2

I've just started shooting 120 film in a 1956 Yashica Mat LM.

I am new to film photography, but I know that 120 film is supposed to have resolution equivalent to a 100 megapixel sensor.

Most film processing services offer "High Resolution" scanning, but the the highest resolution I've found online is 21 megapixels. Are there any places that actually offer higher resolution scans?

Is it even worth doing?

Will I actually get that amount of detail out of a Yashica Mat?

  • The detail you get depend more on the lens, the shooting technique, the film you use and the developing technique than on the camera. Adox has some nice high resolution film... – Francesco Aug 7 '15 at 11:40
  • Just backing up osulic, "120" is a Kodak model number for the film spool (if I understand correctly). The film on the spool is actually about 60mm wide. There is also a 220 spool that is the same width but carries twice as much film, but both are medium format roll films -- so it is okay to just say medium format film. – David Rouse Aug 7 '15 at 12:52
  • You checked a "correct" answer too soon. Others added later are better choices, and contradict the second paragraph. – JDługosz Aug 8 '15 at 4:00
2

Or you can use a macro lens to scan your film. I've found this to give better results than anything short of a very high-end scanner. Use a digital camera, a macro lens and a lightbox of some sort mounted in a copy stand. For even better results, make multiple images of parts of the negative and stitch them.

  • I've achieved some pretty good results (at least for my needs), using an extension tube between the lens and the camera, and using homemade negative strip holder out of a shoebox, and a manual flash on a sync cord firing into a homemade softbox (an Amazon box with one side replaced by a normal sheet of white paper). This is obviously a homemade setup, but with half decent (not necessarily expensive) equipment, that is versatile for other uses, you should be able to get great results – laurencemadill Aug 7 '15 at 11:37
3

Short answer: you have to use a microscope, a drum scanner or some specific scanners for film.

Flatbed scanners barely reach 1500 dpi (real, effective, measured on the details you get, not on the number of pixels you get), see http://www.filmscanner.info/EpsonPerfectionV600Photo.html and the other ones.

This is a measurement of actual details in some 120 film (provided you focused perfectly!): https://www.onlandscape.co.uk/2014/12/36-megapixels-vs-6x7-velvia/

Summary of the article: if you consider that Adox with over effective 200 Mpx is a special film you don't use everyday (but there is no way to scan that many pixels), you can extract reasonable details at 4000-5300 dpi from generic 120 film, equivalent to 50-80 Mpx.

If you didn't focus perfectly, divide by two in both axes and here are the 20 Mpx scans, provided they are performed with a GOOD scanner, not a normal flatbed, even if marketed for photos at more than 2400 dpi. No home-hoffice (<500 dollars/Euro) flatbed scanner can do that. Do not trust specifications, check the technical reviews.

Above that price point, two scanners available to a home user reach an effective resolution of over 4000 dpi and can get most out of 120 film: filmscanner.info/ReflectaRPS10M.html and filmscanner.info/NikonSuperCoolscan9000ED.html

Keep in mind: I used the Nikon one and I could see the grains in the center, but not on the sides: using glass plates to keep the film flat is a must.

As a matter of fact, you may even use an high-end dSLR like D8x0, provided you have a reliable way to keep the film flat (meaning the specific glass plates), you autofocus well, keep the film perpendicular and keep lighting uniform. A D800 produces pictures of 120 film with about 24 Mpx. It would be optimal. Check here and adapt the distance between camera and film: http://petapixel.com/2012/05/18/how-to-scan-film-negatives-with-a-dslr/

  • +1 for the difference that is the DPI of a flatbed scanner as written on the data sheet and the actual DPI achieved in reality. I once saw a comparison of two scans supposedly of the same DPI and they were orders of magnitude different from each other. – null Aug 7 '15 at 15:32
  • Actually two scanners available to a home user reach an effective resolution of over 4000 dpi and can get most out of 120 film: filmscanner.info/ReflectaRPS10M.html and filmscanner.info/NikonSuperCoolscan9000ED.html Keep in mind: I used the Nikon one and I could see the grains in the center, but not on the sides: using glass plates to keep the film flat is a must. – FarO Aug 7 '15 at 15:37
  • @OlafM you should just edit that into the answer. – JDługosz Aug 8 '15 at 3:57
2

It depends on the film: your estimate would be valid for old Panatomic-X using Beutler processing (I calculated ~116 Megapixels (MP) for a 6 cm x 6cm image, 180 lines/mm). Adox, though, claims about 500 MP for its CMS II High Resolution Film.

So, yes, if you want to take advantage of the full resolution, scanning at ~9,600 DPI (~400 DPMM) would produce about a 500 MP image. If you cannot find a scanning service that meets your needs, then buying a scanner is not exorbitant. A 6,400 x 9,600 DPI scanner such as the Epson V600 should create a 350 MP image, and is about US$210. The Canon CanoScan 900F Mark II claims 9,600 x 9,600 DPI and is about US$170.

Now if only digital photography could match that resolution at that price!

  • Are cheap (flat bed) scanners really that good? I recall such numbers only being "interpolated", and the OlafM answer contradicts this. – JDługosz Aug 8 '15 at 3:54
  • The values are not interpolated up to 4800x2400, but the focusing of the flatbed scanner and the non homogeneous film-glass distance and the poor optics of flatbed scanners make that resolution totally fake. Good luck producing a 350 Mpx image with a V600. – FarO Aug 8 '15 at 9:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.