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June, 2018

  1. A Scanner Darkly

    June 25, 2018 by Daniel

    Turns out you can immerse yourself in lots of tinkering on the output end of photography things. Up to know when I’ve got the scans back from a processors, I’ve just sorted of accepted them as is. I’ve farmed out the decision making. It could be done all automatically or with some human input, I don’t know. But generally I accept the images and only lightly change them before I send them on out into the world.

    Doing your own scanning is not like that.

    eos roll 4 07

    So my process is this. I don’t know whether this is the best way or not but it quickly became my workflow.

    1. Open up GIMP, File->Capture to fire up the scanner.
    2. Load up the negatives, set it to TPU – Black & White, 3200dpi
    3. Scan
    4. Repeat step 2 until you’ve done the roll.
    5. Crop the image in the scan file
    6. Set the levels to taste.
    7. Repeat 5/6 until you’ve done all the images.

    Possibly the proper software might do the cropping for me and that would be quicker. There’s not much control on the exposure at scan time either so potentially I could be saving lots of time here.

    There was one image I was struggling to get right
    _18 EOS5 roll 4

    I was unable to get the detail in the sky whilst also brightening the field. Which leads you into doing layer masks… which is quite the rabbit hole. I was going to do an early bath for the kids but ended up losing track of time….

    Laptop wise- you know what? I think I’m OK. I still find my Lenovo a little too big, but at the same time you get a good sized screen for that. The MacBook Air is a great size and can do the job, but it is noticeably slower than my Lenovo which surprised me!

    I’m also learning that despite my efforts, I’ve found it tricky to keep on top of everything being organised properly. I’ve ended up misnumbering rolls having gone for a camera-roll# system rather than a unique number for each roll (I’ll probably end up doing both for a while). Sending off larger batches of films makes it trickier to reconcile what camera was which roll. Yes yes, use less cameras? At least with home processing I can only do two at a time so it ought to be easier. Trying to keep notes of what was on each film before its processed should help a bit.

    I’ve started to run low on film again so I’m debating with myself what to buy a batch of next and what ISO. I’d like to go a bit lower now the sun is out so perhaps some FP4? Some stuff has come out very dark though despite being ISO400. *Shrug*

    08 EOS 5 roll 1

    Personally I really like this one of Florence taken at the Space Centre in Leicester. They have a mockup of an ISS module there and she always insists on dressing up in the costumes they have lying around for the whole way round. So here’s a dreamy sort of 2001: Space Odyssey image of her as a Star inside a perhaps Apollo era evoking looking ISS.


  2. Bumper Film Day

    June 20, 2018 by Daniel

    As I mentioned briefly, I’d sent off 5 rolls of film last week and yesterday I got back 148 images…

    So yeah it’s going to take me a while to go through those.

    But the basic links are here, I’ve been reading up a bit on archiving and keeping good notes. But my system is working so far for me. I try to label the film rolls as I go so I can keep track of what’s on where. It’s tricky when you send off multiple rolls though as you need to remember at least one picture on each roll that’s coming back to associate it back to the roll number I’ve written down. Perhaps slightly easier with home developing perhaps as there’s only 2 rolls at most at a time, but perhaps complicated by the fast they are going to be the same stock and ISO.

    So what were they? Well for a start they were all colour film stocks.

    • Sprocket Rocket Roll 2  – Kodak colorplus 200 (these are going to need a bit of work as the scans need colour adjusting – I think because they scan the sprockets they just turn all their settings off.

    Ordsall Curve

    000026

    • EOS 5 Roll 2 – Kodak Gold 200 (Florence’s 4th Birthday)

    000026

    000037

    • Canon 5000 roll 2 – Kokak colorplus 200 (For this roll, I handed over the camera to George, so pretty much all of them are by him)

    000019

     

    In addition to all these(!) the scanner came yesterday, I only just had enough time to scan in one roll before I went to bed exhausted, messing about with scan settings as I went. It’s going to be a bit of a learning curve – but that’s what its all about really! Negatives are very finicky and precious to work with and either I accept the flaws or try to come up with ways to avoid or work around them. It’s pretty time consuming, the software wasn’t splitting the images into separate files. My work computer made short work of that though.

    I was using a Linux driver for the Epson V600 which worked pretty well. It’d be interesting to experiment with different software but I want to avoid Windows if I can. I might try out the Epson software on a MacBook.

    • Centon DF300 Roll 4 – Fomapan 400 Action, developed in Ilfosol 3. – A fair amount of messing about needed to work out DPI settings, etc – but they grain is lovely!

    Centon Roll 4


  3. End of GAS?

    June 19, 2018 by Daniel

    GAS – Gear Acquisition Syndrome

    I’m hoping I’m nearing the end of ‘GAS’. I think I’ve figured out what works for me and what doesn’t. It was my birthday over the weekend so I finally pulled the trigger and bought the Canon EOS M50 I’d been eyeing since it’s release. “A digital camera?” You say? Yes, digital. No it doesn’t mean I will stop taking pictures on film, certainly not – having just gotten started developing! No I discovered that whilst film is brilliant for some things, there are circumstances you just want to know you’ve got the picture. Experimenting with the film cameras helped me cheap(ish)ly learn about photography and what I love about it and of course I will carry on with them.
    Ex-Cornerhouse
    So, why the M50? Well I’d gotten used to the Canon way of doing things, I’d managed to acquire a very nice Canon film SLR (and used it on School sports day – looking forward to seeing how those shots came out!) I’d managed to get a couple of lenses for that and the Canon EOS 5000 I got. The M50 offers the ability to use the same lenses on it, whilst having all the modern bells & whistles. So, it’s APS-C which means not ‘full frame’ 35mm equivalent, which is important to note as it means the lenses get cropped when moving between the two, but it’s not a big deal for me really. Perhaps Canon will bring something full frame out in the mirrorless range soon, but a) this is out now and b) I expect it to be expensive. Why mirrorless? Well I’ve used enough SLRs, I wanted something compact when it needs to be, but that also had proper manual features and could also do wide-angle and telephoto. Having seen the talk from Terry Donnelly at Bolton Camera club about mirrorless it did seem to me to be the way forward. It can handle all three kinds of Canon lens so it got massive choice of lenses (currently debating what to go with next, I do fancy a pancake lense).
    Untitled
    I keep saying, “this is my last camera” when I buy one, but now I think I mostly mean it. EF, EF-S, EF-M Lenses, yes please, a rangefinder – also I wouldn’t say no (Leica M?!!!)

    I’ve bought a scanner so I can digitise the films I have developed (yet to collect and set up though – yet to see how my laptop copes with it…. something else which may need an upgrade….) – I went for the Epson V600, I’ll try it with the included Software and see how that goes. Software wise I’m also looking at Adobe subscriptions – basically something that can handle RAW files from the M50.

    But then, after GAS is at an end (hopefully) I’m looking forward on concentrating on the images.


  4. Dev. Stop. Fix.

    June 6, 2018 by Daniel

    I’m now three rolls of home developed film in 🙂 so I thought I’d run through the kit I’ve acquired and what my process is.

    I’d bought this kit from ebay, which basically has everything you need (minus chemicals, scissors, something to open the film up with ie a bottle opener). It worked out quite a bit cheaper than buying the parts separately from all the online stores, under £60 for all of it.

    You can get smaller tanks but I thought being able to process more than one roll at a time would be handy (especially as I’ve built up a bit of a backlog to get developed…) Plus it’ll manage 120 format if I decide to ever try that again (one day perhaps, give that home developing it is lots cheaper).

     

    Next up I took the plunge and used a Saturday morning I had free to go into my local Camera shop (the excellent Mathers) with the kids and asked for Ilford chemicals. I’d made a list I wanted to get, but the guy said Microphen, which is what I’d used on my course, had been discontinued or something. I’m not exactly sure what he meant, perhaps it was the liquid version rather than the powder, instead he pointed me at Ilfosol 3, which comes as a liquid. Seemed easier to me, so I went with that along with along with Ilfostop, Rapid Fixer and Ilfotol which is used to help the film dry evenly rather than leaving water marks.

    I bought a couple of extra measuring jugs from my local ASDA and having had a bit of trouble measuring things yesterday have ordered some finer graduated measuring cylinders. My tank needs about 700 ml to do two rolls so mixing a 1+9 solution was a bit tricky when the first mark on the measuring jug was 100ml. – What I ended up doing was weighing 75g of water in the jug, marking the line and using that as my measure. I wasn’t sure of the density of the Ilfosol so didn’t weigh that. I probably could carry on like this but I could order 4 measuring cylinders for £1.61 so…

    The vital tool to bring it all together is an app called Massive Dev Chart Timer. This kind of does it all it’s £8.99 which is quite a bit for an app, but it’s worth it I think. I”ve just discovered it’s even got a Volume calculator for figuring out the chemical dilutions, along with all the different times for developing at different temperatures. It’s pretty comprehensive.

    The next piece of the puzzle is bringing the images back into the digital world. Let’s face it, I need to get a scanner. I’ve long found them fairly pointless, usually had access to one knocking around but just your bog standard ones. Turns out to scan film they need to be able to shine light through rather than only reflecting off of what you’re scanning.

    The simpler option for now has been to take a picture with my phone, then edit it in various apps. This process is quite satisfying and works, but I’ve not been very happy with the initial ‘scan’ that gets taken. There’s not enough resolution at the minimum focus distance on my iPhone 6 to get a nice shot to start off with. Yes this might be improved with a bit more time, a light table and some kind of jig to hold the phone the right distance away, but a scanner will beat this every time (it may however take much longer and demand more oomph than my poor old home laptop has along with possibly having to run it booted into Windows).

    Yes I had considered the CMOS based film scanners which are around £40, but mostly they seem fairly low-res again, basically rubbish phone cameras mounted specially (ie a phone could do the same / better job) I do like that they would output direct to a memory card though, bypassing much of what my old laptop would have to do.

     

    I’ve got a bunch of colour rolls that I’ll still be sending off (for now?!?) and I hope to get hold of a scanner soon and set aside some time for getting that up and running.