Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Scanning Negatives is bad for the Psyche

Scanning negatives is the only thing holding me back from using my Mamiya Press more or less constantly. I love the heft of the camera, the photos are beautiful, and I work pretty well with it. The negatives are super-detailed from edge to edge, and it suits a photojournalistic style well.

But honestly, you can only understand how much pain scanning can cause when you scan a medium format 6x9 negative on an old flatbed scanner through a USB 1.1 connection onto an old iMac. It's torturous. And when it finally is done scanning, I have to go through the whole photo and retouch all the dust so it doesn't look terrible, crop out the edges, and hope there are no terrible scanning artifacts. Ugh, what a process. I can only get through maybe two photos from start to finish before I have to get up and do something else.

I can see why people praise digital so much. Sure the final image isn't really as good in many ways, but boy you sure don't have to jump through any hoops to get there. Shoot, transfer, process - it's got to be about 10x quicker than scanning medium format film.

I guess I could do better with faster equipment, but that would cost quite a bit, so I'll be torturing myself a while longer yet. It's worth the effort.


phule said...

I feel that way about 35mm film and slides. It is a painful and time-consuming process. However, it worries me so that I have so many negs and slides sitting in my photo boxes with images I /want/ to have electronically...

my brain hurts after a while of that back-and-forth.

martin said...

I guess you could always pay someone to do it. are there not ways to do massive batch scans professionally? Maybe its with 50 cents per scan. time is money.