 03:28 PM
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Old 06-16-2018, 01:31 AM
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Default Re: Old negatives

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Quote:
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Might have been a copy of a photo, who knows...feast yer eyes on the scratches and stuff. So yeah this is a way better option than a smartphone.
With the smartphone method you couldn't see the scratches so maybe that was better hey? :P
Everything had scratches in those days and people were grateful to have 'em.
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Old 06-16-2018, 10:56 AM
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Default Re: Old negatives

Is that your mom Pyrrho?

And, it's the weekend. Are we gonna see some more scans?
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Old 06-16-2018, 12:55 PM
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That's Grandma. I'm guessing at some time in the 1930s. Not sure about posting more scans...I'll be sharing them with family and they are likely to post them online and some astute person might be able to figure out my secret identity.

Anyway, 1200ppi seems to be the best scan resolution. The film is quite grainy and higher resolution wouldn't give me any better results.
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Old 06-17-2018, 02:29 AM
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Default Re: Old negatives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ari View Post
(extra nerding, noise reduction is just really complex applications of the Fourier transform, because of this aggressive noise reduction can remove wanted periodic elements like film grain or skin texture or other patterns.)

Really there is no such thing as noise reduction because noise is in the eye of the beholder. There are various kinds of image filtering methods depending on which features you want to keep and which not. (edges, corners, etc.) Film grain is as close as you can get to statistical noise as it makes sense.
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Old 06-17-2018, 11:06 AM
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That's no way to talk about Lisarea...
I'm still waiting for Pea to change her custom user title to Old Negative.
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Old 06-18-2018, 03:38 PM
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Default Re: Old negatives

Okay Imma let you see this one because when I saw it I immediately thought of FF.

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