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My new Minolta XG-A and a question about fixing negatives Answered

Today I went to Albuquerque and bought a minolta xg-a camera for only $10 (10.69 after tax). It included the body, 2 lenses, a flash, a book of cleaning cloths, and a bag. After 3 years of using my Canon A75 (3.2mp) I'm thinking of going back to film, but I still want to be able to pick and choose which pictures I want to keep, and which ones to get rid of. I want to do this by using a film scanner, but at the same time I want to be able to take it and get it printed. So, How would I fix the negatives, so I can scan them without them getting washed out?


So from what I understand: You want to take film, develop it, and then scan it?

Youre best, easiest, and cheapest method would be to bring it to a one hour developer. They will develop and put it onto a CD for you pretty cheaply.

If you insist on doing it yourself:


That instructable talk about what's required to develop the film yourself. When you go to scan it, your home scanner won't be a great option unless it's extremely high quality. Preferably you can use a film scanner, but that will cost some money to get. Again, the store has one and can do it much cheaper. The easiest way to "scan" it yourself and get good quality images is to put the negative on a bottom-lit light table, and use a camera on a tripod to take a perpendicular image of it.

Unless you go to a high-quality photo processing facility, you won't get very good scans. A couple of weeks ago I took some film to Walgreens and had them develop it and make photo CDs. A CD can hold 700MB. These CDs had 103MB used, and 34MB was used for my 24 images. The other 69MB was for their fragmented software that locked up any computer for five minutes upon loading the CD. 1.42MB is normally a fairly large file size for a JPEG, but for printing 8x10s, it's relatively small, particularly when the scanner was set for interpolated resolution. That's another point, Linux. If you get a film scanner, don't base quality on interpolated resolution. Interpolated resolution, wherein the software selects each pixel scanned in, looks at the pixels around it, and takes an educated guess as to how the pixel can be divided, has, theoretically, no limit. The scanner sitting next to my computer has a maximum true resolution of 7200 DPI (translates to a 196MB .psd file), but can interpolate up to 24000 DPI.

Ok, thanks for the advice! What type of scanner do you have, and how much did it cost?

It's a plustek OpticFilm 7200. My dad got it on eBay for a little over $100. It does an excellent job of scanning B&W negatives, although it seems to work best if I scan them in as positives and invert them in GIMP, rather than scanning them as negatives in SilverFast (the included software). It also does a very good job at scanning in old color slides (positives), but doesn't do very well with color negatives. Then again, it's the only negative scanner I've ever used, so I have no comparison. I attached a photo I took on black and white film that I scanned in at 7200 DPI, making a 10,000x6,000ish pixel image. I scaled it down to 1500x1000for Internet use, and added a watermark, so no stealing. You can somewhat see the film grain in this image, but in the original, each grain of 400 ISO film was about a 4x4 pixel array.

Okay, the color version has nothing to do with the topic, but I made it for a project in Advanced Photography, and I'm proud of it, so it's going up here, too. Please praise!

Caterpillar BW publish.jpgCaterpillar color publish.jpg

Here are a couple of mine, taken from my yard.


Look nice! You might want to use a tripod though. (you have some good potential with these)

I uploaded some more pictures I took if you want to look at them on my Flickr. Haha I just found some of them on my computer, all my pictures were everywhere and I decided to do some "spring cleaning"

I never even knew I had some of these until today...

That's odd. I've gotten a CD from costco multiple times, and the quality has been excellent. Also, if you don't allow the CD to load their software, you can just go into the files and find your pictures.

Hmm...Lucky. The only photofinishing places around here are Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Zercher's, and Wolfe's. Zercher's claims to be professional, but their prints suck, and they are way overpriced. Wolfe's is both across town and $8 for a photo CD. Wal-Mart is cheap, but they manhandle negatives (I cringed when the lady dragged someone's negatives across a metal alligator clip-the whole length) and make lousy prints. My only option left for color film is Walgreens.

I just want to develop the film, not print pictures. I plan on getting a film scanner and doing it myself. (my digital is about to hit 9000, so doing it at home might be worth it) Thanks!

. I agree with westfw. I've scanned many negatives and never noticed any fading. Not sure that you could scan one a couple dozen times without some effect, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's true.

No, I thats after they have been processed that they stay. I was wondering how to process them. (ever opened a camera that still had film in it?) I wanted to be able to take my film from my camera to some sort of bath to my scanner, without having to get everything printed.

. Ah. Once again, I agree with westfwf, unless you plan on developing a lot of film, I think you would be better off having it done by a lab. . If you only want to do B&W, it's not that bad (still messy and smelly), but color can be a big hassle and is pretty easy to screw up.

I do plan on doing a lot (my digital is almost at 9000, averaging 3000 per year, 8 per day). Is the developing hard or the actual printing?

. Then it may be worthwhile to do your own. The links that W'burg, CammeronSS, & al provided should get ya going. And I'll go ahead and volunteer W'burg to help you out if you get stuck. :) . Developing film is not particularly easy, but it's not that difficult, either, especially B&W. Color is more sensitive to temperature and timing, but nothing a good DIYer can't handle. Be prepared to ruin your first few rolls - don't learn with valuable pics.

Color, or B&W ? Developing B&W isn't hard, but it's not "easy" either, and it's not particularly cheap. Color seems to have gotten easier since the last time I tried it, but it's still harder than B&W.

That camera is quite the beast.

Where did my old Canon SLR go? hmm...

my dad's AE-1 just got stolen a year ago.... Actually this is considered beginner's camera (at least thats what other sites say) Hopefully I'll have some pictures up soon!


10 years ago

Huh? Scanning a negative once (or a couple dozen) times won't "wash it out." Negatives are pretty permanent things unless you've REALLY screwed up the processing somehow. (this is one of the advantages of film. In 20 years, you'll be able to dig those negatives out of your bottom desk drawer, recognize them as pictures, and get new prints made. Digital media is less recognizable, even if it succeeds in lasting that long.) Assuming normal color film and commercial processing, you may find it difficult to do any better than having the negatives scanned to CD for you at the time of processing. Costco will do this for for less than $2, IIRC.

no, I meant that I would take the film out and be able to scan it without commercial processing. I want to be able to take my film straight from my camera to some sort of bath to my computer.

It doesn't work that way, unfortunately. Until they are developed, there is no image on the film, only slightly light-modified silver halide crystals. The film must go through developer to actually have an image, and then through fixer so that you can look at them. Until the film is developed, there is no image, and until it is fixed, you can't look at said image.

right, I know I need to develop it, I just didn't know how far I needed to go. I just want to develop the film, not print pictures. Thanks

AFAIK, that's not easy if you're talking colour, but I've seen kits for sale where you feed developed film into a tub of chemicals and get the negatives out.

Something like this

Ah. You CAN'T. That's the nature of film. You would be extremely hard-pressed to do better than the "one-hour film processing" centers by the time you deal with setting up chemicals, getting the right temperatures, washing and DRYING. (except you'd get B&W negatives in about an hour, while the corner store would give you color negatives, prints, and a CD.) This instructable should give you an idea of the process involved. As far as I know, color film is still more complicated than that (the one-hour processing machines are marvels of technology.) There's a reason that polaroid was popular back before digital...

Now, I read a book once on high-speed film processing. High temperatures, exotic chemicals, and exquisite care would yield developed film (but still wet) in about ONE minute; the sort of thing the military might use on spy photos when lives depended on it, or a newspaper might use on a breaking story when dollars depended on it. But it's technology that is pretty far out of reach of the individual, and none of safe, easy, or cheap...

And Polaroid had Some interesting "instant film" before digital wiped them out.

I'm wiling to do it, I just wanted to know which chemicals and how far to go