Scanning Prints vs Negatives

Discussion in 'Scanning, Enlarging, and Printing' started by Mijo, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. Mijo

    Mijo FF Regular

    43
    Mar 25, 2015
    San Francisco
    Mario
    Wondering if anyone here is scanning prints rather than negatives and if so what has your experience been (i.e. do you prefer one over the other). Thus far I've only scanned in color negatives (as I don't have any prints) but I have a lot of traditional B&W prints to potentially scan. I participated in the film class last year that suggested if you have a traditional print already that you like it makes more sense and saves time to scan that in rather than the negative and then PP the scanned negative.

    Any input is greatly appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  2. It seems like your decision would be made mostly out of necessity. If you have a negative and no print, and you don't have a darkroom or a good printer, then scanning would be the answer. If you have a print but no negative, often the case with old pictures, then of course scanning is the choice. But then you start think about the quality of your scanner or printer or your darkroom skills, and all the possible combinations of them all, and your head starts to spin.
     
  3. Mijo

    Mijo FF Regular

    43
    Mar 25, 2015
    San Francisco
    Mario
    I should have clarified my position in regards to the B&W prints, I actually have the negatives and I made the prints myself in a darkroom. The question now is whether to scan in the negative or the print. Since some of these prints required a fair about of work (i.e. dodging, burning, masking, etc.), I'm assuming that if I scan the prints in I won't be required to do any additional PP with the file. If I instead scan in the negative, I'm assuming I'd have to do some PP with the file similar to what was done in the darkroom to get the print. Maybe I'll just scan in both to see which is the better starting point in terms of a digital file. I was hoping someone had already gone through this exercise before and would be willing to share their results.

    For the color negatives, I have no prints so I'm only left with scanning the negatives.
     
  4. RichardB

    RichardB Super Moderator

    61
    Mar 23, 2015
    Maryland, US
    I don't have experience scanning b&w, but I've tried scanning color prints and negatives. I was happier with the scans from prints because they had more contrast and the colors looked more vivid. Scanning color negatives required a lot of tweaking to look right, but I'm sure I could get better at it with more experience.

    If you put effort into making prints, I think you should start by scanning the prints.
     
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  5. Mijo

    Mijo FF Regular

    43
    Mar 25, 2015
    San Francisco
    Mario
    Richard, thanks for the input. I'm also having trouble getting the color right with scanned color negatives.
     
  6. RichardB

    RichardB Super Moderator

    61
    Mar 23, 2015
    Maryland, US
    When I get back to scanning color negatives, I'm going to try Color Perfect software. I use Vuescan to drive my film scanner and Color Perfect seems like it can help with the conversion.
     
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  7. Mijo

    Mijo FF Regular

    43
    Mar 25, 2015
    San Francisco
    Mario
    image. I scanned a couple of B&W prints from a recent vacation so that I could share them via social media with family. I found the whole process easier than scanning negatives. Even when using canned air and static repelling cloth, dust seems to end up on on my negatives. the only real issue I have is when the print isn't completely flat, you can see how the edges aren't straight and some of the light from the scanner causes a very visible light area.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  8. PaulJ

    PaulJ FF Rookie

    15
    Feb 22, 2016
    Just my 2d worth.....

    Unless it's an exceptionally good print and it's a good scanner used by someone who really knows what they're up to, scanning a print has real limitations as to what you can do with afterwards. I much prefer chemical prints to inkjet but I don't have time or space for a darkroom these days and scanning negatives is my only option. If scanned as TIFF or "RAW", and to a decent size, you can manipulate them quite extensively to get the end result you're after.

    The only time I've scanned prints in the past few years has been if I haven't got the negatives.
     
  9. Mijo

    Mijo FF Regular

    43
    Mar 25, 2015
    San Francisco
    Mario
    That's what I've come to realize in experimenting with scanning negatives and prints. Either way I end up needing to PP the scanned file. The scanned print might be a better starting point than a scanned negative but that's usually b/c I'm trying to pull a decent image from a less than ideal negative. I can either spent more time on the traditional print before scanning it or scan the negative and spend that time in LR. In each scenario I'll still end up in LR, if I want a recent digital image.
     
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