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Scanning some old slides


Stockton-on-Tees, UK
175 posts

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Zareeba Gold Member Nikonian since 08th Apr 2008
Wed 11-Jul-12 05:17 PM

I've recently embarked on a project to scan in several hundred transparencies that I took in 1985 during a trip to Russia. It's time-consuming but well worth it; I'm using an Epson V750 with the fluid mount, which I find gives better image quality (although opinions seem divided about this) and Silverfast 8, scanning at 6400 dpi; I find it takes me about 5-6 minutes per scan, and maybe a couple more minutes to straighten and crop in Photoshop if needed, so it's slow going. It has made me realise how spolit we have become with digital photography; transparency film is so unforgiving that you had to get it right, because what you got couldn't be manipulated in any way. I remembered that when we went to one of the palaces (Pavlovsk), I bought some Russian transparency film to supplement my Fujichrome; the resulting images had a most peculiar magenta colour cast. Now, of course, that's all by the bye: even a quick-and-dirty application of Auto Color in Photoshop is enough to produce a perfectly acceptable result ( just as an experiment to see what happened - I'll do more fine-tuning once I have all the trannies scanned in).

It also brought back memories of getting sensitive transparency film past the x-ray system at airports. I had some ISO 1600 film in a special box marked (in English and Russian) Photographic film: do not x-ray (Ne rentgenirovat'). Most film would go through the scanners without fogging, but having heard some horror-stories I wasn't taking any chances with ISO 1600 film. On the outward journey, the official at Gatwick Airport made a fuss when I asked him to bypass the x-ray machine with the box of film; I even opened it up so he could see exactly what was in it. He grumped and moaned but in the end he gave in. Next hurdle was getting the film past the x-ray machine at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on the way to Leningrad (as it was then). Did I have any problems? Not a bit. The young man manning the x-ray machine simply looked at the box, nodded, smiled and gave it to his colleague to bypass the scanner. Same story when we left the country from Leningrad. So much for Russian intransigence! They couldn't have been more helpful and understanding.

Ah, happy days! Do I hanker after them? Not a bit. I just sold my one remaining film camera without any regrets. Mind you, I do still have my late father-in-law's ancient Zenit tucked away in a camera bag somewhere...