What to do with negatives?

Discussion in 'Photography Board' started by My2Girls66, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. My2Girls66

    My2Girls66 DIS Veteran

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    I have a gazillion negatives in boxes in my basement. I always saved them 'just in case'- in the envelope the prints came in so most are dated. What did you do with yours? I probably have just about every roll of film I've taken since my 1st DD was born in '89!!! :confused3
     
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  3. boBQuincy

    boBQuincy <font color=green>I am not carrying three pods<br>

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    By "what to do with them" I figure you mean how best to convert them to digital. I have negatives back to 1991, and slides before that, back to ... well, I'm not going to date myself! ;)

    I occasionally scan them or duplicate them (with a "lens" that copies the slide/negative using a digital camera). Although the negative can't be viewed directly it can be easily converted with software. VueScan is one that I use to convert an image of a negative to a positive.

    In any event, keep the negatives, those are your originals!
     
  4. Gdad

    Gdad I'm fuzzy on the whole good-bad thing

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    I found some old nagatives I might want to play around with if I could scan them and get a decent resolution image. For you guys who scan negatives- do you do it yourself or take them somewhere? What kind of file size do you end up with- is it better than scanning a print?
     
  5. Michele

    Michele <font color=blue>You're never too old to sit in a

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    I have all my negatives back into the 80's as well. I keep them in binders, filed in date order, in these negative storage pages I ordered from the Exposures catalog.


    [​IMG]
     
  6. boBQuincy

    boBQuincy <font color=green>I am not carrying three pods<br>

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    I scan my own, It's faster, costs less, and I don't have to worry about them being lost. Dedicated slide/negative scanners can go up to 4000+ dpi and produce a very large file, over 100MB in some cases. The original negative holds far more information than a print, which is only good to about 300 dpi.

    Flatbed scanners are not as good for this as slide/nagative scanners but may be acceptable for online images and smaller prints. YMMV...

    These days I mostly use a duplicator for my SLR to "scan" slides and negatives. As sold the duplicators only capture the center portion of the negative (1.6x crop) but they can be modified to capture the entire image. The duplicators are about $30 to $50 and are much faster than a scanner.
     
  7. MarkBarbieri

    MarkBarbieri Semi-retired

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    The problem with scanning a bunch of negatives is that it is so time consuming. I was an absolutely awful photographer, certainly worse than I am now, for years and years and shot a lot of shots. I would spend an eternity scanning them all now. In a few cases, I stored my negatives carefully organized with my prints, so that I can easily select the ones I want to scan. In other cases, I'll have to scan hordes of junk just to find an occasional interesting shot.

    That problem keeps me from addressing the issue at all, so my negatives stay safely ensconsed in their little protective sleaves in a cool, dry place carefully preserved until I die when someone will likely come along and unceremoniously pitch them all in the trash. Then again, maybe some history researcher in the future will do all the work scanning them and using them to show how bizarre people were back in my time without realizing just how atypical the people I photographed were.
     
  8. boBQuincy

    boBQuincy <font color=green>I am not carrying three pods<br>

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    >The problem with scanning a bunch of negatives is that it is so time consuming.

    I agree, scanning takes a lot of time. Duplicating, however, is very fast and produces an image the size of your camera sensor, usually plenty large enough for most uses. With a 8MP camera the image is about 3500 x 2300, or almost 2400 ppi.

    I can duplicate about 4 slides a minute, maybe 6 negatives a minute. The negatives still need to be processed but that takes only seconds.
     
  9. MarkBarbieri

    MarkBarbieri Semi-retired

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    Tell me more.
     
  10. boBQuincy

    boBQuincy <font color=green>I am not carrying three pods<br>

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    I had to "scan" about 1000 slides for a slide show. My slide/negative scanner is about as slow as most, so that was a poor option. A duplicator would be faster and easier *but* the 1.6x crop camera would cut off a lot of the image (verified by a test).
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/82193-REG/General_Brand_SD40_Zoom_Slide_Duplicator_1_2_5.html

    The duplicator is similar to this but has no zoom. B&H no longer lists them, my friends and I may have bought their entire supply (four). ;)

    So, since the image on the sensor was effectively too large, two things needed correction: the slide needed to move farther from the camera, or the lens needed to move closer to the sensor. I did both, sort of.

    The internal lens is mounted on a surface facing the slide, it was an easy matter to remove it and mount it on the surface facing the camera. Job one complete! The slide mount has some adjustment by a set of very fine threads on the body of the duplicator, by adjusting the slide all the way out it was very close to perfect focus and almost the entire slide was now captured on the sensor. A 1/4" plate (made of the finest plastic, and painted black to minimize reflections) finished the job.

    By taking photos of a sharp slide while adjusting the threaded barrel 1/4 turn at a time I was able to sneak up on the best focus, which is pretty sharp (I can see film grain).

    Here is the test slide:
    [​IMG]

    The final frontier: negatives are of course orange and reversed, not much good like that. We need something to correct them once they are "scanned". I found a tutorial to do that in Photoshop but I use a program called VueScan which is made for scanning and can correct negatives as files, in batches. I bet other programs can do that also.

    I use an Ott-Lite for a light source, open sky works ok too. The Ott-Lite needs a diffuser and the shutter speed is slow but the duplicator is mounted to the camera, even 2 seconds gives no blur!


    Anyway, that's the story, kinda' long but hopefully informative.
     
  11. MarkBarbieri

    MarkBarbieri Semi-retired

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    Interesting. So duplicating is basically taking pictures of your slides or negatives using your digital camera.

    I'm doing the sort of thing with movie film at the moment. Beside me is a projector doing a frame-by-frame advance of a super-8 movie of a trip to Epcot in 1983. It pauses on each frame, tells the computer to do a frame capture, and then advances to the next frame. It runs at about 8 frames a second. The capture is done with a video camera aimed into a lens in front of the projector and connected to the computer via firewire.

    I only wish that my negatives were in 400' strips instead of little 3 or 4 frame strips.
     
  12. Groucho

    Groucho <font color=blue>Why a duck?<br><font color=purple

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    The other thing to remember is that good slide/negative scanners retain nearly all their original value. Yes, a "proper" setup - Nikon Coolscan 5000 plus slide feeder - will cost you about $1,300 (new or used), but if you have only a fixed number of things to scan (ie, you're not producing any new film stuff), you can buy it, do all your scanning, then put it on eBay, and actually have spent not very much money. Quality will be better than any other method (apart from professional drum scanning) especially with Digital ICE, and with the slide feeder, it will require less babysitting than any other method.

    Negatives will still be four at a time, obviously...
     
  13. brack

    brack <font color=red>The man who loves all things Disne

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    I have thousands of negatives in their original sleeves and most are in a shoe box! :guilty:

    I have taken some of them (Disney related) to a shop for them to scan. It was a little expensive. Recently I bought a scanner that can feed negatives through to scan but I haven't done any yet.:confused3
     

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