Scanning issues


#1

I currently shoot medium format film (6x7) which I scan in with a Plustek 120 scanner, and then print with Piezography. Was very dissatisfied with grainy results initially despite shooting 50 ASA film (supposedly has lowest grain). Discovered an article by Michael Pollett re: scanning b/w negatives (to fully understand his scanning algorithim you will have to find and download the article - I can also email it to you if that would be easier). His technique involves no editing of the image with scanner software (just scanning at maximum resolution) and also scanning as a positive versus a negative. Then all adjustments are done in Photoshop (inverting image, levels, curves, sharpening, etc.). The prints are significantly better! However, b/c certain steps in his process seem somewhat unusual to me I now fear that I have compromised what Piezography can do. My question is do you have specific recommendations for maximizing Piezography for those of us who scan and digitize film?

A second unrelated question I have (I can post a 2nd thread if need be) is how important is the monitor/monitor calibration if you are doing primarily b/w? I use an iMac (27"). Is an Eizo monitor necessary and if so what would be the cheapest model that could do the job?


#2

iMacs are just about the worst monitor to use (sad because every art school swears by them). They have a non-standard Gamma response and only show about 6bits worth of actual gray tones. A properly calibrated Eizo or NEC will show all 256 shades at gamma 2.2 with a low contrast ration of about 1:200. This is what Piezography is built for. Sub-standard monitors will not show what piezography prints are capable of resolving tonally (more than 3000 tones).

Re scanning: scanning raw 16bit is good. Scan as large as possible without having too much grain showing. Everything after that is really the artist’s choice. The trick is getting a good scanner (a drum scanner, or Flextight scanner). The other trick is to learn advanced layer masking! And good curve control!

We teach all of these things at Cone Editions. Come take a workshop with us. :slight_smile: