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This is current as of February 2002 and is mostly outdated now. I still think it provides a few good tips on how to get film images up on the web in a reasonable manner, although almost every I shoot now is digital.

cameras and lenses

I'm not really qualified to give much advice here, but there are some pretty obvious things.
o  There is no shame in using "consumer" lenses. Besides costing tons less, they usually weigh a lot less and can produce fabulous images if used carefully.
o  There is a difference between "consumer" and "kit" lenses. I'll cite Canon's 28-80 and 28-105 lenses as an example, but there are many others. They're useful for many things, but the difference is usually quite apparent.
o  Although sometime considered a false economy, renting lenses and other equipment can make a lot of sense in some situations.
o  Tripods and camera support help a lot. The 1/(lens length in mm) rule is a guideline for getting acceptably sharp exposures, but it's amazing how much better you can do with a faster shutter speed or a sturdy tripod.


I use a variety of films. Perhaps someday soon you'll be able to query my image database and get a list of all of the emulsions I've ever used (since I have that information for almost every image that originated on film), but for now (January 2002) , this is the list:
Fuji Velvia RVP50  
Fuji Superia 100 - S100 E60A CN12
Fuji RDPIII (Provia 100) 
Fuji Reala 100
Fuji Superia 100 (E60A CN12)
Fuji Superia 200
Fuji NPH 400
Fuji Press 400
Fuji Superia 400
Fuji Superia 400 Xtra
Fuji CZ5 L05 800 from a disposable
Fuji Press 800 
Fuji NPZ 800
Fuji Super HQ 800
Fuji Superia 1600
Fuji Neopan 1600 B/W
Kodachrome 64 
Kodak generic 100
Kodak Portra 160NC
Kodak Portra 160VC
Kodak Royal Gold 100
Kodak Supra 100
Kodak generic 400
Kodak Royal Gold 400
Kodak Portra 400NC
Kodak Tri-X 400
Kodak Tri-X 400 exposed twice at ASA 800
Kodak Supra 400
Kodak MAX 400 (free)
Kodak GT.800-3
Kodak Supra 800
Some films scan better than others. Some films are a lot cheaper, and obviously some films do a better job in some situations than others. Personal preferences apply to a large degree, but there are some general areas where choices can be narrowed down. My quick feelings on this:

o  Never use Fuji Velvia for pictures of people, unless they're wearing really bright and interesting clothes that overshadow any skintone problems.
o  Portrait films exist for a reason -- they really do help.
o  Buy imported film from online retailers like B&H Photo/Video -- you'll save a lot of money over retail shops, and shipping is very cheap for something like film.
o  Always have a few extra rolls of something versatile and cheap. (I carry Fuji Superia 400, as it's inexpensive and forgiving).
o  Use films you know when it matters. I know Fuji Superia 400 and Fuji Reala 100 really well -- I can shoot comfortably in many situations with those films, because I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to get.


I scan almost all of my film images in on a film scanner, although from time to time I'll scan a print (when that is all that is available) an 8x10" B&W print. Sometimes I pay to have a Kodak PhotoCD made.

Film scanners come in all shapes and sizes (cost-wise.) I use the HP Photosmart S20 scanners that are available for free to Georgia Tech students in OIT's Rich Multimedia Lab. These scanners work well for low density negatives, such as properly exposed print film. They do not work that well for things like slide film, so slides often have to be scanned elsewhere.

I scan at 2400 dpi and usually save as high quality JPEGs. If I want better quality than that, I'll usually use a 4000dpi scanner and save as a TIFF, but for web work the JPEG files are fine.


Once you have your JPEG files, you'll be stuck with large files that aren't suitable for most web viewing purposes. I use a custom written set of perl scripts to keep track of all sorts of image metadata -- just about everything you can imagine. The frames are then resized to thumbnail and medium versions with the following ImageMagick commands:
convert -quality 75 -antialias -interlace NONE \ 
  -unsharp 1x2 -geometry 300x300 \
  -border 4x4 -bordercolor black oldfile.jpg oldfile.thumbnail.jpg

convert -quality 81 -antialias -interlace NONE \
   -unsharp 1x2 -geometry 774x540 \
   -border 10x11 -bordercolor black \
   -gravity SouthEast -fill white -pointsize 10 \
   -draw "text 12,12 'copyright Peter Jensen <jensen@cc.gatech.edu>'" \
   oldfile.jpg oldfile.medium.jpg
Of course, all of those parameters are pretty much chosen arbitrarily. If you want your images to look really nice, you should spend a fair bit of time using unsharp mask and other nice features of Photoshop. This is just what I use to get images online in bulk.
Last modified: Sunday, 23-May-2010 08:53:36 PDT
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