While there is much interest in scanning with a digital camera, there are other ways of scanning negatives: using a lab or home-scanning with a dedicated scanner. Scanning with a digital camera sounds appealing: “I’ll save money and get better results.” But… There’s always a but. There is a downside – cost in space, $ € ¥ £, time. Lots of time. It’s a bit like the home-brew PC culture of yore. Before it was ubiquitous. Bespoke computers, just like suits. But DIY.
Whenever we use a camera to record a scene, we are transforming analog signals. Each element introduces yet another error, albeit small.
The perfect is the enemy of the good
It’s an apt saying. The followup is
What is good enough in a complex system?
Errors propagate in complex systems. Redundancy has its benefits. It’s natural. And there are optimal settings to achieve reasonably accurate results.
An old friend recently asked if I could digitize some 35mm slides of a coastal Maine motel her family once owned. She’d researched the commercial cost of scanning, and before biting that bullet, wanted to see what I could do.
I immediately pulled my Olympus C-8080 WZ (Wide Zoom) bridge camera off the shelf. It takes superb “Super Macros” and my friend only wanted to email the scans to relatives. The camera’s 8-megapixel files would be more than enough for that, and I ran some quick tests. It proved excellent for quickly and easily digitizing film… and my friend loved the results!
The film community is a high point of the internet. Coming back to film after a 20+ year hiatus was facilitated by all of the excellent work that has been done over the last few years. My return home would have been a painful, stressful, and expensive affair without the help everyone (thanklessly) offered me. …