My 1st impressions of my Plustek 8100 Scanner …..

Quick disclaimer … this is not a full in depth techy review its just my personal impression after a few weeks playing about with this scanner.

I have never been totally happy with any of my own scans, not that there has been anything wrong with them really but they never seem as good as when I get stuff done in the lab.

I usually use an Epson v500 flatbed scanner and the bundled epson software.

I try to scan as flat as I can capturing as much of the Highlight/Shadow detail as possible by adjusting the individual RGB channels then do all the heavy lifting in Adobe Lightroom.

This workflow seems to yield the best results for me.

I was debating wether to upgrade my flatbed to an Epson v800 (I may have to as I am now looking to scan 4×5) but came across a review of the Plustek 8100 and saw that it was only £150 here in the uk so decided to jump in and give it a go.

Here is the link to where I bought it …

Its a nice compact unit and feels pretty solid but the film holders are just as flimsy as my epson ones.

This is a totally manual scanner in the sense that you can only scan one frame at a time, no batch scanning and no motorised loading you just have to push the holder to the next frame but it stops in position with a nice positive click so you know that the frame is aligned correctly.

The film holder is not the easiest thing to use if you have curly film as it is a pain to position and then close the top flap without actually handling the film surface so gloves are a must.

Also as a side note …. this is a 35mm only scanner

It comes complete with a nice little bag that holds the scanner/film-slide holders and leadsThe supplied software is Silverfast SE Plus 8 which I must admit has a damn steep learning curve compared to the Epson Scan software.So now to the results ….

Well before that just a quick word on the Silverfast software …

There are so many options that unless you enjoy scanning this is not for you.

My 1st scans were pretty awful, I clicked and tweaked away at every option and got nowhere fast.

I then tried to scan flat like I was used to and that was poor also so I then decided to check out the web for some instruction and to be fair the silverfast website really helped big time.

The best thing that this scanner/software does is multi exposure scanning … yes it takes quite a while but the results are worth it also the Negafix option gives you a great starting point with the colours as it features a ton of film profiles that you choose when you begin scanning.

All in all I bought this scanner to hopefully get better scans which It really does but I am not going to scan all my images with it as the workflow is pretty time consuming rather I am scanning my rolls with the epson 1st then re scanning the frames that I may want to process further or especially if I want to print an image as the amount of detail that it captures is way more than the v500 for sure.

This is the cheapest version that Plustek sell.

The next one in the range is about £80 more and features infrared scanning for the dust removal this model has dust removal but without the infrared pass so obviously its not as accurate but I never used it much on my v500 so didn’t want to spend the extra £80.

I have used the SRD which is what Silverfast calls the dust removal and it works fine but if its something that you require I would recommend buying the 8200i SE which incorporates the infrared scanning.This was a really old negative that had slipped out of a folder some how and was pretty badly marked and scanned on my v500.This is the Opticfilm 8100 scan using the SRD attempting to find the dust.This is the scan after the dust removal which is pretty good considering it does not have the infrared channel to help.Using the Negafix part of the software you get much closer to the correct color straight from the scanner and before Lightroom ….. this is Kodak Ektar. Epson V500 scan of some Tmax 400 … the 2nd image is a 100% crop This is the Opticfilm 8100 version which captures much more detail and it can then be processed further in Lightroom.

Click on the crops to see ….

 

Here are some more samples to compare 

The V500 versions have been through Lightroom for full editing while the Opticfilm 8100 versions have only had dust removed in Photoshop CC then re-saved as jpegs … no colour editing or sharpening etc….

V500 … Kodak Ektar

Opticfilm 8100 … Kodak Ektar

V500 … Kodak Ektar

Opticfilm 8100 … Kodak Ektar

V500 … ilford FP4@200

Opticfilm 8100 … ilford FP4@200

V500 … Fuji Superia 400

Opticfilm 8100 … Fuji Superia 400

v500 … Fuji Superia 400

Opticfilm 8100 … Fuji Superia 400

Just to finish off I am very happy that I bought this little scanner it doesn’t break the bank as far as scanners go and gives great results if you are willing to give each scan a bit of time.

Its not an everyday scanner unlike the V500 and I would find it quite hard going if this was my one and only scanner especially as I tend to shoot at least 1 roll of film a week so in conclusion I would have to say that if you shoot 35mm and want your scans to get to at least lab standard (not drum scanning) then this is a must buy especially at the £150 price point.

Thanks for looking ….

Click on an image to view larger

I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

A Month with my Leica …

I have been thinking about and then putting off buying a Leica M for an absolute age.

I don’t really know what the actual reason for putting it off was to be fair … everytime I saw one I liked and put it into my online basket something stopped me pressing the checkout button.

Well last month I bit the bullet and got hold of an M2 which was made the same year of my birth which made it that little bit extra special.

I got it without a lens from Red Dot Cameras but purchased an adapter for my Jupiter 8 50mm f2 as a stop gap until I decide which lens I am going to get.

Here follows 4 galleries featuring a selection of images shot on 4 different film stock all processed and scanned by myself.

The Jupiter 8 really impressed me with the colour rendering and sharpness/bokeh … God only knows how excited I will be when I get around to upgrading this little beauty.

Click on an image to view larger ……..

  1. Kodak Ektar

    2. Ilford XP2

    3. Agfa Vista 200

    4. Kodak Tmax 400

    Overall my 1st month with my 1st Leica has not disappointed in the least … this little camera oozes class and charisma it is such a pleasure to use.

    I now know why photographers heap praise on the Leica M even a 50+ year old model works like a dream and it has to be said .. this is the best camera I have ever shot with … I don’t mean in techy imagey sort of way but as something that makes you feel happy everytime that you use it

    God I even like just looking at it … ha haThanks for looking ….

    I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

April’s Tmax-Party entries in one place ….

This months @TMAX_party entries were shot using my lovely new Leica M2 with a Jupiter 8 50mm f2 on Tmax 400.

They were shot in 2 locations 1st at Porthcawl beach and finished off at home in the Garw Valley. To be honest Tmax is not my favorite film but I have to admit that the tones that it gives when using this camera/lens combination are lovely, its hard to tell looking here but when I look at the full res scans they are very pleasing. I will be visiting the darkroom with a couple of the beach shots to see how they print.

 

Thanks for looking ….

Click on an image to view larger

I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

My 1st Nikkormat ….

I received a message the other week from a photographer friend saying someone that he knew was selling some film equipment and wondered if I was interested.

I contacted the gentleman and called around to see what he had for sale.

As I had just bought my 1st Leica the week before my camera fund was a little depleted but out of all the stuff he was selling I managed to afford this Nikkormat FTn.

As soon as I held the camera I loved it, especially the brassing from years of use.

The seller was a retired pro photographer and to be fair he took very good care of his equipment.The first problem that I encountered was the fact that I didn’t own a lens that were compatible with how the meter operated. All my lenses were too new, even though they all fit they didn’t have the aperture coupling thingy so I had no way of using the internal meter … or so I thought.

After some reaching out to my Twitter friends I was informed that I could use it in “Stop Down Metering Mode”  where you use the DOF preview button to stop down the lens to the aperture that you want then while holding it adjust the Shutter/Aperture to get the meter in the centre.

Then came the 2nd problem … to do this correctly on the FTn you need to push the lever on the camera that is supposed to attach to the coupler on the lens completely to the right when you mount the lens then it should remain there to give correct meter readings.

But when I did this and compared the camera reading to my lightmeter reading it was off quite a bit but after a bit of fiddling I realised that if I pushed the lever all the way to the right then pulled it back about 1cm then the readings matched … happy days 🙂

So I loaded it up with some ilford XP2 and went out to test the beast … It was a joy to use and handled great.

Here is a selection of the images that I got and managed to get every frame pretty much in the correct exposure ball park …

Thanks for looking ….

Click on an image to view larger

I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

First time using FT12 high contrast film ….

I recently was gifted a few different rolls of film from a fellow photographer whom I met on twitter, they were all films that I have never shot before.

I will be testing them all over the next few weeks, the first one is FT12 50 iso high contrast Black & White that can be found over at Nik & Trick

After reading up about it on the internet it seems to be a replacement for Eastman Kodak’s SO-331 which yields really high contrast images with Deep Blacks and very white Whites which is how I like my B&W to look most of the time.The instructions said that for best results it would need to be Stand Developed in Rodinol which is something that I have never tried either so the whole process was completed new to me so I proceeded with fingers crossed. I shot the roll using my Nikon F4s & 50mm f1.4 and the development was Stand in Rodinol 1+100 for 45 minutes.

The negatives were unbelievably sharp and contrasty but with very little grain …Maybe this film is not the best for flattering portraits but landscapes or anything with good detail in good light then this film really pop’s.

Even though there is very little shadow or highlight detail it doesn’t really matter as the film has a great look of its own.

I will definitely be buying some of this to shoot again now I know what sort of conditions/subjects suit it best.

I may even shoot a roll of portraits with a single light so create a really dark look.

Thanks for looking ….

Click on an image to view larger

I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

 

 

Testing my Minolta SRT 101 with some Delta 400@800 ….

delta400_012Just before christmas a friend messaged me to say he had been given a couple of old camera’s and if I was interested I could have them, well I can never say no to free stuff so I said to pop them around.

To my surprise the the 2 camera’s were in excellent condition the 1st was a Ricoh Singlex TLS SLR with a Rikenon 50mm f2.8 which I have yet to put a roll of film through.

The next was a Minolta SRT 101 with a MC Rokkor-PF 55mm f1.7 both were in almost perfect condition.delta400_009The weather for the last 2 weeks has been very changeable so I decided to push a roll of ilford Delta 400 to 800 to give me a bit more to play with if the light was poor.

I shot this roll over a 2 week period but to be fair the light was pretty consistent every time I shot so the images look like they may have been shot  all on the same day.delta400_010To be honest I was quite pleased with the images even though they didn’t seem totally sharp overall but I put that down to pushing the film and mostly due to my focussing I think.

The camera didn’t have a split prism which I am used to so I may have been slightly out especially shooting at f4 and wider.delta400_022I have looked at various examples of this camera on eBay from time to time but never got around to picking one up so getting this almost perfect sample for free makes me feel very lucky …Cheers Steve 😉

Thanks for looking ….

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I also have a film only blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want a peek 🙂

Some of my Fav’s from the #FP4Party on Twitter …..

c330Since September I have been a participant in the #FP4Party over on Twitter/Emulsive.org …. http://emulsive.org/articles/introducing-fp4party where we all shoot some Ilford FP4 over a week then edit and post during the next 2 weeks followed by a vote at the end of the month to pick a winning favourite.img013I have not really shot a lot of FP4 mainly thinking that it isn’t as versatile as my Favourite film HP5 but since this Party began I must say I am really loving the look I get with FP4 and also how easy it is to print in the darkroom too.t90-2I have posted a few of these over on twitter as entries to the challenge but I thought it would be good to post them all together here on my blog too.

img020-edit

This was my shortlisted entry ….

I was lucky this month to actually get one image picked to enter the final vote which was great as the standard is pretty high and getting better every time as more and more people are joining upc330-4It’s great to be part of this film community, I love seeing what others are shooting which helps me to improve my own photography.

Check out emulsive.org … @FP4Party on twitter for more detailsimg009-edit img021-editI am not sure what I will be doing for this month’s Party I may try pushing it or even do a bit of flash photography as an experiment, what ever I do it will be fun anyway 🙂

c330-6

…. That’s my Boy 🙂

Even my son joined in last month … ps I am the scruffy one on the left 😉

Thanks for looking ……

click an image to view larger……..

Thanks for looking … I also have a “Film Only” blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want to take a look:-)

Fujifilm Zoomdate …. a Bargain Point & Shoot ……

R1-03120-0014I am always looking in charity shops and on ebay for camera bargains but unlike 18 months or so ago , bargain finds are few and far between.

It seems that the prices of old cameras is rising (due to demand as more people seem to be getting into film).

A few weeks back I bid on a little Fuji point & shoot on ebay and to my surprise I picked it up for £3, I wasn’t really expecting to much from it but when it arrived I was pleasantly surprised.

Yes it was plastic but the handling and overall feel of the camera was really nice in fact it was very reminiscent of my 1st ever Fuji digital camera.20160825_194502_00120160825_194518I loaded it with a roll of expired XP2 and shot with it over a 3 week period, mainly snapshots but I tried to give it a varied runout.R1-03120-0001R1-03120-0002R1-03120-0019When I got the scans back from @film_dev I was very pleased, I know that they are not going to win any awards but as a test of how the little camera performed they were great.

I think if I use a good, fresh roll of something like Ektar the images would shine, the lens seems pretty sharp at both ends of the zoom range.

As its a fully automatic camera I have no idea what the aperture/shutter setting were so these may all have been shot at f8 and above.R1-03120-0033 R1-03120-0025 R1-03120-0003 R1-03120-0010I usually keep my Nikon L35AF in my bag as my goto point & shoot as its a brilliant camera but compared to this its quite big and a little bulky, this little Fuji is nice and compact/light while still feeling good in my hand.

So I think I will keep this in my bag and put a few more rolls through it.

The fact that it has a zoom gives it the edge for versatility over the Nikon.R1-03120-0013 R1-03120-0008 R1-03120-0006

Thanks for looking ……

click an image to view larger……..

Thanks for looking … I also have a “Film Only” blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want to take a look:-)

Day out to Mumbles with some Ilford Delta 100 ….

img014-EditI had to pay a visit to a doctors in Swansea the other week to have a Steroid injection in my foot in the hope to ease the pain from arthritis and as I was not sure where it was or how long it would take we popped along on a Sunday morning just to get my bearings.

It was pretty easy to find and didn’t take to long so we decided to carry on along the Gower coast to Mumbles, somewhere we have not been since the kids were little.img001-EditWhen we left the weather was pretty poor and was still pretty gloomy when we arrived but the clouds dispersed and we got some lovely sunshine now and again which was nice as I had some ilford Delta 100 in the Canon T90 with the 50mm f1.4img017-EditThere was not a lot to do there really as the Pier was shut for renovations but I did manage to get some nice shots.img011-EditI have not shot Delta 100 very much unlike 400 which I quite like and I was very happy with the results, the grain is very smooth and the tonal range is great, not as contrasty as my favorite HP5 but hey …. horses for courses.img005-Editimg006-Editimg015-EditI may push the next roll that I use just to see if I can bump up the contrast a bit, I could do it in Lightroom after the scans but I try to leave the scans pretty much as I get them with a bit of dust spotting and slight tweaks.img037-Edit img021 img019 img018-Edit img009-Edit img007-EditAll in all it was a nice day and I was happy with the T90, 50mm and Delta combo.

click an image to view larger……..

Thanks for looking … I also have a “Film Only” blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com if you want to take a look:-)

ilford HP5 @ 1600 …. I love the look ….

img015-EditAs a follow up to my recent post “Fathers Day” on the 52 Rolls project blog …. link in post below.

Here is the rest of the roll that I shot with my F80 and some HP5 at 1600 iso which I love shooting at even more than box speed.img012Even though the grain is more pronounced it does not impair the image in fact in my opinion it ready adds to the look that I love when shooting B&W.

The sharpness of the images also compares well to when shooting box speed too, the only slight drawback is the slight loss of shadow detail but if scanning there is a bit more you can do to the image whereas in the darkroom (I am not a master printer) it is a bit harder to do.img016I did a few test prints in my darkroom of the top image of this post and the level of detail in the negative/print is very good and so is the overall tonal range.

I did get a little more detail in the scan and would also get a slightly sharper print if I went the inkjet route but there is something much more satisfying printing in the darkroom.IMG_20160627_194001Overall I think that HP5 looks great at 1600 iso and gives me the look I love in my B&W, the grain/contrast and sharpness. I process all my B&W films using ilfotec HC so I don’t know if it would look better or worse using other developers and I may try a few others in the near future.img014img024img023img022img019-Editimg018img013img011click on an image to view larger …..

Thanks for looking … I also have a “Film Only” blog over at  usingfilm.wordpress.com/ if you want to take a look 🙂