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Old Feb 17, 2006, 6:05 AM   #1
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Which scan will produce the better result when printed: a scan of a 35mm colour negative or a scan of the developed print ( 3.5 x 5) of the same negative?
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Old Feb 17, 2006, 8:29 AM   #2
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If you have the equipment and software a scan of the negative would get the best results, especially if you are planning to print larger than the print you have in hand. Scanning color negatives involves dealing with the color cast(the orange color) of the film. Silverfast software deals with this easily if you know the brand and type of film. I have adjusted the color cast in Photoshop Elements as well, but it was more a trial and error process for me. I am using an Epson 3200 to scan positive slides mostly. Results are good.
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Old Feb 17, 2006, 11:20 AM   #3
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It depends on the scanner. If your scanner is at least 2400 PPI optical (2400 X 4800) and has a light in the lid for scanning slides or negatives you will probably do better scanning the negatives. The adapters that sit on the scanner glass don't do as well. I would assume you don't have a dedicated film scanner or you wouldn't be asking.

If the scanner has a light in the lid and comes with film and slide holders the software is set up to deal with the color cast on negatives. The differences between film brands is so close it is lost in the clutter of other subtle things that need correcting in Photoshop.

Scanners seem to accentuate film grain. Dedicated film scanners have a smaller light source and tend to accentuate it more, but a flatbed will also accentuate the grain. Scans of ASA 400 film almost always require noise reduction to look good. The Neat Image demo is considered freeware for non-commercial users and doesn't expire. If you plan on scanning ASA400 film you might want to learn to use it.

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Old Feb 17, 2006, 2:27 PM   #4
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A dedicated film scanner is considered the best way to go!, but since I don't have one, I have been scanning prints for years.

I usually scan 4x6 prints at 600 PPI (the max my scanner goes) and then crop, resize, etc.

So far, I've been happy with the results.

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