Fujicolor G-400

It is my very first color negative scanned with a script called GRAIN2PIXEL - which requires a higher Photoshop CC version - and is a bit fiddly to install - as well I had to do some changes in the setting in order for me to work (manual color sampling) and using TIFF - because DNA and RAW files did not work for me.

The homepage shows instruction videos how to allow MacOS X / MacOS to give permission to certain script files in order to make it running. Of course there is also a version for Windows, showing instruction videos how to install it there.

When ready - the script practically makes a pretty good positive image with the orange mask filtered away.

 

Digital camera + color negatives + manual correction... (meh)

• I did the color correction process manually earlier, and it was endlessly fiddly and just didn't feel very good and the variation was simply too great - and sometimes it just didn't work at all. Very time consuming, even if the sharpness is top notch - the colors were not.

• A flatbed scanner with small 35mm color negatives - is in my opinion not a serious option for high quality images.

• A dedicated film scanner is excellent, but takes a lot of time to scan. I used the Canon FS 4000 US - but the problem there is that the Canon software is vastly inferior, to get the contrast and colors right. VueScan is in that regard a much better option - but not so easy to get it right due to all the different settings in that software.

Also the grain is more pronounced with a dedicated filmscanner like the Canon FS 4000 US. With today's budget films like Fuji C-200 or Kodak 200 - those are in itself already very grainy.

 

The results with Grain2Pixel

So, with help of a digital camera, reproducing the 35mm color negatives + a cyan filter I physically put under the negative, while setting the camera between 5500°K to 8200 °K - together with GRAIN2PIXEL the trick. Uhm, but not always, I may add....

The only problem was and is - the HUGE amounts of dust and particles in older negatives, was almost overwhelming. A kind of air blower is your best friend, believe me !!

From the images of my friend Claus from 1996 - the final results after tinkering in post the post process - are impressive good. Or to take it down a notch: the results are good to look at.

The best aspect with Grain2Pixel is that if you do things right - you get to work with a good color correction right from the beginning. But ye,s it can also get pretty wrong at times... Again, there is no holy grail it seems. You still need at times a lot of post correction, in terms of contrast and color balance - but the changes required are often rather small, other times larger.

 

Include a piece of the unexposed, developed filmbase

when you scan your images with the camera - because grain2pixel then easier finds a better ( almost correct) color balance.

 

Coming to life 25 later

It is strange... that it took 25 years in order to come to life, with really good quality. Because all other ways I scanned small 35 mm negative, either simply weren't worth the effort, or didn't give enough quality (because of bad color balance or far too grainy results). Another issue is that almost all noise reduction software doesn't respond well to the kind of "noise" (grain) you get from color or black & white negatives. They are made for digital noise reduction, but not the much coarse grain from a film negative.

So, I often skipped to scan the "consumer" snapshots I made through decades. Back in the days after year 2000, neither hard nor software where good enough to take care of such small negatives with good results, nor was it worth the time when you have ten thousands or more of such negatives.

 

Year 2021/22

But it looks like I got another, this time useful tool in the toolbox, in order to take care of some wonderful memories; long forgotten among the vast photo negative archive of mine... It is strange to see Claus suddenly crispy clear 25 years later - made on those "dreaded color negatives" - and yet, finally, in really good quality.

I basically ignored 35mm color negative images for decades. Even in the time of printing (90s) - I only chose the few for printing. Printing color images with good quality - takes a lot of time and effort, to get it right. Which I felt, wasn't worth it for many snapshots, because when I shared them with friends and buddies - you know how it goes: People look at them like 2 seconds - while I stand a whole night in the darkroom just to make a few good color prints.

I didn't like that very much, really. (But love to show off images, though). So, I was often in a constant struggle between passion and frustration.

 

With focus primarily on Exhibition/Contest photography

I mainly focused on interesting or unusual images, when I went into the darkroom. Prints for Photo Contests and Magazines. And for my handwritten Diary back in the days.


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