June 2013

Colour Scanning: Negatif+ vs Epson V600 (and First Fujifilm Superia 200)

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When I handed over a colour film to Negatif+ a few weeks ago I decided to try their option of also having the negatives scanned; given that it takes me at least four hours to scan a (black & white) film at this point, I figured the 4€ extra might be a good deal if the quality matches up with their usual excellent service.

.. and it was! I’m positively surprised by both the Fujifilm Superia 200 film and the scanning. Besides lightening up the shadows a bit on a few of them I haven’t otherwise done any post-processing:

For comparison I also tried to scan some of them on my Epson V600 scanner; and given that it is a much cheaper consumer-level scanner than the one used by Negatif+ (apparently a Fujifilm Frontier SP3000) it actually did a pretty decent job, even on automatic, and both in terms of resolution and colour!

So a few pros and cons arose.

The scans from Negatif+ are slightly better resolution, have slightly less noise, and I like their warmer colour cast. Also, it’s pretty hard to beat 1€/hour.

On the other hand, to my surprise they are also slightly cropped for some reason (I somewhat suspect that the OM-1 exposes more than the typical 35mm frame) and come as a relatively small JPEG. The latter might not necessarily be a disadvantage of course, but on a few of them it wasn’t really possible to change the choice of burning out the highlights or closing up the shadows, and as a result I’m stuck with whatever Negatif+ decided; and part of the reason why scanning on my own takes longer is the time it takes to make this choice.

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So there it is. The price for development is 6€ and for both 10€. For the next few films I’ll go with the scanning option again to have some very usable files and in order to spend my efforts on a selected few instead.

Ph.D. Defense

Successfully defended my Ph.D. thesis today!

The committee (Bogdan WarinschiKristian Gjøsteen, and Anders Møller) was there, the crypto group was there, and close family and friends were there — a big thank you to all of you for showing up and looking entertained!

Per tradition we went out for dinner with the group and the committee afterwards, this time at Den Rustikke with finishing beer at Cockney Pub (since we no longer have a flat in Aarhus we had to catch the last train to my parent’s in Esbjerg).

Super day, couldn’t have dreamt it any better..

Presentation used for my defense — never have a practised a presentation in front of an audience as much as I did this one; but it surely paid off.

Manual Exposure

After not having had any real success finding suitable replacement batteries for my old Olympus OM-1 I’ve recently been playing with an alternative: manual exposure and light measurement. So far this has been working great and, as an added benefit, has in some cases actually proven faster than going through the built-in light meter.

There are plenty of descriptions on this topic available online (see The Ultimate Exposure Computer for instance), however some contain too many details to keep around on a little piece of paper, and some seem to have been written in a post-digital era. As a result I’ve instead compiled this little table:

with two basic steps to follow.

First you estimate the available light in the form of a LV number, and then you find a suitable exposure in terms of aperture and shutter speed. Since the second step can be calculated given the first, the really tricky part is picking the correct LV number (18 to 1). To do this I’ve memorised some scenes and their LV number, and when that’s not enough I use the small scene descriptions going down the two left-most columns (the free Light Meter iOS app is also very helpful for this, and so far seems to agree with both the table and my intuition).

Next I either compute the matching exposure or I look up the desired shutter speed (1/125 to 1/8) in the upper right rows corresponding to the film speed (100 to 6400); I can then go down the column to find where it intersects with the LV number, yielding the aperture needed. Most of the time I let the shutter be fixed at 1/125 and quickly adjust the exposure using just the aperture. Occasionally though, I also use the table to look up the shutter speed needed for a fixed aperture, and by following the row corresponding to the LV number I find my aperture; going straight up then gives me my shutter speed for the particular film speed.

So far this technique has worked out great, allowing me to set up the exposure without first looking through the viewfinder. And with the aperture ring right up front on the Olympus Zuiko lenses, it becomes very quick; in fact, it’s surprising that modern cameras have completely given up on this layout in exchange for dials, button, and displays.