Friday, September 11, 2009

Film Scanning and Body Painting

Well, it has been about a week since I've blogged, mostly because I'm up to my neck in wedding photo editing.  But I find myself now taking a break from that and scanning some old film negatives with the Nikon Coolscan.  I've done this before, getting all my old personal wedding photos into the digital world.  Now I'm back at it because when my daughter was born and through the first two years of her life I was using a Pentax film slr.  I've been wanting to make up a photo book and DVD slideshow for our family and just can't do that without those baby photos.  What I will say is that film scanning is very tedious work.  It is something you do while you are engaged in other things (like blogging) and you just go back to the scanner once every 10 minutes or so and put in another negative strip.  The Nikon scanner though does a really great job and saves to tiff files which are easily manipulated in Photoshop or Lightroom.  Once I have one set of 24 scanned I just import them to Lightroom and get to work on them just as I would with any other raw file from my camera.  The plus of these files is that the original film captured wonderful dynamic range (I know people will disagree but film is still better in that one area) and there is a grain that I find appealing and raw.  The downside is that each tiff file is 67.5 mb.  That fills up my external hard drive really fast.  In fact I've scanned almost 85 GB of files so far.   Good thing hard drives are cheap.  Saving memories like your child's first years and bringing them into the digital world is priceless though and worth any tedium that the job brings.   I've posted up one scan in this entry.

While I'm blogging I wanted to mention a really good read on Thom Hogan's blog today.  He is talking about Nikon's troubles and what really makes the entry interesting is that he says that Nikon is struggling as they are failing to innovate like Olympus, Panasonic and Pentax.  The lack a retro styled camera (EP-1, and the beautiful new Leica's) and small systems like the micro 4/3rds offerings, and water sealed cameras (Like Olympus) even though he says Nikon was the first manufacturer to really offer such cameras historically.  He goes on to lament that they are falling behind in the megapixel race and I can't really side with him on that (D3X) but heck he makes an interesting argument.  Camera manufacturers are really pumping the technology right now.  Cameras are outpacing each other constantly.  If it isn't Canon playing catch-up, then its Nikon or one of the others.  Frankly, it seems to me to make sense to pick whatever random brand suits your current needs and just roll with the punches as a consumer.  If another brand suits you better, go buy it.  Loyalty to a brand or corporation is senseless.

Speaking of which.  What is with the new Canon 7D?  I don't get it.  On forums I hear how the noise handling is very good, yet when I look at the full sized samples I see a noisy, smeared mess.  18mp on a 1.6 X crop sensor makes for the same pixel density of the four thirds sensors (and in my opinion worse noise) and yet the Canon faithful seem to blissfully ignore that.  I really thought Canon had figured out that more megapixels does not make a better camera, but regardless of that I'm more amazed by the Canon loyalists that are willing to be happy about a camera that seems to repeat the mistakes of the 50D. Interesting.  Me personally, I'm thinking of getting a 5D MkII.  Just as soon as the price drops.  Hopefully it does as the D700 and new full frame Sony offerings should (fingers crossed) drive down entry level full frame prices.  Maybe I'm just wishful thinking.

I'll be photographing 'Paint Jam' tomorrow for the bodypainting folks.  Should be fun.  It is sort of a mini Bodypainting Competition that I photographed last year for the first time.  The art that is produced on human canvases is really very amazing.  I'm sure I'll have a sample image to share soon.
Lastly, I used my Olympus OM4t at my last wedding just for one roll of Illford Delta 3200 black and white film.  It is in at the lab now and I'm pretty excited about what result I'll get.  Grainy (chunky grain I'm thinking) but hopefully super cool.  My first result from the camera with Kodak 400 black and white film was really inspiring and fun.  I'll be sure to post a sample just as soon as it returns from the lab.

No comments: