I developed a couple of rolls of found film. The image below is from a Canon EOS Rebel II I reviewed recently. I’ve only used the chemicals for 2 rolls, the Kodak B&W split between the Kalimar KX5000 and the Rebel II and the Phound Photos roll from the Nikon EM so I don’t think the developer has gone bad. I’ll have to develop another roll before I know for sure. My thermometer and temperature controller agreed and I stop-watched the same as usual so I don’t think it was user error. The reason for this preamble is that both rolls are super thin – holding them up to a bright light, you can barely tell there are images at all. Both rolls were in thrift shop cameras and of unknown vintage but the similarities have me second guessing myself.
On to the point of this post. Canon’s Scangear software can be a little wobbly so I frequently do multiple scans with different options selected. It’s especially important when, like this roll, scans are at the ragged edge of being able to get anything. I just upgraded Vuescan and read an article about using its RAW capabilities so i tried that too for kicks. All versions were scanned at 2400DPI with color negative as the input type. That corrects for the orange base of color negative film so “no corrections” isn’t completely true. The file numbers don’t match because of a known-for-years-but-never-fixed bug in Canon’s software.
The film is Walmart-branded Fujicolor Super HQ 200.
I messed with a lot of settings – back light, fading, grain, and manual histogram adjustments – before settling on Fading Correction set to low.
Vuescan, or my ability to use Vuescan, did not cover itself in glory. The RAW file wouldn’t open in any software I have. Adobe Camera RAW, PSE, GIMP, & Preview all showed a giant black rectangle. For the could-actually-see-something scan, I didn’t maintain the same settings. I still used 2400DPI but scanned as TIFF and 48-bit color instead of JPEG 24-bit like I used with Scangear. I need to go back and do apples-to-apples. PSE would not open a 48-bit (16 bits per channel) TIFF. Preview and GIMP opened it fine so, thanks Adobe, for deliberately crippling the less expensive, not a subscription, version of your software.
Off the scanner, the colors are better with Vuescan. To me, the best of these images using only quick auto-corrections is Scan 1 + Gimp. GIMP didn’t do as well with the darker, higher contrast version (scan 2). That may change with some added labor. GIMP does a lot of things better than PSE but not everything and it’s definitely more of a manual tool. That also may change after re-calibrating the scanner with Vuescan. The automation with Vuescan is not great. I use it a lot for prints, Polaroids, and large format (one-off images) but it expects even spacing to do a section of a roll and that just doesn’t happen with the vintage/broken/not its native format kind of images I throw at the scanner.
What I really need to do is take the time to work out a new workflow using the full-frame DSLR and macro. I couldn’t get past how much slower I was trying to touch-type than I was as a fast hunt-and-pecker so i never learned to type. I need to suck it up and push past going slower and learn to do this right.