The good folks at the #filmphotographyproject recently read an email I sent them. I came off sounding an awful lot like a paid shill for
Nope. Just someone who got back into film photography eight years ago and quickly discovered developing costs would limit the amount of shooting I do. I had purchased a Nikon LS50 new in 2007. I now know that series of scanners was arguably the last and best consumer models that would be offered. I didn’t spring for the medium format capable model because that would’ve added $1000 to the already high price tag.
Early in 2017 I started developing all of my film at home. That was the easy part. Scanning, particularly my new favorite medium format film was a definite limiting factor. I looked at everything on the market in 2017 and quickly realized medium format scanners that were worth owning were pretty much used Nikons, going for the same money used as they cost new. Flatbeds were optically limited. And slow. Plusteks that did 120 were slow and unreliable. Imacons were $$$$$. And drum scanners were slow, expensive and spare parts were drying up.
I wanted a workflow that was fast, future proof and reliable. Camera scanning was a good option, and NegativeLabPro really enabled the color negative work, but as anyone who has ever tried camera scanning: the genius is in the details. Namely, handling the film remained an issue. It has to be kept flat, it has to be kept free of dust, and it has to be shielded from flare and reflections.
Back in the good old days there were a number of film transports aimed at the photographic enlarger market. If you’ve checked eBay prices lately you’re going to discover that what was once available free for the asking as high schools and colleges shut down their photo labs are now fetching top dollar. The units are old, subject to years of wear and abuse, and prices for brand new film transports are staggering. If you can even find them. Still, I muddled along with my slow Nikon for 35 and an enlarger film stage for medium format.
When I heard about Negative Supply and their 35mm film transport I was sold. But honestly I was even more interested in their medium format film carrier which they promised would begin development as soon as they hit a stretch target on the 35 model. Well? It’s about time for release of the 120! I am eagerly awaiting my medium format film carrier while continuing to enjoy my Film Carrier Mk1. I know, it sounds like such a simple problem to solve. But my experience as an engineer has taught me the devil is always in the details. This is a niche market, and that means certain fixed costs are spread among fewer units, but in this case the time the Mk1 has saved me along makes it well worth the price. I have about 300 rolls of 120 waiting for scanning so I suspect the Film Carrier 120 will be just as valuable. #
My example here? Camera scanned Fuji Velvia 50 using the Negative Supply Company film carrier Mk1. How good is camera scanning these days?
Good enough to show grain on 35mm Velvia 50. Even with jpeg compression and a diffuse light source.
Good enough I can retire my trusty Nikon Coolscan.
And I can rip through 36 exposures in five minutes at 61 megapixels each.
Dust? Yes. Good housekeeping, antistatic brushes, antistatic blowers and antistatic gloves go a long way. I usually have fewer than ten dust glitches to heal. It goes fast on a decent computer.
If you’re serious about shooting film and want to control the whole process end to end, give these guys a try.
Tagged: , TLA , Velvia 50