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2013 Season - Who is Shooting Film This Year !

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#1 Nightfly

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 04:00 PM

Alright, it's 2013 and film has long been dead, right?

Well maybe not. The CN Film Astrophotography forum is the last active publicly open forum left on the globe dedicated to film astrophotography and with some activity it just might stay around for a few more years, maybe more. But an inactive forum is a soon to be dead forum.

There are the regular active members and an occasional posting of some legacy images from way long ago reposted for posterity, with very little new blood showing up.

Forum regulars, if you could dedicate to post a few images this season and if we could possibly recruit some adventuresome photogs to have a hand at it, we might just give the forum some new life. I'm not expecting to get back to the glory days of years ago, but possibly a well respected group of film shooters doing some good work showing the astrophotography newbs and old pros alike that film is still alive and can do some great work. It always did before !

For those just getting started, post questions of film availability, processing, scanning, post processing, etc and veteran members will be sure to advise to the best of their ability.

For old timers posting their work, offer a good thumbnail image on the post and perhaps an external link as well as details as to where and how you made the image as beginners will perhaps be watching.

Other astrophotography forums at CN have monthly contests. Perhaps during the summer we could hold a challenge contest or beginners challenge to get the juices flowing. Just an idea.

Moderator(s). Jump in with your idea(s) as well. Perhaps we can bring new life and function to this well established forum.

Anyone else? Jump in, tell us what you are doing with this traditional craft we call film astrophotography!

CS


Jim

#2 tuc

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 03:03 PM

Excellent idea Jim. I would love to hear more about processing, in particular, noise reduction.

#3 SeaRefractor

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 03:36 PM

I'm going to be new to film astrophotography this year. Just finished rebuilding an Olympus OM-1 MD camera.

Hope this forum stays live!

#4 Nightfly

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 06:18 PM

Welcome SeaRefractor, looks like you'll be ready with your "new" OM-1. We hope to see some of your images this season.

Noise reduction is a good topic tuc. I often battle with processing for additional sharpness without bringing out more noise. I say noise,as there really is none on the films we shoot. A well exposed negative or transparency has gobs of "data" that inexpensive scanners just can't pull out, at least not without blowing out stronger details and producing that "lovely" effect we call noise. We are mainly looking at scanner noise.

I'm going to ramble a bit as there are new members listening and might like to hear some details that apply to film and often other types of photography.

Exposure:

Exposing our images well is the first step to a good image. For transparencies, that means working up to the sky glow level. As a matter of fact it is good to have some sky glow on the transparency as this produces a thinner transparency that is easier to scan. Very dense and dark transparencies is a problem for scanners. The opposite is true for negatives as the roles are reversed. Recording too much sky glow on transparencies will produce higher contrast, but can be negligible in negative films.

It is true that a wider (faster) lens will record extended object such as nebulae more quickly, but a stopped down lens can be used to expose longer and record more stars. Sky glow will also take longer to accumulate on a stopped down lens. I have found that if you want to invest in your exposures, a stopped down lens will create better images, at the expense of a longer exposure.

Once that is accomplished, then your ready to scan your processed images knowing all has been done to produce a superior product.

scanning:

As this is a diverse operation I will speak in general terms. It is important to produce scans that have good shadow and midtone detail while not overemphasizing highlights. Furthermore, stretching an image to have midtones reach highlight levels produces a brighter, but poor image. Watch those histograms !

Noise:

Once a full resolution image has gone through basic processing, including levels, cropping, and color (if applicable) correction there is bound to be some noise. There are many different solutions here and I have not fully tested or experienced more than a few.

Neat Image is the noise profile solution I use and it works well. The removal of noise improves tonality and low contrast detail such as nebulae. After noise has been reduced you will find that you have more room to tweak the processing. Fainter details are now prominent and there is more "pop" to the image.

Neat Image is just one example of a good tool and I will only comment that you will need to play around with some daylight images first to get the hang of it and then apply it to your astrophotography.

Photoshop offers basic noise reduction, but I find that it will address only mild cases and is not as powerful as Neat Image.

I will add that sharpening should be the last item on your list and this should be done after altering image size for either printing or posting on the web. I even turn off the USM (unsharp mask) on the scanning software as this is a source of noise (I use an Epson V600).

That's a mouthful, so I will stop there.

How was everyone's weekend?

#5 THEPLOUGH

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 07:06 PM

I'm going to be new to film astrophotography this year. Just finished rebuilding an Olympus OM-1 MD camera.

Hope this forum stays live!




It will... ;)

#6 Nebhunter

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 07:20 PM

Well said Jim - and count me in. I've been guilty of pulling back. Heck I haven't even scanned the last batch from months ago.

Kick in the pants - fire up the scanner - let's get this train rollin. It may "only" be film - but it still fires my furnace.

igor

#7 d.sireci51

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 10:02 PM

Count Me in. The weather around these parts hasnt been great, but will be out there when possible. Have to keep those Olympus's and drive motors from getting gummy! I know I've missed the boat on the; "how to down size your images to fit the 204800 bytes format?" Maybe someone would be kind enough to help me out with that? I have a lot of Images I could post. I too would like to see this forum grow. Clear skies, D

#8 Nightfly

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 05:22 AM

This is good. Post 'em if you got 'em. Start a new thread for each set. I'll try to add a few as well. I would like to see work by us old timers but some new work coming in from those just getting started.

Post your best work.

#9 SKYGZR

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 01:48 PM

Will try some from a dark site. Need to get my camera setup refined, and guide this time (or better the polar alignment). Last years effort was a bust.

#10 Michal1

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 05:01 PM

I'm shooting film, how could I not do it! For me astrophotography = film astrophotography. This year will be my most ambitious ever!

Tuc, DeNoiseMyImage 2.1 Free version is my all time favorite. It's easy to use and gives the best results from the many programs I've tried (Photoshop default, its plugins Topaz Denoise and Grain Surgery, Neat Image, Noiseware, SGBNR in PixInsight LE and several others). The newer versions have another kind of control, that I wasn't able to understant and, moreover, the ad appearing at the start of the free versions is too buggy. Its substantial disadvantage is it can work only with 24 bit images. That's why I use it as one of the last steps in proccessing.

Nightfly, always when I tried to denoise an astrophoto in Neat Image, the program complained it was unable to find a uniform area to build the noise profile. When I ignored this warning, the program deleted the faint stars. How do you solve it?

#11 Nightfly

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 07:24 PM

Michal, I have built profiles of my scans off of large opaque areas on the film, sometimes even the dark nebulae offer enough area to profile. I sometimes get dimming of some stars in addition to the noise reduction, but sharpening restored them after the reduction.

Scanning a blank piece of film will profile scanner noise. The scanner itself offers plenty of noise !

#12 laconicsax

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 10:39 PM

I'll be shooting film until it isn't available anymore or is cost prohibitive.

#13 s58y

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 11:18 PM

I've thought about doing some startrails photos with film this season, just as a novelty or stunt. It seems like film might be well-suited for startrails.

I'd probably use an old Canon 7s rangefinder from about 1968. It has a "T" setting, so the shutter can stay open by itself while I tend mostly to collecting images with a CCD camera on the tracking mount (can't waste any precious clear nights on just film).

Hopefully, I can just use the marked infinity focus, and things won't be too fuzzy. I guess I'll need dewstrips on the camera to keep dew off, since the film camera won't generate any heat while it's running.

If the resulting images are of poor quality, digitizing them with a slide duplicator and DSLR should be sufficient.

#14 Nightfly

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 05:21 AM

I've built a large portfolio of startrail images over the years and find that with the proper films, the images are excellent. How I tire of DSLR stacked images with all those pure white startrails. Chrome films make such great colors.

#15 M111

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 11:11 AM

My output has been greatly reduced lately(along with forum posts) due to living near an urban area, but I will certainly be exposing some frames this summer. I worry that some of my E200 stores may be starting to spoil, though. The last roll I shot was extremely red-cast, and not in a good way. I ruled out a processing error as I processed it with a roll of Fuji 400, which came out fine.

#16 Nightfly

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 11:58 AM

Great to hear from you Brendan. Long time. Sorry to hear of your E200 going bad. I hold my breath when I develop a roll. So far so good.

Will be looking forward to your offerings this summer. I may be able to part with a few rolls if you find you need some.

#17 Kona

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 10:51 PM

Count me in as well. I could post some photos and techniques from my large format 4x5 camera. I was just out with it last night in fact. I'm the most curmudgeon-y of everyone here--most everyone scans; my goal has always been good film negatives for making prints in the darkroom! Jim and Igor have seen my work firsthand. :D

#18 Nightfly

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 05:19 AM

You are correct, most of us use a hybrid process and you are the only one making large format traditional prints ! I can attest to the quality of the prints, the star images are exquisite. One fails to understand the quality of this type of work. I hope one day to be able to master these methods. Much is lost in scanning, especially the cheap flatbeds we are using. A fair job, but not with the fidelity of what the format can produce.

Great to see you on the forum and we are looking forward to a contribution to images this year.

#19 mrpizza

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 11:31 PM

I still have my Olympus OM-1. Used to hyper, still have equipment. I was thinking about getting a roll of film since I now have a better set up for guiding more accurately. I used to use the ST-4. It's been over 10 years since my film days but they were fun.

I would take the film in for development to the local grocery store and they would give me the negative without charge because they thought the film was defective because there weren't any terrestrial images. I brought them back and scanned them in and a processing away I went.

Would there be a film still in production that would be viable today?

Chris

#20 Nightfly

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 04:56 AM

You can check other threads for films used today, but the short list would be this:

Slides: Provia 400X

Color Negative: Kodak Gold 100, 200 & 400 or Fujicolor 100 and 200

B&W: Fuji Acros 100

Acros can be hypered successfully with remarkable gains, but is fine right out of the box.

#21 Jeff Phinney

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 12:53 PM

Jim, Regarding your list of films above: Before I go placing my order with Amazon for 35mm Fujicolor 100 and 200, do you have any idea if there's any difference between what you've listed above and what I'm finding listed on Amazon. Specifically the "Fujifilm Quality Fujicolor CN 100" ( http://www.amazon.co...?ie=UTF8&amp... )and "Fujifilm Super HQ 200"( http://www.amazon.co...?ie=UTF8&amp... ). I assume "CN" simply means Color Negative, but what's the deal with "Super HQ". Are they all the same and the differing names are just a a bit of pointless puffery that Fuji maybe engaging in?

Thanks!

#22 Nightfly

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 05:34 AM

Hi Jeff. Fujicolor 100 CN is the same formula as the old Superia 100 CN, which was the best color negative film for astrophotography in my opinion. CN is a designator for the film. The more recent Reala Superia 100 is designated CS and is a poor film for astrophotography.

The designator is similar to Kodak's GA, GB, GC for Gold 100, 200, & 400.

I believe the Super HQ 200 is the same as Superia 200.

Superia 100 in medium format is nothing less than spectacular.

Posted Image
Le Gentil 3 Region by Nightfly Photography, on Flickr

A quick test of Superia 200

Posted Image




Film Test: Fujicolor Superia 200 by Nightfly Photography, on Flickr

#23 Jeff Phinney

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 11:35 AM

Jim, Thanks for the reply. I've gone ahead and placed the order for the film. We'll see how it all goes once the film gets here, and if/when I get my camera back from the repair shop.

Your mention of "formats" has shaken loose a few misplaced nuts that have been nesting in parts unknown within my skull. Mainly that a format can have an effect on the performance of some films. I remember it was quite the shock to find out that Tech Pan on glass plates was a totally worthless combination when it was found that the emulsion had no response to the hypering process(vacuum followed by H2 soak). The assumption was that it had to do with the gaseous permeability(or lack of) of the glass vs. the usual ESTHAR or acetate base.

So I'm going to assume that there will be no difference in performance between the medium and the 35mm Fuji formats. The film is cheap enough and the only thing I really have to loose is the time doing the tests.
Just one more opportunity to live and learn.

Thanks again!

#24 Nightfly

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 12:12 PM

One thing that differentiates 35mm and medium formats is the scanning results with consumer scanners. A dedicated film scanner for 35mm will do wonders over what I can accomplish with my flatbed. Your 35mm performance (I will assume you will scan your negs) will be determined by the quality of the scans over format differences.

Certainly the film size will create improvements in color and tonality as well as star image quality.

I have shot Fujicolor 100 CN in 35mm and can attest that it is the same film as the Superia 100 CN in 120 format. You might want to scoop some up as I believe it is either discontinued or soon will be.

Good luck and be sure to post when you get your results !

#25 Jeff Phinney

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Posted 05 April 2013 - 01:07 PM

I have a Nikon Coolscan 9000 I use at work for archiving photos, which I'm hoping will be sufficient for my purposes. If not, I have a camera shop here that claims to have "something better",... whatever that means

Also, Thanks for the tip! Guess I'll go ahead and order some more Fujicolor 100 CN.






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