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HarrieB 342 posts
Nov 11, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Turning negative into positive, Preset or tips?

Nov 3, 2013 3:37 AM

Hello to all of you

 

Using an old enlarger I managed to take pictures of old 6x6 cm black and white film negatives. And promised someone to do so with a lot of them (her father's heritage).

 

I have come up with the following temporary starting points:

 

_LRBW-1.jpg_LRBW-2.jpg

 

Does anyone know of a suitable preset or can anyone give me any tips?

 

BTW: working with the enlarger works great and fast.

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 3, 2013 6:40 AM   in reply to HarrieB

    I'm afaraid this will have to be on a picture by picture basis. But stretching the white and black points is usually a good idea to enhance separation in the high and low ends. I've also had some success with reducing contrast (which is really midtone contrast), and then stretch white and black even more.

     

    The main practical problem is to align the negative perfectly with the sensor. But you seem to have solved that.

     

    Wait till you try this with color negatives...that's when the real problems start. You'd think it was easy as pie to neutralize the orange mask, but then you're faced with runaway colors that are all over the place. It's a nightmare.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 3, 2013 7:16 AM   in reply to HarrieB

    You might want to look into scanning the negatives and using smart software that has profiles for many different films, especially color negatives. Depending on the quantity of negatives you'll be working with, purchasing a suitable scanner may be too expensive for the project. With 6x6cm, you'd get good results with a flatbed scanner that takes transparent materials and has a resolution of 4800dpi or higher. You wouldn't need a dedicated (read "super-expensive") film scanner. Depending on where you live, you may be able to find a photo center or arts organization that rents time on good scanners to their members.

     

     

    HTH

     

     

    Regards,

     

     

    Peter

    _______________________

    Peter Gold

    KnowHow ProServices

     

    harrieb wrote:

     

    Hello to all of you

     

    Using an old enlarger I managed to take pictures of old 6x6 cm black and white film negatives. And promised someone to do so with a lot of them (her father's heritage).

     

    I have come up with the following temporary starting points:

     

    _LRBW-1.jpg_LRBW-2.jpg

     

    Does anyone know of a suitable preset or can anyone give me any tips?

     

    BTW: working with the enlarger works great and fast.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 3, 2013 8:10 AM   in reply to peter at knowhowpro

    On the face of it a scanner is a great idea, but personally I'm done with scanning negatives (or transparencies). Resolution is one thing. I have an Epson scanner that nominally scans 35mm frames at about the same resolution as my D800 -  about 7500 x 5000 pixels. That sounds like plenty. But the fact is that I get much more (and much crisper) detail out of photographing them. 

     

    And then there is chromatic aberration - or whatever the correct term is for scanners. The plain fact is that color fringing is horrible with the Epson.

     

    I don't know what harrieb's setup is, but using an enlarger lens is optimal. It doesn't get any sharper than that. I don't have one at the moment, so I've used a Micro-Nikkor 60mm/2.8, and it's excellent for this. Much better than the scanner.

     

    I also have an old MF Micro-Nikkor 105/2.8, but that was (a bit unexpectedly) not nearly as good as the 60.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 3, 2013 9:27 AM   in reply to HarrieB

    You're doing a great job of refining a useful process that will help many others besides yourself. Thanks!

     

    Yes, a constantly-on cool enlarger bulb will avoid buckling a negative by heat.

     

    As to airborne stuff falling into the open camera, if sits idle in place for long periods, any clean flat object that covers it, or the actual camera body cap, should do the job.

     

    Some flatbed scanner brands, and models within brands, are better or worse than others for scanning film. One advantage of a flatbed is that it can scan multiple negatives or slides in one operation, and save each in its own file. There's no saving in time-per-scanned image, but there is a saving in user effort, because you only start the scan once for each batch on the bed. Then you can do other stuff, like cataloging the scans you've just made.

     

    Most flatbed scanners, when set for transparent originals, focus sharply on a plane just a tad above the bed, so it's important to test to determine where that is, then adjust in some way. Some folks make spacers for their multi-frame film holders, and others buy customized brand-and-model fixed- or adjustable-height film holders. The main objection to the adjustable ones is simply that you pay more for a one-time adjustment that's rarely needed again.

     

    Please keep reporting your discoveries and refinements.

    harrieb wrote:

     

    At first I thought about useng an enlarging lens (Schneider-S 50/2.8) but when trying things out I found the focussing to be the greatest problem. So it's more convenient to have this done using LiveView AF.

     

    And the enlarging lens would only fit on the enlarger which means the camera will be open all the time. Don't know if that's safe (collecting dust and so).

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 3, 2013 2:17 PM   in reply to HarrieB

    harrieb wrote:

    And the enlarging lens would only fit on the enlarger which means the camera will be open all the time. Don't know if that's safe (collecting dust and so).

    Considering that the camera's sensor is face-up and you have gravity working against you I would advise against tempting fate.

     

    I have an old Vivitar VI enlarger with the dioptic color head (i.e. cool) and EL-Nikkor 50mm F2.8 enlarging lens that I might try resurrecting. What lens are you using on the camera?

     

    You can try setting your White and Black clipping points using the Whites and Blacks sliders rather than moving them with on the Tone curve. Center the image's Histogram with the Exposure slider and then adjust Whites, Blacks, Highlights, and Shadows in that order. If necessary readjust Exposure and Contrast for the midtones.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 3, 2013 4:57 PM   in reply to HarrieB

    harrieb wrote:

     

    Thanks for the advise on the settings. I have to wait untill I get the negatives because the few ones I have here seem to be way off in exposure and contrast (and sharpness - I use the film grain as a means to judge the sharpness of the digital result).

    The in-camera histogram, LR, or any other raw editor is not a good for judging proper exposure because a camera profile has been applied to the image. Download RawDigger which will let you look at the actual raw image histogram to make sure you aren't clipping the highlights or heavily underexposing. Kodachrome slides are a whole differnt story with a more dense emulsion and high contrast. That's what I'm focusing on (pun). I have a Plustek 7600i film scanner but its Dmax is marginal with Kodachrome emulsion, which makes for mediocre shadow recovery. My Canon 5D MKII has a dynamic range of 11.0 EV at best and the Plustek 7600i scanner 11.5 EV (3.5 Dmax), so I doubt this camera setup work better with Kodachrome slides.

     

    harrieb wrote:

    As I stated before I am not planning to use my enlarging lens on the enlarger (dust) nor via an adapter on my camera (no focussing possible).

    OK, got it. So the setup is similar to a slide duplicator with the enlarger the lightsource and film holder and the camera mounted lens the only lens used. Dust shouldn't be an issue, but you'll need to use a brush and blower to clean each negative in the film mount before placing it in the enlarger. Even with this cleaning you'll probably still have some dust spots that will have to be removed in LR. The 'Visulaize Spots' option in the Spot Removal tool may help finding and removing them.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 7, 2013 10:25 AM   in reply to HarrieB

    harrieb wrote:

     

    Finally I came up with the following prelimanary workflow.

     

    In Photoshop I made an Action:

    1     Crop the image (can be adjusted once I have the final 6 x 6 negatives)

    2     Use Levels - Auto Levels

    3     Invert the image

    4     Use Levels - Auto Levels

     

     

    You never mentioned PS as an option, which is why we focused on LR suggestions. I suggest putting your #10 post in the PS forum. LR and PS have completely different workflow options and most of the people in the LR forum are not heavy PS users. I've used PS since1996, but don't consider myself an expert.

     

    Since your negative captures are actually raw camera images LR would seem to be the best application for processing them. I understand the desire to use something like a PS Action to "speed up" the processing, but then you'll need to save both the original raw file and a much larger TIFF file.

     

    You could also use LR or ACR with Bridge to simply "Invert" the raw images using the Tone Curve with minimal raw processing adjustments to 16 bit ProPhoto RGB TIFFs and then delete the raw files at some point. I process my scanner output TIFF files in PS initially for Crop to frame, Capture Sharpening, and Spot Removal. All other tonal processing is then completed inside LR. With this workflow it is possible to go back-and-forth between LR and PS. You can apply additional "destructive" clean-up such as dust spot removal and content aware cloning to the "original" TIFF file inside PS, which will then appear inside LR when you save the file.

     

    IMHO PV2012 does a very good job of pulling out highlight and shadow detail in film scans using a much more user friendly GUI than PS and ACR. With this workflow there's also nothing stopping you from doing more processing inside PS, such as Actions and Adjustment layers, etc.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 7, 2013 10:49 AM   in reply to HarrieB

    About scanning /cropping: I always include in my negative scan the outside of the image border.

    That way I always have the choice later on.

    And I don't have to add an artificial negative border which goes so well with these old images afterwards.

     

    Frans

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 7, 2013 11:10 AM   in reply to c.frans w

    c.frans w wrote:

     

    About scanning /cropping: I always include in my negative scan the outside of the image border.

    That way I always have the choice later on.

    And I don't have to add an artificial negative border which goes so well with these old images afterwards.

     

    Frans

    Agreed, but many of my scans are of mounted slides, which already have some area cropped and rounded corners. Also when the film or slide holder is inserted into the scanner it doesn't always  "center" the image perfectly, which is another reason for the slightly larger scan area. That way I'm assured none of the film area is cutoff. If I did this for a living and processed hundreds of scan images daily I'd do as you suggest.

     

    With the OP's enlarger/camera film capture I'm sure centering the image is even harder, necessitating post-cropping.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 7, 2013 11:57 AM   in reply to HarrieB

    harrieb wrote:

     

    I understand that this is a LR forum. But peter at knowhowpro asked to stay informed so I thought it would be appropriate to tell how far I got until now.

    And the PS Action is only to speed things up as you said.

     

    I'm interested as well in any and all input. If you do post this in the PS forum please provide cross-links in both.

     

    If there was a way to do ALL off the processing non-destuctively in LR it would be a huge time and disk space saver. The new Spot Clone tool works almost as well as PS's tools for dust spot and other removal, but for large area repairs and cloning objects PS is still better.

     

    harrieb wrote:

    The real work - turning them into as-good-as-it-gets-in-a-reasonable-time photo's - will be done in LR. And there I will be able to use the sliders the way I am used to instead of reversed. For some I will need the Clarity which isn't really in PS. And of course the Sharpness which I believe is superior in LR. I now am thinking about Amount 50 and Radius 0.5.

    You should apply a small amount of capture Sharpening to the raw image,  just your default settings. The TIFFs should be sharpened after all other processing has been completed. I usually set the Amount to 50-100 then hold down the ALT ket to adjust the Radius, Detail, and Maksing sliders, and then reduce the Amount slider until it doesn't look oversharpened. You'll also need to apply Output Sharpening when printing or resizing images for screen viewing, etc.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 7, 2013 4:24 PM   in reply to HarrieB

    harrieb wrote:

     

    You are right with the RAW's but I am thinking about the images that will be finally delivered. It's for a friend and she has no way to work with RAW's on her computer

    Its not clear to me what you're doing. When you use LR's 'Edit In PS' (or Export) the only way to bring the image back into LR with the PS edits is as a TIFF, PSD or JPEG file. The raw file will not have the PS edits applied. They're really intermediate "temporary files" with low dynamic range that when converted to TIFF format should retain 100% of the raw image data. That's why I said at some point you probably can delete the raw files, since they contain no real image edits (i.e. Camera Profile, Invert, Capture Sharpening only).

     

    Concerning Sharpening it's really a three-step process since you're applying tonal adjustments in both PS and LR.

     

    Workflow

    1) Minimal Capture Sharpening applied in LR to the Camera Raw file.

    2) Tonal adjustments applied to the LR Export or 'Edit In PS' TIFF file in PS.

    3) More tonal adjustments applied to the PS TIFF image in LR.

    4) Creative Sharpening applied to the PS TIFF image in LR.

    5) Output Sharpening applied in LR to the Export Resized JPEG file for client. If not Resizing the image Output Sharpening is generally not required or recommended.


    harrieb wrote:

    The Sharpening is mainly to be sure that the film grain is clear visible without overdoing.

    I assume you're shooting at low ISO (100) and short exposure times so there should be no visible camera noise in the raw files, just film grain.You can apply small amount of Luminace NR in step #4 above along with the Creative Sharpening to help reduce any visible film grain.

     
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