Digitizing Negatives with a Camera – Revisited
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Film and Photo Digitizingon: January 16, 2022 at 8:14 am
an excellent report on the subject of CamScanning of film negatives, especially with regard to the hardware equipment, as well as the software Negative Lab Pro and the workflow.
Since I sold my Nikon Coolscan ED9000 (in addition to an Epson V750 Pro, which I still have in use), the topic has also been driving me around for a while, but then came to a standstill for health reasons. In addition I had sold my Lumix S1R equipment with the Sigma 100mm Macro, with which I had made the first steps in terms of hardware setup. Besides that I use a Kaiser repro stand and different film holders and built a lightshaft so that I can also work with it during the daylight.
On top of that, I had to wait 5 months for the Canon RF 100mm Macro for my EOS R5, which has hardly been available.
If you use Negative Lab Pro under Adobe Lightroom you have a well integrated workflow. Users of other RAW converters face a problem here.
Therefore, I have started to look at various tools, but have not yet come to a final solution for me. So far, the following tools are in focus:
ColorPerfect 2.0 with PerfectRAW(incl. MakeTIFF) and Photoline
Silverfast HDR Studio 9 (should the old DC Pro functions be integrated here for Camera RAW files, where I’m not sure yet)
RawTherapie (Film Negative functions)
But maybe there is one or the other software I don’t know yet, but would be worth to be investigated for such a workflow?
https://www.instagram.com/riwodot/Re: Digitizing Negatives with a Camera – RevisitedReply #1 on: January 16, 2022 at 11:45 am
Glad you liked the article.
I previously used ColorPerfect’s MakeTiff utility in conjunction with SilverFast HDR 8 for inverting and adjusting colour negatives. That process is described in my older Luminous-Landscape article linked at the start of the current article on this website. It worked very well but it involves a number of processing stages and requires rendition of the raw files to a TIFF format. The new workflow does not necessarily require rendering the raw files, is better integrated and therefore has fewer processing stages. I also tried the ColorPerfect application and had trouble using it. But it does have a following of users who like it very much. The only way to know whether it works for you is to test it.
I read the documentation for converting negatives in Rawtherappee and discovered it has a potential deal-breaker: the need to select White Balance by sampling spots within the image. For this to succeed those spots really need to be truly neutral, and you’d be surprised how difficult that is to find and how sensitive the results can be to sampling even small deviations from neutrality for purposes of white balancing. I stopped looking at that point. But if you (or others reading this) try this application and come up with good results on the first while-balancing attempt that would be good to know.
Of course, on your last question, there is also Capture One Cultural Heritage Edition which does include a negative conversion function, but the cost of this software I understand is into the thousands of dollars. Nobody I know of would buy it for this purpose alone – it is directed mainly at institutions needing its broader productivity and precision imaging functions.
Mark D Segal Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop". Please check the PhotoPXL Store for availability.Re: Digitizing Negatives with a Camera – RevisitedReply #2 on: January 16, 2022 at 12:38 pm
yes, I have left CaptureOne CH out of the equation for cost reasons. Target group are probably museums, foundations, ect..
After what I have seen in the videos, the whole thing is also coupled to a camera from PhaseOne.
I will soon approach the topic again and see what is the most optimal workflow for me.
ColorPerfect 2.0 seems to be the most promising solution for film negatives at the moment.
And indeed, finding the right neutral point has already turned out to be an essential factor in my first attempts. At the time, I also made my first attempts with blue filters, which were quite promising.
Mostly, however, I have slide positives (6×6), which I can fortunately import with the new C1 version, via Teathering, only I would then have to go a detour via SilverFast SRDx to remove scratches and dust as automatically as possible.
All in all, I will still need time to find the optimal workflow for me for film- negatives and slides.
In my first tests, still with the Lumix S1R, every attempted procedure with various software tools still showed some unpleasant ailments and as you said, mostly you had to quickly switch from RAW format to TIF format, etc..
https://www.instagram.com/riwodot/Re: Digitizing Negatives with a Camera – RevisitedReply #3 on: January 16, 2022 at 12:45 pm
Well, all that begs the question of whether you’ve yet tried Negative Lab Pro within a Lightroom-based workflow and had issues with that causing you to look elsewhere, or do you believe there are yet superior solutions to be discovered (could always be the case, who knows until discovery)……
Much depends on what one is aiming to do and what are the methodological parameters one prefers. One of mine is the ability to keep the files in raw format while meeting my objectives for the photo, and for a good many I am finding that entirely feasible using NLP and Lightroom. I also enjoy the benefit of well-integrated workflows from ingestion to print and the Adobe platform is very adept at this.
Mark D Segal Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop". Please check the PhotoPXL Store for availability.Re: Digitizing Negatives with a Camera – RevisitedReply #4 on: January 16, 2022 at 12:59 pm
indeed the high integration of different components and modules in Abobe Lightroom, including PlugIns, was and is a big advantage of this software product.
Another thing is Lightroom’s superior DAM functionality and so I’ve always thought about turning my back on C1, even though I’m not a big fan of renting software and I like C1’s RAW converter a little more than LR’s.
So far I have the effort but always shied away, because I now have some vintages of photos no longer in the LR-Database but everything in that of C1.
https://www.instagram.com/riwodot/Re: Digitizing Negatives with a Camera – RevisitedReply #5 on: January 16, 2022 at 1:58 pm
Of course nothing prevents you from having the same photos referenced in both catalogs. Just means “importing” from source the photos that are not in one of them.
Mark D Segal Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8, SilverFast HDR, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop". Please check the PhotoPXL Store for availability.Re: Digitizing Negatives with a Camera – RevisitedReply #6 on: January 17, 2022 at 6:38 am
sure, you can drive both in parallel. I did it for many years until LR6 where LR was my leading system.
Now and then I developed photos with C1 separately and did not give too much importance to the C1 database.
With the switch to C1 I migrated the LR database to C1. Theoretically, you could run both in parallel with both databases, although I’m not sure if and what effect this would have on the XMP files.
In any case, the whole thing would become more complex again and the desire for simplification would take effect in relation to the film negatives, but rather not on the whole. In addition, there would again be double annual license costs or rent.
I have not thought all this through to the end for me but somehow I am reluctant to continue to use C1 and LR in parallel. I tend to either or.
The question is also how extensive I want to digitize my CamScan volume. So far I have done this for the medium format range rather very dosed.
I think the software solutions in the room to look at everything again more closely with the current hardware setup and weigh all the things against each other.
Depending on the weighting, I have to see what is the best solution for me.
https://www.instagram.com/riwodot/Re: Digitizing Negatives with a Camera – RevisitedReply #7 on: January 17, 2022 at 9:51 am
I agree with you that for the most part it can be rather pointless operating two raw converters in parallel. The exceptional circumstance would be if the one provided a kind of conversion or a special feature you need but can’t get from the other. In my case, this is rare.
And yes, good idea to experiment with as many options as look promising to you. As you do so, if you come up with anything different and useful I’d be interested in reading about your experience.Re: Digitizing Negatives with a Camera – RevisitedReply #8 on: January 20, 2022 at 8:21 am
first tests with ColorPerfect 2.x as a plugin in Photoline 22 on my Macbook Air M1 seemed to work at first after I started Photoline in Rosetta Emulation. However, afterwards there were problems with saving the converted TIFF files, among some other things.
This supposed solution seems to me, in this constellation (M1 plus MacOS Monterey), very unstable and it makes little sense to pursue this further.
So I will have a closer look at the Silverfast film negative workflow with Silferfast HDR and SRDx next.
https://www.instagram.com/riwodot/Re: Digitizing Negatives with a Camera – RevisitedReply #9 on: January 20, 2022 at 8:55 am
What was your impression of the photographic quality of the ColorPerfect conversions you tried – quite apart from the operational issues?Re: Digitizing Negatives with a Camera – RevisitedReply #10 on: January 20, 2022 at 9:48 am
yes that’s how it looks after first opening, promising (I send you an email with a pdf-attachment). If I then open the film negative again, the colors in the negative display are already completely wrong. But the fact that the converted result cannot be opened and saved in Photoline is of course a no go.
Of course, it’s possible that the whole thing runs better with Photoshop, but since I don’t currently have an Adobe subscription, I can’t verify that.
https://www.instagram.com/riwodot/Re: Digitizing Negatives with a Camera – RevisitedReply #11 on: January 25, 2022 at 7:55 am
An additional piece of software that I will also take a closer look at on the recommendation of a photo friend is Silkypix Developer Studio Pro 10, which comes with a promising negative film inversion tool as a RAW converter:
At first glance, the colors after inversion look more natural than those of Silverfast Negafix, but this needs to be investigated further.
On the company’s website, not all currently supported cameras are shown. For example, Canon EOS R5 and R6 are supported, but also the Sony Alpha 7r IV. For the latter, however, there is currently still a restriction for multiexposures.
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