Scans have been hit or miss for me with 35mm film. The scans I’ve made of 120, 4×5 and 8×10 negatives and transparencies look wonderful. The only way I can describe the problem is that the 35mm scans don’t look quite right, even though many scan very sharp. The grain can also come out rather odd.I had been reading comparisons between the Nikon Cool Scan and flatbed scanners. I use an Epson 4990 for all my scans and for a flatbed, it works very well on everything from 120 film on up. After reading the comparison on 35mm film, I took some test slides to the local camera store, Precision Camera, and had them scanned with an $85,000 Noritsu. The results were amazing and I finally had the quality I had been looking for in my scans. The grain was sharp and pretty…film-like…and the scans were well-exposed, with a good tonal range.

TrinaI made Trina’s portrait in the late eighties or early nineties. It was made using Kodachrome 25 (ASA/ISO 25), which is no longer manufactured. The film was beautiful, and for its time, very fine-grained. Kodachrome 64 was pretty close but didn’t have the beauty of its slower sibling. K25 saturated colors but remained fairly neutral and was wonderful in the early evening, when this photograph was made.

I had the K25 slide scanned with the Noritsu and was impressed with the results. This option was cheaper than drum scanning at $45 a pop. At $1.43 I can easily have many of my archive selects scanned and spend my time editing them in Lightroom instead of struggling with inconsistent scan output on 35mm.

I’ve had my Texas Rangers work re-scanned and have a project from the Texas Cowboy Reunion that I can now work on. I’m a fan of digital technology and combining the two…hybrid…if you will, yields strong results. The original 35mm Kodachrome 25 slide of Trina was printed on Cibachrome paper, which I never had the capability or ability to do myself. I can now work on a print on my own time, producing a result that is more personal.

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