Suitable formats for digital photography : LUSENET : Black and White Photography: Digital Printing : One Thread

I have recently returned to photography after some absence. I am interested in doing 4x5 format B&W landscapes where I used to work in 35mm format. I can find the room to set up a film developing area, but to set up a printing darkroom would be far more expensive and pose some challenges in my apartment.

Is 4x5 digital scanning feasible? What scanners would you recommend? Pardon my ignorance, but, like I say, I've been out of touch for a while.

-- Bob Hyland (, October 05, 1999


If you want to reproduce what you could do in a darkroom you will be in for a large dose of sticker shock. The only scanners on the market that will give you the quality you could achieve in a darkroom are drum scanners selling for $70,000 US. I'll leave it to you to decide if this is feasible.

Now for the good news. Get yourself something on the order of a Umax Powerlook III and use it to scan your negatives at 1200 dpi, then print them on your Epson unkjet printer. Frame them and hang them on your walls. The ones that don't come down in a few weeks can go to a service bureau for drum scanning. Now if we can just figure out how to properly drum scan black-and-white. I'm working on that one.

-- Darron Spohn (, October 20, 1999.

Another possibility that fits between the two extremes the previous poster mentioned is to buy a 4x5 scanner from Nikon or Polaroid:

These cost much, much less than $70,000.

-- Henry Richardson (, October 28, 1999.

Henry makes a good point. I spent last weekend working on a Tango drum scanner, and scanned two particulalry difficult black-and-white ngatives. To my astonishment, the Tango pulled out details on the first try that tooks blood, sweta, and tears to print on fiber paper. Maybe those cheaper scanners can equal darkroom quality, because the Tango is better than that. At $70k it should be though.

Now I get to experiment with printing those scanned images.

-- Darron Spohn (, November 17, 1999.

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