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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Taming The Skies

Bringing The Sky Down To Earth • Real Real-Estate Images • Extended Autofocus • Film Everywhere, But No Place To Process • Gauging Filter Effects

Film Everywhere, But No Place To Process
My background is film, and although I adopted digital capture about six years ago, I still like to use my high-end film cameras and lenses. I’ve tried, with poor results, to send off exposed film for processing and JPEG scanning to a CD. Now on the back cover of OP is an ad for a “New” EKTAR with the world’s finest grain, ideal for scanning. So, where do I go to get the film processed and scanned?
M. Delcambre
New Iberia, Louisiana

A There still are many reputable companies that provide professional C-41 film processing. The real problem is the scanning, in my opinion. Most nonprofessional scan/CD operations give you a low-resolution scan; a pro facility would give you a high-resolution scan, but wouldn’t do any optimizing of the images.

Since you’re planning to work on the images in the computer anyway, why not scan them yourself? It’s worth the small investment for a Nikon Coolscan V (discontinued, but you might be able to find a used one for less than $500) or Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED film scanner (about $1,000 new), and gives you complete control over the quality of your scans. There also are a number of flatbed scanners designed for film. One of the advantages of doing your own scanning is that you’ll be able to control the resolution and basic corrections as you scan. At the same time, you can name and organize your scanned files as you digitally store them.

Gauging Filter Effects
How can I judge the effect of a polarizing filter when it’s used on a rangefinder camera?
Tom T.
Via the Internet

A Rangefinders, and other cameras that don’t allow you to view the subject through the lens, may accommodate polarizing filters, but it’s not really possible to see the effect until you process the resulting image. My own procedure, regardless of the camera, is to test the effect of a polarizing filter by holding it up to the scene (off-camera) and looking through it. I can turn the filter to select the best orientation, noting the position of a mark or lettering on the filter ring so that I can place the filter on the camera in exactly the same position. Be sure to look through the filter from the same direction the camera would! I even do this when shooting with D-SLR cameras to see if it makes sense to place the filter on the lens.

For information about upcoming seminars and digital-imaging workshops, visit www.georgelepp.com. If you have any tips or questions, address them to: OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHER, Dept. TT, George Lepp, 12121 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1200, Los Angeles, CA 90025-1176 or online at www.georgelepp.com.


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