Sunday, December 29, 2019

Update on scanning color negatives

Happy New Year and Best Wishes for 2020!

My wife and I were in Seoul, Korea a few weeks ago and, of course, I took some photos. I was only in Korea once before back in 1997 so I decided yesterday and today to go to my archived, big 64-bit scan files of Korea color negatives and use Vuescan to make tiffs, do some preparation and improvement of those files, and then I imported them into Lightroom. It reminded me how much variation there is in the quality of color negative scans that I have done over the years. These were all developed in Tokyo and the developing was excellent because Japanese, as usual, take great care. The negatives did not have any small scratches or other imperfections that I have run into pretty often scanning color negatives that I processed at various places in the U.S. and Europe over the decades, even though they were in plastic film sleeves. The worst are 2 batches of rolls (hundreds of photos) I had developed in Perugia, Italy and later in Paris, France when we spent 4 months traveling in Europe in 2001 (Greece, Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, England). Probably bad/old chemicals, maybe improper development time/temperature, scratches, emulsion flaws, chemical spots, etc. Those take tons of work in Photoshop trying to repair them. In contrast the ones I worked on since yesterday which were developed here in Japan required very little work.

Still, I would much prefer even a jpeg from my 2002 5mp Minolta D7i than a color negative scan. Looks better too and easier to work with. :-)

Part 1: Scanning Torture (or Learning to Love Your Digital Camera)

Part 2: Over 10,000 35mm slides and negatives scanned!


Geoff Thompson said...

Hi Henry . I found my way here after your post on DP review.Great photography. Your work in Irian Jaya certainly was as good as any National Geographic work I,ve seen.Thanks. From Adelaide in South Australia.

Henry Richardson said...

Hi Geoff, thank you for the kind words.

By the way, I have traveled all over, but have not yet made it to Australia. My wife and I thought we might go this year (we live in Japan), but with the coronavirus the world has turned upside down so we don't know when we can do it. Maybe next year? By the way, with the current upside down world it must feel interesting for you not being Down Under for a change. :-)

Ruth Lathlean said...

This is the body of an email I sent you recently but I suspect you didn't get it -Your photography is great and I realise what a lot of work it has been organising your photos online as well as scanning. I will have a closer look at some more later. I recently found a link to your articles on scanning - not sure where - maybe on the Nikon Coolscan Facebook group where I am a member. I really liked reading all your details from 2014 on your 10,000 slides scanned as I identified with you. I have also been a big traveller and taken many 35mm slides. I also have had a darkroom at home (now storing art) but don’t intend scanning b & w. I purchased a Nikon Coolscan V ED scanner in 2000 when I retired but didn’t get around to using it properly until 2014 when a friend said the first thing thrown out when you die are your slides! I decided then to scan and make photobooks. It’s a way of experiencing all my memories over the years of travelling - starting from 1968 when I did an overland trip from Bombay to London. I stayed away for over seven years so have a lot of slides all indexed and hanging in files in filing cabinets with captions in a database. I have continued to travel upto the pandemic where I was caught in Chile.

I noticed you had made some books too and also used Blurb which I have used since 2014. I had a look at one of your books and notice you use Standard Landscape. I decided to use the Large Landscape format and now have 29 large heavy books sitting on my dining room table. You can search Blurb with my name and find them all. They are in the Blurb bookstore and most are on my blog. This is not used a lot or kept very well and not just photography.

Purely out of curiosity I have 14,188 scanned photos in 25 books. The other 4 books have 2,767 digital photos (since 2006). Of course I scanned more than that number as not all went in the books. I am still scanning but have slowed up a bit with the computer near the TV so documentaries can be watched at the same time. My scanner only does one slide at a time and at high resolution this is a slow process. I use VueScan and I scan as tiffs and import them into Aperture which used to be the Mac professional photo editing software. Although not supported now it still works well - like Photoshop. Then of course I export them as jpegs for Blurb. Not all the photos are of high quality as the books are a personal record not ones I intend to sell. A few have been sold though to people who shared some experiences. Hope Blurb continues with the 40% off every so often.

I notice that you have not been to Australia - we do have some magnificent landscapes and even plenty of street photography opportunities.. I’ve recently done a book on the USA when I was driving and camping with friends in 1973, when we were living and teaching in Toronto. It includes Zion, Bryce, mule trip etc.

Hope you get this - be nice to hear from you as there are not many people who are doing what we are.
Ruth Lathlean, 02 6231 7739;
02 6231 7739
0431 826 549

P.O. Box 248,
Erindale Centre, ACT 2903

Henry Richardson said...

Hi Ruth, Yes, I saw your email and replied to it last year.

Hope you are still well. I am working on a new photo book and very close to having it finished.

Best to you!