The Film Scanning Service

Our Noritsu film scanning equipment is the industry standard for quality and is even used in some of the Fuji Frontier range. We offer three sizes of 8-bit scans (nominally 4.5,18 and 48Mb+) to suit a variety of applications: whether emailing / web-use, cropping / printing or archive and we are happy to advise which is likely to suit your need at the time of placing the order. Below are the bare statistics and the equipment we use does not allow for variation: the difference between The Darkroom UK Ltd and other laboratories lies in the image assessment by our technicians. Every machine has an 'economy' setting for image assessment, where images are scanned on 'auto', but we believe that when you come to a professional laboratory you should expect the best that can be achieved from your film image. We aim to get things right first time but sometimes our interpretation may not match your style, but don't suffer in silence - if there is something we can do to meet your expectations we can discuss your requirements and see what can be done.

There may be occasions where individual attention is required through Adobe Photoshop and we can offer this as an extra, tailored to your requirements: you might need an image scanned for subsequent reproduction in a magazine and in these cases a little consultation and adjustment can make the difference between an average photograph and a great one. We know which you'd prefer so we'd like the time to make sure you get what you intended. In addition to our Noritsu workhorse we have Nikon and Epson scanners which can be useful for individual scans.

Standard 35mm film

Title

File size open

Average file size stored

Pixel dimension

Max recommended prints size*

Standard format

Quality

Saved at dpi

Individually assessed

Small 4.5Mb

4.53Mb

300kb - 2Mb

1024 x 1545

5" x 7.5"

Jpeg

max

72

Yes

Standard 18Mb

18.1Mb

900kb - 4Mb

2048 x 3089

10" x 15"

Jpeg

max

72

Yes

Archive 48+Mb

87.1Mb

1.1Mb - 12Mb

4492 x 6774

16" x 24"

Jpeg or Tiff

max

96

Yes

 

Typical 35mm Panoramic

Title

File size open

Average file size stored

Pixel dimension

Max recommended print size*

Standard format

Quality

Saved at dpi

Individually assessed

Small 4.5Mb

8.21Mb

300kb - 2Mb

1024 x 2804

4" x 10"

Jpeg

max

72

Yes

Standard 18Mb

32.9Mb

900kb - 4Mb

2048 x 5608

7" x 18"

Jpeg

max

72

Yes

Archive 48Mb+

158Mb

1.1Mb - 18Mb

4492 x 12297

16" x 45"

Jpeg or Tiff

max

96

Yes

 

6 x 4.5 format 120 (15-on)

Title

File size open

Average file size stored

Pixel dimension

Max recommended print size*

Standard format

Quality

Saved at dpi

Individually assessed

Small 4.5Mb

4.1Mb

280kb - 2Mb

1024 x 1398

4"x5"

Jpeg

max

72

Yes

Standard 18Mb

16.5Mb

1.2 - 3.6Mb

2048 x 2796

7" x 9"

Jpeg

max

72

Yes

Archive 48Mb+

48.8Mb

2.4Mb - 8Mb

3533 x 4824

17" x 24"

Jpeg or Tiff

max

96

Yes

 

6x6 format 120 (12-on)

Title

File size open

Average file size stored

Pixel dimension

Max recommended print size*

Standard format

Quality

Saved at dpi

Individually assessed

Small 4.5Mb

3.04Mb

200kb - 2Mb

1024 x 1039

4" x 4"

Jpeg

max

72

Yes

Standard 18Mb

12.2Mb

850kb - 2.9Mb

2048 x 2079

7" x 7"

Jpeg

max

72

Yes

Archive 48Mb+

65.8Mb

3.2Mb - 10Mb

4824 x 4760

24" x 24"

Jpeg or Tiff

max

96

Yes

 

6x7 format 120 film (10-on)

Title

File size open

Average file size stored

Pixel dimension

Max recommended print size*

Standard format

Quality

Saved at dpi

Individually assessed

Small 4.5Mb

3.68Mb

220kb - 2Mb

1024 x 1255

4" x 5"

Jpeg

max

72

Yes

Standard 18Mb

14.7Mb

1 - 3.4Mb

2048 x 2510

6" x 8"

Jpeg

max

72

Yes

Archive 48Mb+

81.3Mb

4.2Mb - 11Mb

4815 x 5902

24" x 30"

Jpeg or Tiff

max

96

Yes

 

6x8 format 120 film (9-on)

Title

File size open

Average file size stored

Pixel dimension

Max recommended print size*

Standard format

Quality

Saved at dpi

Individually assessed

Small 4.5Mb

3.68Mb

220kb - 2Mb

1024 x 1381

4" x 5"

Jpeg

max

72

Yes

Standard 18Mb

17.5Mb

900kb - 4Mb

2048 x 2761

7" x 9"

Jpeg

max

72

Yes

Archive 48Mb+

92.7Mb

4.5- 12.4Mb

4903 x 6610

24" x 33"

Jpeg or Tiff

max

300

Yes

 

6 x 9 format 120 film (8-on)

Title

File size open

Average file size stored

Pixel dimension

Max recommended print size*

Standard format

Quality

Saved at dpi

Individually assessed

Small 4.5Mb

4.37mb

220kb - 2Mb

11024 x 1491

4" x 6"

Jpeg

max

72

Yes

Standard 18Mb

17.5Mb

1 - 4Mb

2048 x 2982

7" x 10"

Jpeg

max

72

Yes

Archive 48Mb+

100.1Mb

4.5Mb - 13Mb

4903 x 7139

24" x 36"

Jpeg or Tiff

max

96

Yes

 

Notes

Title

File size open

Average file size stored

Pixel dimension

Max recommended print size*

Standard format

Quality

Saved at dpi

Individually assessed

Descriptive Name

A

B

 

C

D

E

F

G

A Title / File size open: as a guide the title description refers to a nominal size when opened in Adobe Photoshop. Other software packages describe a Jpeg size in its closed state, which is largely meaningless. Check the pixel dimensions when making comparisons between different files because this shows the true image size.

B Average file size stored: The compressed, stored size will vary depending on the complexity of the image: a simple shape on a plain background compresses down to a smaller file than, for instance, a stained glass window that is full of detail and different colours.

C Max recommended print size: this is only a suggestion because the perceived quality of an image will vary from one image to another. Fine line detail is quickly affected and seen as pixelation whereas normal landscapes etc will mask this effect and be quite acceptable at larger sizes

D TIFF or JPEG
The choice is yours: we are happy to save in either format but consider which is best for you. We can easily fit 5 x 36exp 18Mb scanned films on a CD with Jpeg format but only 1x36exp in Tiff. We only save in Best quality Jpeg so the decision is largely down to storage space.

E Quality: What other quality is there? Every file we save in Jpeg is at best quality

F 72 or 300dpi
The most important ‘number’ regarding a scanned image is the overall file size (expressed as Mb). The next most important detail is the quality of the optical system used to scan. For instance - digital cameras are normally compared in terms of both its sensor Mb size and the lens that comes with it, not the resolution of the files it produces. The dpi of an image by itself has no real bearing on image quality because it represents only part of the story.

Our own digital print equipment supplied by Noritsu varies the scan resolution according to the required print/file size so we can't quote a resolution. After the scan acquisition the next stage is to save the file and Noritsu's decision was for 72dpi, since this integrated with the laser output and the natural resolution of a computer monitor. We concede this is a nuisance because it means the dimension and dpi may need to be adjusted to suit other applications. Oh well, if they had chosen 300 dpi then we’d all be happy apart from the people who want 200dpi, or 4000dpi or 248dpi.....

G Individually assessed
We never turn our equipment to Auto unless you specifically request it. Despite all the wizardry of colour profile integration the final stage in producing either a print or a scan is the assessment by our technicians. Interpreting a photograph is necessarily a objective exercise, it is not something a machine can get right every time. We have years of experience in doing this but it is a two-way relationship with you, the client: if we are not producing images to your taste or style then let us know.


THE VERY USEFUL JPEG


A couple of points with regard to Jpegs: there is lots of technical information on the web about the maths behind the format and you are welcome to explore its complexities if that's of interest. In practice it is useful to keep some perspective to how they work; why they are useful as well as their short-comings. In the old days information storage was expensive and the Jpeg, because it compresses file size, was an essential tool to balance quality against cost. No, they are not perfect, they can in some circumstances (outlined below) adversely affect quality but they are a clever way of storing images and why many commercial photo-libraries only accept submitted photographs in Jpeg format. As camera sensors become bigger the storage cost problem has never really gone away, so Jpegs are still as useful today as they ever were.

THE RULE


The only Jpeg rule is this: If you are working on an image over a number of sessions then save in either a Tiff or Photoshop format. Both formats are 'non-lossy' and will preserve all the fine detail and subtle variations that successive savings as Jpeg might degrade. Once you have finished your work and are happy with the result, then why not save as a top-quality Jpeg, if this saves storage space on your hard-drive?
Sample images

BIG IS NOT (NECESSARILY) BEST


If you have the latest Nikon with a 16.2Mb sensor, the resulting files will be around 16.2 x 3 = 48.6Mb in RGB. If you want to order a 4x6 print then sending such a file via broadband might take 20 minutes as a Tiff: as a good quality Jpeg the file size might be 8Mb and take only 5 minutes to upload. Better still, downsize the image to 4"x6" @ 300dpi and send a 1.3Mb file. A few sensible housekeeping rules in managing file types and size will make your life quicker and less frustrating!

WHICH SCAN SIZE Small 4.5, Standard 18 or Archive 48+Mb?


Good question and we'll always ask "What are you using it for?" If you just need to have a quick record to use on Facebook or send to friends by email then the smaller "4.5Mb" file size will be ideal. However, if you intend to crop out areas of the print - perhaps removing background or zooming in to a face in the crowd, then remember you are throwing away information. You cannot then expect a postage stamp size image to stretch to a postcard size without some effect on quality: you will get fuzzy edges and a blurry picture.
Today we recommend "18Mb" as a standard size because it offers more flexibility if you decide to crop or order a bigger print. A modern computer will be untroubled by such a file size and will not take up too much hard drive space if stored as Jpeg.
"48+Mb" is a good size if you want to get serious with image manipulation or need a real archive quality file size. We save these at 300dpi because we anticipate they may be needed for reproduction at magazine quality, which still demands this resolution as a standard.

If you have any other questions regarding film scanning then please ask. Our aim is always to produce great results with which you are happy so don't let the technology become an obstacle - it should just be a means to an end.

 

Alistair Baird
Director
The Darkroom UK Ltd
2014