I suppose it’s quite obvious that there will be differences in a photo from being scanned onto a computer compared to if you print a copy of it in the darkroom.
I really noticed a difference in the contrast in a couple of my photos this week that I’d originally scanned using my Epson V600 scanner and then developed copies in the darkroom.
These photos were taken using my Hasselblad 500 C/M Camera and Ilford Delta 400 film.
The first image was of a close up of a tombstone in the shape of a cross with a tree in the background. Here is the original image that I scanned on my Epson V600 scanner:
I didn’t tweak the original scan as I was happy with the original exposure. As you can see, it isn’t high in contrast and there are many subtle shades of grey which is what I would have expected from the Ilford Delta 400 film.
I’m not sure what I was expecting when I decided to print an enlargement in the darkroom but I was surprised by how different the contrast and tones were:
I cropped the photo slightly as I wanted more focus on the tombstone and tree and I felt the extra detail on the right hand side of more trees took attention away from this. The biggest difference I noted though was how much darker the trees and shadow detail were. Also, the grass, tombstones and background detail were left with really nice shades of grey.
I next decided to do an enlargement of a tree image I’d taken on the same roll of film with the sun shining through the trees. I was keen to see how this would look in a print. Here is the original photo I scanned on my Epson V600 scanner:
I made no amendments to this photo at the scanning stage as I was happy with the exposure. As before, the photo consists of various shades of grey with no real contrast.
Here is the same image which I printed in the darkroom:
Once again, I cropped the image, this time on the left hand side because I wanted more focus on the two big trees with the sun shining through. You’ll notice that the greys are much darker on this print compared to the original scan. I’ve also lost the grey detail from the sky which was in the original scan. This gives the image a lot more contrast.
I used Ilford chemicals to develop both prints and also Ilford Multigrade IV RC Deluxe Pearl 8×10 paper. I exposed both images for 1 minute and I didn’t use any contrast filters.
Personally I prefer the darkroom prints over the original scanned images. I’m very keen on contrast in my photos as I feel this adds to the dramatic effect I wanted to achieve in these particular images I took.
Perhaps I could have achieved this effect too on the scanner by changing the contrast but I am just surprised by how different they look in print.
I’m very grateful to have access to a darkroom and I get so much satisfaction in seeing my images almost come to life in print instead of just looking at them on the screen.
I’ve also enjoyed messing about cropping my images to see how different it can make my photo look.
Needless to say, there are many more prints that I now want to develop in the darkroom to see how different they look compared to my original scanned images.
Lastly, the darkroom prints have also been scanned onto the computer using my Epson V600 scanner and they look the same as the actual print.