There are so many reasons to love digital imaging. And scanned film is now one of them. I’ve recently been scanning some 4×5 negatives shot in 1980 and 1981. These were part of a series of man-made structures in the landscape. These were originally made as 4×5 contact prints with very few adjustments. Contact printing at this small size doesn’t allow for much in the way of dodging and burning.
These scans are from an Epson flatbed V700 scanner at medium resolution to keep file sizes at a sensible level of 20 or 25 MB. Much higher resolution is possible from this scanner but the price is a corresponding leap in file size.
Having a digital file means that I was able to make some minor, but in some cases important adjustments to local luminance and contrast. Lightroom provides excellent adjustment tools and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2 has some additional features that I think helped to improve on the original scan.
These are first efforts at scanning negatives and I’m still learning how to get the most out of each negative. The range of B&W tones available from film seems to be far more subtle and engaging than what is available from digital sensors. These first results are encouraging and may lead the way to re-acquiring a film camera.