Saturday, July 26, 2014

Roll-ing with it

I finished the first roll of film through the Leica. I processed it in new developer but some older fixer. I also scanned them in the Epson v600.

The first roll (or 50!) was just about getting used to film again, as well as learning the Leica. I'll have to have a comfort level before much creativity kicks in, so I'm not invested in the outcome just yet. It's a learning curve which has to be gone through.

The scans look fairly good. I have a hard time discerning the difference between 4800 dpi and 6400 dpi. RGB and 16-bit grayscale didn't seem to make much of a difference either. The grain seemed a bit excessive, but I had pushed the film to  1600 (HC110 dilution B at 16 minutes) so it wasn't surprising. What did surprise me was the level of "dust" which appeared In the scans. I had cleaned the negatives before scanning, so I assumed there was some crap in the old fixer which had adhered to the film.

Tri-X pushed to 1600, scanned on the Epson V600.
I had some pictures of my mother-in-law and her grandson on the first roll which I processed digitally and shared. My sister-in-law liked the picture and wanted a copy. Because I have a supply of 11x14 fiber-based paper still on hand, I decided to print the negative in the enlarger.

Two things were surprising about the prints. First, the "dust" I saw was not on the prints. So that means it's on the scanner. Not a happy thought.

11x14 print the old fashioned way.
Second, I was surprised at how much gradation of detail was present in the negative scans which did not appear in the prints. I would have expected a straight negative scan to be fairly close to what a print would produce, but the detail in the print just isn't there, in the highlights or the shadows.

I'm unsure whether to blame the old chemistry (the paper chemistry is well past its expiration date), the old paper (also well past its shelf life) or if it's just a fact that the limited contrast options with paper can't handle the range of detail in the negative.

I'll continue to explore the options of printing. Even though I'm puzzled as to why there is a gap, I'm excited that the scanner resolved detail in the negatives I couldn't get in printing. That detail makes it all the more attractive to shoot film. But whether that detail comes at a price in losing quality when making a giclee of the scanned negative has yet to be determined.