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 ….

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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 🙂

E6 Processing …. Well how hard can it be?

As you may know if you follow any of my posts here I develop and scan all my own C41 and B&W film but until now I have either cross-processed my slide film or sent it out to a lab.

The problem with E6 is its not cheap to get processed and scanned and it seems to take at least twice as long to come back so I decided to do it myself.

So I purchased the Tetenal Colortec E6 kit and proceeded to scour the internet for hints and tips on the best way to go about the processing.

When I develop my C41 I use the 30 deg method as I find it easier to maintain that temperature rather than the 38 deg method and also (may be due to the temp fluctuations) seem to get far more uniform results.

It is a 8 step process including the pre soak/wash and except for the final Stabilizer bath the temperatures were all at 38 deg which started to get me a bit worried.

After watching some youtube videos I purchased 2 medium size plastic storage tubs in which I could put all of my bottles including my filtered water as there are 3 washes in between all of the chemical baths ( we have very hard water here so tap water washing is not an option).

I usually do my normal processing in a bowl as all of my bottles fit and the temp is not so high but by having 2 tubs and the bowl I managed to keep the temp pretty stable with plenty of kettle boils to top up.

All in all it was quite stressful for my 1st attempt, worrying about the temp and the constant 15 second agitation along with swapping thermometers about (I have 3 but could have done with more) but the thrill of seeing the film emerge from the drum was brilliant.

It was such a buzz seeing full colour images as opposed to negatives that the stress it caused was worth the effort.

This was a roll of expired Fuji Sensia 100 35mm and I have since processed my 1st roll of 120mm Kodak Ektachrome E200 which was not such a success as this roll due to me trying to push it to 400 iso but a few of the frames were so under exposed I could not get anything out of them … that is another blog maybe.

 

Thanks for looking ….

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

Garw Valley Mountain Walk with some Velvia 50 ….

After some friendly banter with a fellow twitter photographer about how slide film should not be cross processed and that it was almost a sin I decided to shoot a roll of Velvia 50 as the Gods intended and get it processed and scanned by AG Photographic and here are the results. They were shot using my Nikon F100 and Nikkor 24-85 VR … they are untouched scans that I got back from AG and I am pretty happy with the results, I still love to Xpro E6 but I have just bought a Tetenal E6 kit and have started processing my own so I am now almost a convert … ha ha I am pleased that the exposures were pretty spot on which I don’t worry about when I know that I am going to xpro the roll … I did notice the difference in colour when shooting with the sun behind me compared to in front, I could have warmed them up a bit in Lightroom but I thought I would just post as is….

 

Thanks for looking ….

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

Testing the Ricoh XR-P & Rikenon P 35-70mm Macro ….

I remember this camera when it came out back in 1984 and at the time would have loved to own it but never did until very recently, I did get the later model the XR_X but never got on with it back in the day but since re-purchasing one a year or so ago I actually enjoy using it.

Anyway the XR-P was a pretty advanced camera back in the day and had various programmed exposure modes that required the use of a Rikenon P lens and not the Pentax A  version.

I have a few Pentax SLR’s along with some A lenses so when I bought this camera I also purchased a Rikenon P lens just to give it a run out.You may have noticed that many of these images are similar to my previous blog on shooting FT12 high contrast film … the reason is I took both cameras out on this walk, I was going to blog this a little later but I thought it may be a benefit seeing the two together for a comparison. The camera was a breeze to use, I shot all the images using various of the modes with no problems.

The lens also performed quite well albeit a little soft at the wider apertures but pretty nice at f8 and over.

The film was a fresh roll of Agfa Vista 200 processed and scanned at home. I doubt very much that I will use this camera in any of the modes other than Aperture priority or manual to be fair but its nice to have the option.

Its a very, very nice handling camera even though it feels a bit cheaply built in comparison to my Nikon or Canon SLR’s nevertheless its size and weight mean that with a little Pentax 50mm its a great walk around camera and I will be shooting it quite a lot in the future.

Thanks for looking ….

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

Expired Film Day 2017 …..

For this year’s Expired Film Day I shot 2 cameras and just 2 rolls.

1st was a Nikon F100 loaded with some long expired Kodak Ektar 1000 which I rated at 200 iso  with fingers crossed that it came out at all.

2nd was a YashicaMat loaded with some Fuji NPS 160 expired 1997 rated at 64 iso.

I was happy with how both rolls came out and was surprised how many frames that were usable from the Ektar. I found it difficult to choose which 3 images to enter in the competition as the Fuji NPS images did not remotely look like they were shot on 20 year old expired film.

You can checkout all the entries here  expiredfilmday.com

Here are the rest of the images I liked from both rolls … it’s easy to tell which was which 🙂

Thanks for looking ….

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

Spring has Sprung ? ……

I seem to have a slight backlog of films to post at the moment what with the Tmax Party and Expired film day.

I shot this roll of Portra 400vc back at the end of February on a quite bright but overcast afternoon.I have noticed that this film when shot in these lighting conditions give a nice subtle muted colour palette.Next time I shoot this film I will try it in poor conditions to see how it performs then. These were shot on the Mamiya 645 with the 45mm f2.8 and home processed/scanned.

Thanks for looking ….

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

1st roll of Kodak Portra 400VC in 35mm format …

portra400vc_022A few weeks back I managed to get hold of quite a bit of expired Kodak film from MrCad here in the UK, most of it was in 120 format but I did also get a few rolls of Portra 400vc in 35mm to try.portra400vc_015-editI was a pretty nice day last weekend so I thought I would give a roll a go in the Nikon F100.

When I shot some of the 120 when I got it the sun was blazing here and the images really popped, I loved the colours so I was hoping for the same with the 35mm and to be fair the images that had really good light really shone.portra400vc_020
portra400vc_012-editI am so pleased that I bought loads of this film, after just shooting 3 rolls I am hooked.

All I need now is some sunny weather to do it justice, even though I was pleased with most of the images its the one’s in the best light that showed the best of the film.portra400vc_032 portra400vc_028-edit portra400vc_025Roll on the summer I say 🙂

Thanks for looking ….

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

Eventually tested my Zuiko 75-150mm f4.0 ……

R1-02755-021AA few months ago I picked up a mint Zuiko 75-150mm f4 from Ebay for next to nothing, I didn’t think I would probably use it a lot as the Zuiko 35mm f2.8 is my goto lens whenever I shoot my OM1 or OM2s but for the price I had to get it.

R1-02755-009AI was going through one of my camera drawers and noticed the lens sitting there all alone in its case so I thought it was about time I gave it a test.

I loaded the OM2s with some Fuji Superia 400 and went out for a little walk to see how it performed.

It is quite a compact lens with its own pull out lens hood which as I was shooting in quite bright sunshine worked well and I didn’t get any lens flare.R1-02755-008A-EditOut of all the frames I shot I only missed focus on one and the sharpness and contrast were good and the Bokeh was quite pleasing in a few of the frame too.

All in all it is a really nice lens, I will try some portraits with it next  🙂

Film processing and scans as usual by http://www.filmdev.co.uk/
R1-02755-013A

Thanks for looking

I have a film only blog over at usingfilm if you want to take a peek ……

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Mountain walk with the 645 & some Fuji Reala …..

R2-02493-0002I have been using my Mamiya 645 a lot recently, its such a lovely camera.

The handling is great and the images it produces make me want to shoot it all the time.

I find it easier to compose images in the 6 x4.5 format it seems much more natural to me that 6 x 6.R2-02493-0004-EditWith the metered prism finder portrait images are easy too unlike using the waist level finder.

These images were shot using the 80mm f2.8 on what is becoming my favorite film at the moment Fuji Reala 100 which is obviously expired so I rated it at 50 iso and in some of the frames I over exposed another stop too.

R2-02493-0011The light was pretty difficult with the sun going in and out all the time and I didn’t take a tripod which was a pain but I only messed up 3 frames with camera shake which I was pleased with to be honest.R2-02493-0012As usual the film was processed and scanned by FilmDev who did a great job and I cannot recommend them more highly for the quality and especially the price.

I can’t imagine ever developing & scanning my own C-41 ever again.R2-02493-0000I still have 4 boxes of Reala in the fridge and I am checking eBay to try and get more I love the colours it produces especially over exposed and in good light.

I am going to have to shoot some portraits with it soon.R2-02493-0005R2-02493-0007R2-02493-0006R2-02493-0003R2-02493-0001R2-02493-0013Thanks for looking

I have a film only blog over at usingfilm if you want to take a peek ……

click any image to view larger …..