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Thread: Slides or Negs - which one has higher ultimate scan quality?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2002

    Default Slides or Negs - which one has higher ultimate scan quality?


    okay, first of all, this is meant for healthy discussion. i want to hear some opinions on this issue, since i haven't been able to get a conclusive answer anywhere......

    Slides do look better than prints under a light box, with a good loupe, or projected. But we all know to be of any practical use, they have to be scanned in digital format, even to make prints. (Okay, u can do a traditional print, but it has already been established that digital prints are far better than any traditional wet prints one can make).

    Which one do u think scans better, slides or negs? Quote your personal experiences with both when converting them to digital format. Do u scan them yourself using dedicated film scanners? flat bed scanners? Or maybe you have real experience scanning them with industrial strength drum scanners? ;P how about scans from both using minilabs?

    some points to start us off....

    1. Slow speed slides have better colour saturation, vividness and finer grain (?), theoritically giving better scans.

    2. Negs however, hold better detail over a wider dynamic range from shadows to highlights and will make a better scan with more detail, theoritically.....

    3. high ISO negs today are very fine grained, almost indistinguishable from low ISO ones, and should scan better than slides pushed to high ISO. true?

    David Teo
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2002


    Moving this to Technical Discussions.
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

  3. #3


    Here's what I got from

    Basically, a slide would be easier to scan and get accurate color information. A negative, while having greater exposure latitude, would not yield as accurate color information once scanned. You'd have to do color correction for the latter in PS.

    Personally, I've not tried scanning negatives though since I have't touched those after seeing the results on slides.
    Last edited by Lennier; 4th May 2002 at 07:07 AM.

  4. #4


    From what i have seen n used high speed slides are rather unacceptable for me.

    So when i need high speed, i use neg and still can uprate to 1200 w/o push processing, convenient.

    Normal speed I use slides, though I have started to use Provia400 as it looks so bloody fine and comparable too 100 films!

  5. #5

    Default Negative, slide or digital?

    Negative, slide or maybe digital?


  6. #6


    i've scanned both negatives and slides, and had poor results. comparatively though, the negatives look better, and needed less post-scan touching-up in PS

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2002
    Perth Australia

    Default Re: Slides or Negs - which one has higher ultimate scan quality?

    My experience is that it doesn't matter, slide or negs give good scans with a good scanner. For razor sharp scanning though one has to go to the slower B/W emulsions like Kodak Tech Pan or Ilford Pan F which are far sharper and with smaller grain than any colour emulsions in production.
    The Ang Moh from Hell
    Professional Photography - many are called, few are chosen!

  8. #8
    ClubSNAP Admin Darren's Avatar
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    In terms of sharpness and grain, negs and slides are equal.

    However, when it comes to color accuracy, i find that slides give a more accurate result whereas with negs, have to do some color adjustments.

    Or maybe i am just using my scanner wrong


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