After purchasing my first ever film scanner, the Epson Perfection V500, I was stoked to finally be more "hands-on" with my Lomography experience. But alas, something that should be as simple as pressing a button has caused me more stress than ever! After researching and testing, I've figured out 6 different ways to configure your x-pro scans -- read on to join the conversation.
Scanning in itself is an art.
Any experienced film photographer can tell you that and strongly attest to the struggles he or she has experienced during their process in learning the process. It all comes down to the way a tangible item is transformed into digital information — there is a translation that occurs within the process.
And like any translator will tell you — there can never be an absolute direct translation between languages.
For example, translating between Japanese and English, two people may have different perspectives of the word “Love,” and thus, come up with two different translations. A friend of mine told me that a famous Japanese poet (whose name slips my mind at the moment — anyone recognize this?) translated “I love you” in English to “The moon is beautiful” in Japanese. Stunning, mentally perplexing, and delicately radical, if you ask me.
After researching through Lomography articles, Flickr chat rooms, photography blogs, and just asking fellow Lomographers, I’ve come to realize that there may not be a “right” way of scanning. Heck, if art in itself was dictated only by standards, then… it wouldn’t be much fun, now would it?
So I’ve tested out my Epson Perfection V500 using 6 different methods and configurations when scanning cross processed film. I’ve scanned the same 4 photos using the different methods, so you can see exactly how each method affects the same photo.
Please, have a read, and tell me which ones you use, prefer, don’t prefer — whatever! This article, and my series in general, is meant to create conversation.
Oh, and a side note… Cross processed slide film is a wild, crazy creature when it comes to scanning. Don’t even get me started…. All of the below photos were shot in a Canon AE-1 Program, with Kodak Ektachrome E100 VS (one of my favorite slides to x-pro with).
Method #1: Scan in Color Negative mode, w/continuous Auto Exposure
And yes, I said auto exposure. Don’t stone me! (hides) Many Lomographers that I have talked to, scan their x-pro in auto exposure, simply because of the wild shifts and color casts that can result after x-pro. Essentially, there is always some sort of exposure compensation when it comes to scanning, because the process includes a computer trying to read your film… they’re not exactly of the same type of medium.
Method #2: Scan in B&W mode, selecting the Color option, w/continuous Auto Exposure
Method #3: Scan in Positive/Slide mode, w/continuous Auto Exposure, then invert in Photoshop
Here’s where I hope I’ve still kept you readers engaged, because I’ve also tested out the previous 3 methods without Auto Exposure (but only on 1 photo, I got a tad bit lazy…). Better, yes, nay, up for you own preference?
Method #4: Scan in Color Negative mode, w/OUT continuous Auto Exposure
Method #5: Scan in B&W mode, selecting the Color option, w/OUT continuous Auto Exposure
Method #6: Scan in Positive/Slide mode, w/OUT continuous Auto Exposure, then invert in Photoshop
So what do you all think? I’ve mostly scanned my photos in Positive/slide mode with Auto Exp, but that’s just the way I prefer most of my x-pro shots to look like.
I’m also not very familiar with why there is an option to scan as B&W, but in color format? But I read it somewhere on a Flickr chatroom, and decided to try it out.
I hope that this article has broadened your views on scanning, and also has some good platforms for discussion. I’m a firm believer that there’s no “correct” way to scan, but I’d love to hear your preferences and why! Lomo on!