Scanning: Negatives or Prints

Harry

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Thread starter #1
Hello, I've just joined the community, I've recently bought a Arca C, the latest in a long list of LF cameras, starting with an Iston in the 90's through Wista, Tachi, Norma, Shen Hao etc.
I'm hoping to buy another De Vere at some point, but, as well as producing contacts, I'd like to scan. I have an old Epson 3200, with a transparency facility, and just would like to know whether most people scan their prints, ( I have a good darkroom) or their negatives. All suggestions gratefully received
Harry
 

Ian Grant

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#2
Welcome Harry.

I've done both over the years, these days I prefer to scan my negatives even though I'll have usually made darkroom prints first on Fibre based paper.

I've found that FB prints don't scan particularly well, glossy resin coated prints scan easily and give excellent results but that adds to costs and I'd be left with unnecessary prints. I use an Epson V750 scanner and find I can scan and match my darkroom prints this gives me greater versatility.

BTW there's a small group of us shooting LF in our area and we have occasional days out if you are interested, there's nothing planned at the moment but we may well organise something soon. You'd be welcome to join us.

Ian
 

Alan9940

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#3
I scan my negatives when making prints via the desktop. I tried scanning prints, but didn't care for the results. I use a very old Epson Expression 1680 Pro, Silverfast Ai Studio software, and wet scan. I scan to a linear file and convert in PS with the ColorPerfect plugin. If I get an image that really sings (kind of rare I'm afraid), I'll decide if I want to send out for a virtual drum scan (think Imacon/Hasselblad scanners) or, if I feel I have an exceptional image on hand (about as rare as a sighting of Big Foot!) I'll get a real drum scan. Mostly, though, I'm pretty happy with the results from my Epson scanner using the tools and techniques that I've mastered over the years.

I, also, print in the wet darkroom, but that's a whole other story. ;)

Anyway, welcome to the fold...
 

KenS

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#4
After having an 8x10 negative permanently' damaged (and 'ruined') a few years ago, by placing it onto an 'alternative process' coated paper that was not perfectly dry before 'mating' the negative and placing it into the printing frame, I decided that it was time to take a look at using a scanner (Epson 850Pro)to get decent to good negatives by printing onto Pictorico as a means of 'eliminating' past (or future) negatives being damaged by my (sometimes) lack of patience. I have to admit that the investment was more of a financial outlay than I expected, BUT... It now allows me to make 'copies' of any of my negatives with the knowledge that a 'nice' (and often) irreplaceable negative may survive for years to come.

Ken
 

Alan9940

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#5
Ken, the only time I've ever used original negatives in my pt/pd printing is back when I was playing around with using originals to make sure I wasn't missing anything; I wasn't. ;) Therefore, negatives used were not important to me, but I never ruined one, either. Got a bit of that "pit in the stomach" feeling just reading of your experience.

Anyway, I use a process developed by Richard Boutwell to print digital negatives using QuadToneRIP. I've used it long enough now that I feel very comfortable with creating the profiles and I like the results I get. Therefore, nowadays I craft a digital negative for all formats from MF up to 10x8. If one gets ruined, it's a simple matter to print another. The only issue I ever had, even with my digital negs, was when I first started using Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag and I was working out the proper moisture level of the paper just prior to exposure. Initially, I had the paper too damp and the neg stuck a bit to the paper; not enough to ruin it, but who wants negatives sticking to the paper? ;)
 

Ian Grant

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Registered User
#6
After having an 8x10 negative permanently' damaged (and 'ruined') a few years ago, by placing it onto an 'alternative process' coated paper that was not perfectly dry before 'mating' the negative and placing it into the printing frame, I decided that it was time to take a look at using a scanner (Epson 850Pro)to get decent to good negatives by printing onto Pictorico as a means of 'eliminating' past (or future) negatives being damaged by my (sometimes) lack of patience. I have to admit that the investment was more of a financial outlay than I expected, BUT... It now allows me to make 'copies' of any of my negatives with the knowledge that a 'nice' (and often) irreplaceable negative may survive for years to come.

Ken
A thin sheet of transparent Mylar between the negative and the paper stops the negative being damaged, it doesn't affect the sharpness.

Ian
 

Ian Grant

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#8
Yep, and two more surfaces to keep impeccably clean. ;)
Well it's the way most professionals work because they can't risk damaging historic/valuable negatives coming into contact with Silver salts and other chemicals during contact printing alternative processes.

I went on an Albumen printing course at Dimbola House, where Julia Margaret Cameron once lived and worked,now a museum with workshop/teaching facilities. We all made quite a few prints and no-one had issues from the Mylar sheets, the methodology came from the best at George Eastman House :D

Ian
 

Alan9940

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#9
Only meant tongue in cheek, Ian. I, too, have heard of using a mylar sheet to protect valuable negatives, though I've never tried it myself. I use duplicate digital negatives that are easily reproduced, if damaged.
 
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