Monday, 7 November 2011

5x4 update

Not much in the way of activity with the 5x4 recently, mainly due to the need for speed to get projects moving forward again. Apart from the issues when using the Wista (bulk, no metering, dark cloth, tripod, dim image, inverted image, no depth of field preview) there are problems scanning film that still need ironing out. Film selection (for me) is random. Ive tried some Provia and wow, when seen on the light box they are yummy. Delta 100 is miles cheaper if monochrome is the final output and I have tried that too. The last to be tested (sounds posh) is some Portra 160 colour neg. I am led to believe that Kodak have made their new films with a eye on scanning and that sounds promising. The scanning problems so far have been the lack of dynamic range in the Provia and the grain in the Delta 100. The Portra will perhaps overcome these problems and give me a colour output if needed, but more importantly a better route to monochrome. A few scanning technique problems have been ironed out in the past. Firstly, switch everything OFF that the scanner thinks it can do best, especially the sharpening. The scanner will pick up the grain structure and when compared with digital images it is either loved or hated. I don't mind it at all, but being able to control it is where I need to be. Research suggests that wet scanning would reduce it ( a technique used in drum scanners where the film is mated to the glass drum with special fluid) and I could try that with my scanner, but at a last resort as its very smelly and a bit toxic. The alternative answer lies in the post processing in Photoshop. Grain reduction/control can be applied by using an adjustment layer of Gaussian blur (small amount) and a blending mode of Darker. A few tests shows its promising but the amount of blur and the opacity of the layer are variables that I need explore.

Just need to load the dark slides and get moving again.


  1. Nigel, what developer are you using for the Delta 100? I can't say anything about the colour film, but I'm surprised at the presence of grain. Have you tried Prescysol from Peter Hogan? . I know Peter would be happy to discuss this, I use it with Fuji Neopan 1600 albeit 35mm!!, but with hardly any discernible grain. Certainly on 6X6 Delta 100 with Prescysol is virtually grain free. If you want an intro let me know.

  2. I am sending them to Peak Imaging and they use Kodak X-Tol. That may be the problem and I should bite the bullet and try to get some kit for developing again. All the Pyrex, thermometers etc was given away about 6 years ago so I would have to start again.I will have a look at that website John.