There seems to be a lot of debates in the photo community about what is ‘the best’. One hot topic film photographers will talk about is which scanner is better: Frontier or Noritsu. We feel like there are no hard and fast rules about which scanner is better.  It is about knowing which one best fits your aesthetic. In order to help you understand the differences between the scanners, we will be doing an on-going series to compare the Frontier and Noritsu.  We will be showing how they react to pushed film, different lighting scenarios, and various film stocks.  Today, we’ll look at the subtle color differences, and specifically contrast, between the two. To start, there are a few things to note about the two scanners.

FRONTIER:

  • Strong emphasis in the yellow/blue channel
  • Richer black point
  • Punchier color
  • Skin tones typically more golden

NORITSU:

  • Strong emphasis in the magenta/green channel
  • Light and airy (but can do dark and moody as well)
  • Unparalleled highlight retention
  • Skin tones typically more pink/peach

Keep in mind that neutral skin tones can be achieved on either scanner!

The Frontier has very limited options that a scanning technician can change.  Overall, they can focus on changing the intensity of the shadows or highlights, but the Frontier doesn’t have as wide of a range as the Noritsu.  The Noritsu has naturally lower contrast, but allows for much more customization in-scanner.

These images were shot on Portra 400 on an overcast day. Images shot when it is overcast tend to be higher in contrast. The light is really diffused, mainly affecting your highlights.  Additionally, shadows in your scene can be muddy or darker. You can see in the example below how the Noritsu was able to produce varying contrast results.  Because this image was high in contrast, the Frontier embraced that.

*Please note none of these examples have been modified in post production but your aesthetic can be further refined in post.

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Noritsu

As you can see by these comparisons, the Noritsu has a lot more flexibility when it comes to providing both low and high contrast. Ultimately, there is not an easy answer to which scanner is ‘best’. It just depends on your preferred aesthetic, and which scanner will help you receive the best product in the end!

If you would like to see a comparison on your own work, feel free to write that in the notes section of the order form! There is no added turnaround time for this comparison, just a small charge for the scanning portion only.

 Image credit: Marla Cyree

Portra 400, Pentax 645

   

While some may be singing “let it snow,” our holiday party had everyone screaming for it to rain –film- that is. A large piñata filled with film, candy, and other goodies was just one of the highlights of this year’s gathering. It was a great time for us to enjoy one another and remind us of how far we have come individually and as a company. We hope everyone has a happy holiday season, and here’s to a New Year with theFINDlab!

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HP5+ pushed +3, Rolleiflex 2.8F

   

We love when clients reach out to us to communicate what they’re wanting for their scans! One thing that is helpful to know is if you want your images scanned for the highlights or for the shadows. This is most applicable when images are silhouetted, or when you are shooting in a scenario where there is strong contrast between your whites and blacks. The first photo below is a straight scan, meaning there are no density or color corrections in-scanner.

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This shooter metered well for a moody look- you can see there are still details in the shadows. The density in this image could also be brought up if the client wanted a brighter look. Certain types of lighting can yield a variety of results. In the following three images, you can see how much the scanner can impact what the final result looks like.

Scanned for the shadows:

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Scanned to be neutral for midtones:

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Scanned for the highlights:

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You can see the first image has been brightened to bring up the shadows, causing the highlights in the window to be brighter. The middle scan shows a good happy medium, where the highlights and shadows are both pretty neutral. In the last scan, you can see the highlights in the window have been brought down in order to see the house across the street, causing the shadows to be much darker than the other scans.

Unless indicated otherwise on the order form, our scanners will scan to a neutral point like the middle image. If you are wanting something other than a neutral density scan, be sure to let us know. We love when clients are as specific as possible in terms of preserving the highlights, shadows, or both!

The best part is, this doesn’t have to apply to the whole roll. If you have some shots that you want scanned neutral, and some that you would like moody or silhouetted, just let us know beforehand. Our scanners will take the time to correct for each image on your roll.

In the end, it’s all about good communication. If you have a question about shooting, pushing, or scanning, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

Image Credit: Kristin Wahls

Portra 400 pushed +1, Canon EOS 1V

   

We wanted to share with you some shots of our lab summer party! Our team members took a break from processing your orders to spend some quality time with both their personal families and our lab family. Nothing says summer quite like playing at the park, BBQ-ing delicious food, and an all-around good time.

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