I like to use slide film, which I scan with a Nikon Coolscan. I have been wondering if it would be possible to make HDR photos based on multiple exposures from scanned slide film? I don't have any experience at all with HDR, but thought it might be interesting to try it out at some point in time.
My concern is that it will be impossible to scan exactly the same crop of different exposures, and is therefore wondering if it is possible to align the photos afterwards in the HDR software without to much hassle?
If you can recommend a freeware version that you think would be suitable for analogue HDR please feel free to share.
It is not probable because there isn't much latitude in slide film. HDR works well in real life because small latitude digital is capturing wide latitude reality over many exposures but slide film has less latitude than print film or digital sensors.
Using film to process into HDR seems overly complicated and I don't see the benefit as opposed to using a digital camera. As you point out you are introducing an added variable (getting the scanner to scan each film element the exact same way) that will possibly cause registry issues when the HDR program tries to line up the images.
If I were to try it I would start with a simple three exposure series 2 stops apart. Shoot the metered exposure then one -2 EV and another one +2 EV. Scan them to TIF format and feed them into your HDR program. Most of popular programs allow a 30 day trial period so you don't have to spend anything on software during the experimentation phase.
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I often only bring my film camera on trips where I intend only to shoot landscape and macro photos. In some of these cases I have found that the contrast of especially the landscape scenes either blocks up the shadows or blow out the high lights. So I have considered using multiple exposures to compensate for the exposure latitude. But on the other hand I don't want too many compromises or spending to much time in post processing, so it’s nice to get input from people with hands on experience with HDR photos.
I think I will give a try with one of the trial versions to see if it is possible without too much hassle.
While latitude may be a problem, I don't think the rest of the issues are a big deal. I use a flatbed scanner for film and always get consistent results. I use Silverfast and it has a mode that does multiple scans that may negate the need for HDR as it combines the multiscans for final output. But excluding that, most HDR programs align the images before processing and you are only adding one more step I.e. Digitizing your images.
Thanks for your encouragement and the information about the alignment possibilities in the HDR programs.
Today I downloaded a trial version of Photomatix Essentials and tried out to make my first HDR. I had five scanned photos shot with 1 EV between each. Unfortunately during the scanning process I didn't pay enough attention to having the same size of the five photos. So when I tried to load them into Photomatix, I got an error message, saying the files were not the same size and therefore not all the photos could be loaded.
I then rescanned the five photos without doing any cropping. Then I was able to load all five photos (scanned as TIFF files each with a size of 134 MB ) without any problems.
I haven't done any adjustments before saving the result, which I then cropped and resized.
Sorry for the watermark, but this is included because I only have a trial version of the program. But I think this is going to change....
Shooting details: Nikon F6 Kodak Elitechrome 5 shots (-2EV, -1EV, 0, +1EV, +2EV) Scanned with Nikon Coolscan (as TIFFs) HDR processing in Photomatix Essentials Cropped, resized and converted to jpg in Capture NX2 Attachment#1 (jpg file)
Loks good to me, nice and natural. Ive found ahy post processing of scanned slides can really bring out the best of the images. If you get a chance try the trial version of Silverfast for your scanner you will be sursprised at its capabilities.
Thanks a lot. I decided not to process the photos before merging them together in this case, as I wasn't sure if that would give the best result.
I'm very happy about the results I can get from my Coolscan used with Nikon Scan as well. A couple of years ago I found out that I spend less time on scanning the photos, if I do the post processing in other tools than Nikon Scan, so today most of my post processing is done in Capture NX2 instead. I especially like the opportunity to use selective masks in NX2 which isn't available when doing the post processing in Nikon Scan.
I do HDR work with film quite frequently, never 35mm, medium or 4x5, color and black and white. Some might say that the same could be done with NDX filter. I have tried both, even done HDR's using NDX filters where there was enough natural light to make it work. This images was taken with Efke R25 shot at ASA 16. It was in an extremely deep canyon at dusk. I scanned the three negatives with Epson Scan using only basic density slider movement i.e. 0 255 outside limits on sliders. It is important to set up for the shot with the idea in mind that you are not going be able to crop until all other processing is complete. This is important otherwise in my case Photomatix will give up without aligning. I have tried using faster films for HDR work and found that the grain gets to weird with most Plug-ins, and CS5 HDR presets.
Thanks for your reply and for sharing your HDR example as well.
In my case I also found out, that the alignment of the photos required that the file size should match exactly and then do the cropping afterwards instead.
Doing HDR with 4x5 would be very interesting (and fairly expensive, with the prices of film today ). I have never tried any film in the Efke film range. Are the Adox and Efke the same films just re-branded?
How do you handle the different motion blur in your HDR-shots like in your water fall photo?
Again thanks for sharing your photo and sharing the details how you are doing analogue HDR-photos.
The Efke Brand is gone. Adox which is formulaicly the same continues to be available with some improvements. If you haven't tried it I would recommend the CMS 20 it is a microfilm with extremely fine grain capability, I have pulled 200% enlargements from medium format and consistently get 100mp scans without the need to sharpen excessively, thus minimizing software induced noise. Regarding the water motion. As these exposures were quite slow I really did not have to do much to manage that part of the image. I did have some scanner induced noise that I was able to blur out in Photomatix Pro.
Thanks for your explanation regarding the motion blur in the water.
Last year I shot five rolls of Adox 20 CMS (old formula) in 35mm. My avatar is shot with this film. The absence of grain is remarkable. I found it to be a quite unforgiving film, as exposure needs to be spot on. My best results were in the studio, where I was able to control the contrast. I have just bought 6 new rolls in 120 format. I thought I ordered 135, but seems not to be the case. I will use these films in my roll film holder for 4x5. I just need to figure out for which subjects.
I understand completely about exposure and control for CMS 20. I would really like to try it as a portrait film but having to shoot so slow makes it a test to be sure. I have used it for architecture and product photos for which it is perfect.
One of my personal favorites, done for Coors Brewing Co.
That's a wonderful photo with a beautiful tonal range.
I would also not use the film for close up portrait in the future, but for half body or full length portraits in the studio I think it's a good film. I like the slow speed as it helps me keeping a low depth of field, because of the apertures I end up using.
I can't imagine how the new version of the Adox CMS 20 will perform in 4x5 format.