Pro Scan vs. Home Scan

Since I recently started “scanning” my own film at home, I wondered what differences—if any—could be found between my home processing and professional scanning services I got a year or more ago from BWC.

A hint is above…

The camera: a Pentax K1000. The film: Kodak 400 TX.

Film was developed and scanned by BWC (with their ‘pro’ service: 1.2mb jpegs), then re-scanned several years later with the Scan-O-Matic 7000.

First up, my photowalk buddy Judy, as scanned by the good people at BWC (back when they were over in the Oak Lawn area).White Rock Lake Tri-X|37|©JamesECockroft-20130405Next up, Judy, as scanned by the Scan-O-Matic 7000 and processed in Lightroom.

White Rock-K1000-Tri-X400|39|©JamesECockroft-20150110-2

First up, note the contrast. It’s much lower on the home-scanned version, but Judy’s hair is not blown out, and there’s no halo around her camera. I could probably stand to do a bit of burning on her clothes, to bring out a bit of contrast, but the rest of the scene is much more to my liking, and much more realistic.

There seems to be somewhat more detail in my home scans, and there’s somewhat more latitude to play around with the raw files to get the look I want—even if it’s not, strictly speaking, exactly what Tri-X is thought to look like.*

And then there’s the size: the pro scan claims 1.2mb jpegs, and the D7000’s raw files hover around 20mb (it’s large fine jpegs are around 8mb). The D7000 outputs files that are 4928×3264 pixels; the pro scans are 1942×1305 (all are downsampled here).

Even cropped down to include only the picture part, files from the Scan-O-Matic 7000 are 3304×2188. That’s roughly 1.7 times larger, and with much higher resolution.

To my eyes, it looks like the Scan-O-Matic wins…

*I don’t quite know what Tri-X is supposed to look like… it’s always shown very contrasty, so perhaps I totally missed the point. Allahu Alim (and a bunch of photographers and printers…).

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