Comparison of using the Nikon D850 digitizer against Photoshop
After having tested the Nikon D850 and Nikon ES-2 digitizer on black and white film I decided to see how the Nikon D850 Nikon D850 digitizer compared to manual Photoshop processing for colour negatives.
Various100 and 200 asa C-41 film frames were imported into a Nikon D850 using the Nikon ES-2 film digitizing adapter connected to a Nikon 60mm 2.8G Micro Nikor at f8. I used daylight and auto white balance on the Nikon D850. I’ve discovered that here is no need whatsoever to use a tripod as the whole structure is rigid – some of these were 2 second+ exposures.
Each frame was imported using the Nikon ES-2 attachment which resulted in a high quality JPEG. I also took a separate raw picture which I imported then into Photoshop and then converted into a usable picture
Manually processing a frame of film this way in Photoshop took approximately 1 minute.
The results of this Nikon D850 digitizer test are below (You can click through to get bigger pictures).
The first picture in each set is the jpeg as outputted by the camera digitizer.
The second picture in each set is my attempt to quickly produce as high a quality picture as I could from the raw “scan”.
The third picture is a 100% comparison of the two – digitized version on the left, my version on the right.
Outcome of comparison between using the digitizer and Photoshop
A couple of obvious points, then, about using the Nikon D850 digitizer:
- The canned digitizing mode often blew out the red /purple channels – it was as though there was a Velvia simulation thrown in as well.
- The raw scans clearly had more detail and could resolve the film grain.
- Finally, the digitizer mode also had difficulties with white balance.
You can see on the very last comparison picture that the inbuilt digitizer overexposed the white sunlit wall of the warehouse. Although I didn’t do it on this test, if you have problems with the camera under or overexposing negatives there is an exposure compensation function built in to the digitizer which you can manually change.
White balancing was much more accurate when using Photoshop if the orange film base was scanned and sampled with the eyedropper tool. I did this for the first skiing photograph, but it took a considerable time, so for the rest of the pictures I reverted to the levels method for white balancing as set out above.