How To: Scanning FP-3000B Negatives

I believe it goes without saying, that Fuji FP-3000B is the most versatile instant film on the market today. Not only does it have the highest ISO rating of any instant film currently produced, it is the only one that  produces a very easy to work with negative. And thats what we will be discussing today.

I have chosen one image that I will use to demonstrate the way that I process my 3000B negatives. This is what works for me, but I’m always open for new ideas. If you have something to add or a tip that has worked for you, please let us know in the comment field.

 Step 1: A clean negative is a happy negative.

So, you’ve taken your shot and waited a minute to see the magic you created. You pull the print and you are happy with the results. The stranger you shot is amazed that you can still get film for that old camera and is very appreciative when you give them the print. All you have now is a wet negative, what do you do? Best practice is to keep the negative as clean as possible. This means either blow drying or setting it aside till it dries in a dust free environment. Now, this is where I’ll be honest. Very rarely do I do either of those. When I’m at a wedding, I’m usually tossing the negative on a table, on top of my bag, or finding a shelf to set them on. When I’m out with a client, they are usually lying on the ground or thrown in my trunk before they can dry. By the time I get them home, they have dust, hair and whatever else they picked up while drying stuck to them. Sometimes this looks great and can fit a mood. Most times, this looks terrible and you wish you still had the print to scan.

I’m going to ease your mind right now and take some pressure away from you. Contrary to what you may have heard, 3000B negatives can be washed and cleaned prior to scanning. If you get home and notice that your negative picked up some dust or a stray hair, dont worry. Let the negative dry completely and then run it under luke warm water. A very light stream of water and just some thumb pressure is all you need to clean any dust and hair from the negative. Get a drying rack and this time let your negatives dry in a dust free environment. BAM… Clean negative!

Left: Dirty Negative | Right: After Cleaning

Left: Dirty Negative | Right: After Cleaning

That may not look like much, but here are the scans. You can see that once the image is scanned, all the dust and hairs are very noticeable. If this was Granny from last weeks wedding, dust and hair might not look that great.

Left: Dirty Negative | Right: Cleaned Negative

Left: Dirty Negative | Right: Cleaned Negative

 

Step 2: Scanning

You have your dry and cleaned negative, now what? The good thing about scanning 3000B negatives, is that you dont need the best scanner on the market. Have an HP All -in- One Printer/Fax? Great! That will do. Basically you just need a scanner that will scan at a resolution 800 or higher. I use an EPSON V500 and love it for scanning all my instant film shots. Just lay negative on the scanner bed and scan in reflective mode. Done!

Step 3: Photoshop

Please do not let that word scare you. Also, please note that you do not need the latest, greatest version out. Any version of Photoshop or Elements will let you edit your scans.

1. Open file in photoshop. (you will have a mirror image of your print)

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2. Image – Adjustment – Invert (command + I) This will invert the image to a positive.

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3. Image – Image Rotation – Flip Canvas Horizontal

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4. Image – Adjustment – Levels (command + L) Adjust sliders to taste. I will usually pull my white points and black points in a bit.

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 At this point, you could be done. The image above looks nice and with the exception of a few small tweaks (possibly some contrast and removing a few spots) is ready to save.

I’m going to walk you through a few last steps that I do to my negatives and this is really just a taste thing. I’m not a big fan of sepia toning, but for some reason when it comes to 3000B negatives I think it works.

5. Image – Mode – Grayscale.  The reason for this comes into play more when working on multiple files. I have found that when scanning multiple files, that the tones can be a bit off between the scans. Converting your files to greyscale will get them all very close to each other as far tones go.

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6. Image – Mode – RGB Color. Converting the image back to RGB Color will not change the way it looks, but will allow you to do add the sepia toning. Again, I skip step 5 and 6 if only working on 1 image.

7. Image – Adjustment – Color Balance (command + B) This is where you can adjust the color to taste. I found a recipe I like from another photographer and it works for me on most images. Again, this is to taste and may not be for you. Find what you like and write it down. I use 25, 0, -25.

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Well that’s it. Hope you found this informative and useful. Knowing how to scan your negatives gives you the freedom to give away prints as you shoot and still have a record of your work. If you have any questions or something you would like to add, please drop us a line in the comment field.

Comments

  1. Kevin K says:

    Great! Thanks for posting.

  2. Excellent – mine was hit and miss till I read this

  3. Thank you! I’ve been needing a tutorial like this. I have a full day ahead 🙂

  4. rgphoto says:

    Thanks for your instruction. I have read and experienced solarization occuring with the neg. I understand this. What i do is to peel apart the film only when i am back in my darkroom. Then i fix it for 30 sec. In Hypam. Then i rinse in water then rinse in final wash solution. This leaves me with an excellent negative. I believe this is the best way to process the paper neg. I expose at 1600 on my RZ6711. Thanks.

  5. Great info dude

  6. Thanks for confirming that I can wash the negative – I’ve been using negatives for awhile but wasn’t sure I could wash them. This has taken a whole lot of stress out of making sure the neg is clean when out shooting. Thank you!! 🙂

  7. From my experience washing the negative is essential if you want to preserve them long-term. If you don’t wash off the emulsion it will oxidate and ultimately ruin your negative.

  8. Hi there. Great post – Can you let us know the process of saving and fixing the negative itself? What one might need to know PRIOR to scanning? There are so many suggestions out there and most seem hinky at best. Any info about how to deal with the neg would be great. Do you remove the paper backing? If so, how? What fixer? How long? Wash after fixing?

    • What I do Beth, is set the negative aside as soon as i peel it. I dry to keep it clean while it drys. Once I get it home, I peel any extra paper off and wash under warm water. Set out to dry in a dust free environment. Then I scan. How the negative is handled after the peel is the most important part. Hope this helps.

  9. Use empty CD jewel boxes when you are on set to pop the negs in, perfect to dry in and keep safe…

  10. Do you bleach the backside of an FP-3000B negative as well?

    • I have, but saw no difference in the final result. I no longer do.

      • Thanks for the tip. As a beginner to this, I can only emphasize what you wrote that an intact, clean negative will work just fine. I had a few where the emulsion side was damaged, and those “break” really easily.

  11. Thanks so much for writing this Chris, I unfortunately sometimes set the film aside and forget and then they are kind of ruined, I might need just a little box while shooting (even though it’s completely expensive after they decided to no produce the film x_x )

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