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Old Feb 21, 2005, 12:26 PM   #11
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Wow, great discussion, many thanks to all for all the detailed info (which I am still digesting).

A little more background on my question ... I am very much a hobbyist with no commercial aspirations. I do have a Nikon CoolPix 2200 (2 MP), and consider it a great value (although Amazon no longer sells it new, only its big brother 3200 at $200, still a good deal IMHO with 3.2MP, sound recording, etc.).

But I also believe that if something ain't broke, it shouldn't be fixed. So my 1970 stereo has tubes, my '76 Nova (bought new) runs fine, and my 60's guitars (Fender Mustang, Gibson LG-1) sound great. And my (antique?) Canon AE-1 with a couple of good lenses takes good shots. But I have to get them into Photoshop ... V.5 :-)

The default is a cheap flatbed scanner that actually does pretty well from drugstore 4x6 prints. But for that shot of the Tower Bridge from a London trip, the Kodak Photo CD allows much better cropping with no loss of detail (about 20MB file?)

And, rightly or wrongly, I bought Kodak's pitch that their Photo CD process uses (used?) "good stuff" (especially the CD layer materials) so a long life was assured. With substitutes, I'm not sure if they didn't get a "deal" on some CD's from Elbonia. So my (possibly false) sense of security may be "Gone with the Wind" ...

So at the moment I am mostly receptive to Meryl's approach (as is a friend who is heavily into digital cams of the cutting edge variety, but really likes his new film scanner).

But again, thanks for all the input, IMHO "it's all good"

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Old Feb 21, 2005, 3:27 PM   #12
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If you have a lot of slides to scan, clearly a dedicated slide scanner is the way to go just to handle your backlog of images. They can produce good results (no one ever questioned that.)

If you are thinking of the future, you might consider a DSLR, but realize that the lenses for you AE-1 (a very good camera in its day) will never fit a Canon DSLR. They switched the lens mount completely since then.

You can get a DSLR which is as good as the AE-1 for around $1400 or so (a lot better than $8000) but you'll still need to replace your lenses. And that might be very expensive.

It's a tough choice, that is for sure.

Kodak did make some of the best CDs in their day (and probably still) in the Kodak Gold CDs. If they used those for the PhotoCD process, then you weren't taken. They should last longer than cheap CDs. I would still back them up to another CD (or hard disk) before really considering them safe, though.

Eric
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Old Feb 22, 2005, 1:42 AM   #13
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Last summer I had to have my D100 overhauled, and was faced with doing three weddings with film only. My boss and I thought about it, and came to the conclusion that shooting at least 10 rolls per wedding, including b&w which is more expensive to process, would be more expensive than renting a D100 for three days. Film costs would've been as follows: $119 for ~21 rolls of Kodak Portra 400NC (36exp), $38 for ~9 rolls of Ilford Delta 400 (36exp), $126 for developing and printing color proofs, $90 for b&w. Total for three days worth was $373. Total for renting a D100 at Adorama for three days (weekend special) $163. That just reinterates Eric's post above. The more I shoot, the more digital pays off. Last year alone I accumulated over 96GB of photos, that at ~2.8MB each would equate to over 35,000 shots! At that rate, a year's worth of film supplies alone would've cost $5,547, not including developing, (add $5,850 for that), for a grand total of $11,397. This is just the financials, not mentioning that for reprints and enlargements I can just upload files to our lab's server and have prints done the same day or in a few minutes if necessary, saving me time and at least one trip to the lab. A film scanner in order to get the best results, require several passes for multisampling, a real slowdown for the best resolution setting, and even more slowdown to process digital ice, grain disolving, and shadow & highlight enhancing (very dependent on cpu prowess). There's no question the results can be good, but time is money, and film is not keeping up with digital.

Back to the original question, most labs (at least the one I deal with) should be able to accomodate you on scanning your files as a 6-megapixel jpg with little compression. Since most new developing and printing equipment these days are digital, they actually scan the negative or slide and then print. If you do not require a scan of your negatives, the scan data from the printing is dumped. But regarding their choice of media, if long life is what you want you may have to buy your own special media and reburn it at your own cost.
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Old Feb 22, 2005, 6:21 AM   #14
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Wow, and I thought I could be excessive in my number of shots at times! I took about 8K images my first year, but I'm shooting at a slower pace now (with a higher % of keepers - I'm getting better.) Of course, you're shooting as a wedding business, so there is no comparison really. But still, those numbers really stick out. Now I understand why so many wedding photographers jumped at digital when it became practical at the second generation DSLR (the Kodak was the first gen, right?)

I think you're missing something in you analysis, though. Unless you're truly an amazing photographer (and I don't honestly know), if you go digital you have to spend time editing all the keepers. With film, since you send it to a lab, that is absorbed in the cost of developing and you're off shooting another wedding. So there is that benefit. Cheaper dollar cost, but more time because the editing comes back to you.

Eric
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Old Feb 22, 2005, 9:37 AM   #15
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Eric, that's what weekdays are for! :-) But seriously, after each wedding, even during a wedding, I'll weed out all the closed eyes and pick out the best shot from doubles or triples. A lot of shots go into making sure you get everybody's eyes open (or at least try) and choose the best composition. And I strive to get the shots right directly from the camera, with as little post production work as possible. With film it would be the same thing, except instead hitting delete you physically throw a proof in the garbage, no computer necessary. But when it comes time to make albums, that's when film comes back to haunt you. The dreaded scanning! Even using a Nikon 9000 scanner (we used to shoot/scan medium format, not anymore) it takes a few minutes to properly scan each negative. Digital comes and saves the day!
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Old Feb 22, 2005, 11:30 AM   #16
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I remember a guy who used one of the first digital SLRs to shoot a wedding...yes, he was foolish to take a new camera (of any media) on a paid assignment without proper familiarization but...he was enthused with the new technology.

He took the shots and brought them back for final processing on his computer.

In those days (and to a lesser extent today but it is MUCH better) there were some colours that gave cameras...difficulty...sometimes changing entire shades. Well, he forgot the colour of the bridesmaid's dresses. The blue that came out looked fine to him and so he printed the whole album as 8x10s. (He liked to presenta whole bound album because he had a much better chance of selling every shot than with proofs which could be easily sorted out and discarded by the couple.)

However, Bridezilla was not amused. The carefully chosen 'springtime mossy green' dresses of her wedding party was now a pasty turquoise and she hit the roof!!

Needless to say, from then on, he took along a point and shoot film camera for colour correction (and as a memory aid)
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Old Feb 22, 2005, 2:41 PM   #17
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Meryl Arbing wrote:
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... Needless to say, from then on, he took along a point and shoot film camera for colour correction (and as a memory aid)
Unless you are shooting slide film under good sunlight, the colors from the film camera can be off as well. Lots of horror stories about Indians and light skined blacks having their skin tones changed by the lab.

Several years ago a lady brought a roll of film into the local semi-pro shop for processing since she wanted them done right. A whole roll of her white toy poodle. The prints came back with the poodle a nice bright white - the problem was that she had died it green for St. Patrick's day. Since the lab "knew" the poodle couldn't be green, they adjusted it.

Same kind of problems exist with chemical as with digital.
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Old Feb 23, 2005, 3:38 AM   #18
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BillDrew wrote:
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Meryl Arbing wrote:
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... point and shoot film camera for colour correction...
Quote:
...colors from the film camera can be off as well. ....Same kind of problems exist with chemical as with digital...
When I used film plus a filmscanner, I used to include one shot on each filmof my 17" monitor showing my name & address plus a test chart with many colours, flesh tones,density step wedges, etc. Although this ran the risk of multiplying phosphor & dye colour defects, it seemed to work well enough. Perhaps I'll try it with digital as well.


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Old Feb 23, 2005, 1:04 PM   #19
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Steve K wrote:
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Based on a conversation with a local photo lab who used to offer Kodak Photo CD's (not Picture CD's with jpg's, but the Photo CD *.pcd format, 100 images per CD), that format has been discontinued. A Google search seemed to confirm that. The lab said they offer something similar, an 18MB scan (one size only, not the "image pack" of the Photo CD) at $2.50 per image ... a little steep, I think.

Another advantage, if you believe Kodak's statements, is that the Photo CD process offered long CD life, vs. iffy life from the drugstore.

I guess the answer is to buy a film scanner, but at a reasonable price I still might like to have the option of getting hi-res scans from 35mm print film, done as a service and with long life CD's. Any options out there?
While in office max the other day I glanced at the HP scanners. I don't know if they are any good or not but they came built in with film holders for transparancy scanning. Both were under $150.. Another is an epson 3200 (I beleive).. it's capable of scanning films up to 4x5 (possibly more).. Price last time I looked was roughly $350+ depending on the software options.

If I could find a scsi card to support it I would use my Nikon film scanner but.... still looking.

Jeff


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Old Feb 23, 2005, 1:39 PM   #20
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Finding a scsi card shouldn't be hard, the bigger issue will be drivers or both the card and scanner.

Eric
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