I’ve used a trusty Nikon Coolscan IV for years, since I bought it for a song from someone who didn’t really know what it was (sometimes in life, you get lucky). It’s a fantastic scanner – quick, produces scans of decent size, and because it focuses on the film itself, capable of producing sharp results. However, it’s only designed for 35mm film – as I’m shooting more and more 120 film recently, I thought it was (sadly) time to replace it.
I last used a proper darkroom in college, for a brief course that set off my film photography obsession with a vengeance. I’ve been looking for darkrooms to use ever since, and thought it was a good idea to have refresher course before I start stinking of fixer and ruining sheets of Ilford Multigrade again.
So I had some fun trying to scan the Xpan slides and negatives from my last post. They are on 35mm film, but take up the space of two frames, per shot. My dedicated 35mm scanner, a Nikon Coolscan IV ED, can only scan one frame at a time. I eventually managed to scan all the frames using a simple, if long process:
Back in 2011 when I was just starting out with film photography properly, I had a roll of Fomapan 400 developed at a local photo shop – just a little one, next to my then-office on Brick Lane, run by an older guy and obviously geared up for holiday snaps. Must have cost around £7 or so for a black and white processing, and scans on a CD. I liked how they came out, but they were rather small, and I’d like to get a couple of them printed up properly someday, so I decided to re-scan on my little Coolscan IV.
I work in Shoreditch, home of the hipster and the painfully expensive pint. Everything is expensive, in Shoreditch, but alas, my wages aren’t quite up to the same levels just yet. So my search for somewhere to get a roll of bog-standard 35mm colour film started last week. Usually I go to Snappy Snaps, that stalwart of film processing, but I thought I’d have a look around, just in case there was anywhere better, and (gasp) cheaper.
Recently I have been lucky to find myself in possession of two film scanners. Going from “no film scanner” to “two” is a bit of a leap, but that’s what happens when you see two bargains on eBay and decide that driving to Milton Keynes is a good idea.
So I now have a Nikon Coolscan IV and a Canoscan 9000F in my possession. Both scan 35mm transparencies and slides, but the Canoscan also scans 120 transparencies. The Nikon is the mouch older of the two, it’s about 10 years old, but sold for much more than the Canon when it was new. As it’s got the ability to be fed film in strips of four, it was often used as a mini lab, scanning in batches. Flatbed scanners are more common nowadays, being as they are, multipurpose – you can also scan documents, photos, pictures etc with it.
My first go at stand developing with my little Olympus XA 4. This roll was mostly taken at box speed, except for a few shots where I thought it was too dark, so pushed to 200 or 400. Amazingly all shots came out pretty well-exposed! There was a lot of tweaking in Lightroom, mostly to bump the contrast and adjust the tones, but not much else done.