Tag Archives: scanner

Playing With Polaroid Negatives

I’ve had these giant TIFFs hanging out on my drive for a while and finally decided to do something with them. This is far from comprehensive and probably raises more questions than it answers. Scanned with the CanoScan 9000f at 4800DPI and no corrections unless noted. I used some of the same images from the Polaroid 250 post.

With B&W film, you don’t have to bleach off the black backing to get something scannable.

Scan of the print:

Ghost bike in Pojoaque -- Fuji FP3000B film.

Ghost bike in Pojoaque — Fuji FP3000B film.

Scan of the negative:

Not much to see yet.

Not much to see yet.

Inverted negative:

Less contrast but a lot more detail from the shadows.

Less contrast but a lot more detail from the shadows.

It will be interesting to overlay the positive and inverted negative to create a High-dynamic-range (HDR) image or selectively erase the upper layer to the lower. That will have to wait for some of this “free time” I keep hearing about.

Scan of the print:

Self portrait with Zoe -- Fuji FP3000B film.

Self portrait with Zoe — Fuji FP3000B film.

Scan of the negative:

You can already tell there's detail that didn't make it to the print.

You can already tell there’s detail that didn’t make it to the print.

Inverted negative:

Now we're getting somewhere.  More ear and forehead visible too.

Now we’re getting somewhere. More ear and forehead visible too.

For this one, I used the negative and applied Photoshop’s “Auto Smart Fix” just to see what I’d get and then inverted it.

Big difference.

Big difference.

Years ago, I used a similar trick to boost a photo of lightning. I separated the RGB channels, inverted them, boosted the contrast on red (I think — it was a long time ago), reassembled the channels and inverted. I used Jasc Paint Shop Pro (since bought by Corel) on Windows NT. I’ll see if my friend still has it.

Color Fuji instant acts very differently. The negatives look black until you remove the backing. I taped it face down to a piece of glass and used thick, “no drip” bleach and cotton swabs, then lots of running water.

Scan of the print:

Cropped to better match the negative.

Cropped to better match the negative.

Scan of the negative:

Not-negative negative.

Not-negative negative.

Some bleach got under the tape so I cropped it. There was some developer slime on the negative and I tried to wipe it off and removed some of the picture.

I don’t know the chemistry but the negative isn’t negative. I didn’t invert the image. It looks like the B&W component is positive (the shadows are dark, not light) but the color is negative (bluish print and orange-y negative).

Things I’ve learned from this so far…

The negatives are delicate. Do not use warm running water and fingers to clean off excess developer.

Scan as soon as practical — they were meant to be thrown away and aren’t stable over time. Or, at least, they change. There may be a point where they stop.

Given the above, wait until they’re dry. If a negative is damp, it’ll be ruined when you remove it from the scanner and you’ll have to clean goo off of the scanner glass.

Use good tape. Bleach is sneaky and it will work its way underneath.

It may not be usable because of the adhesive but the negatives have a little more image than the prints.

More experimentation is needed but there is detail hiding in the negatives of blown-out and dark prints.

52 Cameras: Week 22 part 2 – Polaroid Automatic 220

Film is Fuji FP-100C. Scanned on the CanoScan 9000F using Apple Image Capture.app. TIFF, millions of colors, 4800 DPI. Resized to 5% of original and converted to JPEG for upload. No edits.

My neighbor's dog Max.

My neighbor’s dog Max.

I kept forgetting that the original Polaroid film is ISO 75 vs. 100 for the Fuji and adjusted exposure the wrong way.

Giant parapets at Jackalope on Cerrillos Rd.

Giant parapets at Jackalope on Cerrillos Rd.

I used an old Achiever flash with a PC cord.

I used an old Achiever flash with a PC cord.

A rainbow of information.

A rainbow of information.

Messy table with Fuji negatives and Konica Auto S.

Messy table with Fuji negatives and Konica Auto S.

52 Cameras: Week 14 part 2 – Hasselblad XPAN 1

I suspected I might fall in love with this camera. I did. Any shortcomings in the pictures is me getting a feel for it and not composing well. Scanned on the Canoscan 9000f at 4800 DPI. I tried 9600 DPI at first but the scanner’s “snow” noise shows up. I used Apple’s Image Capture app and a TWAIN driver set to millions of colors and scanned to TIFFs. Images are downsized to 10% and converted to JPEG for posting.

Color photos are Fuji ISO 200.

Slowly turning back into iron oxide

Slowly turning back into iron oxide

Another arroyo car photo

Another arroyo car photo

Near the Rio on NM 502

Near the Rio on NM 502

B&W photos are Ilford XP1 ISO 400 that expired in December 1991. It’s great black and white film and it can be processed using C-41 color chemicals so I don’t have to wait for Visions to do their Wednesday B&W run.

The grayscale scan setting gave me black images so I used millions of colors. Something amiss in the way the Canon TWAIN driver talks to the app I guess. Reversing the negatives gave a purplish hue, opposite the orange of the negative’s acetate (no color or exposure corrections doing it this way). Converted back to black and white in Photoshop.

Rio Grande near La Mesilla

Rio Grande near La Mesilla

The currents made these patterns in the sand

The currents made these patterns in the sand

My sweetie wearing the "Kill The Wabbit" hat

My sweetie wearing the “Kill The Wabbit” hat

A Tale of Two Scanners

My printer, a Canon MP480, has a decent scanner but no light or adapters for scanning negatives or slides. While every spare cent was going towards tuition at the now-defunct College of Santa Fe, I bought a cheap scanner. It’s an ImageLab FS-5C05. I think I paid about US $50 for it on Amazon. Not total crap but not great either. It scans to an SD card or internal memory. There are no drivers or settings. It’s 5 megapixels, or about 3600 DPI. Its sensor is a bit noisy, it uses too much JPEG compression, and the click stops for each frame never line up correctly. That said, it does a passable job for snapshots and you can line the negatives up pretty well by ignoring the stops and using the little LCD on the unit as a guide.

I bought a Canon CanonScan 9000F about a year ago but just set it up last week. It does a great job scanning prints (max 4800 DPI). Negatives (9600 DPI) are a mixed bag so far. The trays don’t hold the negatives very flat — I had to insert them wrong side up (convex side of the curl up). The exposure level seems to vary a lot depending on where in the tray a negative is located. It comes with an adapter to hold 120mm negatives flat. I may have to make something that does the same for 35mm. I need to make a shield too, for negative sections that don’t reach end-to-end in the trays. I’m hoping that will help the exposure variation. When 35mm negatives are selected as the source in the software, it expects a perfectly aligned 36X24 mm frame. On the Olympus Pen-EES half-frame negatives, this created some strange crops even when both exposures were visible in the tray frame. It’s far from obvious if there is a way to resize the scan area for negatives. The software doesn’t have resizing frame handles the way it does for scanning prints.

Aside: Obviously, I like Canon hardware. My first digital camera was an A70 (died), I had an SX20is (stolen), and I have an SX10is and an EOS 60D in addition to the MP480 and the scanner. However, if you have trouble after warranty, don’t bother with their “customer loyalty” program. It seems like a good deal — trade in your broken gear for refurbished goodies at a discount. Nope. Whole lots of nope. The discounts are off of MSRP, which no one actually gets or even asks. You don’t get the same warranty and there’s no way to know if something is open-box-can’t-be-sold-as-new or waaaay broken and repaired. It *does* come with heaps of shitty attitude from the phone reps.

Anyhoo… On to some photos.

Both images are rotated since the Olympus uses portrait format half-frames. Both have the half-frame break and scanner borders cropped and both are resized for the web. The ImageLab cropped a little top-to-bottom, which is left-to-right on these rotated frames. The Canon scan is flipped horizontally due to having to load the negatives wrong side up. The Canon cropped quite a bit off of the bottom (side of the half-frame) — consistent with not being able to choose anything but an ideal 35mm frame size. I did a LOT of clone tool dust cleanup on the ImageLab scan (it’s on the sensor) and ran a mild noise reduction filter. On the Canon scan, I did a little dust edit but the negatives are pretty clean. I left the “snowfall” on the right side of the image. It’s not dust. I read a few complaints about it in reviews but I haven’t seen any solution. It’s hit or miss. Rescan and it may be gone or it may be different. The ImageLab scan is a little green and the Canon scan is a little blue. On this photo, the ImageLab scanner did much better on color and exposure.

The car wash from Breaking Bad - ImageLabs

The car wash from Breaking Bad – ImageLabs

The car wash from Breaking Bad - CanoScan

The car wash from Breaking Bad – CanoScan

Other than web-prep (rotating, flipping, resizing) I left these alone. You can really see the quality difference in the Canon sensor. The ImageLab overexposed and the Canon underexposed — both by quite a bit.

Albuquerque Crowne Plaza - ImageLab

Albuquerque Crowne Plaza – ImageLab

Albuquerque Crowne Plaza - CanoScan

Albuquerque Crowne Plaza – CanoScan

Web-prep only. The ImageLab got the exposure right. The Canon is really underexposed, the sky is full of noise, and there’s the snow again. At current prices, the Canon is about 3 times the price. When it was the new model (when I bought it) the differential was about 8X.

Big-I - ImageLab

Big-I – ImageLab

Big-I - CanoScan

Big-I – CanoScan

So far, the Canon is really disappointing. I can tell the sensor is up to the task — when it gets it right, the scans are glorious. At 6 minutes per negative raw scan time, plus rotate, crop, and flip, I don’t know if it’s worth it to retry until it gets it right. The next test is to use a TWAIN driver and bypass the rather lame Canon software altogether.

Other items of note: If you get a Canon scanner, do NOT use the default installation. It installs an ArcSoft photo editor and ArcSoft Connect, an always-on spam daemon that’s a pain to completely uninstall. The install also uninstalled the scanning software for the MP480 without asking. Not cool bitches, not cool.

52 Cameras: Week 7 part 2 – Olympus Pen EES

This is a fun camera to use. It did well considering I suck at guesstimating distance and I forgot my human rangefinder card. I took it with me while we did a tour of Breaking Bad locations.

John B. Robert dam in Albuquerque - CanoScan 9000F at 9600 DPI

John B. Robert dam in Albuquerque – CanoScan 9000F at 9600 DPI

Waiting for the vacuum cleaner repair guy - CanoScan 9000F at 9600 DPI

Waiting for the vacuum cleaner repair guy – CanoScan 9000F at 9600 DPI

Same negative scanned with the old 5MP ImageLabs

Same negative scanned with the old 5MP ImageLabs

Because it’s 1/2 frame, The Camera Shop of Santa Fe couldn’t scan right away. I was impatient so I just had them process the film and dusted off my old scanner. Literally. It was covered in dust and sadly some is inside on the sensor. I had bought a nice Canon CanoScan 9000F a while back and finally set it up. I’m still learning my way around the new scanner so hopefully, results will improve. Images are resized but no exposure or color correction. On the 3rd image I used the clone tool in Photoshop to clean up dust and cat hair.

I’ll do a separate post about the scanners and put up some more pictures from the Pen EES.