Hybrid Workflow

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This is the XPan Neg that I was using for the test scans.
This is the XPan Neg that I was using for the test scans.

On a recent photo outing with a friend we got talking about film photography. He had recent returned to film photography (but also uses a digital camera) and was now using a hybrid workflow with his film. This involved shooting film which he then scanned using an Epson V700 flatbed scanner. The resulting scans were then processed using Lightroom and Photoshop before printing.

Having looked at a number of his prints at sizes up to A2, I had to admit they were fantastic. The images whilst not as sharp as digital looked somehow more lifelike. They seemed to pop off the paper and have a depth to them. Most of all the colours were amazing.

The result of this is that I ended up digging out some old XPan B&W negatives and scanning them using my V700. I had always been a little underwhelmed by the results with the scans looking too soft. This time I changed my workflow to produce a RAW file which I then processed using Adobe Camera RAW. The image sharpened up well but not quite as well as I wanted so I decided to throw in a little grain. When I did this it’s as though the image just snapped into focus.

If you want to know more about the workflow and tools I used you can find a tutorial on my Lenscraft website (https://www.lenscraft.co.uk/members-area/member-tutorials/).

6 thoughts on “Hybrid Workflow

    Andrea Bellelli said:
    March 23, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Hi, Robin, I like film photography (I shoot many rolls with a Fuji 645GS in the past), but I can’t see the advantage of going digital, because you loose the unequalled beauty of the silver halide paper. Digital is very practical and has many other advantges, but is it worthwhile to mix?

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      March 23, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      Yes it’s true that you will lose some of the benefits of true film photography but you also gain other benefits. I think it’s down to the photographer to make up their mind as to which trade offs they are happy to accept. But equally it’s important not to rule out anything and to keep exploring the many new avenues that open up to us. That’s what keeps photography interesting and exciting for me. I now regret selling my pentax 67 but grateful that I hung on to my xpan.

    Steve O'Nions said:
    March 24, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Definitely the way to go to add something new to your work Robin, the Xpan shots are quite different to a stitched panoramic. I look forward to seeing more of this work and will insist you bring the Xpan on our next trip!

    Steve

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      March 25, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      The Xpan will be with me on the next trip Steve. I will also be bringint the new 30mm lens. Can’t wait.

    serialphotographer said:
    March 24, 2015 at 11:30 am

    Hi Robin

    I have gone back to using my film cameras of late as I really did miss the beauty of film particularly B&W, it is so nice to look through my Blad viewfinder and see so clearly. The lenses as you know are superb and they render beautifully, I have a number on the blog if folk wish to peruse. I also dusted off my pinhole, that is a discipline on its own, almost meditative but so lovely to use. It never fails to have folk who come across me stop and enquire what I’m doing.

    I purchased the V600 due in no small part to the price difference and seemingly little gain to the V700, to date I have not regretted it whatsoever, the scans it produces are superb and the detail wonderful. I would highly recommend it to anyone thinking about trying medium format film. When you consider I purchased it for half the cost of the V700 so value for money is tremendous.

    I think the digital revolution has been a good thing but the flip side is that now everyone is a photographer, whereas using analogue isn’t as easy. I have spent more years than I care to remember using film and printing my work, so revisiting it again holds no issues. So happy have I been with it I’m considering selling my digital kit aside from the LX100 and staying with it. The LX is perfect for carrying on the mountain bike or cyclocross bike and in spite of the naysayers I have been very impressed with it, again some of the more recent images on the blog have been shot with it.

    I always enjoy popping by love the image by the way.

      thelightweightphotographer responded:
      March 25, 2015 at 9:14 pm

      There is something wonderful about using an old film camera. I have to say that it makes me a little nervouse when I can’t instantly review the results though. It sounds like your V600 is a bragain. I have the V700 which I bought when they were first released. It’s quite soft for scanning slides but for B&W Negs it’s excellent. I also have a Minolta Scan Elite 5400 which is a dedicated film scanner. It produces wonderfully sharp scans at 5400dpi but it has an LED light source which makes B&W scans very harsh. I enjoy film but I don’t think I could sell my digital kit. I like the EM5 and RX10 too much.

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