Better to Scan Negs or Prints? : LUSENET : Black and White Photography: Digital Printing : One Thread

If I were building a B+W photo website from traditional process photos, is it better to scan the large scale prints or are there negative scanners that can go straight to digital with similar quality? Pros and Cons?

-- Michael Heath (, March 16, 1999


you might as well scan from existing art as you do not ned a lot of detail for the web But film scaners are cool if you want to dobetter digital out put

-- David Hodgson (, March 17, 1999.

For my web work, I have decided to stick with scans of the 10x8 prints. Why? Because (a) flat-bed scanners of adequate quality are much cheaper (40 UK pounds) than film scanners; (b) I can readily dodge and burn in the darkroom, bringing all the tones within the capabilities of the paper, so no hand-work (which would lower the quality) is required on the computer; (c) I want decent quality prints anyway.

But my main goal is good prints, with the web as a secondary goal. If the web was the primary goal, and I wanted to skip the darkroom, I would want a 16-bit scanner that could scrape all the detail from the negative, and appropriate software to do dodging and burning. I would have to be prepared to spend a lot of money on computer hardware that would be obsolete 6 months after I bought it. (My darkroom gear was already obsolete before I bought it, so the value doesn't drop much.)

Of course, there are other considerations. If speed was of the essence, skipping the darkroom might be faster.

-- Alan Gibson (, March 22, 1999.

For a number of reasons, I bought a negative scanner but I am looking at digital printing rather than Web site work - so resolution is far more important.

First, I don't need to make a print first - this is a significant time saver for me, as I don't have a darkroom.

Second, I'm not limited by the print quality - especially with the loss of shadow or highlight details.

Thirdly, the Nikon Coolscan negative scanners are reasonably cheap (starting approx. $1100 Australian dollars).

Fourthly, I don't have a need for a scanner outside photography.

Finally, the resolution of my Coolscan is very good - 2700 dpi optical.

A significant limitation is that affordable negative scanners only do 35mm.

I've been very happy with the results - the quality is excellent. I use a Epson Photo EX printer.

Regards Gareth Jolly

-- Gareth Jolly (, March 22, 1999.

I have covered this to some extent in an article on our website - look for the "new" page on the Epson 1200 (includes for 740 and 750 in principle) which also covers basic and recommendations re: scanning, Photoshop and printer settings, etc. - predominantly for mono prints using the black cartridge ink only - now possible due the variable droplet technology coming to the black as well as the colour inks on these Epson models.

-- Brian SL Allen, HonFZPS,AHFAP (, July 10, 1999.

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